Going Digital - Maybe

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95f5334j

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I've been researching digital and it seems like more people are adopting DMR rather than D-star or Fusion. I don't have a digital radio yet, but it looks like there's a lot of inexpensive DMR HT's compared to the more expensive D-star and Yaesu Fusion radios. I'm leaning towards Fusion for its ability to switch from digital to analog and the many repeaters but is the lower cost DMR the way to go even though DMR programming looks to be more complicated and somewhat dependent on an internet connection. Are there any Elmers here who would share their digital experience?
 

Rob&Deryl

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I've been researching digital and it seems like more people are adopting DMR rather than D-star or Fusion. I don't have a digital radio yet, but it looks like there's a lot of inexpensive DMR HT's compared to the more expensive D-star and Yaesu Fusion radios. I'm leaning towards Fusion for its ability to switch from digital to analog and the many repeaters but is the lower cost DMR the way to go even though DMR programming looks to be more complicated and somewhat dependent on an internet connection. Are there any Elmers here who would share their digital experience?
I am totally ignorant of the digital modes. I kinda dropped out except for a few public service events for the past 20 years.
Now heading into the rv mobile world and would like to rejoin the community.
 

Larry N.

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The only digital I've done has been AX-25 packet, and I've not done that for a long time. I do listen to SDR on the web sometimes, but that doesn't much help you with the HT dilemma. I've been wondering about that, too, and there's not much info on the web that doesn't assume that you already know half of what they're talking about, nothing I've found to bring a dinosaur up to date.
 

HappyWanderer

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Yaesu was practically giving away System Fusion repeaters a few years ago, but it never really caught on. DMR is the digital mode of preference in the northeast.
 

John From Detroit

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Ok, Many of the folks I take to who do multi mode say DSTAR is best One reason for that may be the expansion (I'll get to the other shortly) Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio. It was designed by and for ham radio.

DMR on the other hand is a Commercial product designed for Police, Fire, EMS, Taxi and other industrial needs.

YSF/X-wires et-al I don't have a lot of knowledge on

Check repeater book and find what is in your neighborhood. IF there are no DMR repeaters you likely may wish to go with what there are. HOWEver for about 50=150 bucks you can get a handy dandy little Pi-Star hotspot or for abotu 300 bucks an open spot 3 Pi-Stars do transcoding between several formats OTHER THAN DSTAR (Meaning a YSF can chat with a DMR talkgroup)
They do pass D-Star however so I have two of them and one competitor's product here all on different reflectors.. If you don't know what a reflector is
Think of a Disco Mirror Ball. Shine a light on it and it's reflected out in many directions. I "Link" to say REF030C and my signal is "reflected" all over the globe (Hong Kong, Los Angles, To name two places) I'm using no power at all to the competitor's hotspot to talk half way around the world.
Most of the Pi-Star hotspots run about 30mw

Now you may wonder what makes the OpenSpot 3 worth 300 bucks
Single package has internal battery. Will connect via Wi-Fi to your internet host (phone or house or whichever of the two is on and more) and IT CAN TRANSCode to/from D-Star.

But then so can the Quadnet array.

COST: DMR is cheap because it's a commercial (and thus surplus) But it can be hard to program the radio (Code Plug is an old term for a radio programmed by plugging in physically codes) I find my ID-5100 very easy to program (D-Star)

Now why Did I go D-star? Icom sent me the ID-5100 free (Won a drawing)
I also have an ID-51A+2 (paid for that use it in "Terminal" mode (Radio off data cable to a 10 buck raspberry pi)
And an ID-880H I just. this very evening , reprogrammed to reflect i'm no longer in the motor home... that one will go in my Jeep.... Possibly tomorrow

But there is an app (Peanut) runs on many smart phones you can listen to the different modes.

One proglem many have. They set the MIC gain too high. most Digi services have echo servers (Module E of any D-Star reflector) and you can easily talk to yourself and check your settings.

I can assist with both hotspot and Icom programmign for D-Star
I can not assist with other modes.
 

