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Frequently Asked Questions

A FAQ for the gmsk_dv_node Yahoo Group

Setting up a GMSK Modem-based system

 

  1. Will the board work with my radio?

  2. What's Linking?  What are the different linking systems?

  3. What's callsign registration?  What should my Node Callsign be and must I register it?

  4. What is Callsign Routing and what is ircDDB?

  5. I have enabled ircDDB in WinDV, but it keeps disconnecting me.  Why?

  6. I'm trying out my Hotspot for the 1st time, and I can't get the receive test (e.g. RF Read) to work.  What should I do?

  7. I'm trying out my Hotspot for the 1st time, and I can't get the transmit test (e.g. Echo Test) to work.  What should I do?

  8. I can connect my Hotspot to a repeater and hear them, but they can't hear me.  Why?

  9. When my Hotspot transmits, the audio is a little garbled/R2D2.  What is causing this?

  10. The text message on my D-Star radio is often garbled and not what was transmitted. Why?

  11. I get the message RICHTX32.OCX is missing when running DUTCH*Star NATools programs.  How do I fix?

  12. Installing DUTCH*Star NATools/driver fails on Windows 8/8.1/10.  What do I do now?

  13. What are recommended settings for my D-Star radio?

  14. WinDV reports "Routing for xxx failed: CALLSIGN UNKNOWN" What's the fix?


Will the board work with my radio?

The short answer is -- if your radio provides access to the receiver's discriminator without filtering, and access to the transmitter's modulator without filtering, then yes, your radio will probably work.  By far the easiest way to ensure the above is to use a radio that supports 9600 Data, typically for Packet.  Many of these radios provide a standard 6-pin Mini DIN connector on the back, but some radios use a DSub9 or other connector. 

If thinking about buying a particular radio for your Hotspot, find that radio's manual on the internet and check the back panel documentation for a Data connector.

You can also check the Radio Files section of the gmsk_dv_node Yahoo Group to see if anyone has already documented that radio for use with a Hotspot.

Note: if you are adept at reading schematics and can add a small modification to a radio, you usually can find the tap points for discriminator and modulator and convert radios lacking the 9600 Data port.

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What's Linking?  What are the different linking systems?

DPlus was the first and arguably still the most popular linking system.  It was developed by Robin Cutshaw AA4RC to make it easy to connect repeaters to other repeaters.  He also created the DPlus Reflectors, named REFnnnx as in REF001C.  Hotspots running DVAR, WinDV, G4KLX and similar software can be configured to link the Hotspot or homebrew repeater to DPlus Repeaters and Reflectors -- as a DPlus Client.  So you can link OUT to DPlus systems.  Normally you cannot have ICOM G2 repeaters find your homebrew system and link IN.  DPlus authenticates by verifying the callsign is registered at a G2 repeater/gateway.  See more about registration here.  You can see a list of REF reflectors here.

DExtra was created by Scott Lawson KI4KLF. DExtra reflectors are named XRFnnnx as in XRF001A. It does authenticate to the G2 database, so registration is less of a problem. It uses different procedures to "talk" between a client the the reflector.  XRF reflectors will also support DPlus-style link requests, to allow DPlus-only clients to connect and talk.  Ramesh Dhami VA3UV now supports DExtra as part of the FreeStar system.

DCS is an extension of DExtra, but DCS reflectors do not support DPLus linking requests.  DCS reflectors are popular in Europe, but can be found worldwide.  You can see a list of DCS reflectors here.

DVAR can link to DPLus systems.  WinDV, G4KLX and some other homebrew software support linking to all three types of reflectors.

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What's callsign registration? What should my Node Callsign be and must I register it?

Most people want their Hotspot to be able to issue DPlus Link requests so they can connect to DPlus-enabled repeaters and connectors, so this answer will focus on that need.  However, if you don't plan to do DPlus linking, rather DExtra to XRF reflectors or DCS linking exclusively, this answer does not apply to you.

