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Digital Voice
Amateur Radio
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(thanks, QST!)
"Digital Voice" is going to the web – August 2012
This program has had a great run. It's sold well over 300 copies, and we've run out of stock. But like all technology reports, parts of it have become outdated. It's time for a refresh. And since we're also transitioning ARVN to HamRadioNow on the web, that's where this will go. We're planning on doing that this August. We'll use most of the program 'as-is,' and awkwardly drop in updates here and there to insert updated information.

If you want to buy a copy before that, we'll make you one. Just don't want to you feel ripped off when it appears soon "for free".

Digital Voice is here, a quiet little revolution in Amateur Radio. Will it replace SSB (and FM) the way SSB replaced AM? Some people think so. Some are afraid it will! This program will introduce you most of the flavors of Digital Voice currently in use in Amateur Radio: D-STAR and P-25 on VHF/UHF; and AOR, WinDRM and DRM-DV* on HF, with a sample of the brand new FDMDV. You'll hear what they sound like, see how they operate, and be ready for... the future. I traveled to Dallas, Alabama, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington DC, and, of course, Dayton for interviews and demonstrations from the hams who are on the leading edge of this new technology.

The complete program runs about an hour. That's a little long for some club meetings, so I've broken it up into two main segments, plus an introduction (all on one DVD):

  • Introduction - 5 minutes
  • HF Modes - 25 minutes
  • VHF/UHF Modes - 35 minutes
The DVD is extensively indexed so you can find specific topics easily.

NOTE: This program will be updated and placed on the web around August 2012

6/13/08 Update: the program will say that D-STAR repeaters can't be linked the way IRLP/Echolink can. That is no longer true! New G-2 Gateway software, and an add-on program called DPLUS, add linking and reflector capability. D-STAR users and repeaters are now happily linking and reflecting away!

*7/24/08 Update: The Windows based DV programs - WinDRM, DRMDV, and FDMDV were briefly pulled from distribution due to a licensing issue with the codec. WinDRM and FDMDV are back using an open-source codec. DRMDV, little used after the better FDMDV was released, has been dropped. The open source codec - Speaks - isn't as good as the codec used when this program was produced, so the audio quality you'll hear can't be duplicated until a better, open soucre or licensable codec is developed. (10/2009 Update: Mel K0PFX tells me a new CODEC is in the works!)

  6-1-2010 Update. Digital Voice for Amateur Radio was shot mostly in 2007, then edited and released in early 2008. I thought it would have a useful life of about a year before it became obsolete. But here in the summer of 2010, I think it's still the best introduction to digital voice modes for radio club meetings, and useful for individuals, too. Digital voice, especially D-STAR for VHF/UHF, is growing. ICOM is still the only manufacturer selling off-the-shelf radios and repeaters, but more aftermarker accessories and devices for making D-STAR repeaters out of conventional FM equipment are on the market.. The HF programs (WinDRM, FDMDV) are about to get a new custom codec. The AOR Fast Modem still works fine, but as I say in the program, I don't expect DV on HF to really take off until a flexible version is built into radios.

There are books that go into more technical depth, and other aids for learning how to program and use the radios. And there is a spate of YouTube videos showing some facets of operation (some better than others). Digital Voice for Amateur Radio is still the only professionally produced video that will really show you what digital voice looks and sounds like, and let you hear directly from the pioneers and leaders of this new technology.

watch a 10-minute preview
High quality video and full-screen options are here
on my YouTube Channel. For full-screen [on the
YouTube channel, not here] click the little
TV-shaped icon at the lower-right of the viewer

Digital Voice DVD
plus shipping


  QST has given me permission to post a PDF version of my article "Operating D-STAR", published in September, 2007. You can download the PDF here.
This article is ARRL – you may download it, and link to this download, but please don't put it on your own web site or distribute it.

On my OtherStuff page, I've got my review of the IC-92, and, well, other stuff.

I can't re-print it here, but I've also written the revised VHF/UHF FM-Digital chapter in the new ARRL Operating Manual.

And check out my new, free video on programming D-STAR call sign fields.

Gary KN4AQ

Jim McClellan N5MIJ, with the K5TIT D-STAR system on a tall building in downtown Dallas, TX
Mel Whitten KPFX demonstrates the AOR digital voice modem. The inset shows the WinDRM operation screen.

LINKS to Digital Voice resources


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