NW Digital Radio Blog page 6

Do the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ Sound Better Than the DV Dongle?

A number of customers have reported anecdotally that the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ (formerly DV3000) have good audio, but is that just perception or is there some truth to it? I spoke with Rich Kovars, Applications Engineer at DVSI, who talked about the ThumbDV™/PiDV™ AMBE-3000 chip vs the Dongle’s1 AMBE-2020.

From the DVSI Website:

“DVSI’s AMBE-2020™ and AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chips, are both DSTAR compatible. iCOM originally introduced the DSTAR system based on the AMBE-2020™ Vocoder chip that utilizes DVSI’s AMBE+ technology. Since that time, DVSI has developed and produced the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip that implements DVSI’s latest generation AMBE+2 technology and is fully interoperable with the the AMBE-2020™ vocoder chip used for DSTAR. The enhancements of AMBE+2™ technology in the AMBE-3000™ vocoder chip can provide superior voice quality in some circumstances. The highest level of voice quality can be achieved when the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip (or equivalent software2) is incorporated into the equipment used on both ends of the radio link.”

So the answer is a definite maybe.

1 The DV Dongle is manufactured by Internet Labs.
2 Current ICOM D-STAR products use a software vocoder that incorporates the 3000 advancements.

ThumbDV™: Budd Churchward, WB7FHC Video

Budd updates us on his experience setting up the ThumbDV™ under Windows using Node DV (WinDV) from DUTCH*Star.

Also, there is an updated setup guide from the folks at AmateurLogic.tv

ThumbDV™ vs PiDV™

We have received a few inquiries about the functional difference between the DV3000 and ThumbDV™.

The ThumbDV™ is a thumb or dongle type DV (digital voice) device for connection to a computer (PC, Laptop, Tablet, Raspberry Pi, Odroid, etc.) to provide access to AMBE encoding and decoding.  It is the more portable of the two devices in that you can plug it into any USB (2.0 or greater) port on a computer and access it as a serial port via appropriate software to get into the D-STAR system.

AMBE USB 3000 ThumbDV™

ThumbDV™

The PiDV™ is designed to use the GPIO UART pins on a Raspberry Pi (including Raspberry Pi 2 and compatible devices such as the Odroid C1)  to provide access to AMBE encoding and decoding.  It can be adapted to other similar devices using jumper wires to connect the UART, but only maps to Raspberry Pi GPIO pins.

PiDV™

PiDV™

From a software point of view they are equivalent and are accessed as serial ports (COMx under Windows,  tty? under Linux/Mac OS X, UDRx) at 230.4 kbps.  Software for using these devices includes G4KLX’s DummyRepeater,  DUTCH*Star’s Node DV (WinDV), and modified versions of DSD (developers have modified for use with the ThumbDV™/PiDV™ for monitoring DMR, Fusion, P25 Phase 2, etc. — contact the developers for more information).

Visit the resource page for additional information.

 

Email Updates

Hi all,

We’ve received a few support requests regarding order status.

An automated email is sent from orders@nwdigitalradio.com when the order is accepted and another when it is shipped, complete with USPS tracking number. For International orders, USPS delivers to your countries postal service which may or may not provide tracking updates. We have no more visibility than you do.

If you don’t receive an email it’s due to one of the following:

  • The email in your order is incorrect or it’s an email you don’t check
  • It’s in your spam folder
  • Your ISP has blacklisted GoDaddy

We can’t do anything about the first two, but we’re checking on alternatives for the last one. By all means if you don’t receive confirmation, send an email to support and we’ll process it manually.

Budd Churchward, WB7FHC, explains the PiDV™ on Raspberry Pi

PiDV™ featured on Amateur Logic TV

AmateurLogic.TV highlights thePiDV™ (previously named DV3000) on the their videocast!  The segment starts at minute 51.

The referenced guide is at http://www.amateurlogic.com/downloads/DV3000.pdf thanks to VE3MIC.

One update: The latest G4KLX DummyRepeater gives the option of using AMBEserverGPIO or accessing the DV3000 directly as a serial device and directly supports ALSA audio.

