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D-Star Repeater

Converting a D-Star Hotspot to a Full Duplex Repeater

If you have a gmsk modem and put up a D-Star Compatible Hotspot, it is quite easy to convert this simplex system to a full duplex repeater that supports DPlus linking to other repeaters, reflectors and often to Hotspots, DVAPs and DV Dongles.  With other software, this same equipment can become an ICOM G2-compatible repeater that supports Callsign Routing.

Here’s all you need:

  • Another analog radio with 9600 baud Data port, or direct access to the Rx radio’s discriminator and the Tx radio’s modulator
  • Cable to connect the GMSK Node adapter to the two radios
  • Duplexer to isolate the Rx radio from the transmitted signal (required of all same-band repeaters)
  • Appropriate PC and software (which you already have if you are converting an existing Hotspot)
  • Internet connection


  • Callsign — I recommend you get a separate callsign for your D-Star Compatible repeater.  This is required if your chosen software is the G4ULF StarGate gateway.  While not absolutely required when using DVAR software, things will be simpler if your repeater has its own callsign, and if you later move to G4ULF StarGate, the callsign will already be set up.

    Note to US hams —
    A club requires only 3 other people besides yourself to get started.  Click here for easy guidance on setting up a small ham club and requesting a club callsign
  • D-Star registration — You need to register your club callsign with a nearby D-Star repeater, and set up at least one “terminal” with a blank “initial”.  This is documented on the Building a D-Star Compatible Hotspot page, Step 1.  In Step 1.d, create the “blank” terminal.  You can create a 2nd terminal with initial of “R”, or you can keep it simple and just use the “blank” terminal for authentication.  There really are no standards for this.
  • Duplexer — This is not a D-Star issue, since all repeaters require at least a duplexer.  If you are setting up a “garage repeater” in a low-RF area, you can probably get away with an inexpensive “mobile” duplexer.  I got mine on eBay from seller “mega409shop” for $90 tuned to my frequency pair and shipping included.  Running 35 watts, I have experienced very little desense in the receiver. On eBay, search for “50W UHF Duplexer” or “50W VHF Duplexer”.  Prices will vary.

Caution:  Inexpensive duplexers normally provide about 75 db isolation between Rx and Tx.  When running 50 watts or less, this is probably ok.  This type of duplexer requires a split of at least 3.5 mHz for VHF, or 5.0 mHz for UHF.  If you are hoping to get your repeater coordinated in the US, this split may or may not be acceptable to the coordinators.

If your repeater will be located at a high-RF location, for example on a commercial repeater tower, an inexpensive duplexer will not work for you.  You will need a high quality duplexer with 100 db or more isolation and possibly other equipment.  You can get lots of info from the internet, such as Repeater-Builder website.

  • Computer — Your computer doesn’t need to be large or fast.  I started out using an older laptop, but decided since the PC would be on 24 hours a day, I should get something that consumes minimal power.  I built a small, inexpensive PC using a Mini ITX form-factor motherboard.  There are many which will work.  I got an Intel BOXD510MO board with Atom CPU, 1 GB memory, for the “hard disk” I got a cheap 4 GB Compact Flash card and a CF SATA adapter.  I already had a KVM switch so I use the same keyboard, monitor and mouse that my main computer uses.  The entire cost of this PC was about USD 180.  It uses 26 watts of mains power.  Note: some people get an inexpensive solid-state disk unit.  The goal is to have as few moving parts as possible.

My software for now is DVAR Hot Spot, so I needed to load Windows to my new PC, and I wanted a slimmed-down Windows installation.  In addition, since Compact Flash cards have a lifetime limit in write operations, I wanted Windows to avoid all hard disk writes during normal operation.  This page explains how I did that.

