John Martins'
Amateur Radio from near Empire Michigan USA

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Rubber Ducks

VHF Propagation


OK-- so it's not the Icom repeater... but it looks impressive!


The wI0OK__C repeater in Traverse City Michigan provides coverage of most of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Benzie counties. The repeater is located just west of TC on 'radio hill' with the omnidirectional antenna positioned to provide a some favoring in the south-west direction.


To use the repeater and the gateway you need to have your radio setup as follows:

Frequency: 145.360
Offset: -600 khz
RPT1: WI0OK__C (double yew eye zero oh kaye space space sea)
RPT2: WI0OK__G (double yew eye zero oh kaye space space gee)


To use the gateway system your callsign has to be manually registered and added to the database of DStar users.

You can use DStar without registering, but your voice (or data) will not cross the internet system unless you are properly registered and setup-- which requires you to sign up for registration and then setup a few parameters for the network database.

You must only register your callsign once, and where you first register is thereafter your 'home' registration location-- the website you will need to return to if you happen to wish to make changes. It is recommended you register with a DStar gateway that is close to where you live, but there really is no difference on the network where you register.

For those in northwest lower Michigan, you can register either at my wI0OK gateway in Traverse City, or the one at W8CCE in Stutsmanville. Neither I, nor N8DNX (who administers the Stutsmanville gateway) get any bonus points for signing up new DStar gateway users [though there are rumors that Icom will gift a new Wouff Hong to the first gateway administrator to sign up 15,000 users].

The wI0OK registration page is HERE, while the W8CCE registration page is HERE.

Here are instructions on How To Register with the DStar internet gateway system. You must read these instructions and follow them very carefully.

For those local hams who fear messing things up, just drop me an email (Look up KF8KK in QRZ-- that address is good) and give me your callsign and return email address and I will set you up on the system and email you back with your particulars.

For those using the self-registration method, please understand that once you enter your callsign/email/password and SUBMIT for registration that the process has JUST BEGUN.

Once you SUBMIT, the system admin gets an email and has to visit the gateway website and click a checkbox before you can continue. This is done so that people don't accidentally create duplicate registrations. Once the admin clicks the checkbox you MUST return to the same gateway website you SUBMITTED at and complete the process-- This is all mentioned in the 'How To Register' instructions above, though many people forget the second half and are perplexed when they have no success using the gateway.

Please also note that while it looks as if the Gateway registration system sends out email updates, any such updates must be manually created by the admins, who don't always pay much heed to that courtesy.



If you have an IC2820 or ID880 you will see the repeater respond with 'WI0OK G' if everything is programmed correctly and a 'WI0OK C' if the RPT2 parameter is not setup or transmitting properly.
If you have an ID800, the repeater will respond to your transmissions with 'RPT*' if all is well, or 'UR*' if the RPT2 parameter is not being transmitted properly.

[ID880 owners see blue text below]

The wI0OK repeater uses the Icom DStar Gateway 'G2' version software along with additional functionality provided by the DPlus software package (thanks to Robin Cutshaw AA4RC!). More functionaity via adjunct software will be added soon.
Because much of the functionality of the gateway comes from post-Icom additions, the instructions that Icom provides with their radios is incomplete or somewhat misleading. The DStar gateway system is an evolving phenomenon which will remind the old-timers of what 'packet' was like in the mid 1980's (where new systems and inventions were brought forth, perfected, and the user had to adapt to changing and improving capabilities as the infrastructure and the underlying technology advanced.

In a nutshell, it is critically important that both the RPT1 and RPT2 callsigns are properly programmed in your radio for the system to function as you expect. If the RPT2 callsign (the one ending in a G) is not correct, you will be able to communicate only with other LOCAL users of the repeater. Having RPT2 (WI0OK__G) set properly is REQUIRED to communicate with any station that is NOT local to the repeater (this includes DVDongle users over the internet as well as other DStar gateways).


The additional functionality that DPlus adds to the DStar gateways is normally controlled via custom 'ur call' or 'YUC' [your call] entries. DStar repeaters do not know how to recognize DTMF commands, and so, it is handy to program extra memory channels with different UR-CALL entries to perform the various functions.


Dplus allows for repeater-to-repeater linking much like Echolink or IRLP.

To link to another repeater you need to key up the local DStar repeater briefly with the linked repeaters callsign in the UR-CALL field and with an L as the 8th character which pushes the repeaters port designator to the 7th character (from the 8th where it normally resides).

