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RE: [DVDongle] Use D-Starusers.org "Last Heard" to find quick Dongle Conversations

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  • Jim, W4ATK
    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
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 9, 2008
      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

      -----Original Message-----
      From: DVDongle@yahoogroups.com [mailto:DVDongle@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of lowga
      Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 12:29 PM
      To: DVDongle@yahoogroups.com
      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.
      ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- -

      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
      I will.

      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
      ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- ---
      Les Rayburn, director
      High Noon Film
      100 Centerview Drive Suite 111
      Birmingham, AL 35216-3748
      205.824.8960 fax
      205.253.4867 cell

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