(Reprinted from the August 2009 D-Star Newsletter)
D-STAR has always been touted as an open standard and has been evidenced by the development of software and applications such as DPlus, D-RATS, DSTARMONITOR and others. Now, an effort is under-way to develop a D-STAR repeater package based on non-Icom hardware and Gateway software. David Lake, G4ULF, and members of the Ashdown Forest Repeater Group in the UK have the GB7MH repeater and prototype software on the air and operating.
The hardware is a modified Tait T800 repeater operating in full GMSK mode with the D-STAR standard 6.25 KHz bandwidth. The repeater uses the GMSK Node Adapter developed by Satoshi Yasuda of Japan. With the cooperation and support of the Trust Server Team in Texas, the repeater is connected to the G2 network and is running popular software including the DPLUS module developed by Robin Cutshaw, AA4RC, and Pete Loveall’s DSTARMONITOR code unmodified.
The system is capable of full callsign routing to and from the live G2 network, provides station updates and includes a self-service registration page similar to the Icom registration. The system is undergoing rigorous testing to ensure the integrity of the worldwide G2 network. The software will not be made available until testing has been completed. The repeater is usually connected to REF005A.
David would like to acknowledge the hard work of many who are working on this project including Sato-shi Yasuda, Robin Cutshaw, Jim McClellan, Darren Storer, Pete Loveall, Iain Phillips and members of the Ashdown Forest Repeater Group. This effort represents an exciting step in the evolution of the D-STAR technology and is worth following closely as development continues.
The evolution of D-STAR repeaters began with the commitment of Icom to implement the JARL standard on not only radios, but repeater infrastructure and software. The tremendous growth of D-STAR has opened the door for developers and other experimenters in Amateur Radio to implement new features and capabilities on the digital platform.
You can follow the developments of the GB7MH D-STAR repeater project at http://g4ulf.blogspot.com.