DSTAR – An Adolescent Mode of Communication?

I recently read an article about DSTAR and was surprised to find that this form of communication is still in it’s adolescent form. Supported by Icom,  DSTAR adds a considerable expense to the cost ofice92lrg their HT’s.

DSTAR not only requires knowledge of the receiving station but the operator also requires knowledge of all “network hops” between the source and destination to complete the circuit. So that means if you are on travel, you would have to know the hops between your location and the destination at each and every place that you visit.

It seems the systems designers missed the boat and should have looked at the success of existing systems (like the Internet) to have eliminated this connection requirement. All systems do take time to mature, but this is a miss by a mile as far as I see it!

I’d like to know if there is a reason for this design methodology.  With the exception of system flexibility at the expense of the operator, I see this as a fundamental flaw. If anyone would care to comment further about my possible misunderstanding or plain old “lack of knowledge” about this subject, feel free to comment.

However, even though this system lack operator “friendliness” there are many systems in the US and the World that  support DSTAR and the DSTAR system locator link below is designed to point these systems out to you. I did not take the time to dig into the routing information, but perhaps one or more of the links I supplied will help with that information as well.

Related Links:

DSTAR Users Organization

DSTAR Technical Requirements

DSTAR System Locator

DSTAR Video (D-Chat)

Why not comment on your experience with DSTAR and it’s capabilities?

3 comments on “DSTAR – An Adolescent Mode of Communication?

  1. I see that the name of this blog is Random Oscillations. Well, I can tell you with certainty that the information posted in this article is an oscillator blowing up.
    The author’s discussion about the technology is about as far off base as it can be. It is quite obvious that the author is reviewing something that he doesn’t really have knowledge of.

    D-STAR may be in it’s adolescent form, it indeed still has a lot of growing to do, as compared to FM which has now gained the old man designation.

    There are two basic types of routing in D-STAR, plus the fact that plain old repeater operation works just as in FM. The first mechanism is often called source routing and if I want to talk to a specific person or repeater, I enter their callsign in the destination. The system is smart enough to route to the last repeater that the user was on, no matter if it was the US or Australia. The user has NO idea of what the intervening links are.

    The second method is where we can link one or more repeaters together. When linked, users can converse with each other as if they were sitting next door. Users don’t necessarily even know that they are talking across the workd except for a foreign callsign.

    And then there’s the capability of simultaneous sending voice and data. Callsigns are sent and appear on all radios. Voice quality for someone on simplex is the same as if they are Germany.
    And then there’s the high-speed data that supports 128kbps data transfer over Ethernet.


  2. Just a note, if one studies the origin of D-Star one would find that in Japan, the entire network is controlled by the JARL and there are only a few repeaters for the entire country. Many design decisions were based on how they use the network and what they were allowed to do.

    So while I at first also strongly criticized many of the setup parameters and frankly still think they were not looking at the world situation and how it would be used outside the JA area.


  3. You misunderstand. The beauty of the D-Star system is that you do NOT need to know the network “hops”. To keep this short, all you need to know if the call of the station you want to talk to, or the repeater call and port (C is 2M, B is 440, A is 1.2Ghz for the various ports) and put that into the “your call” position and make the call. The D-Star network knows the last place that person was or the repeater is, etc. and routes the call for you. If that person moves to another city and repeater, D-Star knows, and routes your call to the new location without you having to change a thing. Until I really learned D-Star, I thought it really wasn’t anything special. Now that I have it, WOW – the capabilities are incredible.


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