D-STAR which stands for ‘Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio’ is an open digital Amateur radio standard that offers users a number of ways to connect with other users globally via a worldwide network of digital amateur radio repeaters. Just like other forms of Amateur radio, D-STAR has a broad appeal from those Amateurs wanting to communicate just for fun to those who would prefer to push their technical expertise. The D-STAR protocol provides rich, exciting opportunities for the Amateur radio enthusiasts to experiment and build, utilising 21st century tools such as the web, networking, ethernet, TCP/IP and radio. D-Star is innovative and is keeping radio Amateurs at the forefront of communication technology - Amateur radio has a great future and is moving forward right now with D-STAR digital technology!
VHF/UHF Dual Band D-STAR Digital Transceiver The ID-5100E VHF/UHF dual band D-STAR digital mobile transceiver incorporates the user-friendly technology found in the IC-7100. The radio features a large responsive touch screen and also integrated GPS, optional Bluetooth connectivity and support for Android devices. Available in two versions:
ID-5100E The standard version comes complete with multi-functional microphone and hanger, DC power and controller cables and CS-5100 cloning software. ID-5100E Deluxe* Includes Bluetooth features and mounting equipment: MBF-1 Suction cup mounting bracket; MBA-2 controller bracket; MBR-100 Trunion mount; UT-133 Bluetooth unit and VS-3 Bluetooth headset. *Versions differ outside of UK Intuitive touch screen operation The intuitive touch screen interface provides quick and smooth operation for setting and editing various functions and memories. The 5.5 inch display (320 × 128 pixel) shows a large easy-to-see software keypad (Qwerty keyboard), and allows you to input alphanumeric characters quickly. VHF/UHF, VHF/VHF, UHF/UHF Dual receive The ID-5100E receives 118–174MHz and 375–550MHz* with dual receiver capability that allows you to receive two bands simultaneously (including within a single band)*. Almost all VHF & UHF communications are available to you!
DV Dualwatch The ID-5100E has simultaneous receive for FM/FM and FM/DV modes, and the capability of monitoring two DV signals. The main band audio has priority, if two DV signals come in at the same time. Integrated GPS receiver The ID-5100E has an integrated GPS which allows you to transmit and receive position data from the built-in GPS receiver. Position, course, speed and altitude are shown on the display. The GPS position information can be used for exchanging position reports, tracing the GPS log and searching for nearby repeater sites. The GPS antenna is located in the remote head, no external GPS antenna required. DV/FM Repeater list function The DV/FM repeater list function assists you in accessing near-by repeaters, even where you are visiting an area for the first time. The function searches for near-by repeaters using the repeater memories with the GPS position information. To use the repeater list function, the position data of the repeater is required in the repeater list. Dplus reflector linking Dplus Reflector link commands are added to the DR function to allow easy reflector operation. Use Reflector, link/unlink to Reflector, echo test and repeater information commands are selectable. UT-133 Bluetooth® unit (option) The UT-133 is the optional Bluetooth® board necessary for operation with the optional VS-3 headset and the optional RS-MS1A, Android™ application. VS-3 Bluetooth® headset (option) The optional Bluetooth® headset, VS-3, can be used for hands-free communication and remotely control the ID-5100E with three programmable buttons. Providing you with convenient communication in a vehicle. RS-MS1A Android application (Free download app from Google Play)* Connect to the ID-5100E for remote control of DR functions, link with a map application and send/receive messages and images over the DV mode. You can download the free Android RS-MS1A application from Google Play at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.jp.icom.rs_ms1a.menu. *Optional UT-133 Bluetooth unit must be installed in the ID-5100E. Some functions may be subject to Android phones and devices used. Other features - Menu-driven user interface - DTMF via microphone or ID-5100 display - SD Card slot for voice and data storage - Enhanced D-PRS functions with object, position, item and weather formats - Convenient memory contents management using CSV data format - Speech function announces operating frequency, mode and received callsign (DV mode) - Independent main dial, volume and SQL knobs for A/B bands - AM airband dualwatch - CS-5100, cloning software supplied - 50W output power on both VHF and UHF bands
My Icom ID-5100E transceiver was purchased off eBay on 3 December, 2016, to experiment with U/VHF and the Digital Voice (DV) mode of operation connecting to stations worlwide via Repeaters and the Internet. I paid £350.00 ($400 Apx) and it was new on 22 April, costing £550.00 so was possibly a good buy. It was only 7 months old, and arrived in 'as new' condition.
