Upcoming Live D-Star Broadcast

This was sent to me via the website, so I thought it might be interesting to those of you using DStar or considering adopting THE digital standard in Amateur Radio which of course is DStar.

The website http://w5kub.com will be doing a live internet broadcast called "D-Star Live" on Dec 29th from 1600 until 2000 UTC. Ray Novak, N9JA, Sales Manager for Icom, is flying in for this event and there will also be a few other special guests. Robin Cutshaw, AA4RC, the co-inventor and developer of the DV Dongle and DVAP Dongle, will take part in the Internet broadcast. We will discuss all aspects of DStar. There will be a chatroom on the video broadcast page where those interested in DStar can ask questions for the experts to answer. Please visit the website or join the Facebook broadcast page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/279273778772594/ for more details.

Above information courtesy of W5KUB.

Argonaut VI - More bad news

This morning I received an email from TenTec making the official announcement of the Argonaut VI, even though I noticed it on their website yesterday.

Well the radio is crippled more than I thought at first. I did not notice that they also left 60 meters off their radio.

So the radio is missing 60, 12 and 6 meters. Why would anyone produce a radio with missing bands in this day and age? Not too long ago TenTec was able to produce a radio with all those bands, with only 6 meters missing. It was the predecessor called the Argonaut V. So instead of moving forward and offering more, TenTec is offering less for more money.

What were those people thinking?

TenTec Argonaut VI vs. Elecraft KX3

Back in July I wrote about TenTec and how I think they are losing their innovation an appeal.

Well I guess their latest product, the Argonaut VI confirms my opinion. The new Argonaut was recently listed on TenTec's website and now available. The price is a whopping $995. One hundred more than my worst guess.

Here are the problems. The radio is not a complete HF radio. Second, the price is very high for what you get. Three, the radio is not competitive.

The Argonaut VI is missing the 12 meter band! It also is missing the 6 meter band. How can a company be taken seriously is you leave off one of the HF bands? It cannot.

I will tell you my suspicions. I'll bet that TecTec originally planned on making this radio 80 through 10 meters. But when QRP folks heard about this, they raised a stink for the 160 meter band to be included. Since they were so far along with the design, they had to give up something so they sacrificed the 12 meter band for the 160 meter band. In my mind, it's a crippled radio and not complete with an almost $1,000 price tag to boot.

Frankly, the radio should have been designed from the beginning to have 160 through 6 meters. The decisions on this radio were poor from the start.

Now let's look at the Elecraft KX3. Assembled the radio retails for $999.00, just $4 more than the new Argonaut VI. Unassembled it sells for $899.

The KX3 comes with 160 through 6 meters. So it is complete. The KX3 also does RTTY and PSK31 which are not features of the Argonaut VI.

Elecraft has also noted that it is supposed to be introducing a 2 Meter module for the KX3. You can also get an optional internal auto-tuner and use a battery pack to go truly mobile. None of these are possibilities with the Argonaut VI.

When I brought up the lack of 12 meters and 6 meters on the Argonaut VI radio to the TenTec folks at Dayton, the response was that there was not enough room. When I asked how it is that Elecraft can build a radio that is smaller and with more features than the TenTec Argonaut VI, they answer was a rather rude, "I don't know, you'll have to ask them."

Really? TenTec wants me to go to a competitor and ask them how they can make a superior, more full featured radio than TenTec and at a better price. I can only guess the answer. It would be something like, "we have superior engineering" or " we build better products" or "we create better designs."

In full disclosure I am or was a TenTec fan and promoter. I have owned a number of TenTec radios over the years and still have an Argonaut V which is very nice.

I do not own any Elecraft radios so I do not believe my opinions are biased. If anything, I would be biased towards TenTec. But with this recent debacle, I am less biased and very disappointed in TenTec's lack of innovation and progress with the new TenTec Argonaut VI. I say avoid it and wait another 5 years or so when they can maybe make a competitive product again at a competitive price.

