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A D-STAR weekend

April 11, 2010

D-RATs window on Sunday afternoon, showing reception of VA3OMP's beacon

This weekend’s radio activity has been mostly D-STAR in nature.

Friday night Maurice-Andre, VE3VIG, and myself did some D-RATs work on 2m simplex. This included keyboard chat, sending locations to maps and attempting file transfers.  As with previous testing the findings show that you may have a simplex connection which is reasonable for voice, but it can still be marginal and a problem for data transfer.

Saturday I controlled the very first Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group Saturday morning net.  We had six check-ins beside myself, these were:

  • VE3XZT, Dale
  • M0GRU, Andy (via Skype and ‘XZT)
  • VA3OMP, Greg
  • VE3VIG, Maurice-Andre
  • VA3KS, Kieran
  • VE3NVK, Andrew

The net went well and will run again next week.  Thanks go to all those that checked in.

Also on Saturday I decided to order a DVAP Dongle, after hearing good things from Rick, VE3CVG and Dale, VE3XZT.  The idea of having access to the D-Star network from home by using the HT and this digital voice access port was too attractive.  Summer is coming and needing just the HT around the house and yard to access D-STAR is appealing.  Plus my birthday is not too far away and the Canadian dollar is effectively on parity with the US dollar (this was good enough rationalization of the purchase for my wife).  I order the DVAP from HRO Saturday PM  and it has already shipped according to the US Postal Service. Very good work HRO!

I also did some D-RATs beaconing on Saturday and Sunday and did receive some signals from Greg, VA3OMP.  He is a new D-STAR user and doing a great job.  I received his location on Sunday from his set-up which he admits is limited due to the low temporary installation of his antenna. He plans on raising the antenna to roof level in the near future.  See the image at the top of this post to see the D-RATs chat window and map showing the received data.

As for HF (and not D-STAR);  I had a nice chat on PSK31 with Harald, DL2OCE, on 20m. The antenna I was using was the Par end-fed dipole. Last weekend I moved the antenna by tying its end point to a much higher tree. Now the end is around 30 to 40 ft up, with the antenna sloping off from there.

Overall a good weekend.

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