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[aprssig] OT: Yaesu to release digital amateur radio gear

Gregg Wonderly gregg at wonderly.org
Fri Jan 6 15:40:51 UTC 2012

What it all comes down to, is standards are standards, modes are modes.  Because 
these radios use "repeaters" for broader range communications, that equipment 
has to be in place "first", before there will be any "real" ability to use the 
user equipment.  ICOM was giving away single frequency repeater systems, because 
they finally understood the "chicken and egg" problem.   I think it's vital for 
amateur radio users to "pick" their battles for "open" in a way that provides 
for "the right technology" to win.  So far, D-Star pricing has kept it out of 
"mass appeal".   Yaesu's pricing will likely not be any "better", because they 
do have to make money, and as a "new" company, they won't have "extreme" margins 
to ride on, without pricing appropriately, and 'winning' customers with those 

The most important thing about D-Star is that it is already here, and already 
being used.  The MOTO-TRBO gear is also, already here, but not in "HAM 
packages", but rather pricy, used equipment off of eBay.  If we all go after 
MOTO-TRBO, and say that's what we want, then all the D-Star equipment will still 
be available and being used, and we'll all have to carry around 2 HTs to be able 
to use both standards.  Buying tons of extra equipment to deal with 
compatibilities just seems nuts to me.

I think the best thing to do, is send communications to Yaesu and ICOM, and 
suggest that the only way that their technology will succeed, is if they also 
have radios that support both technologies.  Then the digital standard will be 
more like a PL-Tone kind of configuration issue for a particular 
frequency/repeater, and not a "whole radio/vendor" deal.

Then, the two technologies can compete freely, and openly on additional 
features, such as FEC to support range, external radio interfaces for APRS or 
other digital protocols, price and reliability of repeater systems etc.

Gregg Wonderly

On 1/6/2012 8:56 AM, Amateur Radio WB8NUT wrote:
> Icom does not own the rights to D-Star and did not develop it. JARL developed 
> it and it is an open standard. That being said, any manufacturer can build 
> equipment and NOT pay royalties to Icom or JARL. The only thing proprietary is 
> the AMBE Codec, about $20 on a chip. I believe AMBE has developed the Codec 
> for P25 and all the variants. So it will be same issue for Yaesu.
> You asked who has developed non-Icom DStar equipment? Robin, AA4RC has 
> developed both the DVDongle and the DVAP. Fred, has been working on numerous 
> offering, one of which is a D-Star digital voice adapter. 
> http://www.dutch-star.eu.
> Several people have created and sell D-Star hotspots.
> Kenwood remarkets an Icom D-Star radio in Japan.
> I think Yaesu has gone their own way because competing with Icom would mean 
> competition and price drops. With everyone using their own digital method 
> means higher radio prices for all of us. One standard means lower prices and 
> lower profits.
> I do believe what Yaesu will be introducing could well be completely closed 
> and proprietary.
> Regards,
> Duffy
> www.wb8nut.com
> On 1/6/12 9:11 AM, Lynn W. Deffenbaugh (Mr) wrote:
>> This just reminds me of the moving beam barcode scanner patents and licensing 
>> from years ago.  Symbol owned the patent and manufactured barcode scanners.  
>> They offered licenses to others, but what competitor in their right mind 
>> would tool up a manufacturing plant that paid royalties to their competitor?  
>> So, everyone used Symbol's scanners.
>> Fast forward to Dstar.  iCom developed it and owns the rights.  I imagine 
>> that to appease the powers-that-be, they had to offer licenses so that they 
>> could call it "open".  But, again, what major equipment manufacturer is going 
>> to tool up and pay their direct competitor license fees for Dstar?  If anyone 
>> was foolish (aka stupid) enough to do so, iCom could drive them out of the 
>> market by dropping the price of their own equipment.  Remember, they can play 
>> numbers games such that they don't have to include license fees in the cost 
>> of their own radios, but their new competition still has to pay them.  iCom 
>> gets a win-win by having an "open" protocol that they are still marketing as 
>> a sole supplier.
>> Until a FREE and "Open" digital voice protocol hits the amateur bands, there 
>> won't be any real competition nor multi-vendor solutions, IMHO.
>> Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32
>> PS.  But what does Dstar have to do with APRS?  And is the new Yaesu digital 
>> voice radio going to be APRS-capable as well?
>> On 1/6/2012 8:57 AM, Eric Lorenz K9LGE wrote:
>>> Duffy,
>>> It is all about perception though...yes, Dstar is an 'open' protocol. Yes, 
>>> anyone can license and manufacture equipment for it. So who (of the major 
>>> ones) has done it? Icom. So yes, regardless of the reality...Dstar *appears* 
>>> to be an Icom protocol. All that has to happen for that to change is for 
>>> another manufacturer to get in the game. It would *appear* though...that 
>>> this is going to remain Icom's thing for now.
>>> Eric K9LGE
>>> On Dec 29, 2011 7:59 PM, <duffy at wb8nut.com <mailto:duffy at wb8nut.com>> wrote:
>>>     Icom gave away repeaters to help continue D-Star's growth. So what is the
>>>     big deal with seeding equipment? Companies do it all the time.
>>>     The Codec is proprietary yes. The Codec is available to anyone on a chip
>>>     for around $25 in quantity one. Buy more and I assume there is a discount.
>>>      Our radios use proprietary chips all the time with proprietary DSP
>>>     firmware. P25 manufacturers use proprietary technology in their radios.
>>>     >From what I have seen so far, D-Star radios are much less expensive than
>>>     P25 radios.
>>>     What do we need cross-compatibility for with Public Service? You think
>>>     Police/Fire/Government are going to allow their systems to link to amateur
>>>     systems? Hardly. And just like the differing P25 systems, the
>>>     manufacturers have allowed for interoperability, but I hardly think
>>>     government systems will tie into amateur systems.
>>>     Icom trademarked it to protect it. Just like WB4APR trademarked APRS. No
>>>     one is charging anyone else to use those names.
>>>     D-Star is not an Icom protocol. It was developed by the JARL and it is an
>>>     open technology available to anyone. Only the Codec is proprietary as
>>>     discussed before.
>>>     Duffy
>>>     www.wb8nut.com <http://www.wb8nut.com>
>>>     > If D-Star is such a raging success in the amateur market, why was Icom
>>>     > giving away repeaters?  The codec is proprietary. It is not used by any
>>>     > other radio service so there is no availability of equipment with cross
>>>     > compatibility (for those amateurs who are authorized to use public
>>>     > safety frequencies, or have access to used PS equipment).  Icom
>>>     > trademarked the D-Star name, so how much are they going to charge other
>>>     > manufacturers to use it?  I suspect D-Star will remain an Icom only
>>>     > protocol.
>>>     >
>>>     > Brian Clark, AG4BC
>>>     >
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