D-Star For Dummies

What is it?

New to D-Star? Got that shiny new rig, then grabed the nanual and then got promptly lost?  How about buying that Nifty E-Z Guide to D-Star and began scratching your head?
Well then this is the book for you.

In 2009 I received my ID-800H 2M/440 rig from my father who was about ready to toss it out the window.  We only had one repeater, and there were few hams that had D-Star radios, and fewer still how to use them.

Some say I have a gift for gadgets.  Me, I like to say when I get a new piece of technology I sit down and figure out how to fully work it.  In the Computer field, we are simply called power users.  So my father (W8JNE) bought himself a ID-880h rig that he found was much easier to operate, and thus the 800H was dropped into my lap, and he handed me the Nifty’s E-Z Guide with a, ‘Think it’s funny to watch me spend 6 months working it out, you try it!’

Well that’s just what I did; first step was to get the 800h on the air with the local repeaters, then start on D-Star.  The manual was not very helpful in explaining the concepts, and the book I had to read cover to cover to figure out just what the heck I was supposed to do.  He kept jumping from different ham operators, and I got more and more lost trying to answer the simple question… How do I set my rig up?  What was worse was there’s “Old D-Star” way of doing it, and “New D-Star” and he merged both of them in together.

What I needed was a book that put it simply, you need to do this this and that, put this here, and this is how it works.  Not something that jumped around from different operators about a complex system of repeaters, I could only reach ONE here in Columbus, and so all that extra crap had to go.

So I worked on each subject, from simple simplex, all the way up, and I kept notes.  Then after I was doing tricks on the repeater, I somehow ended up being the “That’s Charles, he’s the local d-star expert” and sure I being a Ham, am glad to help out others, and I began to notice a repeating pattern.

There are 2 basic kinds thought processes when a ham buys a rig.

1 I will read the manual cover to cover and work this new rig of mine

2 If I can’t figure it out from the face plate then the rig therefor sucks, and I will ask another ham how to do it, and I will not touch the manual, for it is scary, and it’s holding up my desk.

Well this is simply how it is, the nature of the beast.  So after helping the 6th ham get going, and after learning a lot, a ham suggested I write all this up and then just send it to a new ham.  Thus D-Star for Dummies was born.

I decided to write it as I would sit down and teach a person how to get up to speed and running with his new ham rig.  Therefore in the book you will see things from my (W8KWA) point of view.  So when you put your information in the rig, you mentally change W8KWA to your sign, and since I teach it from the operator’s chair, simply put yourself in my shoes.  I break each topic down one by one, explaining first how to do it, then why it’s done, then proper usage, explaining the catches or possible troubles you might run into.  You know the “I put it in there right, so why aint it working” and we walk you through troubleshooting to find out why it aint working.

Thus if your new to D-Star, got that shiny new rig, and want to come join in the fun, you read the book, and then by the time you worked your way through the book, your now the D-Star Expert.

I write these in my spare time using MS Office 2010.  It quickly became apparent that most Hams are not computer savvy, and chances are the PC in the shack is around 4 to 10 years old, and some even have gone to Linux, and a few even bought into the Mac Hype.  So when I publish them here, there going to be in PDF format, because mostly its universal.  Because of Office, and its great integration with its PDF writer, you will also find book marks in the files for the different sections.  This just isn’t a ‘jpg of a book page’ but a searchable, navigational document.

As new technologies come up, it will be revised and updated.  D-Star for Dummies is geared toward new users and their Rigs, not for DV-Dongle, not for Dvap, Not for DV-Adaptor, but the rigs themselves.  I only have one pair of hands here.  If you want to write a DV-Dongle for dummies, or one of the other DV-modes or even a DD mode book, we can put the current version up here, but you’re the one who will be writing it.

If you check out the Resources section you will find the current versions.  Sometimes a Draft will be put up there but that’s so other assistants of mine could grab a copy from a central location and help me catch any technical mistakes.  You can use the draft, just remember, there may be spelling and grammar errors in the document; however the information is still good.

This document is given away free under the Creative Commons license “Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike” this means you can add to it, make your own edits for local groups, but you may not sell it to make a profit.  You can sell editions under only one condition, you may not make a profit on it.  That means if you are going to print it, then you can only sell it for the cost of printing.  I did this to help other hams out, get them on the air, not to make a buck; I’ll leave that to Nifty’s work to do that.

If you need it in another format, say DOC, or even an E-book format send me email and we will see what we can do.

While I do appreciate offers to give me money for this, I don’t want it.  If you feel that driven, then if we ever meet up then buy me a cup of coffee or some pizza, if it will clear your conscious.  I’m just happy someone out there got something out of reading the book, and they didn’t have to ask 400 questions of the local d-star expert.  There was a time when I got on the air, I got hit with D-Star questions left and right and well I just wanted to rag-chew.  Thankfully this document in other’s hands has let me rag-chew more often.  So please feel free to pass this document around so others can benefit from it and as the ham band sang “Come and Join us on the Airwaves”.