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Interesting DSTAR Videos
D-Star compatible radios are available on VHF, UHF, and microwave amateur radio bands. In addition to the over-the-air protocol, D-Star also provides specifications for network connectivity, enabling D-Star radios to be connected to the Internet or other networks and provisions for routing data streams of voice or packet data via amateur radio callsigns.
The system today is capable of linking repeaters together locally and through the Internet utilizing callsigns for routing of traffic. Servers are linked via TCP/IP utilizing proprietary "gateway" software, available from Icom. This allows amateur radio operators to talk to any other amateur participating in a particular gateway "trust" environment. The current master gateway in the United States is operated by the K5TIT group in Texas, who were the first to install a D-Star repeater system in the U.S.
D-STAR transfers both voice and data via digital encoding over the 2m (VHF), 70cm (UHF), and 23cm (1.2 GHz) amateur radio bands. There is also an interlinking radio system for creating links between systems in a local area on 10 GHz, which is valuable to allow emergency communications oriented networks to continue to link in the event of internet access failure or overload.
Icom shows the following schematic of D-STAR:
In addition to using radios, there are two Dongles that you can add to your PC to give you the ability to access and talk on D-Star. The DVDongle and DVDap are discussed below.
For further reading on D-Star, check out the following books, user sites, and Yahoo Users Groups:
Nifty E-Z Guide to D-STAR Operation by Bernie Lafreniere, N6FN
The wikipedia article about D-STAR
The ICOM page describing their products
DSTARusers.org web site
D-STAR Info site
You may wish to subscribe to some of these Yahoo Groups dedicated to D-STAR:
dstarsoftware --> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dstarsoftware
gmsk dv node --> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gmsk_dv_node
dstar digital --> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dstar_digital
DV Dongle --> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DVDongle
D-STAR 23cm --> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/D-STAR_23cm
dstar development --> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dstar_development
Source: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-STAR
D-STAR REFLECTOR LIST
Downloaded from www.dstarinfo.com
Interesting DVAP and DV-Dongle Videos
One of the coolest projects I read some time ago is how you can combine a Raspberry Pi with an DV Access Point dongle. The DV Access Point (DVAP) Dongle connects to your PC or Intel based Mac via a USB port and provides a 2 meter or 70 cm access point for use with a D-STAR radio. Using an Internet connection, a user may connect to and communicate with D-STAR gateways and reflectors around the world. The DVAPTool application used with the DVAP may be installed and run on Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10, Mac OS X Leopard/Snow Leopard, or many flavors of Linux (like with the Raspberry Pi).
Here is a short YouTube video for the DVAP
ATTENTION: Before you start this project, MAKE SURE YOU ARE REGISTERED WITH THE D-STAR SYSTEM!!! I can't emphasize this enough. I was previously registered but something changed and I had to register again. It is also critical that when you are registered that you set up your personal information. A complete discussion on registering is discussed here at the http://www.dstargateway.org/D-Star_Registration.html site.
Once your are registered, it is important that you set up your terminals. You need to log into the D-Star Gateway System where you registered. There is a hyperlink at the top of the page, Personal Information, that allows you to set up your terminals. Here is what my terminals look like:
Click on any images to enlarge.
After you have saved your information, there is a nice website that you can visit to do a query into the system. The page is located at http://query.ke5bms.com/. If you type your callsign into the window and hit the Lookup button, in my case, you should see something like the following:
If you see this and you see all of the terminal information that you entered when you registered, you should be ready to go.
Alright, so let's start the discussion for creating a personal D-Star hotspot using a Raspberry Pi and a DVAP. Ken (KC) Nicely, KE3C, wrote a real good set of instructions that I am going to use and discuss here. Ken was very helpful to me when I was struggling to get the system working. Thanks Ken!!
This project requires the following components to create the Raspberry Pi Dstar Access Point:
> Raspberry Pi Model B Revision 2.0 (512MB), Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (1GB, Quad Core), or a Raspberry Pi 3
Once you have all of the components needed, the next step is to download the image of the Raspberry PI operating system and associated software to run the DVAP. Jonathan Naylor G4KLX created two applications called ‘ircddbgatewayconfig’ and ‘dstarrepeaterconfig’. There are two key files that we are going to download:
1. Win32DiskImager : This is a disk imaging tool to write an image to the SD card. This download comes from the SourceForge respository. Make sure you click the Download Link. The file will be downloaded to your computer.
