Digital Ham: D-Star or Fusion (or other) when travelling.

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Do you use D-Star or Fusion when travelling?

  • D-Star

  • Fusion

  • Other

  • Analog


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Charlie W2YBX

Rank III
Member

Contributor III

797
Long Island, New York, USA
Member #

11933

Ham Callsign
W2YBX
Hello!

I'm looking to get a digital dual band 2m/70cm radio for my vehicle (D-Star or Fusion) and I'm wondering if anyone here would like to share their opinions/stories/rants! on which one, if any, they use or prefer.

I mostly travel East of the Mississippi, and the radios I'm looking at are the Icom ID-5100A and the Yaesu FTM-400XDR.

My club has a 2m D-Star repeater and a 70cm Fusion repeater so either works for local.

Thanks!
 
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WW7PDX

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

1,458
Catoosa, OK, USA
Member #

11831

Ham Callsign
WW7PDX
Hello!

I'm looking to get a digital dual band 2m/70cm radio for my vehicle (D-Star or Fusion) and I'm wondering if anyone here would like to share their opinions/stories/rants! on which one, if any, they use or prefer.

I mostly travel East of the Mississippi, and the radios I'm looking at are the Icom ID-5100A and the Yaesu FTM-400XDR.

My club has a 2m D-Star repeater and a 70cm Fusion repeater so either works for local.

Thanks!
I have an ID51a-Plus2 that I run at home and with a mobile mounted to my truck. D-Star is obviously the only side I have experience with based on my radio, but I find it very user friendly. I went this route so I could play with long distance comms without all the extra gear that may be an issue with my current HOA.

I have connected the local repeater up to a variety of reflectors around the globe, and think the online resources which show who is chatting where have added to my onboarding and success. There is almost always someone to connect with, particularly a reflector out if Atlanta that seems to draw folks from around d the world.

I do not have much time for radio work, especially while mobile, but have been debating either a 4100 or 5100. I prefer the 4100 since it shares the interface from my HT which makes my life easier, but really would like to play with cross band repeater capabilities which limit me to the 5100. The alternative I have considered is an HT mobile amp so I could push closer to 40w.

One of the big reasons I went D-Star was because I finally convinced myself to get into amatuer radio as part of my CERT volunteer work. D-Star has the D-Rats system for first responders, and funny enough was developed for folks in my and adjoining counties. Also amusing is that I have not yet had the time to try and work with it almost 2 years later.

The only other thing I can offer is that is seems to me that many of the contacts I have made or observed are using devices to connect rather than radios. My guess is the price point and ability to be agnostic of a nearby repeat drives that...

Hope that was worth something.
 

Prerunner1982

US Southwest Region Member Rep
Member

Influencer II

2,846
Navina, Oklahoma
First Name
Jon
Last Name
B
Member #

16274

That may be a very regional topic. Here in Oklahoma the largest digital presence in the OKC metro area is probably DMR. There are a couple of Yaesu System Fusion repeaters and the two D-star repeaters are noted as being off the air leaving one in a suburb on the far south side. Outside the OKC metro area System fusion and DMR repeaters are pretty even in numbers and all in the same general locations.

IF I were to do digital voice I would probably consider the MMDVM hotspot, it can do D-star, DMR, System Fusion, and P25. That way it wouldn't matter what DV mode was popular wherever you may be you would have access to it given that you had cell connection, which most digital voice repeaters seem to be located near metro areas that should have cell service.
 
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Chris Arnesen

Rank V
Member

Influencer II

1,995
Hillsboro, OR
First Name
Chris
Last Name
Arnesen
Member #

3839

Ham Callsign
KU7PDX
Well, I run D-STAR/analog in the truck primarily because it's what I had (an Icom ID-880H) and I also administrate the local ARES D-STAR repeater, so it comes in handy.

I've dabbled with DMR because of how inexpensive the radios are, but I haven't yet purchased a Fusion capable radio.

I always recommend getting the digital mode that is used on the repeaters you'll use. With hotspots like the MMDVM, we'll see more conversions between the various digital modes so I'm sure in the future you'll be able to cross between things like DMR/D-STAR, D-STAR/Fusion, etc. It's just a matter of time!
 

RadioRick

Rank IV
Member

Advocate II

989
Springfield, OR, USA
First Name
Rick
Last Name
Iverson
Member #

16745

Ham Callsign
W7NB
Very little digital outside the metro areas so I've not yet played with anything but DMR stuff.
 

jeep670

Rank IV

Pathfinder I

Between the two, if you travel a lot, I'd pick the 5100. You load up 1500 the repeaters with their geo position and the gps/your location will give you the closest repeaters to where you are. That's invaluable!

Then you get a hotspot and the world comes to you. Screenshot_20190330-211723_QuickPic.jpg
 

jeep670

Rank IV

Pathfinder I

I always recommend getting the digital mode that is used on the repeaters you'll use. With hotspots like the MMDVM, we'll see more conversions between the various digital modes so I'm sure in the future you'll be able to cross between things like DMR/D-STAR, D-STAR/Fusion, etc. It's just a matter of time!
You can only crossmode dnr and c4fm today as they use the same codec. Dstar uses a slightly different codec (of which detailed info is still kept hidden by icom).
But if you get on the mixed mode reflectors (Quadnet, the Constellation, etc) all modes are transcoded, so any mode has access to the same "network".