  • Software — you have a choice, but for this page I’ll assume you will use DVAR Hot Spot by Mark McGregor KB9KHM.  You can get his software from — scroll down to DVAR HotSpot and select the latest version.  If you haven’t already, refer to Step 5 on Building a D-Star Compatible Hotspot.
  • Cable — Since I already had a simplex hotspot with a gmsk board to radio cable, I built a simple cable that plugs into that cable and the two radios.
  • From the local electronics store I got 1) a ps/2 keyboard/mouse extension cable (6 pin mini DIN female on one end, male on the other) and 2) another one, though any cable with a male 6 pin mini DIN on one end will work.  I cut both in two and tossed one of the halves with a 6 pin male connector on it.  I stripped insulation and used a VOM to identify which color wire went with which pin. So there are 3 cables, one with a female connector, two with males. The resulting Y-cable plugs into the end of the gmsk node adapter cable and the Y-pigtails plug into the Tx and Rx radios.
    Using the pin numbering shown here:  6 pin mini DIN connectors — that is, both female and male connectors are facing you with the slot or notch at the top, wires coming out the back.  Label one of the male cables Tx, the other Rx.Female Pin   Male Pins   1        –        Tx 1  (Tx audio to transmitter)   3        –        Tx 3  (PTT to transmitter)   5        –        not connected
  •    6        –        Rx 6 (COS/Squelch from receiver)(If you’d prefer to build a single cable with a 9-pin DSub, the pin numbers are described on page 9 of the DUTCH*Star MHS manual.)
  •    4        –        Rx 4  (Rx audio from receiver)
  •    2        –        Rx 2, Tx 2  (ground, from both transmitter & receiver)


Step 1 – Connect the cable and configure the radios

  • Connect the female connector to the Hotspot cable from the gmsk node adapter board.  Be sure to plug the male cable marked Tx into the transmit radio, and the one marked Rx into the receive radio.
  • Tune the Rx and Tx radios to their respective frequencies, and depending on radio, set packet mode, etc.  If using a radio that’s never been in Hotspot or repeater service, check the Radio Files folder in the Files section of the gmsk_dv_node Yahoo Group website for advice on how to configure.

Step 2 – Run NAWinCFG to configure for Full Duplex

  • Load NAWinCFG
  • Click on Mode
  • Un-check the Half Duplex box
  • Note: see Building a D-Star Compatible Hotspot, steps 3.a and 7, for info regarding RSSI Report.  Most boards are configured for “version 4” mode, so RSSI Report should not be checked.  If you have a NQSMHS board and have set the jumpers for V5 mode, then check RSSI Report box here.
  • Click SAVE and exit the program

Step 3 – Run NAWinTest

  • Then run NAWinTest and check out both the RF Read and the Echo Test functions.

Step 4 – Change the DVAR Hot Spot settings to Repeater mode

  • In the DVAR Hot Spot software, disconnect, then go to Edit/Settings.
  • Fill in YOUR repeater’s callsign (not the one in the screen shot) for Node Callsign.  Choose the “Band Module” or port you plan to call it.
  • For the Gateway Auth Callsign, if you created only the “blank” terminal, then fill in your repeater’s callsign.  If you created a 2nd “R” terminal, then enter your callsign, then enough spaces so “R” is in the 8th position.
  • Set Operating Mode to Repeater, and check the Require proper RPT1 and RPT2 boxes.
  • Then click Save.
  • Exit DVAR

Step 5 – Test it out

  • Startup DVAR
  • Transmit with a D-Star radio  The repeater should repeat.
  • NOTE when you let up on PTT, you may hear the last few words of the transmission come back at you.  This is normal and is only heard by the person who just transmitted.  You can also play with the Tx Delay setting in the firmware if you want.

That’s it!

Note:  I recommend you set DVAR’s Callsign Server Settings to DUTCH*Star NLroot, so your repeater’s callsign will show up on other DVAR hotspots who might want to connect or link directly to your repeater.  There is also a trick that DVAP and Dongle owners can do so they will also see HotSpots and DVAR Repeaters.  This trick is documented at DUTCH*Star DPNS  (click on the DPNS button).

