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Planning D-Star coverage in Kent & East Sussex - 23/09/2007

Hi, my name is John Rivers = G0GCQ.

I am the Deputy-Controller for the Hastings & Rother RAYNET & have been leading discussions, locally, on the use of digital communications for Emergency Communication use for the last 15 months.

Those of us that used to run & maintain the Kent IP Network (I ran GB7SEA)will be familiar with the cry for support and thirst for knowledge. Then, fellow amateurs wanted to know where the links would be & if there would be an IP BBS close by ...... as well as generally how to 'get going'.

The situation we now find ourselves in, for the development of the D-Star network throughout Kent, is similar to the position we were in with IP Packet development in the early 1990s.

To state the obvious, leaving aside the financial implications, it will take time to gain the approval for siting the D-Star repeaters. I dare say many of you are wishing you could have a repeater close by but, certainly in the early stages, it would be best to site a handful of D-Star repeaters in strategically important positions.

For example, with a D-Star repeater already serving parts of Thanet, Herne Bay & Whitstable, other sites could be:

1) Medway Towns & Maidstone > Detling Hill area.
2) Folkestone, S. Kent, Part of Thanet > Capel area.
3) North Kent, M20 & A2 area > Brands Hatch area.
4) West Kent > Pembury area.
5) South West Kent & link to East Sussex > Tenterden area.

Now I know that list is non-specific, but you get the idea I am sure?

I, for one, would be happy to have a D-star repeater in Wittersham. I already have 10Meg Broadband, a Linux computer under-used, and a very good take-off for the surrounding area. (If I won the lottery there would be no question about it!)

From a commercial perspective, it would be good for Icom to have a 'reasonable' backbone for D-Star in this area: to encourage the uptake of digital radio sales but also to act as a 'showcase' for the rest of the UK. Therefore the cost of D-Star equipment may be available at a more advantageous rate at the moment?

My point, everyone, is that it might be the right time for those of us interested in supporting the fledgling D-Star network to form our own type of repeater 'group' > to look for ways to fund this development & to work closely with Icom with the overall goal of having an effective digital comms network in this part of Kent.

Now you are all going to tell me that such a group already exists and that the siting of repeaters has already been discussed! If not, why not think about my musings?

Best 73 de John
(RSARS 2362)

Posted By: Mr John Rivers

Post a Comment >>


Well, after a whole year of foot dragging and contemplating, I've finally purchased my first D-Star radio (E2820), and a very nice radio it is too!

My decision was made easier by the opening of the GB7SS 70cm D-Star 'Node' at W&S in Hockley, Essex, where I purchased the radio from - Cheers Steve M1EZE!

I'm still getting to grips with all the new options and settings, but it's looking (and sounding) good so far.

New 'Nodes' are springing up all over the place, especially in Kent. I'm just waiting for one in or around Chatham, up on Blubell Hill or perhaps Detling in Kent.

Well done to all the (very) early adopters who got all the existing 'nodes' and infrastructure set up in the UK in record time!
Posted By:
Mr Jonathan Perry
12 December 2008 15:27
Sounds like a great idea, but with the (general day to day) lack of use of the existing analogue repeaters, even the ones with Echolink (and some repeaters have switched Echolink connection off because of it interfering with normal use... OK and IK), how do you persuade people to spend money duplicating an already existing analogue repeater system that isn't even utilised?

The extra features of the D-Star technology (GPS, text message passing, etc) are very interesting and would prove useful I'm sure, if groups could be persuaded to set up a big enough network of them in and around Kent & East Sussex.

I could be wrong (it's not unknown!) but it appears to me that the limiting usefulness of D-Star is the underlying repeater network. Without that infrastructure it's just 'digital simplex' and frankly, who wants to replace their perfectly good Icom analogue radios just for that?

Ps. Yes, I know the D-Star radios can be used in analogue mode, so can my current radios thanks!
Posted By:
Mr Jonathan Perry
24 September 2007 12:35
(*Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio)

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