Something to blog about…The Raspberry Pi

There has not been a lot to blog about lately. Until now.

I cannot remember where I learned about this recently, but I came across a little electronic device/computer called the Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi was developed in the U.K. by a foundation to provide a simple, inexpensive platform for youth to learn programming. The Raspberry Pi is a computer on a board about the size of a deck of cards that can run Linux. Here's the best thing. It SELLS for $35.00 (USD).

Hams have taken to this little computer and have developed all sorts of uses for it. Controlling repeaters, DStar DVAPS and Hotspots, APRS Digis, Packet Digis, Multimode device, etc. The possibilities are endless.

The little computer in the most current version (there was an earlier version) which is the "B" model with 512MBs of memory, two USB ports, an HDMI port, composite video port, an audio out port, and an SD Card slot that serves as the storage. You can add a powered USB Hub to add more USB ports to add external disk, CD/DVD player etc.

The bad news is that demand is so high, that you have to wait weeks or months to get one. They cannot manufacture them fast enough. If you want one right away, you can get them on eBay, but you'll have to pay a premium to get it right away. I ordered my first one off eBay for about $56 with $5 for shipping. You can order them from Newark (www.newark.com) here in the U.S. for $35, but you'll wait sometimes when they are on back-order which is most of the time.

You can get basic information at http://www.raspberrypi.org/ but be sure to do a search on the Internet to see what hams are doing with the Raspberry Pi or RPi for short. There are also a number of Yahoo Groups with more information on hams experimenting with this little computer.

Currently, my Raspberry Pi is running a DStar DVAP. It runs "headless" meaning without a monitor, keyboard and mouse. I use my other computers to do a ssh session into the RPi which is just like sitting in front of a directly connected monitor.

I have seen other experimenting with marrying the RPi to a TNC-X to make a self contained little packet station. But don't forget, there is software out that to turn that little computer into a repeater controller! A $35 repeater controller folks!

So take a look and read up on how this little device is helping make positive changes to amateur radio. Oh, and I have two more on order from Newark.

More on the Digital Wars - Icom DStar versus Yaesu Digital

I recently saw that Icom has announced two more radios with DStar.

The first is the ID-51A which is a dual-band (2meter/440Mhz) FM and DStar radio with GPS built-in. The entire DStar repeater database is loaded in a memory card. The GPS allows you to find DStar repeaters that are close to your location. The GPS will also capture your location and send it automatically to the DStar repeater system and using DPRS, feeds the location to the APRS network.

The IC-7100 is another “DC to Daylight” frequency coverage radio that has the usual modes plus DStar. Even has a touch screen.

Yaesu, who first showed their FT-1DR at Dayton. The FT-1DR is a dual band handheld with yet another digital voice mode that is intended to compete with DStar.

Well here we are now almost to October and still no Yaesu digital radio. Frankly, this radio is probably pretty much DOA. I would advise anyone who may be considering such a purchase unless you are looking for a fancier FM radio than what Yaesu already offers.

The Yaesu effort on their digital technology was so lackluster at Dayton, it actually caused a flurry of DStar purchases at Dayton. Many vendors sold out of DStar radios by mid-day Saturday.

Plans for new DStar repeaters actually accelerated following Dayton. There was just no excitement for the Yaesu offering. With DStar exploding in usage and acceptance, buying a Yaesu radio for digital usage means no one to talk to. Just because they came to the digital table late, does not mean it is superior to DStar.

Yaesu has made a huge mistake in going against the tide. They can claim their stuff is newer and the other stuff is older, but DStar sounds incredible in terms of voice quality and handles data with ease with half the bandwidth of Yaesu.

The radios keep coming from Icom and it is just a matter of time before another manufacturer jumps on the DStar bandwagon because that is what hams are buying.

Look at Yaesu’s WIRES Internet linking. No one uses it….well, I think maybe five repeater systems in the U.S. Over here we use Echolink and IRLP. Kenwood implemented Echolink into some of their radios. Smart manufacturers either create a market or go with the market. Yaesu did neither.