DPlus is an application that repeater administrators add to their gateways, and most reflector owners choose to utilize the DPlus Reflector application.  DPlus, in an attempt to ensure only authentic callsigns are allowed to connect and transmit over remote repeaters, checks to make sure the callsigns involved are already properly registered terminals on a US Trust-connected repeater.  See Step 1 at http://www.k6jm.com/hs-setup.htm

Summary of callsign registration info for Hotspots running WinDV or DVAR:
 
A. WinDV "Callsign" or DVAR "Node Callsign" - if you want to do DPlus Linking and be heard at the connected node, you must register as a terminal the callsign with suffix or band module
(Example K1ABC (Band Module) B -- need to Register at a US Trust repeater the terminal called "K1ABC  B".)
 
B. WinDV "AuthCall" or DVAR "Gateway Auth Callsign" - This callsign with optional band module suffix must be registered as above.
(Example AuthCall is "K1ABC  N" -- must register a terminal "K1ABC  N".
 
It is acceptable to use the same callsign for both Callsign and AuthCall, and many people use a terminal with a "blank" suffix/band module.  However, it has become common for HotSpot owners to register a terminal with a suffix of "N" for their simplex node adapter hotspot, or an "R" for their full duplex hotspot and to use the N or R terminal for AuthCall.
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What is Callsign Routing and what is ircDDB?

Callsign Routing is an excellent feature of the D-Star specification, but it is a little harder to use that first time, so many (most?) people get started using only DPlus linking.  But as they get more knowledgeable, many people also learn to use Callsign Routing.  There are two major reasons:

Your Hotspot can be configured to do callsign routing and accept incoming callsign routing transmissions.  DVAR software does not support this, but the DUTCH*Star WinDV does, since it supports ircDDB (learn more).  In addition to WinDV, people also use Jonathan Naylor G4KLX's Repeater Controller with his ircDDB Gateway software, but for simplicity, this FAQ will focus on WinDV. The following assumes you want to be able to do both Callsign Routing and Dplus Linking.

ircDDB requires that your Hotspot or full duplex repeater must have a different callsign from your own personal MyCall callsign.  This is your "gateway callsign."  These callsigns are obtained in different ways in various countries.  For example, in the US, this is gotten by forming a club and requesting a club callsign (http://www.k6jm.com/usasetupclub.htm).

Registration issues:
  • At the time of ircDDB registration, the gateway callsign must not be defined in a terminal registered at a US Trust repeater.
  • If you want your ircDDB gateway to also be able to issue links to DPlus repeaters and reflectors, then AFTER the call has been registered with ircDDB, proceed to register the callsign as a terminal with a US Trust repeater.  The timing of this is critical.  If your gateway callsign is already registered with US Trust when you attempt to register with ircDDB, you will be rejected by ircDDB.  You will need to delete from US Trust first, wait until the delete propagates throughout the world, then try to register with ircDDB.
  • AFTER you successfully register this gateway callsign with ircDDB, THEN you should register it as a terminal on a US Trust repeater registration page if you want to use DPlus linking.
Then, in WinDV, go to the ircDDB tab:
  • Check the enable ircDDB box
  • For Username, enter callsign that you have registered at www.ircddb.net
  • For Password and Server, use what the registration email from ircDDB specifies
This WinDV hotspot with the ircDDB tab activated will be seen as a ircDDB gateway to ircDDB, but as a user hotspot to DPlus.  The point of all this is to have your cake and eat it too -- you can link to DPlus reflectors when you want, or you can do callsign routing leveraging ircDDB when you want.

Summary:

The sequence of steps is important.
 
1.  Register the callsign with USTrust.  Only perform the FIRST
     part of the registration process, which only created that callsign, but
     nothing else yet (no terminals.)

2.  Register the same callsign with the ircDDB system.  Use the info they
     send you to configure the ircDDB module in WinDV.