My DPlus Repeater consists of:

  • GMSK node adapter (started out with NQSMHS from Mark Phillips G7LTT, now using Matrix Circuits’ Star*Board) – $120
  • PC built from Intel D510MO mini ITX board, Atom CPU, 1GB ram, 4GB Compact Flash card in SATA adapter – with case/ps about $180
  • Duplexer – mobile size 6 cavity 75 db isolation – $90
  • Spare radios (currently) Kenwood D700 TX, Maxtrac 300 for RX
  • Software – DVAR Hot Spot, with plans to convert to WinDV to enable the ircDDB support

Total incremental cost: $390 (new PC) or $210 (using spare PC) – in both cases using spare analog radios and an existing antenna and coax.



D-star Hotspot

What is it?

D-STAR Hot Spot is software for Windows that creates a D-STAR ‘point of presence’ (or hot spot) utilizing an analog radio and a GMSK node adapter. The hot spot creates RF access to the D-STAR network where none previously existed. With a hot spot set up, you can use your D-STAR radio (IC-91AD, ID-92, etc.) to listen to, and talk on, any DPlus equipped D-STAR repeater or reflector.
Q: Do I need a DVDongle?
A: NOQ: With a hot spot, can I access the D-STAR network with an analog radio?
A: NO – You must use a D-STAR radio in digital voice mode with D-STAR hot spot.

Q: Can I use D-STAR Hot Spot to link with Echolink or IRLP?
N: NO – Hot Spot only works with D-STAR radios in digital voice mode.

Q: Does callsign or slash routing with with D-STAR Hot Spot?
N: NO – D-STAR Hot Spot talks to DPlus. Callsign and slash routing are not supported by DPlus.

The GMSK node adapter is currently only available as a construction project. The boards are available from Satoshi Yasuda (7M3TJZ) via his website here.

Typically, an analog radio with a 9600kbps packet port is used with the node adapter. Radios in which a direct discriminator/modular tap can be obtained are also a possibility. Same radios seem to work well with no issues, and others do not. You mileage may vary – good luck. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, the radio interface is the hardest part of getting the whole thing working.)

D-STAR Hot Spot runs only on Windows (Win2K, XP, etc.)



You should NOT attempt to use D-STAR Hot Spot until you have obtained solid performance from your analog radio/node adapter with Satoshi’s Echo Test program. Anything less than good working node adapter/analog radio combination could make you less than popular very quickly on any system you connect to.Due to the real-time nature of DV data streams, it is recommended that you not interact with the main D-STAR Hot Spot window while transmission or reception is occurring. Doing so will likely cause garble or “R2-D2”.


Download and Install:

Before installing D-STAR Hot Spot you must first install the USB drivers for the node adapter. Once your USB drivers are installed and the node adapter works well with the echo test program, you are ready to install D-STAR Hot Spot. The installation package can be downloaded from the files section of the Yahoo gmsk_dv_node group here. To install, simply unzip the downloaded file and run setup.exe.If you are upgrading from a previous version, you will need to uninstall the old version first.



The main settings window is accessible via the menu through Edit > Settings.
Simplex mode settings window:

Repeater mode settings window:

