Icom's D-Star digital amateur radio is now on the air in Morristown.   The unit will has both VHF and UHF repeaters and is connected to the US-Trust of D-Star repeaters worldwide.   The repeater is located for the present time at about 1,450 feet on the west side of Morristown.  This should have reasonable coverage for Hamblen County, with good mobile and base coverage of the Jefferson City, Talbott, and White Pine areas of Jefferson County, southern part of Grainger County.  I hope to locate the repeater on higher ground as we learn more about the ability to supply internet access to other repeater sites in the Lakeway area.

Currently frequencies have been assigned by the Southeast Repeater Association (SERA).  The UHF frequency is 444.475 Mhz with a standard split of up 5.0 Mhz to 449.475 Mhz.  The VHF frequency assigned is 144.92 Mhz output with input being up 2.5 Mhz at 147.42 Mhz corresponding with the new band plan for SERA.  I have aquired a nice set of duplexer cavities for the VHF repeater which arrive the first week of March and will require being tuned. VHF coverage is very limited until the duplexer can be tuned and placed in line.


I am very open to a team concept on this repeater to assist in all phases of its operation.  I have written the checks, but I can use help, especially if we plan to move it to a mountain top.  This is an excellent opportunity to learn about a growing area of our hobby especially if you are interested in digital operations in other areas such as computer communications, MESH, et al.  The more help we have, the faster the machine will be in place and on the air for use.  I am limited by my time and have to admit physical ability to complete some tasks.Contact me if you are interested.  I plan to post manuals on this site for all to read and learn as much as possible. 


If you plan to radio on D-Star, you will need a new radio with digital D-Star capability.  I started with an Icom IC-2200H, a great single band 144 transceiver that allows the addition of a D-Star board and chip.  For around $100 you more than double the ability of the radio.  If you have an IC-2200H, you are almost there!  I have been well pleased with mine.  I later picked up an IC-92AD Hand Held Tranceiver that is D-Star ready.  Great reviews on the analog portion and the D-Star Programming.  I added a GPS and this unit can do sooo much.  I have to say that in 30 years it is by far the best HT I have ever keyed or owned.  I recently purchased an Icom IC-7100  HF, VHF, UHF with DSTAR radio.  I used this radio at field and fell in love with it.  That opened the door of desire for the new IC-5100 Dual band  144/444 mobile tranceiver and so far absolutely love it.  More on this radio later.  I picked up a IC-31 UHF HT on eBay a few days ago for just over $100.00.  I got a great deal by being in the right place at the right time.  I have to tell the truth, I am saving now for the new ID-51 Icom HT with high speed data transfer and much more. 

I have added a DHAP device to my equipment inventory, streaching the abilities of DSTAR more.  This little unit combines a DVAP dongle with a Raspberry Pi microcomputer and can operate off a hotspot giving you internect connection to DSTAR from anywhere.  Great aid for emergency communications.  These are made by Hardened Power System know for their tough emergency power units. Click here and on their name for more information. 

We will learn more ways to get onto the air with D-Star and how to "fill in the holes" where the repeaters don't cover well with Jim Moen's Hot Spots.  I have two of the hot spots now and they work great.  I will post some reading material below for you "self education" into D-Star Digital Radio.  Jim has been great to work with and has a very good little product and is excellent in his ability to educate others on DStar. 

I have also added a very neat unit with the help of DVMEGA makers of a collective group of digital voice and data kits and modules.  I purchased two Raspberry Pi UHF Radio boards and mounted each onto the neatest little computer, the Raspberry Pi.  Maryland DStar group has developed a version of the ircDDB software for a repeater and a hotspot.  The DVMEGA board slides onto the connector of the Pi and provides 10 mw of transmitter UHF signal.  This is the most economical route to enter the DStar network, (short of using a repeater for free.)  Guus, PE1PLM is like most everyone else I have found on DStar, great to work with and always ready to help a newbie like me. 

See the links below for more

To register for gateway use through W4LDG, click here and complete the information.  Your call should be setup and ready to go within 36 hours.  You might like to watch this video on registration.  Disregard the first 2:30 minutes as the link above will take you to the W4LDG registration site.  Otherwise follow the nice sounding lady.  If you have registered for DSTAR with your current call in the past, DON'T REGISTER again.  You only need to register once in DSTAR for the whole international seen.  Don't know if you are registered, click here and enter your callsign. 

