Software Based Ham Digital Transmission and Reception
If you want to get your feet wet in digital Ham radio before buying an expensive radio you can use DUDE-Star (computer based) and DROID-Star (droid phone based) free software to monitor and transmit on P25, DMR, D-STAR, YSF and others including the exciting new M17 protocol.
The github releases for DUDE-Star for Windows have been pulled for some reason, same for the Linux and MacOs releases. I have the last version of DUDE-Star for Windows x64 release 7bc4ac0 that was downloaded from github which was available for download here.
The “DMR Hotspot security password” is your Brandmeister DMR hotspot password (not your Brandmeister login password). The ESSID is the “02” appended to the DMR ID which should be unique. I use 01 for my Brandmeister hotspot, 02 for DUDE-Star and 03 for DROID-Star. ColorCode should normally be 1 and “Slot” is the DMR Timeslot, 1 or 2. The Latitude, Longitude and Location should exactly match your Brandmeister settings. The D-STAR settings will also get you going on D-STAR. The “RPTR2” box can be left blank because it is filled in automatically by the software. I changed the “Package ID” to MMDVM_HS_HAT_DUAL to keep Brandmeister from blocking Dude-Star transmissions (matches my hotspot type).
Operating on DMR
Just like with a DMR radio you have to briefly transmit to actually connect to a Talkgroup. Click the “Connect” button and then click and hold the TX button at the bottom to connect to a DMR talkgroup. Above I’m connected and monitoring Talkgroup 3147 (Tennessee). Connect to Talkgroup 9990 and click Private for “parrot” to verify DUDE-Star is working and to check your Mic Gain level. Whatever you transmit to the parrot Talkgroup will be repeated back to you. The BM_United_States_3101 host seems to have been taken down but BM_United_States_3102 works just fine with DUDE-Star.
To use DUDE-Star enter your settings on the Settings tab then on the Main tab select the Mode, Host (drop-down menu), select software receive and transmit “SWRX and SWTX” unless you have a hardware vocoder. For DMR and P25 enter the Talkgroup and click “Connect”. To transmit click and hold the “TX” button at the bottom of the screen.
Operating On D-STAR Reflector
Mode is REF (D-STAR Reflector), Host REF030, Module C. “Talkgroup” and “Private” are not used for D-Star.
Main Tab For Working M17
Host M17-QUE is the only host I could actually connect to.
DROID-Star is very similar to DUDE-Star but it works on your android phone. It is not available for Apple iPhones. Search for “DROID-Star” at the Google Play Store.
Please give a shout-out to the DUDE-Star creator, Doug McLain AD8DP, for creating this very cool and free software.