Node Callsign: This is the callsign that your Hot Spot will transmit (over RF) to identify itself.
Gateway Auth Callsign: This is the callsign that will be sent to the gateway, upon connection, for authentication. You must be a registered D-STAR user to access the network with D-STAR Hot Spot.
PIN: If the gateway you are connecting to requires a PIN number, enter it here.
Operating Mode: Simplex mode enables the traditional mode of Hot Spot operation. In Simplex mode, a single analog radio is connected to the node adapter.Repeater mode allows Hot Spot to act as a local repeater and provide D-STAR network connectivity via D-PLUS. In repeater mode two radios should be connected to the Hot Spot. The transmitting radio should be connected to the node adapter. The receiving radio may be connected to either the node adapter or the GMSK sound card decoder may be used. As of v2.27, repeater mode does support using the node adapter for full duplex TX/RX. As with all repeaters, a duplexer should be used to isolate the transmitter and receiver and prevent receiver desense. While operating in repeater mode, users may hear a word or two of their own voice come back to them when they unkey after a transmission. This is normal and is due to the buffering involved while waiting for the transmitting radio to stabilize after key-down. Using the shortest possible TX delay time will help to reduce this effect.
Require RPT1 to repeat: Enabling this setting will require repeater mode users to set a proper RPT1 callsign in their D-STAR radio for their transmissions to be repeated locally. Disabling this setting will cause Hot Spot to repeat all transmissions locally regardless of the RPT1 setting. See about setting repeater callsgns below.
Require RPT2 to gateway: Enabling this setting will require repeater mode users to set a proper RPT2 callsign in their D-STAR radio for their transmissions to be sent to the connected gateway/reflector. Disabling this setting will cause Hot Spot to forward all transmissions to the connected gateway/reflector regardless of the RPT2 setting. See about setting repeater callsigns below.
ID after every repeated transmission: Enabling this setting cause Hot Spot to transmit an ID and connection status message after every repeated transmission (just like it does in simplex mode). below.
Transmit Mode: Enable GMSK Node Adapter – Use this check box to enable/disable RF transmissions from your GMSK node adapterTX Delay Time – You may select the amount of key up delay that should be used with your node adapter transmitter. It is recommended that the delay time be set just long enough to allow your transmitter to stabilize after key-down for proper transmission of the DV header/callsigns.
Receive Mode: You may choose to use either the Satoshi’s node adapter or Jakub Hruska’ssound card decoder to decode the GMSK signals received by your analog radio.
Automatically connect to Quick Tune 1: When checked, D-STAR Hot Spot will automatically connect to the gateway stored in Quick Tune slot #1 upon startup.
Enable Logging: When checked, D-STAR Hot Spot will write a log file containing all connect/disconnect as well as QSO activity. Hot Spot generates one log file per day, and log files are written to a ‘logs’ subdirectory under the directory that D-STAR Hot Spot is installed.
DVR Settings: Checking ‘Enable recording by default’ will automatically turn on DVR recording upon startup.
Specifying a non-zero number in the ‘Auto delete’ box will cause DVR QSO files to be deleted after the specified number of days. A zero value in this box will disable auto delete.
DPRS Settings: Checking ‘Enable slow speed output’ will cause D-STAR Hot Spot to open a TCP server on the specified port. Hot Spot will make available all of the slow speed data received from the attached radio over this port. You can connect to this port with telnet to view the slow speed data, or connect with AE5PL’s D-PRS Interface to forward received DPRS data to the APRS-IS network. Hot Spot can also start/stop D-PRS Interface automatically by enabling the option and specifying the path to the application executable.

Signal Quality mode settings window (Edit>SQ Calibration):

If you are using firmware version >= 5.00 with a modified node adapter board, D-Star Hot Spot will be able to read the relative receive S/N ratio from the GMSK decoder chip in the node adapter. The range of raw values returned for S/N ratio ranges from 0 to 1023. The signal quality calibration settings window allows you to specify a translation between these raw values and a number 0-9 which will be displayed with every ID transmission sent by Hot Spot. This signal quality report will be displayed to end users radios as part of the MyCall call sign. Example: MyNode /NSQ7 In the last 4 characters of the MyCall, the ‘N’ indicates that Hot Spot is operating as a node (simplex), and the SQ7 indicates a relative signal quality of 7.


Click on the Configure button in the Gateway section of the main window to specify the gateway or reflector you wish to connect to.

Select Repeater: Use this drop-down to select the gateway or reflector you wish to connect to. When selecting a gateway from this drop-down, you will also need to specify the band module from the “band module” drop-down.
Manual Settings: Use this option to manually specify all of the gateway/reflector connection settings.
Automatically reconnect if
connection is lost:
Select this option to have D-STAR Hot Spot automatically reconnect to the specified gateway if the connection is lost (due to a network interruption).
Store connection in
Quick Tune slot:
Selecting a number from this drop down will store the gateway settings in the corresponding quick tune button in the main window for easy recall.


If you chose to use the sound card GMSK decoder, clicking on the Configure button in the GMSK Sound Card RX section of the main window will allow you to specify the settings for this decoder.