Such a waste.

Thoughts on TenTec

I have been a big fan of TenTec for a long time. I like to be able to buy a radio that is made right here in the United States with excellent support if it is ever needed.

In the past I have owned a Paragon II, Omni 6+, Jupiter, an Argo V, and even a few of the QRP kit transceivers.

The Jupiter was a favorite of mine for working digital. It was just a great rig for PSK, Hellschreiber, MFSK and the like. It was also a dream to use on CW as it had no noisy relays. Wish the Japanese could figure out how to get rid of the relays. Guess their engineering is just not up to par with the Americans.

The Jupiter was also one of the first ham transceivers to have updatable firmware. But it seems that the Jupiter is coming to an end at TenTec. Their ads have not had the Jupiter featured for sometime. This is only a guess, but I think once the existing stock is gone, they will announce the Jupiter is discontinued. Too bad, nice radio at a once good price point.

TenTec seems to have moved to higher priced radios now. The Eagle, the Omni and the Orion are out of reach for the average ham. They are bringing out a new replacement for the Argo V, but they crippled the radio by leaving off 12 meters and not including 6. They claim a space limitation. Really?

Seems that Elecraft can engineer a smaller radio, with the same power output that includes all bands including 6 meters and still have a place for batteries if you want to backpack. Why is TenTec going backwards? The price is still unknown, but I am guessing $899 which would be fine if it included all the bands.

The other issue is their CW QRP radios. They are importing them from China! A once proud U.S. manufacturer has sold out to the Chinese. Really, they could not have built such a radio in Tennessee?

TenTec, please get your focus back. U.S. made and innovation. Leaving off bands for "space limitations" is not innovation in my opinion.

Got to love the ARRL LoTW

I know some people hate the ARRL's LoTW. They say it is not easy to set-up and use. They even complain it has too much security. The reason of course is that people cheat, hence the security.

Frankly, I have found LoTW to be easy to set-up and use provided you follow the directions. I have also posted positive reviews of the LoTW on various websites like eHam. After the posts, I get emails from people saying that it is too hard to set-up and some even say that I MUST help them set-up LoTW since hams have always been a helpful group.

So I always email them back and offer to help, but I also ask some basic questions. Funny thing is with the complainers, I never get a response from them. Here are the "complex" questions I have asked.

"Did you follow exactly the steps outlined in the ARRL installation document?" I mean the installation tutorial is a step-by-step procedure that if you follow it, it will work.

"Did you apply for the certificate and did you receive it yet?" Pretty basic starting point right?

Never hear from them again. I even offered to go to one guy's house to set it up since he lived near me. No response.

Seems funny that people complain, you offer to help, and they don't respond. I guess they really don't want to set it up and just want to complain.

In any case the ARRL finally got the CQ Magazine WPX Award implemented within LoTW. Well what do you know? I had 472 QSLs available for the WPX Mixed Award. I applied right on line. Simple and easy.

That makes the third award I have received using the ARRL LoTW. This is a great thing.

If you are not using LoTW yet and like to work towards operating awards, I suggest you do so soon. Apply for the certificate, then follow the set-by-step instructions. It's easy and you can get a lot of QSLs for a lot less money than the paper QSLs. It's a great thing.

More English Language Abuse

I found this one on a ham radio group at Yahoo Groups. The person posting this is referring to how long it has taken for a new radio to come to market. This one struck me as very funny.

"Out of patients..... The Icom 208H is well priced and does all the frequencies that the 920 does anyway. End of story…"

If I am reading the above correctly, it seems the guy is a physician because he apparently has run out of patients. I guess he must have cured them all and now has more time for amateur radio.

Maybe next time he'll run out of patience.



Kenwood D710 APRS Radio

If anyone out there is interested in APRS or in Digipeating through the ISS (Space Station), I've added additional information on my APRS Information webpage how I am now using the Kenwood D710 APRS dual-band radio to run on APRS on 144.39 and digipeating through the ISS on 145.825 at the same time using the dual-band function of the D710.