For example, To link to the W8CCE repeater in Stutsmanville on it's W8CCE__B UHF port you would set the UR-CALL field to 'W8CCE_BL' (doubleyew eight sea sea e space bea ell).
Kerchunking the WI0OK__C repeater with the urcall set as above will command the gateway to initiate a link connection between WI0OK__C and W8CCE__B. Within 20 seconds of your kerchunk you should hear the repeater respond with voice that the link has been established by saying 'remote system linked'.

Once the link is established, you should then switch the UR-CALL back to the normal 'CQCQCQ' or you will find that every time you unkey that the repeater annoys you by repeating the phrase 'link currently established'. Once established, any activity on either repeater is also transmitted out the other--- WITH THE EXCEPTION of those poor souls who do NOT have the RPT2 settings setup properly or are not properly registered and setup in the gateway network database. Voice AND data are linked equally too. DRats connections flow across the gateway system just like voice.

When you are done conversing with the other stations across the link you should unlink the system.


To UNLINK the other repeater you need to setup the UR-CALL field to send a blank callsign with the letter 'U' in the 8th position. UR-CALL should be '_______U' (space1 space2 space3 space4 space5 space6 space7 you).
Kerchunk the repeater with the unlink callsign in URCALL and the repeater should respond with 'remote system unlinked'.
You can test your setup by sending an unlink kerchunk when there is nothing linked and the repeater will respond with 'not currently linked'.


If you want to hear how you sound through the repeater you can use the ECHO TEST feature.

Every transmission you make where UR-CALL is set to a blank callsign with an 'E' in the 8th position ('_______E') will be recorded by the repeater and played back when you unkey.
This is handy to test your microphone and to see the ancillary text data that is sent with your transmissions. The echo test also echoes DRats data too!

Just setup a memory channel with UR-CALL set to '_______E' (space1 space2 space3 space4 space5 space6 space7 Eee) and use it when you want to hear more of yourself. There is no need to turn this on or off, it is only valid for transmissions where the UR-CALL is setup as specified.

There are more commands that can be used, but this is a good start for now.
For more information you can visit the following pages:

Florida-Dstar.info... Understanding Gateways Dplus vs Icom linking

K6MDD.org--  -- Getting Started -- Dplus Linking instructions

DStarInfo.com has a handy Calculator (though they have not updated with wI0OK yet)


Two Videos that are very helpful from Amateur Radio Video News: Video One -- Video Two

Washington-Oregon ARES uses DStar

Check to see if you are registered properly on the DStar Gateway system CLICK HERE.

Check activity on wI0OK__C or on W8CCE__B

Pacificon DStar papers.



The ID880 transceivers implement the CQ function in a manner that often will disable the RPT2 parameter in your transmissions, therefore breaking your connection with the gateway.
A 'broken' CQ setup will cause the repeater to respond with something other than a 'G' as the last letter of it's callsign (broken WI0OK connections would have a C at the end, broken W8CCE connections would end with a B in the repeaters response).
When setting the destination UR-CALL on the ID880 you should either set it to the repeaters gateway call (WI0OK__G when here near TC) or make sure to NOT use the 'GRP CQ' mode as specified in the ID880 manual. If you select the UR-CALL of 'CQCQCQ' from the 'GRP UR' mode you should be OK with the gateway (and note that the last letter of it's response to your keyup is a G).
In a nutshell-- NEVER use the 'GRP CQ' mode when setting up your ID880! (this is one instance where the manual will steer you wrong-- and those who do not read the book are ahead of those who do.. harumph).


DRats Data:

There are normally a few users of the repeater that are setup to operate using the DStar 'slow speed data' mode utilizing the software known as 'DRats'.

When a DRats equipped station transmits you will see the repeater key up and a short text message from the station may be displayed (this is NOT the DRats data you are seeing!). DRats transmissions can occur automatically (like packet can) and do NOT mean that the originating station operator is at his radio and able to engage in a QSO.

When a DRats transmission has ended, any radio setup with the 'standby beep' turned ON (which is Icom default) will emit a beep from the speaker just as if a normal DStar voice transmission has ended. If hearing these beeps is annoying, you should turn the STB mode of your radio to OFF.

FYI... For those interested in experimenting with DRats, the KF8KK__H (kay eff ate kay kay space space aitch) station is normally operational 24/7 and can relay incoming email messages to the internet from DRats if desired (along with DRats file transfer, etc). Click Here to verify that KF8KK__H is on the air via DPRS.
See the DRats website for more information.



The wI0OK DStar system is fully setup to relay properly configured DPRS position reports to the APRS Internet System via the gateway. You can verify this functionality by checking for wI0OK-C on aprs.fi.

Please visit the D-PRS page at aprs-is.net for more details.

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