So, recently I acquired an ICOM IC-9700, a VHF/UHF/1.2Ghz (70cm/2/m/23cm) all mode amateur band radio. It’s quite a sophisticated radio and it can do AM/FM/SSB and D-Star DV digital modes. It also can do cross-band (U/V) satellite modes as well, with support for satellite doppler frequency shifting. It is strictly an Amateur band radio; it can’t be used on the GMRS bands.
I’m having fun with it on D-Star digital reflector groups. It’s nice to have a base station radio capable of digital mode. To make it even more capable I purchased a SharkRF OPENSpot 4 Pro hotspot to go with it. The OPENSpot lets me use D-Star reflector groups without tying up my local repeater. Additionally, because the OPENSpot 4 Pro can transcode audio from one codec to another, it can also access non D-Star digital networks such as DMR and Yaesu Fusion, and make them available to D-Star radios.
Of course, the IC-9700 also works well as a standard FM mode UHF/VHF radio. You can easily store all the nearby Amateur repeaters frequencies in its internal memory for easy recall. It has separate memories for VHF, UHF, and 23cm which you can program for recall. It also has a separate repeater list, although you can program repeaters in the radio’s frequency band organized memories as well. It’s flexible.
One thing to note is that if you select a D-Star reflector via a repeater using the DR (digital repeater) mode selector, the radio will properly format it’s UR (your call) field when selecting a reflector. You can also talk through digital repeaters using a VFO or a frequency stored in the band lists too by setting the radio’s modulation mode to DV. There however, you need to manually enter the UR field with the proper command to link the desired reflector.
Another thing to note is that the OPENSpot 4 hotspot expects slightly different UR field encoding depending on whether you’re accessing it via DV mode (VFO or memory channel) or DR digital repeater mode. To link to REF055A, a local reflector, in DR mode you UR field to
REF055AL. This tells the OPENSpot to link to REF055 module A. In DV mode, the OPENSPot will accept a UR field set to
REF055 A. The form differs a bit from DR mode but works the same.