On the Fun of D-Star

During my ongoing apprenticeship in D-Star, I’m finding this is a good but of fun once I learned the rudiments, but the learning is an obstacle.  If cars were this hard to drive more people would walk.

The world needs a plain-English guide to getting started with your new D-Star radio: the Icom manuals (I have an ID-51A+ and also an IC-880H) don’t provide that.  The Nifty! Mini-Manual, although better, is not real good either, and, I believe, contains several errors.

But once I got past that, with the help of Elmers and YouTube, I’m having a lot of fun.  Running errands in the car lrecently in Atlanta I talked to hams in California, Texas, and Scotland.  Later same day I heard but did not work two hams in qso – one from Belgium and the other in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Being FM, the audio is much clearer than most HF contacts, and a lot easier to accomplish.  And, being VHF, the antennas are easier to handle on your auto.

But, is it really “ham radio” or just an amped-up version of Echolink?  I mean, you don’t even have to have a radio if you have a DVAP or other hot spot on your phone or computer.  Does not really needing a radio assign and confine D-Star to the novelty category or is it still ham radio?  And if the latter, is Echolink and IRLP also really ham radio?  I’m haven’t made up my mind.

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