Digital voice is nothing new to Amateur Radio. D-Star, System Fusion, and a hand full of other modes have been around for a long time.
Newer to the digital voice stage in Amateur Radio are the “commercial” modes like DMR, NXDN, and P25. These modes use to only be available on more costly commercial radios like ones from Motorola and the commercial lines of Kenwood and Icom. That’s changing and started with the low cost DMR radios out of China and other commercial radios becoming available on the surplus market.
The problem remained though that you had to pick your flavor (D-Star, DMR, P25, etc.), typically meaning you picked what was being used in your area, or faced the costly burden of buying a radio for each mode. Even then you faced the fact that if there wasn’t a repeater in your area for that mode you were stuck talking to no one.
That has now all changed with the gaining popularity of the multi-mode radio hotspots and repeaters. Now you can program up a little box, hook it to the internet, and you can use whatever mode of radio you desire to talk across the planet. To make it even better, multi-mode repeaters are starting to pop up allowing users that have different modes to talk to each other. You could be in Bedford with your NXDN radio talking through a local repeater to a person in Bloomington with a D-Star radio talking through the local repeater there.
On the pages here we’ll explore local repeaters and talkgroups, specifics on updating the Pi-Star (the gatekeeper between your RF and the internet), and other aspects of digital voice used around central and southern Indiana.
Link to repeater information
Link to pi-star information