(Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) is a digital voice and data
protocol specification developed as the result of research by the Japan
Amateur Radio League to investigate digital technologies for amateur radio.
While there are other digital on-air technologies being used by amateurs
that have come from other services, D-Star is one of the first on-air and
packet-based standards to be widely deployed and sold by a major radio manufacturer
that is designed specifically for amateur service use.
My current (June 2013) D-STAR transceiver is an ICOM IC-880H
mobile dual band, but I'm using it as a base radio connected to a Cushcraft
Ringo 2m/440 base antenna.
DV Access Point Dongle (DVAP) - This device plugs into
the USB Port of an internet connected computer and allows a D-STAR radio
within range to get on the D-STAR network. The DVAP is sold in 2m and 70cm
versions for around $250 - U.S. dollars.
Experiments using the DVAP and an IC-92AD
I purchased (April, 2010) a DVAP from Ham Radio Outlet of Salem, NH because
the D-Star repeater/gateway near me still needs work to get back online,
and my home is too far to reach the D-Star repeaters about 40 miles away
with my handheld radio. The advertised range is listed as 100 yards. But
I was hoping I can reach it from much farther way, as rumor had it that
it may go miles. So I did some experiments. The dongle operates on 2 meters
so I set it up for 146.450 simplex likewise the IC-92AD.
With the dongle connected to a PC with VISTA home premium.. setup was
a snap. I placed the dongle in my shack, on the second floor, about 20ft
above ground. I took a walk outside with my IC-92AD (stock antenna) in hand
and keyed up with the info or echo command to hear back the recording from
the dongle. I did this about every 50 feet or so. With the supplied stub
antenna installed (pictured above) , I was able to reach the Access Point
from a distance of about 1000ft ! Awesome.
This was line of site, with multiple trees in the way without leaves.
For the next part of the test I installed a 15" 2 meter portable
whip antenna on the DVAP. I drove my car with the IC-92AD connected to my
1/4 wave mag mount on the roof. I drove away from the shack keying up the
portable radio every 50 yards or so hearing the recording each time to confirm
that I was hitting the DVAP. I drove up the hill I live on so I'd have line
of site as I got further and higher... this was a good test for range since
I maintained line of site except it had to through
hundreds of trees. I was able to echo my voice from the dongle out to
.65 miles ! That's about 3400 feet.
Wow. This is really a good range considering that the DVAP only puts out
.01 watt (10mw). I got the most range when I boosted the IC-92 to 2.5 W.
When I reached the maximum range of .65 miles, I stopped the car and replaced
the mag mount with a gain portable antenna made by MFJ, the1717S. It's a
dual band for portables that I use to just extend the range of my handy
talkies. I keyed up the mic and had no problem using the DVAP with the 15"
antenna on the radio at this distance.
The dongle Access Point exceeded my expectations in performance, build
quality and ease of installation. It has a flashing green LED when connected
to the USB port on the computer, and a flashing blue LED when the software
open's the AP as a gateway. The LEDs are internal and flash through the
ruby red dongle case.
It was a difficult decision for me to buy the dongle because of the price
tag of $250 but I can now access any gateway D-Star repeater or reflector
on the planet from my neighborhood.. cool !
DVAP with new antenna installed - stock stub antenna
can be seen in photo.
Copyright © 2007 -