Lots of excitement about D-STAR, that’s what happened at Dayton.
It started on Thursday evening at Marion’s Pizza with the Dayton Amateur Radio Club sponsoring a D-STAR gathering. There were a lot of people putting faces to call signs that we talked to on a regular basis.
On Friday morning, we started with the DSTAR InfoCon. 3 hours of D-STAR training for those new to D-STAR led by John WB4QDX. While John held class, Ed WA4YIH opened the DSTARInfo / Georgia D-STAR booth. As the doors opened, throngs of people swarmed the building and the D-STAR booths got busy. Aside from the Icom booth in the main hall, Icom’s D-STAR booth was manned by the Trust Server Team and Dan Smith of D-RATS fame. Georgia D-STAR presented the D-STAR Info booth with a number of helpers throughout the weekend, including Jim Moen of Star*Board fame.
Next door we had the Internet Labs booth with the DVDongle and DVAP.
New to Dayton was Newfield Design and their ProHam D-STAR repeater controller and Northwest Digital Radio with their UDR56K4 radio. Both of these groups exhibited their products. They are quite interesting and will help D-STAR to the next level.
The main D-STAR forum on Friday filled the largest forum room and a number of great presentations, including my own “No More Programming” presentation that shows you how easy it is to program your radio with information from DSTARInfo, and then talks about the ID-31A that comes preprogrammed from the factory!!!!
On Thursday evening, as had D-STAR Across America with a full room of D-STAR lunatics, whoops, I meant enthusiasts. Ray Novak, Icom America’s General Manager gave a presentation on the history of D-STAR, the reason why many of the choices were made during the design process.
Ken Atkisson talked about DPlusMon and DPlusReport, two tools that are invaluable to repeater administrators and net controls. David Lake gave an update on his project and along with the US Trust Server Team, showed off a prototype repeater. Not too amazing, unless you saw it. A full D-STAR repeater, including the gateway computer in a form factor that would fit inside a shoe box! We also heard from a number of other speakers throughout the evening.
Now many of you may have heard the Yaesu was supposed to show a new digital radio at Dayton, and they did, the FT-1D. There wasn’t much fanfare behind it, and there’s still a lot of speculation about it. What reliable sources have determined is that it is a Tier 1 DMR radio. Tier 1 DMR radios are relatively new and not sold in the US. The Tier 1 DMR radio is currently being sold in Europe as a non-licensed device, similar to the FCC FRS service. An interesting aspect is that the speaker – mic has a camera embedded in it, to allow users to send pictures. Not much else is known about the radio.
The one thing that was the most obvious is that there is a continued, even renewed source of enthusiasm in D-STAR. The UDR56K4 is a new paradigm in radio. AA4RC teased us with some new items coming down the road. One of the most exciting was that there were a lot of areas, previously not covered by D-STAR that have just become or soon will be covered. There was a lot of chatter about additional things in the pipeline. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes discussions going on, some hopefully leading to better collaboration behind many of the developers of D-STAR.
And to top it off, we found out the ID-31A sold out rather early in the weekend, evidently people are really liking the “No programming” concept of the new radio which comes from the factory preloaded with the worldwide D-STAR repeaters.
So don’t wait until it’s too late, go ahead and start making your plans for next year, it’s going to be exciting!