Areas, Zones and Gateways, Oh MY!...

So far we have looked at how this digital thing works in the simplex environment. The digital repeater environment is a bit different from the analog environment we are used to. Again, we have the addressing information that makes sure our signal gets to it's destination. In addition to "UrCALL", we will add "RPT1 C" for the local repeater's callsign.

The local repeater, RPT1 C, is the one to which we talk to over the air. You can think of D-STAR’s “Area” as the geographic area that RPT1 C, the local repeater, covers. So an “Area” is the vicinity around the D-STAR repeater where you can hear and be heard by the repeater. So far, not too different from an analog system.

Again, there is a packet radio analogy... remember digipeaters? To connect to your friend on the other side of the hill, the command is, "Connect K6VE Via K6GLV". Same thing with D-STAR... we enter the callsign of who we want to talk to, UrCALL, and the callsign of the repeater, RPT1 C.

The D-STAR concept of "Zones" is analogous to a linked repeater system. Just as a linked repeater system consists of two or more repeater sites connected by an RF link, a D-STAR Zone is two or more D-Star repeaters linked by an RF backbone, typically at 10 GHz.

Where all this digital stuff really get exciting is when we talk about “Gateways”. For those of you who have used IRLP or Echolink, D-STAR "Gateways" will seem real familiar. The “Gateway” is how your digitized voice gets from your local D-STAR repeater to the Internet... from there it goes to another Gateway and out over the air at some remote and, we hope, exotic location. This is where "RPT2 C" comes in. And now for "Going Places...".


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