Recently, I have been getting into amateur radio (ham radio) and have been learning about the different methods of transmitting data using these radios. One of these methods is called D-STAR. D-STAR allows the transfer of files and other data. Most importantly, however, is that it can be used for accessing the internet. For speeds of about dial-up, a person who has their amateur radio licence can get the internet out in the middle of nowhere with out any cell phone signal.

However, this D-STAR has some major issues. Mostly these issues are caused by the restrictions placed on transmissions sent over amateur radio. One of these restrictions is the prohibition of the transfer of ads. The FCC has made it quite clear that they do not approve of ads on amateur radio frequencies. This severally limits the sites that one can access over a D-STAR system. The other restriction that is placed on the amateur frequencies is the prohibition on encrypted messages. This means no SSL/TLS encrypted websites, no VPNs, no SSH, or any other form of encrypted data transfer. All data must be transmitted in plain text over a publicly documented medium. Security wise, this is a nightmare.

Personally, I understand the reason that the FCC has put these restrictions on. Amateur radio is ment to be for everyone to use equally and to be shared equally. If someone was to start using this privilege for what ever they wanted to, the frequencies would be completely filled up and there would be no useful transfer of information.


3 thoughts on “D-STAR

  1. In the last year or so I’ve heard an increasing amount of ‘talk’ about ham radio. I think its a great skill to have because of the fact that messages can be transmitted without the use of a phone signal.

    How did you first learn about ham radio? What are your suggestions for somebody who may want to get into it?

  2. I first heard about it a while ago. I don’t really know specifically. Recently, a friend of mine has been the one who has really got me into it. If you want to learn more, the best way I think is to join a club. The club on campus is K2GXT, which is located under the SAU across from WITR (and down the hall a little ways). If anyone is in there, feel free to knock on the door and say “hi”. Meetings begin in that office on Saturdays at 11, though we are done for this quarter (though there might be people hanging out this Saturday (if people are not too bogged down with studying)).

    [/shameless self promotion]

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