D-Star beginnings

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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My D-Star thumb drive arrived yesterday evening, and I couldn't play with it until after I returned from a work meeting at 8 p.m.

1) I have never had so much trouble getting the cap off of a thumb drive! The interlocking holes in the side tabs made it very difficult to pry off.

2) once I plugged it in and installed the utility program, I tried to install the waveform....no dice. It just stared at me. I uninstalled it and tried again..nothing. Moved the thumb drive to the other slot and tried again...nothing. I began to wonder if I had broken a solder joint while fighting with the cap on the thumb drive. Then I realized that I had gotten in a hurry and probably left out a step. So I powered the rig off and turned it on again. Success!

3) tried to make my first D-Star contact...20 meters was dead. Strong AM and SSB signals all around the usual D-Star frequencies on 40 and no DS sigs. No one on 80 either.

4). Found the D-Star QSO Finder web page and a couple of guys way out west were on. We tried to link up on three different bands. At first, I had no power output. Discovered that I still had settings active from when I was operating remote with Parallels Access earlier in the day...reset the parameters...now have power and audio. (NOTE to self...never try something this new at the end of the day during a very busy week.)

5). Tried with at least three different stations on three different bands...No propagation. I thought I saw a signal on the pan a couple of times, but nothing decoded..signals were too weak.

6) gave up. Will try tomorrow!

Friday is my day off...perhaps I will get it working then...

Ken - NM9P
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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  • frustrated, and a little dumb.....

Posted 3 years ago

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Jim Gilliam

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I enjoyed your tale of woe...perhaps misery loves company....good luck on your next try!

Jim, K6QE

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Mark - WS7M

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Ok the dim bulb here is asking... what is D-star?  :-)
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Mark - WS7M

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Never mind... I think I found this thing called "google" that helps me to figure this stuff out.  But if you do answer I'd appreciate it?   The thumb drive... are you installing it in the radio or your computer?
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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You stick the ThumbDrive into one of the USB ports on the back of your
Flex radio having loaded the corresponding waveform first.

The USB ports on my Flex-6500 are a bit too near the ethernet port,
so I took the upper one. You click DSTR in the slice and - bingo.

I only put the ThumbDV into the USB port when I want to have a D-STAR
QSO, I use it to get D-Star access via PC otherwise.

Yo can use the FlexRadio D-Star program to put in the other station's
callsign or use a reflector, if you have a Flex-6700 or a transverter.

Take care to use D-Star on 10m only, because the signal is very wide.
I measured my D-Star signal on my spectrum analyzer at 6kHz.

IMHO HF D-Star is only usable if the other station has a very strong
signal, as decoding gets interrupted if the signal fades. FreeDV is
much more useful as a DV mode for HF. I only bought the ThumbDV
because I can also  use it with WinDV to get internet access to reflectors.

With quit a bit of experience with VHF/UHF D-Star I can say that you
have to use a lot more power to get a reliable connection.
I usually have my mobile radio set to 10 watts for FM and 25 to 50 watts
for D-Star.

WinDV: http://www.dutch-star.eu/software/index.aspx
Use version 1.5.8 beta3, the older ones won't work with a ThumbDV.

73, Alex DH2ID
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Alex, I hadn't thought about using it on my computer directly for internet-based access.  But I seem to remember reading an article about that recently.  I will have to try that, too.

The 6500 didn't seem to recognize the Thumbdrive until I rebooted the rig.  Then all was good, sort of, because I couldn't scare up a contact.  I don't have any meetings tonight, so perhaps I can try some tests when the bands are still open this evening.  If not, it will be Friday afternoon on my day off!

If I get a free moment, perhaps during my lunch hour, I may try to remote in via Parallels Access and try a D-Star contact that way.  Call it double-digital mode! 

Ken - NM9P
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Lawrence Gray

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Getting the cap off the Thumb was the worst part of the whole setup for me!  I was afraid I was going to break it.  The rest was cake.

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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Hell yeah !
I had to use a chisel to get it off (only joking ;-))
But - honestly - it works quite well, in the Flex and on my PC with WinDV.

73, Alex DH2ID
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Cal Spreitzer - N3CAL

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Hi Ken!  Maybe we can try to make contact sometime?  Indiana to Maryland is quite possible on 20M or 40m. 

