The Greater Pittsburgh Area's First D-STAR Repeater
D-STAR (Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio) is an open standard developed by the Japanese Amateur Radio League (JARL) over three years and published in 2001 that incorporates the use of digital technology in the transmission of signals between radios or repeaters.
In May 2007, the Repeater Committee of the North Hills Amateur Radio Club purchased, programmed, and installed a digital voice Icom D-STAR repeater located in the WQED TV transmitter building in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. It went on-the-air in local open repeater mode June 15, 2007.
This repeater can only accessed with a D-STAR digital radio. Analog FM radios without D-STAR capability will not work.
To understand and appreciate the reason we are building a new all digital repeater system, we suggest surfing the Icom website www.icomamerica.com/amateur/dstar. This website has an overview of D-STAR. It also provides information about its features and provides a list of D-STAR products.
We elected to begin with the UHF digital repeater. The Club's old packet repeater had used 444.35MHz. We had the antenna on WQED's tower. We had a tuned duplexor from the old repeater. We removed the old Motorola FM analog radios and controller and installed the new Icom IC-IDRP2C D-STAR repeater controller and the Icom IC-IDRP4000V D-STAR 440 repeater. We also installed a 10base-T Ethernet hub in the rack and a Cisco router. Our Internet connection is via a CAT-5E Ethernet cable has been installed from the Club's rack in the basement of the WQED transmitter building to a hut located outside of the transmitter building. In this hut, we were able to plug into a LAN fed by a 45M bps microwave link to the aspStation, Inc. data center in Bloomfield.The Internet Gateway:
The Internet Gateway is a Linux system. We are running version 2 of the Icom D-STAR Gateway software. This gateway allows us to connect our repeater with other D-STAR repeaters around the world via the Internet. While the repeater is open for everyone to use for a local QSO, your call must be added to the access list to use the gateway. To register with the gateway, connect to https://dstargw.nharc.org/Dstar.do and register as a new user. Once your registration is approved, you will receive instructions for creating a terminal identifier.
The Internet gateway provides another service. You can view the list of users on our repeater. The link is http://www.jfindu.net/dstarlh.aspx?rptr=W3EXW. To view the list of all D-STAR users go to http://www.dstarusers.org/. This site is very busy at times and may not respond quickly.