HAM Radio 101

Word of the Day: D-STAR

D-STAR is today’s Word of the Day in honor of the DX Engineering employee radio club, N8DXE, converting its analog repeater on 146.985 to D-STAR. 

Developed in the late 1990s specifically for Amateur Radio, D-STAR is a system that offers voice and digital data communication by connecting repeater sites over microwave links and the Internet, forming a wide area Ham Radio network. Advantages over analog systems include the need for less bandwidth and improved quality of received data. D-STAR stands for Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio.

Cory Gibson, W3CDG, DX Engineering Operations Manager, headed the D-STAR project. He explained that the goal of the conversion was to shore up the lack of local D-STAR connectivity. The D-STAR system was installed at Summit Racing Equipment/DX Engineering headquarters in Tallmadge, Ohio near Akron.

“We upgraded the N8DXE repeater from analog to D-STAR because the area already had multiple analog, Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), and Yaesu System Fusion repeaters,” Gibson said. “DX Engineering wanted to give radio operators in the local area the ability to use their D-STAR radios.”

If you’re not in the Akron, Ohio, area, you can still use the N8DXE repeater by linking your local repeater or hotspot to N8DXE Node C. You can see the repeater link status and who was last heard, or register for D-STAR at https://dstar.n8dxe.net/

The conversion entailed installing an ICOM ID-RP2000V DV repeater module and ICOM ID-RP2C controller (both available at DX Engineering).

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