I picked up the D710 at the 2012 Dayton Hamvention from Ham Radio Outlet. What an excellent radio. So if you are interested, click on the APRS Information link on the left side of the page.

Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.

Dayton Hamvention 2012 Recap

Another Dayton Hamvention has come and gone. I spent Thursday night thru Saturday afternoon with Rod WI0T and Russ WB8ZCC at the Hamvention. Thursday evening was the usual pre-Dayton drinking festivities. WB8ZCC suffered with a headache on Friday.

The good news is that the weather was great. It was the first Dayton Hamvention in recent memory where is did not rain at some point during the weekend. In fact, the skies were blue and beautiful and temperature in the 80s.

The crowd seemed about the same as last year to me, but then on Monday I was listening to the Dayton DStar repeater and the hams there said that the attendance was up this year to around 25,000 people. That means growth again. Great news for the Hamvention going forward.

Flea market vendors were down again. That's OK since most of the vendors who did come had nothing but junk at premium prices. I suspect a number of them toted the stuff home since they apparently think their junk is worth just a little less than buying something new with a warranty. I just don't understand what people are thinking with these asking prices. Some say it is because of eBay, but I don't believe it. Most of this stuff was junk and most of the stuff on eBay is of decent quality, or at least that is my experience.

In any case I anticipated that there would be a big crowd at the Yaesu booth looking at their new digital handheld radio the FT-1DR/E. To my surprise, there was very little interest and no crowd whatsoever. Just the usual people stopping by to get their free Yaesa hat (by the way, someone told me that in Japanese, Yaesu means "free hat." In any case, when I tried discussing the new digital offering with the Yaesu people, about all they could tell me was that "it is not P25 and not DStar."

From what I can tell the bandwidth is twice as wide as DStar, hence faster data speeds, it has a built-in GPS, and that it is capable of taking and sending very low resolution pictures. Since the handheld cannot display the picture I am not sure what the full benefit is with that function. Furthermore, even if sending it to a base unit allowing them to view it on a PC, the picture is so low in resolution it would not be worth much to me. The radio does attach the position of the radio to the picture so you can return to the place where it was taken. In marketing we would call it flash and trash.

It does allow for a micro SD card to back-up data and store GPS positions just like the current DStar handheld radio the ID-31. It also has digital ARTS, but I have never seen or known anyone to use ARTS on their analog radios.

There is no mention of call-sign routing or being able to use the GPS function to transfer position to the APRS network as there is today with DStar.

You can apparently send Group Short Messages and we all know it is not easy to send messages with the keyboards on anyone's handheld….at least not fast.

It appears that this Yaesu digital radio is really just trying to migrate a commercial technology into ham radio. We all know that DStar from the ground up was designed specifically for amateur radio. So now you have a choice between a technology designed for amateur radio and one designed for commercial users and shoe horned for you. An easy selection in my opinion.

So Yaesu was not selling any of the radios, with little excitement from amateurs, with no one to talk to because of zero Yaesu digital capable repeaters, why would you buy it? Again, I think Yaesu made a big mistake with this direction since DStar is already an established digital standard that works extremely well in spite of Yaesu's attempt to create FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) by saying it is old technology. Don't believe it folks.

Well I had to have some fun with Yaesu and mock their poor decision to go in another digital direction. WI0T, WB8ZCC and I did wear some yellow T-Shirts I had produced prior to the Hamvention that said "DStar, THE Digital Standard for Amateur Radio" on the front and "DStar Accept No Substitutes" on the back. We wore them the entire day on Saturday. People loved it for the most part. A few made negative comments, probably the old hate to change CW forever crowd. We also wore them at the Yaesu booth and stood around talking. Yaesu folks didn't seem to care and since most people passed on taking a look at their new FT-1DR/E, the average ham didn't even get the meaning.