For more on operating on DSTAR, click here for these and more sites.
DSTAR REPEATER AND GATEWAY FOR EAST TENNESSEE

   
W4LDG  B  444.475 MHz + 5.0 MHz         W4LDG  C   144.920 MHz  + 2.5 MHz
MORRISTOWN, TENNESSEE

W4LDG REPEATER CALL SESSIONS
Upper East Tennessee's first DSTAR Repeater System is on the air!  The W4LDG DSTAR repeaters are operating from the home QTH of N4FNB west of Morristown in Hamblen County.  Plans to move to an area mountain top are awaiting the connection of internet services via microwave.  For the west Morristown and Jefferson City area, the W4LDG  B repeater is operating on 444.475 MHz with an input of + 5.0 MHz at 449.475 MHz.  For west Morristown the W4LDG  C repeater is operating on 144.920 MHz with an input of +2.5 MHz at 147.420 MHz.  The Icom ID-RP4000V and ID-RP2000V repeaters are controlled by the ircDDB gateway software, giving the ability to connect to all DPlus reflectors and repeaters registered on the U.S. Trust along with those non-Icom repeaters running the ircDDB software or the DExtra reflectors. 

To promote statewide communications the W4LDG  B repeater will default to REF060C reflector.  If you wish to use the repeater for connecting to other repeaters or reflectors, do so anytime the repeater is not in use.  When finished please return the repeater connection to REF060C.  The gateway should reconnect to REF060C after 15 minutes of nonuse.

The W4LDG is sponsored by the Lakeway Digital Group, founded for this purpose by N4FNB.  Enjoy and support digital amateur radio thru the DSTAR system. 


(You might see me using the letters DSTAR or the word DStar on my webpages.  DSTAR is an acronym for Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio.  The proper use of acronyms calls for the letters to be capitalized as DSTAR.  However, over time acronyms become names or words of their own.  As a couple of examples, you can travel all over the USA now and you will never see a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, or you will never see a Federal Express delivery van.  They are all gone, right?  Legally yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken used its initials of KFC for so long, and with the franchise being world wide the name was legally changed to KFC.  Federal Express was called FedEX so long that they changed their legal name.  I hold that Icom's DSTAR has now become a word of its own, DStar.  That's my story and I am sticking with it.)
(a) SIMPLEX OPERATION
MYCALL
= N4FNB (my callsign)
URCALL = CQCQCQ or W4VGI (callsign being called)
RPT1 = blank
RPT2 = blank
Select a simplex FM frequency, switch the radio mode to DV, make sure no one is using the frequency, and press PTT and give out your call sign. If anyone is within range and want to respond they will. That’s it!


(b) BASIC REPEATER OPERATION
MYCALL = N4FNB (my callsign)
URCALL = CQCQCQ or W4VGI (callsign being called)
RPT1 = W4LDG B (callsign of repeater on 440 MHz band)
RPT2 = blank
Tune the radio to the repeater’s frequency and offset just like you would do for any repeater, press PTT and announce your call sign. In this example, stations listening to the repeater on the same (UHF) band will hear the call.


(c) CROSS BAND REPEATER OPERATION
MYCALL = N4FNB (my callsign)
URCALL = CQCQCQ or W4VGI (callsign being called)
RPT1 = W4LDG B (callsign of repeater on 440 MHz band)
RPT2 = W4LDG C (callsign of repeater on 144 MHz band) Note: D­STAR repeaters can be setup to operate on several bands simultaneously. So, in this example, stations
listening to the repeater on the both the 440 MHz band as well as the 144 MHz band will hear the call.

(d) CALLING ON REMOTE REPEATERS VIA GATEWAY
MYCALL = N4FNB (my callsign)
URCALL = CQCQCQ or W4VGI (callsign being called)
RPT1 = W4LDG B (callsign of repeater on 440 MHz band)
RPT2 = W4LDG G (callsign of gateway)
In this example, a general CQ call can be heard by stations listening to any of the linked repeaters on any of the bands supported by their repeaters. A call to a specific callsign will prompt the system to route your call to the repeater and band where the callsign was last heard.


(e) ECHO TESTING ON THE LOCAL REPEATER
MYCALL = N4FNB (my callsign)
URCALL = CQCQCQ (general call)
RPT1 = W4LDG B (callsign of repeater on 440 MHz band)
RPT2 = W4LDG E (callsign used for the echo function)
When you press PTT and say something like “<callsign> echo test”, the repeater will echo back the voice it heard. Most D­STAR repeaters offer this convenient test feature that helps to confirm radio settings and voice quality. These examples should make it easy to understand the configuration of the D­STAR radios. Also, observe that
some cases shown above illustrate some convenient features not generally possible on regular repeaters. These are, in fact, some of the biggest feature change when using D­STAR system.
If you have purchased a DSTAR radio, you probably have looked at the manual and wondered about all this connection stuff!  The examples below will help you with understanding the four areas to program.  It is not that difficult, recognize there are only 4 items, MYCALL (that is your call as registered with DSTAR), URCALL - (that is the station you are call, but in 90% of the calls it is CQCQCQ), RPT1 (this is the repeater you are using, here it is either W4LDG  B for 440 MHz or W4LDG  C for 144 MHz), and RPT2 ( this is the gateway you are using and typically matches the repeater except the the 8th character which is G - here it is W4LDG  G).