D-STAR (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) is a digital voice and data protocol specification developed as the result of research by the Japan Amateur Radio League to investigate digital technologies for amateur radio. While there are other digital on-air technologies being used by amateurs that have come from other services, D-Star is one of the first on-air and packet-based standards to be widely deployed and sold by a major radio manufacturer that is designed specifically for amateur service use.


Other non-digital voice modes such as amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, and single sideband have been widely used since the first half of the 20th century. By comparison, digital D-STAR signals offer clearer signals and use less bandwidth than their non-digital counterparts. As long as the signal strength is above a minimum threshold, and no multi-path is occurring, the quality of the data received is better than an analog signal at the same strength.


D-Star compatible radios are available on VHF, UHF, and microwave amateur radio bands. In addition to the over-the-air protocol, D-Star also provides specifications for network connectivity, enabling D-Star radios to be connected to the Internet or other networks and provisions for routing data streams of voice or packet data via amateur radio callsigns.


The first manufacturer to offer D-Star compatible radios is Icom. As of July 06, 2011, no other amateur radio equipment manufacturer has chosen to include D-Star technology in their radios. The technology requires the use of a proprietary AMBE Codec that is owned by Digital Voice Systems, Inc. and is only licensed to Icom at this time.

There follows some information from Tom, 2W0TAX, for those who are having difficulty registering on the D-Star network:

Registering with the D-STAR Network.

We regularly get enquiries from customers and other D-STAR users who are having problems getting registered onto the D-STAR network.

Where best way we encourage users to register with their local repeater keeper. In a perfect world this shouldn't be a problem. However there may be reasons why users cannot register, so if you require registration, please send us the following details to info@icomuk.co.uk and we will add you to the D-STAR network:

Or click here D-STAR Registration Form and fill in your details on the form provided.

When we have processed your request you will receive an email and then you will be able to get on the air digitally. Don’t forget you do not have to be registered to use the repeater locally.

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