In summary, it looks to me that the Yaesu digital offering is DOA.

On the other hand, DStar is alive and well with tremendous and growing interest at the Hamvention. The DStar gatherings on Thursday and Friday nights were packed with hams. Icom gave a presentation on the history of DStar that was very interesting. It outlined why they selected the Codec and GMSK for the base of DStar. Once you listen to that presentation, it all makes sense.

The DStar education forum was also packed with hams eager to learn about the DStar technology and all that it can offer.

Many of the vendors of DStar equipment had sold most of the on-site DStar inventory by Saturday morning. The ID-31 handhelds were the first to sell-out as that is the latest and greatest easy to use DStar handheld complete with GPS and the entire DStar repeater database. With the GPS, the ID-31 can automatically find and program the radio for the closest repeater. Of course since it has the built-in GPS, it can also send your position to the APRS network. So DStar is growing very rapidly now and just exploding in growth. With close to a thousand world-wide DStar repeaters now and all 50 states covered, it is no wonder the digital excitement is with DStar and not Yaesu.

TenTec showed off the new QRP transceiver and the new QRP amplifier. The amp looks very interesting. The QRP transceiver is missing 12 meters. TenTec said it would not fit. Huh? So Elecraft can bring out a 10 watt QRP radio with 160 meters up to 6 meters in a smaller box and TenTec cannot even get all the HF bands to fit into a larger box. Very puzzling to me.

Alinco showed off their new SDR transceiver. Frankly, it looks like their regular HF transceiver without the panel and with a computer to control it. No comparison to the Flexradio SDR radios.

Flexradio showed off their new and coming new SDR radio. This is aimed towards the money crowd with a price to be around $7,000. Out of my league, but I am sure it is going to be great.

Kenwood showed their new 990 HF radio. Wow, this thing is a monster and rumored to be around $10K list price. Again, for the money crowd, but the radio looked great.

Go to my Dayton Hamvention 2012 Photo Album for pictures of all the new offerings.

The ARRL booth was crazy with activity and helps to create a lot of excitement around ham radio.

W4PC and the Ham Radio Deluxe gang were there to show off what is coming in the new 6.0 release. They had a line of people waiting to pay $60 for support and the next HRD version 6.0 which of course will start the paid subscription model of HRD. HRD is by far the best radio control, multimode and logging program out there supporting all the major radios with one license. I know hams are use to mostly free software. But if we want people to continue to support and develop their software, we're going to have to start paying them to do so. There is nothing more frustrating to me than to use and like a program, only to have the author drop support because it takes up too much of his free time. These guys and gals need to get compensated for their time. Let's support HRD folks.

There were also many vendors selling all those new cheap China radios. Many people were buying the Wouxun, Baofeng, TYT and some other weird name radios. Hey, they're pretty much cheap throw-a-ways. I mean were else can you get a dual band four or five watt handheld with rapid charger for $65 bucks?

So we had a great time and there is so much more to talk about. After all there are hundreds of vendors and I would wear my fingers out typing comments about all of them so I just tried to hit the highlights.

I know gas prices are up, but the trip to Dayton each year is well worth it.

New Baofeng UV-5R Radio

I had been looking at the new Baofeng UV-5R (pronounced either as Mao-Fang or as Bao-Fang - who knows with these Chinese names) UV-5R dual-band VHF/UHF handheld. How can you pass up a 4 watt handheld with charger for under $65 bucks? You cannot, I mean at that price, the darn thing is almost a throw-a-way if it ever breaks.

Believe it or not, I actually ordered and received mine from Amazon.com. About $62 delivered since I have their Prime Service.

Did not take too long to unpack and put it on the air. The first thing was programming the radio. I used the free open-source Chirp software which is much better than the free software Baofeng provides as a download. The radio also used the same programming cable as the Wouxun Chinese radios which I already had.

Once programmed it is somewhat intuitive. The instruction manual is pretty sparse as far as how to program and use the various features.

