Friday, January 2, 2009

D-STAR International Coordination Council

Since late summer of 2008, several people have been working to create an organization that would help us to develop the D-STAR technology within a consistent framework, and to gain the consent and assistance of key organizations already associated with D-STAR. We are now ready to discuss the results of those efforts.

This notice is to announce the formation of the D-STAR International Coordination Council. The D-STAR ICC will provide documentation, consistency, and a framework within which new development and testing can take place. This organization has the support of the JARL, ICOM, and several key individuals associated with the D-STAR network. Some of the specific purposes of the organization are to:

-Support the cooperation and coordination of development efforts for products, systems, and services related to the ongoing operation of the International D-STAR network and related technologies.
-Provide a unified forum for expressing the needs and desires of the D-STAR user community to relevant manufacturers and other organizations.
-Define additional items that are not covered by the D-STAR standard, but are agreed by signatories as essential to the deployment of D-STAR networks in particular the regulatory aspects and issues of operators' licenses.
-Ensure interoperability between differing manufacturers of D-STAR application tools or equipment.

From the high-level objectives, you can see that the key organizations are interested in working with the User Community to enhance the D-STAR capabilities. This is a HUGE step for us!

A prime consideration is the fact that the D-STAR ICC is supported by the JARL, who owns the D-STAR protocol, and by ICOM, the current major manufacturer of commercial D-STAR equipment. This means that we won't be operating independently, but in cooperation to move D-STAR forward.

Since this will be a world-wide effort, there is still much work to accomplish in order to establish an effective organization. We expect to have most of the details worked out in the next few weeks, and to begin work on some key tasks, such as creating comprehensive documentation for the two primary D-STAR protocols – the Over-the-Air protocol, and the Gateway-to-Gateway protocol. While we are working to get these published, we also intend to create some standards for development and testing that will allow a developer to gain "D-STAR Compatibility" status for new efforts.

As the new organization develops, we'll have information available for you at the web site http://WWW.D-STAR-ICC.Org . If you're interested in creating and maintaining that web site, please contact N5MIJ at D-STAR-ICC.Org, and put "D-STAR ICC Web Site" in the subject line.

D-Star is growing and evolving. Here's a chance for us to positively impact that evolution.

Jim McClellan, N5MIJ

Jim gives more clues on this council in an earlier message.


It's time for us to band together and take D-STAR into the next phase.

At this point, we do not yet have a full translation of the D-STAR specification available. We have at least 4 different groups that have done some level of reverse-engineering to determine parts of what is going on within the system. And we’re all still “starting from scratch” with our efforts.

In order for us to reduce the duplication-of-effort and to move forward in a more rapid and coordinated manner, we propose that we form a common group, tentatively known as D-STAR International Coordination Committees. (And yes, we get to argue about a name for the group!) There’s a beginning of a charter available online at:
This document is not yet designed to be a comprehensive charter, but rather a starting point from which to build a charter. The D-STAR ICC would be our International User Group for D-STAR.

The desire would be to form the D-STAR ICC, and then to rapidly develop the sub-groups as designed. As rapidly as possible, we would then organize efforts to add features to our existing capabilities (if we can get access to the necessary code to do so), or to replace our existing capabilities with ones that we can support and expand.

Participation and contribution – here’s the big deal! If you’d like to volunteer to participate actively and directly, post a note in the Participation Forum. If you feel strongly about someone else participating, please post a note in the Nominations Forum.
Initial membership of the D-STAR ICC will be chosen based on recommendations received from the general population, as well as input from key members of the international D-STAR community. This is a Users Group, and we need to keep the users involved! (And yes, we get to argue about a name for the group!)

Please make your comments now, and let’s get this moving!

Jim McClellan, N5MIJ

I like the concept behind this newly created council. I hope it proves successful and to read more about it as time goes on.

Here are a couple recommendations that have been floating around in my head:

-Encourage manufactures to support perhaps a mini-usb port/non-proprietary/standardized digital interface on the radio to allow access to the on-air data stream on their radios. Just like the TAPR-2 analog data jack on analog radios. This digital version should allow access to the raw GMSK and decoded AMBE audio, so that the radios can be connected together into wide area networks.

-Continued encouragement of an extension of that proposed by John, K7VE. That is the D-Star to SIP translation. This can start by interfacing to a gateway sever, but should consider true over the air support using that standardized digital interface on the radios themselves.

I only know of one software GMSK decoder/encoder tailored to D-Star, and unfortunately it doesn't include source code. This development I also feel should be encouraged and worked into the Linux kernel. I feel that once this happens we can expect to see radios with an actual OS under the hood, like a smart phone/radio, capable of text messaging and so forth 

Existing integral players:
Allstar / Asterisk app_rpt

XIPAR - The Open Source Amateur Radio Over IP Project

Scott, KI4LKF's rtpDir bridge

Jakub Hruska's D-Star decoder program

DV Dongle Moe, AE4JY / Robin, AA4RC

Satoshi, 7M3TJZ's D-STAR GMSK Node Adapter & DV Adapter

And possibly others..


In this video; Jim N5MIJ, talks at the Friedrichshafen, Germany International Exhibition for Radio Amateurs that was held June 26-28th, 2009 about the D-Star International Coodination Council, where he mentions working with several open source developers.

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