95f5334j

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Thanks for your replies. I think I'm going to pass on DMR for now. Too complicated and not very many repeaters in my area that I can see. Maybe after I retire I can devote more time to it.

I searched the west coast, that's my travel region, but didn't find too many Dstar repeaters but enough fusion repeaters from San Diego to Vancouver to keep me busy. I'm going to continue researching both including suitable mobiles and HTs. In the mean-time, I have a cheap Chinese dual band analog HT as well a Yaesu FT2900R in my Jeep and a BTech UV-50X2 in the coach. I also recently found Echolink.
 
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Doc Roads

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I’m going to follow this thread ... I have a tech license, computer literate, and interested in using my UHF/VHF HT (FT-70D) in a digital way. Unfortunately, I really don’t know where to start.
KC3IDS
 

Larry N.

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Echolink and IRLP are a couple of ways to talk via radio over the internet to most anywhere. IRLP is generally through a local repeater, and I've talked to Australia and other places with an ordinary HT. Echolink I've used (rarely) straight from my computer (they check your license before allowing download), but it's often available via radio also. A quick web search gets loads of info on both.

AX25 (A for Amateur) packet radio is another means of digital over the air, using a modified internet-style protocol. Of course there's RTTY and a couple of TV protocols, SSTV (Slow Scan TV) and one using a regular NTSC mode on UHF.

I've not gotten into the modes described above, and currently have no real use for them, but that may change some day.
 

95f5334j

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I've set up Echolink on my iPad and on my first try I spoke with people in the UK. I'm still undecided about going to digital hardware so this will be my retirement project so will continue researching digital HTs.
 

solarman

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Echolink and IRLP are a couple of ways to talk via radio over the internet to most anywhere. IRLP is generally through a local repeater, and I've talked to Australia and other places with an ordinary HT. Echolink I've used (rarely) straight from my computer (they check your license before allowing download), but it's often available via radio also. A quick web search gets loads of info on both.

AX25 (A for Amateur) packet radio is another means of digital over the air, using a modified internet-style protocol. Of course there's RTTY and a couple of TV protocols, SSTV (Slow Scan TV) and one using a regular NTSC mode on UHF.

I've not gotten into the modes described above, and currently have no real use for them, but that may change some day.

one of the last things I did as a ham ( mid 80's ) was to design an AX25 TNC. packet was in it's infancy then and renewed some peoples interest. I spent some time with my local radio club explaining how it worked but sadly no one was really interested in real amateur radio, they were more interested in buying black boxes and bragging about it. I have no idea what amateur radio is like these days, I had thoughts of pursuing the hobby once more, but I have a feeling it's not changed much since then. anyone care to enlighten me ?
 

Doc Roads

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***
I have no idea what amateur radio is like these days, I had thoughts of pursuing the hobby once more, but I have a feeling it's not changed much since then. anyone care to enlighten me ?
****
My experience has been lackluster. I don’t speak for other Hams, just me. I attended a Ham club meeting after getting my tech license about 3 years ago and it was like I was a ghost. I introduced myself and no one introduced themselves to me. It seemed to be a group of older guys who have been together for some time and I just wasn’t one of them. IDK. The club’s UHF and VHF repeater was rarely used except for a weekly net. I rarely got a contact on my radio. Apparently, most Hams are on the HF side most of the time as I have been told. I asked a fellow RV Ham recently, when he used his UHF/VHF radio and he said almost never. So far, I have not been inspired to test for my General license. I found GMRS (General Mobile Radio System), bought a radio and my ten year license with call sign. This band is used much more, it has repeaters all over, and is being adopted by many Jeep clubs. I have used this band frequently and had conversations with others on this band. Another plus is my DW can use it without testing for a license, which was never going to happen with Amateur radio. I use a website, MYGMRS.COM, to find repeaters and information on gear and technical information. I just installed a radio in my RV and plan to use it while on the road. Additionally, there are handhelds that use FRS and GMRS which we’ve used in family convoys to communicate and keep track of each other. This is the functionality I need and use. Again, I am only speaking from my experience and do not intend to cast shade on amateur radio in general or other Hams.
 

