RE: [DVDongle] Use D-Starusers.org "Last Heard" to find quick Dongle Conversations
- Les and everyone, the Birmingham Alabama D-Star system is in the midst of transition to the G2 system. We currently have the new G2 server operational but not on the mountain at the repeater site. Somehow, the IP address of the new G2 showed up in the Dongle list (actually for a while it was not showing up, but that has been resolved), and as there are no radios attached, it is a bit of a dead end for us dongle users. But this is only temporary. We shall return!
73's Jim, W4ATK
From: DVDongle@yahoogroups.com [mailto:DVDongle@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of lowga
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 12:29 PM
Subject: [DVDongle] Use D-Starusers.org "Last Heard" to find quick Dongle Conversations
Thanks to the advice from this group, I was able to get the Dongle
working on my Windows Vista Business laptop, and have already had
dozens of conversations.
I posted the message below to some other groups, but think that it
might be of interest to Dongle users as well.
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As you're aware, the DVDongle is a stand-alone USB device that
contains the AMBE chips used as a vocoder for the D-Star network.
Currently, it allows registered users to communicate through the
Internet Gateway to repeaters around the world in voice mode.
It was developed by Robin Cutshaw, AA4RC and is sold exclusively
through the Ham Radio Outlet (HRO). The unit is currently priced at
just under $200, making it one of the least expensive ways for
amateurs to try out D-Star.
After experimenting with mine for a short time, I had some thoughts to
1. It's fun! I quickly developed an operating strategy that involved
logging into www.d-starusers. org and looking at their "last heard"
page. This page actively polls the Internet Gateways and pulls out
unique callsigns. In near real tme, you can see which stations are
using which repeaters, around the world.
For the D-Star Dongle user, it can become a sort of "DX Spotting"
tool. If I see two or more callsigns on the same repeater in a short
period of time, then I can simply use the mouse to activate that
repeater on the Dongle.
It is a blast to have quick lunch time QSO's with amateurs in Germany,
Hawaii, Italy, etc.
2. For those accustomed to Echolink operations, the D-Star Dongle
should be second nature. It feels very much like Echolink to me. But
the new Gateway 2 software should provide some functionality beyond
just basic voice modes, making the Dongle much more useful in the future.
3. Set up can be an issue. The software is Java based (making it
platform and OS independent) It will run equally well on Mac's, PC's,
and Linux boxes. Many users will be using the Dongle with laptops, as
Running Windows Vista Business, the installation took some time to
"de-bug" and get working. Once I figured out the issues, it has worked
flawlessly since. Trust me, and buy a USB headset, such as the one
from Logitech if you have Vista as your OS.
4. The software interface is first class. Very intuitive and easy to
understand. In fact, I find myself wishing that someone would offer
radio control software for my Icom ID-800 that worked like this.
Logging into virtually any Gateway repeater is a mouse click or two away.
Let's face it folks, programming repeater and callsign routing for
D-Star in Version 1 radios is a pain in the rear. I've heard that it's
easier on the IC-92AD, and the 2820, but haven't tried them yet
A good piece of radio control software would help us all and make the
programming less daunting. I hold Robin's Dongle software up as an
example of how easy to use "rig" control software can be.
5. I'm putting the Dongle and a headset into my "go laptop kit" for
emergency deployments. It already contains a HSMM 2.4ghz setup. Two
high gain yagis, a modified router, 1 watt bi-directional amps, and a
laptop can provide last mile interface back to the Internet or
function as a stand-alone wireless network.
My kit also includes a Verizon broadband card, etc. The laptop was
already configured for Echolink use, but I suspect that the Dongle
will see more action.
6. Not all Internet Gateway repeaters support the Dongle yet, and with
the G2 roll out in progress, your local repeater may not support it
for another month or so. Currently, the Birmingham, AL area repeater
isn't supporting it. I think when I can use it locally, it will see
even more use.
Did I mention how much fun it is?
Les Rayburn, N1LF
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Les Rayburn, director
High Noon Film
100 Centerview Drive Suite 111
Birmingham, AL 35216-3748