GMSK Server Address: Specify the IP address or machine name of the GMSK sound card decoder.
Port: Use this option to specify the listening port of the GMSK sound card decoder application. The port number is 6116 by default.
Automatically connect
on startup:
Select this option to have D-STAR Hot Spot automatically connect to the GMSK sound card decoder when the application is launched.
Automatically reconnect if
connection is lost:
Select this option to have D-STAR Hot Spot automatically reconnect to the GMSK sound card decoder if the connection is lost (due to a network interruption).

About Setting Repeater Callsigns:

The callsign that you specify in the “Node Callsign” field in D-STAR Hot Spot is the callsign that will be transmitted by the node adapter for ID purposes. It is also the callsign that is used to check RPT1/RPT2 received from users radios while in repeater mode.Examples:
Node Callsign is set to “MY9RPT  “, so a user with callsign AB1CDE would set the callsigns in their radio to:

MyCall: AB1CDE  
UrCall: CQCQCQ  



Node Callsign is set to “MY9RPT B”, so a user with callsign AB1CDE would set the callsigns in their radio to: 

MyCall: AB1CDE  
UrCall: CQCQCQ  




Click on the connect button(s) to connect to the D-STAR gateway and GMSK sound card decoder (if enabled). While connected, indicators will blink on the screen to indicate data transmitted to and received from the gateway or sound card decoder. When disconnected, the quick tune buttons can be used to easily switch from one pre-programmed gateway to another. Received station information will be displayed in the lower part of the window in the Last Gateway User and Last RF user areas.D-STAR Hot Spot will transmit a station identification once every 7 minutes during periods of activity. An identification is also transmitted immediately after each received RF transmission. This immediate transmission is designed to let the RF User know that their transmission was received by Hot Spot. All identification transmissions will include a scrolling data message to be displayed on the screen of the D-STAR radio that indicates if Hot Spot is connected to a gateway, and if so, the callsign and band module of that gateway.

RF users accessing a D-STAR Hot Spot node should set their MyCall to their own callsign, and UrCall to CQCQCQ. RPT1 and RPT2 settings are not important, as the Hot Spot software will automatically replace the repeater settings with the proper callsigns for the connected gateway or reflector. Because D-STAR Hot Spot replaces the RPT1 and RPT2 callsigns, the analog radio connected to the GMSK node adapter may be used in simplex mode. A dup (+/-) offset is not required.

As of version 2.10, D-STAR Hot Spot supports remote linking/unlinking using the same commands as DPlus. Link/unlink commands should be transmitted in the URCall callsign slot of your D-STAR radio. After linking/unlinking, you should set URCall back to CQCQCQ. Upon receiving a link/unlink command, D-STAR Hot Spot will respond by transmitting an ID with a slow speed message indicating the current connection status.


Use  AB1CDEML to link to gateway AB1CDE module M
Use  REFXXXML to link to reflector XXX module M
Use ”       U” to unlink from the currently connected gateway/reflector


D-STAR DVR functionality allows you to record all transmissions from the connected gateway and RF. To start recording select DVR > Enable Recording from the main menu. To stop recording select DVR > Disable Recording. DVR playback is only available when recording is disabled and Hot Spot is not connected to a gateway or reflector. Selecting DVR > Playback will open the DVR window which allows QSO files to be played back and deleted.

DVR playback uses the Hot Spot transmitter. You will need a D-STAR radio to listen to the QSO’s during playback. The play button will begin playing back transmissions starting from the selected entry in the QSO list box. Playback will continue until the stop button or button is pressed, or the end of the list is reached. The “<<” and “>>” buttons will move to the previous or next transmission in the list. You can delete multiple transmissions in the list by selecting them and clicking the delete button.

The ‘Export Selected To DVTool File’ button will take all of the selected transmissions in the DVR window and combine them into a single DVTool file which can be played back with the DVDongle.




POE Switch

GPS Tracker

D-Star UT118


UT-118 สำหรับ IC2200T






Antenna Tunner





Manpack Homebrew


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