OK — I’ll admit I finally broke down and bought into D-Star. It’s pretty cool. I remember when it was announced at Dayton. It took me a long time to come around and try it. I’m glad I did.
This week I acquired a MoenComm Star*Board GMSK modem. Lots of folks have been using them to setup small D-Star hotspots. A hotspot basically allows you to access the D-Star network (reflectors) from an area not served by an RF repeater node. You can buy the $250 DVAP and do the same thing but it’s limited by its 10mw output.
My Star*Board interfaces with an old Kenwood TM-G707A. This radio has been sitting on my shelf collecting dust for a while. It was originally installed in one of my vehicles around 1998 and taken out of service around 2004. It was the perfect choice for interfacing with my Star*Board:
Paid for (no extra $ for a radio)
Supports 9600 (req’d for GMSK modem interface)
Has a standard 6 pin DIN to easily interface with GMSK modems
I initially tested my Star*board with a Yaesu FT-817. It worked flawlessly, right out of the box.
Then came time to test the board with my chosen radio, the Kenwood TM-G707A. That’s when I hit a snag. The Kenwood’s audio is not as beefy as the Yaesu’s, causing grief for me via the ECHO testing. The weak audio meant my Icom ID-51A couldn’t decode anything, rendering D-Star dead. I found out via research online that a small jumper was needed to bridge a resistor. Fortunately this fix did the trick and I’m now rocking and rolling with a D-Star Hotspot at home (W5PFG A.)