BTW, the radio is capable of transmitting outside the ham bands and is FCC Part 90 accepted. So you can use this radio for things other than amateur radio.

In any case, I have programmed some of the various amateur repeaters in the area and gave it a try. The first thing I noticed is that is has a built-in time-out-time. It is factory set at 15 second. I kept getting cutoff during conversations so I changed that to 45 seconds pretty quickly.

Audio reports are good and on receive it sounds very good. I even programmed some of the local police/fire frequencies into it to listen and it picked them up very well so the receiver seems to be more than adequate.

The display can change colors based on what the radio is doing. It is factory set to glow orange on transmit, blue when actually receiving a signal, and purple is the squelch is open and there is no signal.

On the charger, there is an LED that flashed quickly between red and green when there is no radio or battery being charged. That is really annoying. There should be no light on the charger when it is not charging in my opinion. It also glow red while charging and green when the battery is charged. You can charge the battery while attached to the radio, or even charge a stand-alone battery.

This is a great radio for a great price. Cheaper than the Wouxuns that everyone seems to be snapping up. For the new Technician wanting to get a new radio when they get their license, for less than $65 this is a great starter radio.

Oh, if you need help with the radio, there is a large group on Yahoo Groups that are there to help with any questions. As I said, the manual is not very good, so the group is your extension of the manual.


Let It Be Known/Ham Radio Deluxe

Let it be known to all hams that today, Friday, May 4th, Rod, WI0T, actually spent money and purchased version 6.0 of Ham Radio Deluxe.

As many of you know, money in Rod's pocket usually never sees the light of day. So today is a historic event.

We are hoping Rod continues to free up cash at the Hamvention in a few weeks. It will surely help stimulate the economy and put the U.S. back on the track to prosperity for sure.

BTW, Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) is an excellent full-featured radio control (multi brands and models of radios), digital multi-mode and logbook program. To learn more about this incredible program suite, go to:


In my opinion, HRD is a much better value than other paid radio control programs such as the N4PY application since you only have to purchase one license for ALL radios and the license key is not dependent on the individual computer it is installed on. What other programs like N4PY do not offer with their application which HRD does, is the logbook and the digital mode program.

The HRD folks will be at Dayton so stop by and visit their booth.

Looking forward to Dayton Hamvention 2012!

The Dayton Hamvention is just a couple of weeks away. The excitement is building. Seems manufacturers have been holding off on announcing new products instead preferring to make the new stuff public at the Hamvention!

The product pricing is great at Dayton. Anything you could possible want can be bought at the Hamvention.

Plenty of friends to meet, food to eat and alcohol to drink! Three days of fun!

I'll let you know what I saw, bought and saw at Dayton. So visit after the Dayton Hamvention to read my comments and see the pictures.

More Poor Spelling and English from Hams

Wow, so a ham sent me a note about the new repeater he had set-up. Very nice of him to send a note.

When I went to QRZ.com to look up his call, here is what he had written on his profile page. I have deleted the information from his post that would have identified him. I used the letter "X" in the following post to show what I modified and I also substituted (name) for their actual names.


Here is a better way to write this with spelling and gammar corrections:

"(name) XX8XXX, (name) YY8XXX and I co-sponsor a repeater in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati, Ohio area. This repeater is open to all amateurs. The frequency is XXX.XXX with a +5 Mhz offset and a XXX.X Hz tone for access. The repeater has an auto-patch and a back-up power system. If you would like to use the auto-patch, please call us for the access codes. Feel free to use the repeater anytime."

Seriously folks, what is the general public going to think about amateur radio and amateur radio operators in general if they read information on our hobby written in horrible English and spelling? Especially when we are talking about the spelling of very basic words such as "area."

I would also like to mention that the use of all caps is the Internet equivalent of yelling. Come on people, learn to use the shift key.

Is the above example representative of the kind of English, spelling and writing skills that they are teaching in our public schools? If so then the future of our country and amateur radio is frightening to me. No wonder the United States is losing its competitive advantage in the world.

