Friday, May 14, 2010

D-Star expands in Pittsburgh 

It is now public knowledge that the North Hills Amateur Radio Club will be purchasing equipment at this years Dayton Hamvention to put a second D-Star repeater on. This one will be a VHF high band repeater on the 146.22/146.82 pair which has languished unused in Pittsburgh for a very long time now. Those who have been around the Pittsburgh two meter scene for a while will remember when the 82 machine was located on the Westinghouse Research & Development Center in Church Hill and had very wide coverage in the area. Old timers quiz, anyone remember what the call sign of the 82 repeater was when located there? Bonus points if you remember what it was changed to when the FCC stopped issuing special call signs for repeaters.

As I have said in previous postings I would like D-Star a lot more if did not use a proprietary codex for the digital encoding and decoding of the voice portion of the transmissions. I would also like to see much faster data rates on the VHF and UHF frequencies. Still even at the slow data rates D-Star becomes a real tool for use in emergency situations where hams are asked to provide all of the communications or supplant public safety radio systems that have become overloaded because of the circumstances.

The new repeater will be co-located with the existing UHF repeater in the Oakland section of the city at the WQED transmitter site. This will go a long way toward making D-Star popular among local hams. I know I have herd more than one person on the air saying that D-Star is a big investment in equipment when you consider that there are very few repeaters around and thus not many other hams to chat with. Hopefully that is going to change now. As soon as I have more information I will post it here on the blog. Until then those that are making the journey this year have a great time at Dayton.


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