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[aprssig] APRS and dstar (why)

Amateur Radio WB8NUT duffy at wb8nut.com
Sun May 27 21:22:06 UTC 2012

On 5/27/12 4:51 PM, Randy Allen wrote:
> By $350 I assume you mean something like the IC-V80 and the optional 
> D-Star module?  Which gives me a mono band HT with no GPS, one 
> additional operating mode. By the time you add a GPS we're looking at 
> the same price I paid for my TH-D72 and no way to to see any APRS 
> activity around me via RF.
> ETA: I see you were referring to the ID-31.  Now we've added the GPS 
> but have a 440 mon0 band HT with all the disadvantages as far as APRS 
> receipt, and not very useful around here for public services events 
> that tend to use the 2 Meter infrastructure.

Yes, I was referring to the ID-31. Look for Icom to bring out a 2 meter 

In either case, you cannot get APRS back to DStar at this time that I 
know of, but then again with my APRS use, when on a handheld like my 
D72, I am not looking so much for where they are, as how close they are 
and can I contact them via voice.
> I know that it's possible to port APRS to D-STAR, but the response I 
> got from the local D-STAR types was "why would we want to connect a 
> piece of old analog crap to our nice new digital repeater.  You need 
> to buy a D-STAR!"

Who are the DStar types you are referring to specifically? I have not 
seen that attitude at all among the various DStar people I know, so 
please let me know specifically who you are referencing. I would like to 
follow up with those folks as that kind of an attitude is not beneficial 
to anyone.

However, sometimes I could see how that response would be given among 
people incapable to doing it technically and therefore they respond with 
what appears to be an unacceptable attitude.

In thinking about this further, I am not sure given the huge amount of 
local APRS activity that you would want all that traffic on the DStar 
network. Considering that just about all the repeaters are capable of 
linking or are linked, can you imagine the traffic if suddently you 
flooded the network with worldwide APRS traffic? So maybe it is not so 
much as it cannot be done, or that they did not want to as it is not 
> When comparing something more like apples to apples (i.e. a true dual 
> band mobile with dual display), then the price of an IC-2820 isn't 
> much of bargain compared to a D710, and I still don't have access to 
> local APRS activity.

Yes a 2820 is very expensive. However my dual band ID-880 at times in 
the low $400 when coupled with a GPS can start providing positioning via 
DPRS. That still puts it under the price of my D710.
> I use APRS for public service events.  The cost of replacing all of 
> the various trackers and APRS enabled radios with D-STAR is 
> unrealistic, especially in light of ICOM's apparent corporate, and the 
> demonstrated attitude of some local D-STAR enthusiasts, that "APRS 
> Integration" is all one way, and only through the internet, and no 
> apparent interest in seeing APRS station on their radios.

Yes, agreed, but not sure anyone is suggesting....at least not me...that 
DStar replace APRS. When I am suggesting is that it can interoperate to 
some degree.
> When I have the luxury of internet access at as Net Control, it's 
> great to integrate the D-STAR users, just as I do the DROID and other 
> smart phone users, but I don't depend on the internet, therefore I 
> don't rely on the D-STAR and smart phone users.

DStar does not require the Internet to operate. The Internet is just 
used as a technology to link repeaters. Other technologies can be used 
to link them.
> I would be willing to work with D-STAR community by working to get 
> TNC's, radios, etc to integrate with the local D-STAR infrastructure, 
> but I am quite frankly not interested enough in it to put up my own 
> D-STAR repeater, and they have shown zero interest in working with the 
> APRS infrastructure.
Not sure why TNCs need to be integrated with DStar. DStar has it's own 
digital messaging capability. I've used it and it works very well. And 
it works right with the voice capability. So you don't have to switch 
between modes as you would if you employed a TNC. Now some criticize 
DStar because the digital messaging is "too slow" but for what it is 
intended, it is great and lightening fast. Everyone talks about high 
speed data on amateur radios for year, and frankly we have the 
technology today. It's just that no one can either find a use for high 
speed or it in fact is not needed at least at this time. Like the new 
Yaesu digital handheld and a claim on how fast it can send data. Great, 
but it seems to me it's a bit like claiming you have the fastest human 
powered tricycle. It's great to be able to make the claim, but no one 
wants to use it as a means of travel.
> D-STAR to me is currently just another part of amateur radio world, 
> like EME, satellite, etc., that I might get interested in some day, 
> but have no real desire to fuss with right now.  It just does not add 
> enough to the equation for what I do to make it worth it to _me_.

I agree with you on the first part in that DStar is just another part of 
the amateur world. The second part is where I have to take exception - 
not the part about wanting to fuss with it, O.K. that's fine. The part 
that it does not add enough to the equation.

I too held that belief. I looked at DStar for years and said I could not 
figure out the big deal. Then I spent two hours with a guy showing me 
the many possibilities of DStar and all the things most people browse 
over. Then I bought my first DStar and wow, I could not believe the 
possibilities. Same thing with a friend of mine at Dayton, he spent an 
hour with some of the folks from the Texas DStar group, attended the 
DStar get together on Friday night, and he was blown away. Bought his 
880 on Saturday. Unless you delve into it, it is hard to see what you 
are missing and what it is capable of doing. Not that in replaces APRS. 
There is still a lot that APRS has to offer and it is getting better. I 
have fun with both and see what both technologies can provide.
> I'm glad you enjoy yours.  73
> Randy

Happy Memorial Day and yes DStar and APRS have been very enjoyable for me.

> On 5/27/2012 14:29, Amateur Radio WB8NUT wrote:
>> People really consider around $350 bucks for a DStar radio to be such a
>> wall to impede their adoption of digital? I am amazed. Icom ID-31s sold
>> out by early Saturday at Dayton this year. It has GPS built-in, no
>> programming required and every time I transmit, my position goes to the
>> APRS network. No more, radio, GPS and tracker module with wires 
>> everywhere.
>> I guess when compared to the Chinese radios it is a lot of money. But
>> compared to my D710 at $500, it's a great value.
>>  From personal observation of the Yaesu booth at Dayton. No crowd around
>> their new digital radio. No excitement. If anything, it was such a flop,
>> a number of people on the fence with digital started snapping up DStar
>> radios. Some models were sold out and others in tight supply there.
>> Not that I have abandoned APRS, but the ID-31 sure made it easy to have
>> FM, Digital, world-wide programming, and APRS (DPRS) all in one package.
>> I like DStar and like the way it is integrated with APRS. It's been a
>> lot of fun with both technologies.
>> Duffy
>> www.wb8nut.com
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