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[aprssig] D-Star thoughts

Mark Fellhauer sparkfel at qwest.net
Wed Aug 15 04:27:42 UTC 2007

As a guy who took the plunge last week and ordered an Icom IC-91AD - that 
is arriving by UPS tomorrow, I have a few comments on the comments I have 
seen here.  I am seriously considered buying an IC-2820 based on its 
abilities as a dual band transceiver - not even considering the optional 
D-Star capability.

Do I think D-Star is a replacement for APRS?  No, but is it a nice adjunct 
to APRS?  I think the answer is yes.

Did I order a IC-91AD for D-Star?  Yes, and no.  The non-D-star ratings of 
this HT are quite good, I might have bought it even if there were no local 
D-Star repeaters.  I live in Southern California and we do have D-Star 
repeaters, which probably tipped my hand.

As for other people's comments:


Someone opined that the radios are "obscenely" expensive.   Oh 
really?   The IC-91AD has a street price less than what I paid for an 
FT-51R a decade ago.  It is about the same price as what I paid for a 
TH-D7A about 7 years ago.   Looking at the cost of an IC-2820 with the 
optional UT-123 D-Star Module (with GPS) vs. the cost of the last Dual Band 
mobile I bought, plus the cost of a KPC-3+ and a GPS, it looks like the 
2820 is again, cheaper.

As for Insurance costs.  If just adding a D-Star repeater to your club's 
inventory adds $500 to the cost of your annual insurance, maybe your club 
had nothing of value to insure before that.  Or perhaps you need to bid 
your insurance needs out to some other company.  To put it in perspective 
that's $1.37 a day, at a time when people shell out 5 dollars for a Latte 
at Starbucks (and do it every day of their life).

As a former officer of a large Ham Radio Club, I spent YEARS dealing with 
obstructionist members who every time we planned an event they raised the 
issue of "INSURANCE."   Well, we incorporated to protect the club members 
and officers. We got a multimillion dollar liability policy and we added a 
flippin' 18 MILLION DOLLAR UMBRELLA POLICY, and I still heard gripes about 
insurance.  AFAIC, the mention of Insurance costs is just a part of  a FUD 
campaign for people who can't think of a real reason to move forward.  The 
Insurance argument is the last refuge of scoundrels.


Yes D-Star, is "expensive" to implement.  But can APRS survive at 1200 Baud 
AX.25?  Someone has to pick up the ball and push a standard that we can 
field that moves APRS forward.   If expense and legacy architecture hobble 
us, where can we go?  As far as I can tell APRS is moving backwards - less 
software and less hardware is available to us then there was in 2000.   If 
you're going to gripe about what Kenwood didn't do in the 710 or wish the 
death of D-Star because it's not open source, or too expensive to buy or 
insure, then come up with a digital replacement.  Back it with software 
that works and doesn't take a programming degree to set up.

I'm looking forward to getting a D-Star capable radio.  It'll still do 
APRS, too.   BTW, I've head that someone in Japan is working on making the 
D-Star UT-118 module work with non Icom Radios.  And last month was the 
first reported satellite D-Star contact on AO-27.




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