CW should not have been the filter. Maybe a test that included the writing of a simple English composition should have been given along with a test on theory and rules.

WAS Digital Modes Only

The ARRL just processed my Worked All States (WAS) Award for two-way communication with all 50 states using digital modes only. That is my third WAS Award.

I have my original award using paper QSLs only, then I did it again this time using only electronic QSLs from Logbook of the World (LoTW), and now WAS using Digital Modes only using all electronic QSLs. Next on the WAS bandwagon will be WAS using just RTTY. Only four states away from that one.

I am also working on DXCC on 10 Meters only. At 89 countries now and have worked enough, just waiting on the QSLs in LoTW to come through. People, please do the uploads to LoTW. It is much easier and cheaper than paper QSLs.

Hams need a course in English

I remember the now settled discussion about CW testing to get a license for amateur radio. Seems many thought that removing CW meant the dumbing down of amateur radio. I'm here to tell you that the CW test requirement had nothing to do with dumbing down amateur radio. Seems it was already here.

Anyone who reads the forum postings on QRZ, eHam, Yahoo Groups and the like should be a bit shocked at the butchering of the English language. People do not seem to know how to spell or the correct usage of words such as "their", "they're" and "there." Some use "and" when they meant "an." One of the latest violations are from people who use "prolly" when they meant to use "probably." I have even read where people use "know" for "now" and vice-versa. I could go on and on.

Seems that the dumbing down occurred long before the dropping of the CW test since many of these posts are from hams that have been licensed for more than 10 years.

What prompted this little rant today was the post I read from a ham who wrote this: "Is it because it's and ICOM pattend?" First, I cannot even figure out what he means by "pattend." The rest of the poor excuse for a sentence is just mess of the English language. So elimination of the CW testing is not dumbing down amateur radio. I think it is our crumbling public school system.

Then there are those who do not know how to use the "Shift" key on the keyboard. They type in all caps which is the Internet equivalent of screaming. Simply put, if you do not know how to properly type, then please don't make postings on the bulletin boards.

Come on hams, we can do better!

The Yaesu Mistake

Happy New Year!

Last week I was getting ready to head down to Atlanta to visit my daughter and her family. Atlanta is a great place to visit, especially if you are into D-Star. Heck, the whole Southeast area of the United States is a D-Star haven. But I digress.

I read a post on the TAPR APRS SIG about Yaesu finally introducing digital radio. It looks like they are going to bring out something that is based on P25. P25 is a digital mode developed for the United States Public Sevices - as in police, fire, government service, etc.

Now Icom introduced D-Star a number of years ago. D-Star was developed for the amateur radio community and developed for an international market. P25 is a digital method developed for the U.S. government market and not a worldwide market and hardly developed for the amateur community. D-Star is a completely open standard. The only thing proprietary is the digital Codec. Not a big deal.

There is a well established and growing D-Star presence throughout the world. So now Yaesu is going to come along and hose things up by introducing something different. What's next, Kenwood coming out with their own digital mode?

Yaesu's actions are nothing short of nuts. Why not go with what is already established and a defacto standard in the amateur community? What are they trying to create, the Beta/VHS war of years ago?

One amateur on the list who will remain nameless commented that he never got D-Star and thought it was stupid. Why? Because if could not interoperate with the U.S. public service systems! Well I have got news for him and everyone else. The police and fire agencies are NEVER going to link their communication systems with amateur systems. Thinking this is nothing but foolish. Each service will stand on its own. So that kind of blows the whole need for one common system for digital. Heck, even in the U.S., the railroads have chosen their own digital system. There is no standard across all services. Each service picks its own standard.

D-Star has become the standard. What a mistake for Yaesu to not have jumped on the D-Star bandwagon. Remember, Yaesu is the same company who went with "Wires" instead of Echolink and IRLP. As a result of that horrible decision, almost no one uses Wires. Yaesu is making another mistake trying to go on its own. This can only benefit Icom.