As you’ve noted from my previous write-up, I’ve acquired an ICOM ID-31A. It’s a 440 MHz single band hand-held transceiver with D-STAR and FM modes with built-in GPS. I needed to pick up a hand-held unit in preparation for the upcoming Jamboree and this one fit the bill very nicely from a price and capabilities perspective.

I had not tried D-STAR before, nor did I really know anything about it at all, other than the controversy it seems to generate. People seem to love it, or not. Here in Dallas we have a number of hams who were pioneers in D-STAR, setting up the first D-STAR repeaters in the USA. I’ve joined their group, the Texas Interconnect Team, K5TIT. I’m looking forward to attending my first meeting.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been programming the ID-31A using the Windows-based CS-31 ICOM software. I have to run it on Parallels with a Windows virtual machine on my Mac. But it works just fine. I also picked up the book Nifty E-Z Guide to D-STAR Operation and the Nifty Guide to the ID-31A. Those books, plus the ICOM operating manuals, and all the information on the Internet have been a real help. My one big contact so far has been checking into the Ham Nation net on Wednesday evening via Reflector 014C. That indicates that I’ve figured out how to access the Gateway and select reflectors. I was also able to connect with the D-STAR repeater in Phoenix on a business trip last week. Further, I’ve also programmed in all the 440 MHz analog repeaters in the DFW area.

Today I was able to program the GPS-A and see my call sign on the aprs.fi website. That was fairly remarkable. Mostly because it worked right the first time from following the instructions in the ICOM ID-31 Advanced Operating Manual. Not that the manuals are difficult to follow, but that not much else has worked right the first time over the last several weeks. I’m looking forward to using the D-PRS/A-PRS system when Karen and I travel to see the grand kids. We can give them the link to the map and they can follow us on the journey from Dallas to Kansas City. That should be fun.

Well, I’m loving my ICOM ID-31A and D-STAR. I highly recommend them both.

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Jim-K5ND

Freelance writer and active Scouting volunteer. Retired publishing and communication executive who writes for fun and to finance his hobby, amateur radio.

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