Let's look at how the gateway works. This is where D-STAR really starts to shine.
Since we are dealing with data, there are a lot of things we can do that just aren't
easy or possible in the analog world. Being data, we can ship it around easily, over
the internet, between computers, PDAs, etc.
The gateway is what the name implies... a portal to other places. A computer at the repeater site does the job of directing traffic to and from the local D-STAR system. A database keeps track of what radios have been heard on the local ports and when. The gateway also talks to other gateways in the D-STAR system so that you can get your data to it's destination.
The gateway moves data from your local zone thru a high speed connection to the internet. The concept is identical to IRLP or Echolink, so if you have ever used these modes, you get the picture. Remember that the D-STAR radio has turned your voice into data. That data goes to the local repeater, and if you have told it to go thru the gateway, the gateway will send that data to it's destination. Once there, it will be sent out over the air on the port you selected, be received by a digital radio, turned back into an analog signal, and be sent out the radio's speaker as sound.
The destination could be across town or around the world... it really doesn't matter. The neat thing is that with an HT in your living room, you can talk to a ham in Japan just as if he were right around the corner. Now that's easy-chair DX!
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