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Kent Hufford

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Ken, the HF bands have been real bad the past couple of weeks. Even the Sun Spot lady on HAM NATION has thrown up her hands in disgust. WE have DSTAR HF Voice nets 5 times a week. Next one is Saturday at 7PM E. The best time is Sunday, 10AM E, when we have lots of folks on and the bands seem to be more open.

Of course you can take your Thumb DV3000 drive, plug it into a PC and run software to be able to link to ANY DSTAR VHF, UHF or 1.2GHZ repeater worldwide, or over 200 "Reflectors".


International DSTAR HF Testing NetSUMMER Schedule

Use your ICOM 9100/7100, or DSTAR modified non ICOM DSTAR HF, or FLEX 6000 series SDR Transceiver with a Thumb 3000 USB drive..

We routinely have two way communications coast to coast and North to South, South to Canada, Europe and Australia. We have had two way contacts to Japan. And have been heard in South Africa.

We are on each band only for 2-5 min. or so as to spend less time, if the band is dead we move on earlier. You can go back to a good freq after the net.
MONITOR REF030C to coordinate. WE may need to move early or if the freq is busy. We do not want to step on any AM or SSB activity.

We also use a web page to keep track of who and where we are at -     http://hf.dstar-relay.net/

You also can check-in to this web site anytime 24/7 to find a DSTAR HF Ham to talk to.

We will have a PRENET for 30 min. before the start of the scheduled time. This PRENET is for ‘FREE FORM” contacts. One should check the web site  http://hf.dstar-relay.net/  sign in and find a working freq to work on. When the net starts at the scheduled time, please join the net and follow the freqs.

We have a post-net (Hot Wash) at the end, on REF030C and report on our 1 way and 2 way contacts. This is done by the QUICK KEY method.


Sat PM 7:00 E (2300Z)

Sunday AM 10:00 E (1400Z Sunday)(Spend more time on each open band, and start on 80m)     

Sunday PM 7:00 E (2300Z)

Tuesday and Thurs night at 8:30pm E (0030Z Wed and Fri)

Check USB/LSB on freq to make sure the freq is clear.
SUNDAY AM, we start with 80m and work towards 6 meters.

6 mtrs 51.180 DV for 2 mins

10 mtrs 29.480 DV for 2-5 mins

12 mtrs 24.938 DV for 2-5 mins

15 mtrs 21.380 DV for 2-5 mins

17 mtrs 18.148 DV for 2-5 mins

20 mtrs 14.325 DV for 2- 5 mins

40 mtrs 7.285(or another open freq) DV for 2- 5 mins

75 mtrs 3.880 DV for 5 mins Backup is around 3.725.

NCS will check the freq ahead of time to make sure we don’t step on anyone 3KC up and DOWN.

 "Digital voice is defined in the Commission’s rules as voice (i.e. phone), not data, per Section 97.3(c)(5) of the Rules." Check out the most recent comments by the ARRL:  http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7521063715

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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Thanks, Kent.  I may try on Thursday (tonight) or Saturday. 
Sunday at 10 a.m. is out for me, I am usually professionally occupied (I am a pastor)! 

I may also try hooking it up to my computer for a go as well.
I can even try that in my office!

Ken - NM9P
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Kent Hufford

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Some times during the PRENET, or the net on Sunday we have mobile DSTAR HF Voice HAMs check-in from "the church parking lot"...

Sunday AM is a busy time for most folks... and it should be.
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Gary L. Robinson

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Ken (NM9P),

I agree about the plastic cap on the ThumbDV stick.  After I got the cap off, I took a pair of wire cutters and cut off the nubs hihi!!  Now it slides on and off easy :-)

I am located north of Dayton Ohio and if your QRZ.com page is correct as being in Indiana we possibly could get pretty good signals between us on 40mtrs.

If you are available Friday we can set up a sked if you like.  I have had 2 40mtr ThumbDV DStar QSO's after the Tuesday DStar net 2 weeks ago.  But this Tuesday was a NO GO. 

But Friday between 10am ESDST and 4pm ESDST I think condx might be good between us.  After 4pm or so the band begin to lengthen out some.

So let me know if you would like to a sked.  We could start out on SSB and see if we can get through at all - and IF sigs are good switch to DStar.

---Gary WB8ROL