D-Star Section

In case you don’t know me, I have been a supporter and advocate of D-Star (and D-Rats) for over 15 years now. I first became aware of D-Star while living in Walton County, then while living in Lake County, and now in Marion County. I believe D-Star is one of the best communication methods, not only for the hobby, but for emergencies.

There are 3 D-Star repeaters in Marion County, all operated by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office MERT volunteers. KK4DFC is on a 600′ tower, and covers the whole county. KG4NXO VHF and UHF are on 60′ towers at the EOC. Range is more limited, but they are very substantial considering they are connected to the internet on the main fiber optiWWW system in Florida.

Two of the D-Star repeaters are connected full time on REF030C (KG4NXO VHF) and REF037C (KG4NXO UHF), which are a necessity during emergencies and well and routine traffic. KK4DFC is not on a reflector nor running D-Rats via radio.

If MERT is not going to use D-Rats anymore to send forms and other data either over the air or via the ratflector, what does that have in store for the three D-Star repeaters? MERT still has 3 D-Star repeaters in operation and 10 Go Kits with Icom 880’s in them. That means that the county can be covered by MERT (and ARES) with D-star to all of the shelters and other locatons with good, clean, digital voice radio traffic. What is lost in sending forms via D-Rats it appears MERT wants picked up by Winlink.

BUT D-rats still works! It can be used over the KK4DFC repeater, any of the other two repeaters (KG4NXO VHF and UHF) if the reflector connection is turned off, or simplex. It works quite well. Winlink and D-Rats are very good tools, but D-Rats does things Winlink can not do, like connect directly with a person over the air without e-mail. Maybe this would be something for an SSRC Saturday session.

So, explore the website. If you have any questions please contact me via e-mail at ed@w9cha.com.