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.