3.  Add the required terminals (B or C and N or R) on the USTrust for that
     callsign, as these ARE needed for DPlus access.

4.  In WinDV, set the desired station callsign (_C ),
     and also specify the correct authcall.
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I have enabled ircDDB in WinDV, but it keeps disconnecting me.  Why?

See the above question, but the short answer is you need to register you callsign in the ircDDB database.  Click here to go to their registration page.

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I'm trying out my Hotspot for the 1st time, and I can't get the receive test to work.  What should I do?

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I'm trying out my Hotspot for the 1st time, and I can't get the transmit test to work.  What should I do?

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I can connect my Hotspot to a repeater and hear them, but they can't hear me.  Why?

The cause is either DPlus authentication or your hotspot software is rejecting your RPT1 or RPT2 settings.

Authentication -- Remember that the MyCall in your D-Star radio must be a registered terminal, but also your Node Callsign and your Auth Callsign must also be registered terminals. Note: when Hotspots were starting up, the Node Callsign did not have to be registered, but DPlus was changed to now require this.  (The easiest way to comply is to use your callsign with a blank suffix for all three of the above.  But many people prefer a different convention and end up setting up three terminals with different suffixes.  See the callsign registration question above.)

RPT1 & RPT2 -- Programs like DVAR and WinDV have a setting which will check if your RPT1 and/or RPT2 values are valid or "proper."  If your D-Star radio is set for simplex operation (not DUP), then remember the radio ignores what you programmed in RPT1 and RPT2 and simply transmits "DIRECT" for those values.  The quick fix is to uncheck the setting ("Require proper RPT...").  Another way is to program your radio for DUP mode with a zero offset. 

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When my Hotspot transmits, the audio is a little garbled/R2D2.  What is causing this?

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The text message on my D-Star radio is often garbled and not what was transmitted. Why?

In the D-Star protocol, the user message data is transmitted without error correction.  

Normally when people test at their QTH, their HT has excellent signal strength, so typically garbled text is not caused by a weak signal.  Some possible causes:

But there no standard solutions and each case is different.

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I get the message RICHTX32.OCX is missing when running DUTCH*Star NATools programs.  How do I fix?

NATools programs use Visual Basic and need that module.  Until recently, Microsoft automatically installed the VB runtime library when Windows was installed.  With recent versions of Windows, that no longer happens, and you need to get the missing library, or in this case, .OCX file, yourself.   You can install it by following these instructions.

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Installing DUTCH*Star NATools/driver fails on Windows 8/8.1/10.  What do I do now?

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What are recommended settings for my D-Star radio?

Different models have different terms, but in general, turn off AUTO_RX and AUTO_RPT.  Force your radio into DV mode, rather than having it dynamically decide between DV and FM mode -- this helps recover from a brief signal level drop that can confuse the receiver. 

If your Hotspot software has been configured to Check for Valid RPT1 and/or RPT2, and you are operating in simplex mode (TX and RX frequencies the same), then be sure to trick the radio into thinking it's in Duplex mode by turning on DUP with an offset of 0 (zero).  D-STAR radios only transmit your programmed RPT1 and RPT2 values if the radio is in full DUPlex mode. 

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WinDV reports "Routing for xxx failed: CALLSIGN UNKNOWN" What's the fix?

To be sure about what's going on, temporarily turn on logging.  Go to WinDV's Tools > Options and click the Enable Logging box, save and restart.  Then when you get an error, go to File > View Logfile to see details about the problem.  If you can't fix the problem, then go to Help > Report a Problem or Idea to send the details to DUTCH*Star.

In this case, the problem may already have been fixed in version 1.5.7, but in general, follow the D-Star radio settings recommended in the question above.  In particular, be sure to turn off AUTO_RX and AUTO_RPT functions.

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Revised: March 19, 2016.

D-Star® is a registered trademark used for communication equipment (repeaters and transceivers) for amateur radio communications, and owned by Icom Incorporated.