ThumbDV™: Create a Handheld For Under $200

How would you like a handheld device with a 7″ touchscreen that can get you on the D-STAR network for under  $200?  KG7NKG alerted us that he successfully used a Winbook TW 700 tablet with the ThumbDV™ and we just had to give it a go.

We purchased the Winbook TW 700 tablet for $59.99 (plus shipping) from Micro Center.  Also available at Amazon.

Upon receiving the box today, and going through the basic configuration of the pre-installed MicroSoft Windows 8.1 on the device, a ThumbDV™ was plugged into the standard USB port on the tablet.  After allowing for the automatic installation of the FTDI driver, it was time to give this package a try.  KG7NKG used  G4KLX’s DummyRepeater + ircDDBGateway so we installed DUTCH*Star’s beta Node DV (WinDV) which supports the ThumbDV™.  (Both packages work.)

Once the Node DV software was installed, which took less than 5 minutes, it was configured and a connection was made to REF001C using the built-in microphone and speakers.  QSOs were a success!!!

Cost of project (sans taxes and shipping):

Windows Tablet  $59.99
ThumbDV        $119.95
Node DV   (Please Donate)
Total          $179.94

That is the lowest cost of entry into D-STAR, using new equipment, this author has seen.  Just the right gift for your Amateur Radio Valentine.

Winbook and ThumbDV

Windows 8 tablet with ThumbDV Installed

 

This unit operates on the 13cm band (WiFi).

HP makes a similar 8″ tablet with WiFi plus 4G cellular networking for life on the T-Mobile network (see site for details). The Stream 8 from HP does not have a full sized USB, you will need an adapter to micro-USB/OTG.

Come by our booth at Hamcation® in Orlando and you can purchase a ThumbDV™ (or DV3000 for the Raspberry Pi/Odroid C1) on-site.

 

 

 

ThumbDV™: DUTCH*Star Support Under Development

Fred (PA4YBR) at DUTCH*Star has been working on support for the ThumbDV™ in his Node DV/WinDV program.

It is now in beta test and working well.  Watch for more information at http://dutch-star.eu/

ThumbDV™: Now Shipping!

The ThumbDV™ first production run was completed and tested today and pre-ordered units will ship this week.  We have a bit of a backlog, so it may take a couple of days to ship all pre-ordered units.

To those who ordered in anticipation of the product, thank you for your patience.

This also means we have units in stock for new orders for shipment this week.

ThumbDV™: Ordering is Now Open

Now available from NW Digital Radio, a USB based version of the popular DV3000 AMBE™ vocoder board. The new product is the ThumbDV™ (model number DV3000U) and is available for ordering for $119.95, plus applicable taxes and shipping. Initial shipments for the ThumbDV™ are projected for the 3rd week of December, however, we cannot guarantee the shipment date until the production run is completed.

AMBE 3000 USB ThumbDV™(Model DV3000U)

ThumbDV™

There are a limited number of ThumbDV™ units available in December, so get your order in early. We will do our best to ship in time for Christmas (US/Canada), pending any production delays. NW Digital Radio will be closed December 18th to the 29th.

Our DV3000 product, which is designed to be the vocoder for our forthcoming UDRX-440 digital radio, also acts as a popular add-on board to the Raspberry Pi single board computer and is now deployed in 25 countries around the world. This capability allows network communication through the Internet to the global D-STAR network using a computer with a microphone and speakers. The ThumbDV™ makes this functionality available on Linux, Windows, and Mac OSX* computers through a USB port in a thumb drive/dongle package. We invite developers to extend use to other platforms.

Current products in the AMBE USB space use the older AMBE-2000 series of vocoder chips which do not support additional digital voice radio standards such as DMR, System Fusion, dPMR, NXDN, P25 Phase 2 HR, and others, which can be addressed by the newer AMBE-3000 series vocoder chip as found in the DV3000 and ThumbDV™, pending further 3rd party software development.

Press Release

ThumbDV™ Resource Page

* DummyRepeater performance is currently not satisfactory on OSX and ircDDBGateway has not been ported. We do not recommend purchasing the ThumbDV™ for exclusive use on Mac OSX at this time.

AMBE is a trademark of DVSI.