D-Star setup with Icom ID880H

The 880H supports a couple of different approaches to using DSTAR:

  • regular memories, each one holding repeater info plus one UR, RPT1, RPT2, MY combination, with the DV mode selected
  • DR Mode memories combined with UR memories

The regular memory approach is probably the easiest the understand in terms of how memories would be used in a non-DSTAR mode, but given that you will likely want to send link/unlink commands to the repeater, this would mean each of these combinations would occupy one additional memory.

The DR Mode uses one memory for the common repeater settings, and then you select the variable parts for UR, RPT1, RPT2 etc as needed.

If you follow the instructions in the 880H manual for configuring DR Mode, it talks about three settings, GRP CQ, GRP RPT, and GRP UR. The manual is not very clear about the difference in these modes relating to your UR, RPT1, RPT2, and MY settings however. So here’s my understanding of the differences:

  • GRP CQ – removes RPT2 setting for routing which means when you transmit, you’re only heard on the local repeater and you do not get forwarded out via the gateway to any linked reflectors or other repeaters.
  • GRP UR – does keep the RPT2 value (usually ‘repeater-call G’), plus you can select any of your stored values for UR, either CQCQCQ or a link or unlink command.

I read somewhere that you should use UR of DRCQCQ to indicate that you’re using DR mode to force the repeater to see this as destined not only for the repeater and include the gateway routing info too (RPT2). I don’t think this solves the issue of GRP CQ though, which seems to intentionally remove the RPT2 value – changing the default UR of CQCQCQ to DRCQCQ I don’t think has any effect.

So in summary, if you’re intending to get forwarded out from your repeater’s gateway, use the GRP UR mode.

  • Press DR, select one of your DR repeater memories (from your repeater list memories)
  • Long press UR and select CQCQCQ from your Callsign List
  • Select GRP UR (instead of GRP CQ) by pressing BAND button (each press cycles through GRP CQ, GRP RPT, GRP UR)
  • Long press UR and select GW instead of NOT USED.
  • Press DR Button to return to DR Mode.

I got this tip from this post here.

A few other random observations:

  • If you watch the dashboard for your repeater (eg for W6CX) and a reflector that it is linked to (eg REF014), you’ll see your call appear when you transmit on the repeater dashboard, but NOT the reflector. I’ve asked questions about this in multiple forums online and the opinion seems to be mixed, but I don’t believe if you are accessing a reflector linked to a repeater, then you don’t appear on the reflector’s dashboard. Initially this was misleading for me, as I misread this as I wasn’t making it to the reflector, but calling CQ and a couple of QSOs later confirmed that I was successfully being forwarded to the reflector, even though I never showed up on the reflector dashboard.

I’ll summarize a few other tips later.