For this 81 year old, the setting up of this radio was quite complex, also the methodology of using the DV mode and repeaters and reflectors. I had a few conversations with the radio, but both the Stoke (GB3VT) repeater, 6 miles from me, and the Warrington or Derby Repeaters - both about 30 miles from me appear to have little or no activity.
Although the radio is designed to be a mobile installation, I have purchased the 'Nifty' stand, which enables it to stand nicely on the shack desk.
Christmas Eve - 24 December 2016 - Update.
After a lot of menu 'adjustments', and total frustration, I was still only able to operate the transceiver in simplex mode as a 'normal' Dual Bander, until a friend Aidan (G0PSH) living locally took pity on me, and with a few quick jabs on the menu touch screen, the radio was up and away with a good connection through my local repeater and operate on GB3VT (via reflector 'One Charlie'), and now can talk to the world, via about 80 Reflectors just in New Zealand, Australia and the USA. !!
No fault of the radio, just that my 81 year old single remaining braincell was new to anything like this, as I had only ever operated on HF prior to this.
I then ordered the Icom UT-133 Bluetooth sub board and fitted it, and this is now working well together with a bluetooth Headset.
Next thing I did was to purchase for £149, the Internet Labs DV3K Dongle, which enables me to just use a headset plugged into the computer, and the Dongle into a USB Port, to connect to the world D-Star network. No radio, no antenna - a very simple free program to run it called DVTool, and I was away on that in minutes!!! Pictures below.
(Above) - The Internet Labs DV 3K Dongle. Enables conection World wide with just a Laptop Computer, or even a little Raspberry Pi, and a headset to the world wide D-Star reflectors. Below, a screenshot of it in action.
After a few weeks using the DV£ Dongle (above), I decided to go for the DV4 Dongle (Below), which was only £104, plus £9 for a mini Antenna. This Dongle allows be to use all the facilities of the ID-5100 Transceiver, which now puts the signal out to my 72cms antenna outside the house, and then the dongle receives from that, and also the reverse, when receiving. The ID-5100 also now has the Bluetooth sub board fitted, and externally, I use the Icom VS-3 Bluetooth headset, which has PTT, Headphones and Microphone, so that I can use D-Star all over the house, unattaced physically to the radio or the computer !
(Above ) The Helitron DV4 Mini, Fusion and DMR Hotspot Dongle
One end of the dongle is plugged into your Computer or Laptop, Raspberry Pi, etc, and a small SMA connector 70cms antenna on the other, and this enables you, with your digital transceiver to transmit into it, as you would a normal repeater..... However, many people have no access geographically to a repeater, or they are in hospital, care home, or Antenna restricted location, and it is an excellent way to chat to the world !!
In the shack, one connects the transceiver to the Dummy Load, which gives a strong enough 70cm signal into the dongle on the back of the computer... This must be the shortest radio link in the world, at about two feet distance, otherwise all is as exactly as you would use your transceiver with transmission and reception on the usual amateur bands !!
(Below), a screenshot of the Helitron DV4 Mini, in action.
Screenshot of the program for the DV4 Mini Dongle (Hotspot set up).
I hope this is of interest to those who could make use of the D-Star network. In my mind, and in my case it could be the answer to poor propagation, and many other obstacles....e.g. Local QRM, and planning restrictions on antennas or mainly for use where there is no link due to there being no reachable repeaters.. .
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