John From Detroit

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DMR, D-Star or fusion
I like D-Star but ICOM bribed me.. It is the most expensive due to one small Chip that adds big time to the cost. but the Radios are designed BY amateur radio operators.

DMR was designed by Engineers,not users and is a COMMERCIAL system You are supposed to take your radio in for things like Code Plugs (programming)
(DStar you can do from the radio,or by other means)

One thing you need to look into are (in the D-StarWorld) The X-Reflectors (XRF,XLX) As I said I do only D-star and I can help with Radio or "hotspot"setup in many cases.

But many of the folks in my right ear are using "Other than D-Star" DMR.YSF.even Allstar..Echolink and more.. I'm on an XLX.
 

DonTom

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I have no idea what amateur radio is like these days, I had thoughts of pursuing the hobby once more, but I have a feeling it's not changed much since then. anyone care to enlighten me ?
Mr. Scott H. H. from SD . . .

Yeah, I just looked you up by your callsign & see you're not very active as only 37 people have looked you up on QRZ.COM , compared to my almost 8,000 even after being inactive for around 35 years or so until a few years ago when I became active again.

I only operate HF CW these days, I've been a ham for 55 years. I can tell you 55 years ago, when I was a teenager, most other hams I worked were also around my age. These days, almost everybody I work on CW is as old or older than I am. The young people on CW are VERY rare since it is no longer a requirement for any class of ham license. But the very few who do take the time to learn CW well, usually get hooked on it.

IMO, in many ways it has changed for the worse over the years. But not all that noticeable on CW other than there are VERY few younger hams on CW these days.

For the rest of the modes, I cannot say, as I don't work anything other than CW these days. Not even FM, but I do have the equipment for any FM band up to UHF. But I cannot remember the last time I used any of it. I have never even connected a mic to any of my rigs--not even for a test.

I always take a small HF rig on my RV trips these days. A KX2, and a KXPA100 & the antenna from here, a TW4040 (along with center coils for other bands, 80-10M. Most active on 40 CW.

At my houses I have a Yeasu FTdx1200 at each. G5RV antenna in Auburn, CA.

That is another thing that changed. Even me. I used to design and build all my transmitters and more as a teenager. I used to go to the local dumps and get the parts from junked TV's to homebrew most of my ham gear.

These days, it is just way too easy for me to buy everything and no way could I match the quality of the stuff that we can buy these days. But there are a few hams that can and do. Look up the call W6JL on QRZ.com I work him a lot. He is now 80 years old and still refuses to buy anything other than the parts. Very rare exception. All his designs and equipment are shown on his QRZ webpage. He also ONLY works CW and nothing else. So I chat with him a lot on CW.

73, -Don- AA6GA/7 Reno, NV
 
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John From Detroit

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I only operate HF CW these days, I've been a ham for 55 years
You got me beat (Only 54 years. got my 50 year ARRL membership pin though)
Hey there are Young folks in Ham Radio now days
On D-Star... XRF735A (Quadnet Array) A young lady from the Dayton/Xena Ohio area runs a net every Sunday I think it's 0100 Monday UTC or 7pm Sunday EDST)

Jet, the actor who played Mike Baxter's grandson... Yup.. Both are Extra class as I recll.. I have a QSL from a 13 year old young lady (Military daughter) as well. The photo shows her "good side" She's sitting at the radio photographer was behind her).

I also have a non-ham Adult friend who says he has "The perfect face for radio" Actually good chance you've seen his face... In a Movie or two.
 

John From Detroit

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Actually there is a large interest in CW.. many of folks, and more so the younger ones. Since they do not have to. are interested.

I will admit I've occasionally found CW useful. PROFESSIONALLY.
 

DonTom

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Actually there is a large interest in CW.. many of folks, and more so the younger ones. Since they do not have to. are interested.
In the last several years, I worked one person who was under 30 years old on CW, and I am fairly active.

So they could be interested, but they are not much on the air!

73, -Don- AA6GA/7 Cold Springs Valley, NV
 
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