The D-Star system has both interested me and left me wondering since Icom brought it to the USA several years ago.
The discussion at Jeff KE9V’s “CQ Calling” Blog D-Star Rising Article & Comments pointed out:
- With only a computer dongle for a non-Icom option it appears that no other manufacturer sees enough market to launch a D-Star enabled product line.
- While promoted as an open standard, we should be clear that D-Star is like Pactor II & Pactor III (another closed single-source product) in that it is based on a closed proprietary CODEC.
- Advanced Multi-Band Excitation (AMBE) is a very powerful proprietary speech coding standard developed by Digital Voice Systems, Inc. as a commercial product.
- D-Star with the AMBE Licensing adds $150/$250 per radio unit – though the exact $ for DVS is a secret.
- Though promoted as one system Icom’s D-Star implementation is a set of various Digital Voice and Digital Data systems on several different bands. The capabilities and through-put vastly differs between the various implementations on each of the bands.
- A D-Star user and D-Star systems are subject to complete denial of D-Star service through any of several layers of software administrative control. No other amateur radio system is so completely at risk of being taken down by either a technical problem or deliberate action.
- With much of the CODEC being licensed and not open for examination, D-Star is at its base level a “black box,” making Amateur lead user improvements difficult. This is much like building a new car that uses a special fuel only available from one manufacturer who won’t disclose what the fuel is.
Other serious limitations are mentioned in the D-Star Rising article & comments, and in my previous D-Star posts (searcg box is on the right side of the webpage for this blog).
More simply the limitations of the D-Star system eliminates it from being a single sole configuration for the communication tasks.
A worthwhile experiment, but not one ready to replace other Emcomm options.
D-Star Rising by Jeff Davis KE9V
added June 30th: D-Star Experiment Ended on Jeff KE9V’s assessment that D-Star is a Disaster.