Saturday, December 3, 2016

Digital Modes on the VHF bands in EI

Over the last few weeks, I have been reading up on the various digital radios on the VHF bands. It would seem as if there are three potential modes which could be a replacement for analogue FM.

1) Icom D-Star, 2) DPMR and 3) Yaesu System Fusion

While the digital radio network in the UK seems to be pretty well developed, it is still in its infancy in EI.

A recent news item from the IRTS outlined how the the Yaesu System Fusion was being introduced in Donegal and Limerick.

A key fact is that the Yaesu DR-1X repeater controller will work on both analogue FM and on the Yaesu C4FM digital system. This means that at worst, it will work away as an FM repeater even if no-one uses the digital system. It will receive digital signals and convert them to FM on the o/p so that everyone can hear them. e.g. Digital in, FM out. It can also relay whatever is on the input...i.e. FM in, FM out OR digital in, digital out.

It was mentioned in the news item that some people in the Limerick region have bought the following Yaesu radios...

There are some obvious issues with introducing this new system in EI...

1) As you can see, they're not cheap. Someone can buy an ordinary analogue FM rig for a lot less. A cheap Chinese FM handheld can be purchased for less than €50.

2) The level of activity on the existing FM network is pretty low. The Limerick repeater has very little traffic on it as it is so it's hard to justify buying an expensive radio.

It will be interesting to see how things develop. I suspect though that in Ireland, DPMR may well become the system of choice for those that want to experiment with digital as cheaper radios come on the market.

This video explains what the Yaesu Fusion System is all about....

This is a video of the new repeater in Donegal...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The guys who developed the DV4mini did enable DPMR in the 'mini software on an experimental basis. For hams, the chief drawback of the mode is that there is no vocoder which is standard across several manufacturers so basically OPs can only QSO with folk using identical rigs. Which makes the mode a non-starter for some.

There is a deal of info on Fusion, Wires-X and the very active CQ-UK Wires-X room on this web site:- CQ-UK room has mushroomed from a limited regional outfit to a highly cosmopolitan one with visitors from VK, USA and points in between. I'm absolutely certain EI visitors will be more than welcome. The website has details of newer developments in cross linking the room with dmr and D4FM users.

In terms of kit, the handis are expensive and they know how to eat batteries. Against that, they're dual band C4FM, Wires-X and vanilla FM rigs, which ain't all bad!! I believe the FTM-100D mobile rig is better value because they also are dual band multimodes but the asking price is good and the higher power output is well worth having in the situation where the network is developing almost from scratch.

I use the three main DV modes: As a pretty deaf guy, I can tell you any DV mode is much, much easier to copy than FM analogue. I reckon DV is going to eventually take off like a rocket in EI and I'm really looking forward to that. There's exciting times ahead. 73 de G0BVZ