2. DVAP+ircDDB+VNC: This is an 'Autostart' Raspberry Pi image for the DVAP. Please note that this is at least an 891Mbyte file. So make sure you have a good internet connection and patience!!
If you are using the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Quad Core version, there is an updated file that you could also download. The DStar Commander version enhanced image for the G4KLX ircddbgateway on the Raspberry Pi is released!
V1.12 is the latest and supports all versions of the Raspberry Pi Model B (B/B+/2B) and all versions of the DVAP. All Raspbian updates (including security updates) are current as of the build date and are already incorporated into the image.
V1.12 addresses WiFi connection issues experienced by a few users.
DVAP Image V1.12, with kernel and firmware updated to run on the Raspberry Pi Models B, B+, and 2B:
***** NOTE: I have been receiving a number of emails about the software not working with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. I have not done much research on using the Pi 3 with this software at this time. So I can't guarantee that these instructions will work with the Pi 3. I can tell you that my system works just fine on the RPi 2 Model B V1.1 just fine. You really don't need the power of the Pi 3 just to run the DVAP unless you plan on using the RPi for much more. *****
Each of the above files has a hyperlink that you can download the files. Download both of the files.
Once both files are downloaded, the first task we need to do is to extract the "win32diskimager" that you just downloaded. Locate where this file was downloaded. If you are using Windows 7 like I am, it is likely in your Downloads folder. Double-click on the file. When prompted as shown below, hit the Run button.
If you are prompted to allow the program to install, please hit yes. From this point on, hit Next to start the installation, accept the License Agreement, and select the Destination Location that best fits your needs. You may be prompted for other options including the installation of a desktop icon. Go ahead and hit next on all the prompts and complete the installation. In my case, a desktop icon was created so I can quickly run the program.
When you downloaded the DVAP+ircDDB+VNC file, it was saved as a RAR archive file, as shown below:
You will need a RAR extraction software tool to extract the .img file. I found a really nice tool called 7-Zip. It is available at here. Download the either the 32-bit or 64-bit version that best fits your needs. I downloaded the 64-bit version for my Windows 7 system. The file is named 7z920-x64.msi. Since it is an executable, double click on this file where it was downloaded to install the application and install the application.
The DStar Commander version is a standard Zip file. Extract the file with any normal zip exctraction tool.
Once you have completed the installation of 7-Zip or any other extraction tool for handling RAR files, let's extract the necessary .img file from the DVAP+ircDDB+VNC file. Follow these instructions:
We have reached the step where we need to use the Win32DiskImager software tool create the image needed to be stored onto the SD Card. Follow these simple instructions:
Now we are ready to power up the Raspberry Pi. At this stage, I recommend that you have a powered USB hub so that you can plug in a keyboard, mouse, and the DVAP to get things initially configured. We will configure the wireless adapter later. For the initial setup you will have to connect the Raspberry Pi directly to a wired network connection using a standard network cable. Connect the Raspberry Pi to a monitor as well. Let's get started.
This completes all of the configurations required at this time. In order for the changes to take effect, we must reboot the Raspberry Pi. Go to the lower right hand corner of the screen and click on the shutdown button as shown by the blue arrow.
A message will be displayed as shown. Yours may look different depending on which Raspberry PI OS you may be using. The intent is the same.
Click Reboot. This will restart the Raspberry Pi. Continue to keep all of your connections to the Raspberry Pi so that you may test your setup with your HT.
Tune your radio to the simplex frequency you configured. If all goes well your Raspberry Pi should be ready to go
There is just one last item of business we have to take care of. We configured the Raspberry Pi and the DVAP software using a hard wired ethernet connection. If you plan to use the Raspberry Pi using the LAN wired ethernet connection, then you are done. But in my case, I want to set up my Raspberry Pi to work with a wireless connection. This is nice if I take my Raspberry Pi, DVAP, and Icom ID-51A HT with me on a trip. I can use it at a hotel or on vacation (assuming the XYL lets me!!). So let's set up the wireless network connection.
If all goes well, your Raspberry Pi should now be able to run on a wireless network. Test it to make sure it works. Remove any LAN ethernet connections after you have powered down the RPi. After you have powered up the RPi, try launching a web browser and see if you can pull up a webpage. If you do, your wireless is working properly.
At this stage, you can power down the RPi and install it in the case you may have purchased. Run any final tests you think you may need to do. Once you are confident that everything is working, power down the RPi and only connect the DVAP and the WiFi adapter.
Mission Accomplished! Hope to talk to you on one of the Repeaters or Reflectors.