Here is a thought from a local club member that contacted me about D-Star:
The thought occurs to me that D-Star is one future standard and why not purchase a D-Star radio ahead of the roll-out? One issue is that it adds expense and why buy something today that you can’t use when the standard may evolve to something better in the future. Therefore, a waste of money now?
He actually has a good thought process. The thing I see is that since D-Star is based on the JARL standard, some parts of it cannot change. By that I mean, GMSK modulation and data rates for example. Evolve, yes it already is, and that is why I like it.
What he means is be replaced (not evolved) by something else radically different, perhaps TDMA based or what have you.
My feeling is that this is not a big consideration/fear simply because ham radio is in such a decline. You will likely never see another replacement simply because it's not on ham manufactures priority list as they market is simply not there.
Resons I like D-Star:
I've been in the hobby for nearly 15 years. I'm starting to become a been there, done that kind of guy. This is something different... a step in the right direction, to the future.
From a repeater stand-point the slow speed data & voice are not only spectrally efficient, but efficient on the club pocket book. Else you have to deploy separate APRS and voice repeater feedlines and antennas.
The framework is open so some development and evolution is possible. This paves the way for additional functionality that can be added later.
And it can be done remotely (SSH) since this is a digital system. No more spending $$ on new controllers and scheduling trips to the site to interface them.
D-Star helps attract a new breed to the hobby. The computer savvy. Which is good, since we should be one the path to software defined radio (SDR).
Some of my dislikes:
-User radios are not firmware upgradable
-DTMF encoding implemented wrong ?
-The term "D-Star" trademarked by Icom
The attached images shows some starter ideas of how to add additional functionality.
One of the problems since ham radio is so stagnant is that no one really monitors. It becomes so infrequent that people are on at the same time. Those once 24/7 radio active hams are now amusing themselves with Ipods and smart phones.
So one of the script ideas report the callsigns of who is in the air to twitter. This way people know when to put down the Ipod and pick up the HT. Other scripts report current temperatures as text messages periodically.