The ThumbDV™ is on sale through December 25th for $99.95, that’s a savings of $20 over list price.
Check out the Wiki pages for the newest documentation.
We have more information coming for application users, developers, and experimenters.
The UDRC-II has generated renewed interest in Digital Radio. We were recently approached by a local club that wanted to make a group buy, so we’ve put together a quantity discount program.
Buy 5 of any of our products (they don’t have to be all the same) and receive a 5% discount. Use coupon:
Or receive 10% off on 10 or more. Use coupon:
You must place a single order to one shipping address to qualify.
If you have a low latency and responsive Internet connection, you can place an AMBEserver directly on the Internet and access it remotely through Buster, DummyRepeater, or any other program that provides AMBEserver connectivity.
The first step is to connect a PiDV™ to the GPIO of a Raspberry Pi or a ThumbDV™ to the USB port of a computer which will run the AMBEserver. A Raspberry Pi is more than sufficient for this task and provides an economical platform for AMBEserver, however, the choice of computer is up to you. Follow the directions on this page for a Raspberry Pi build and configuration.
Once you have built your AMBEserver, verify that it is working with the included Python scripts, ‘ambesocktest.py’ will test the UDP socket, it returns the AMBE-3000 model number repetitively until killed (with control-C) if the daemon is functioning properly on port 2460.
On your local network, configure Buster or DummyRepeater to access the AMBEserver on the LAN IP address of your AMBEserver. When you have a working AMBEserver, then it is time to make it available outside your LAN.
Since there are a variety of routers/firewalls/modems that connect you to your ISP it is beyond the scope of this article to provide specific instructions, but all that is required is to forward an external port (default 2460) on your public IP to the LAN IP address of your AMBEserver (e.g. 192.168.0.5) at the designated port (default 2460). You may want to choose a different UDP port in your AMBEserver and for your public facing IP address. If you use the same port for both, then you most likely can configure Buster or DummyRepeater once for use at home and away by using your public IP address (replace the LAN IP address or Localhost IP Address).
Now take your Buster or DummyRepeater system to a remote location and test accessing AMBEserver over the Internet using your public IP address.
Jeremy McDermond, NH6Z, undertook writing a native application for Mac OS® and it is now available on the Mac App Store.
Buster is not a product of NW Digital Radio and support requests should go directly to Jeremy.
Jeremy has stated that the source code will be made publicly available via GitHub and he is open to collaboration for future versions.
It works with a ThumbDV™ on a Mac OS® USB port and with AMBEserver™, locally or over a network. AMBEserver can support either the ThumbDV™ or PiDV™.
This application has been in beta for several months and is both stable and feature rich. It takes advantage of several Mac OS® specific services. For example, it will use Apple Core Location service to determine your current location and reports it via D-STAR. It also provides mapping of remote stations who are reporting position.
There is one known issue: The way that Mac OS® powers USB ports during its sleep state may cause communication issues with the the ThumbDV™ upon wake up. Most casual users will not experience this condition. The condition is resolved by removing and re-inserting the ThumbDV™ into the USB port. Linux and Microsoft Windows sleep state does not exhibit this condition. Since FTDI USB drivers are not written by NW Digital Radio, buyers of the ThumbDV™ should consider this when making a purchase decision.
FlexRadio Systems®, the premier manufacturer of amateur radio SDR transceivers, will soon release an update to their SmartSDR™ software in support of the JARL’s D-STAR standard through installing the ThumbDV™ Waveform Module into SmartSDR™.
Owners of FLEX-6000™ Signature Series transceivers may add AMBE encoding/decoding to their radios by inserting the ThumbDV™ into one of the available USB ports. Use of D-STAR digital voice mode will then be enabled through SmartSDR™ software.
“The partnership of NW Digital Radio and FlexRadio Systems forged at DCC last year has yielded a unique opportunity for FlexRadio owners to add the D-STAR mode to their FLEX-6000, as a component of our growing digital voice offerings.” said Steve Hicks, N5AC, VP Engineering for FlexRadio Systems®.
“It’s been great working with Flex to add D-STAR to their world class SDR and are excited about being a part of their ongoing development of digital voice modes.” said Bryan Hoyer, K7UDR, CEO of NW Digital Radio.
HF D-STAR is a growing mode with daily nets on all bands from 80-6 meters, as well as local VHF/UHF simplex and repeater networks. For more information about HF D-STAR net operations please visit D-STAR HF Net
A real-time HF QSO finder can be found at HF D-STAR QSO Finder
The NW Digital Radio ThumbDV™ digital voice dongle will be available directly from FlexRadio Systems®, as well as from NW Digital Radio.
John Hays (K7VE) from NW Digital Radio and Steve Hicks (N5AC) from FlexRadio, will be available for questions, at the Huntsville Hamfest.
John Hays, Director, NW Digital Radio, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lori Hicks, Director Marketing Communications, FlexRadio Systems®, email@example.com
D-STAR is an open standard developed by the Japanese Amateur Radio League (JARL) under a grant from the Japanese Government
D-STAR is a wordmark of Icom Inc., in the United States and certain other countries.
AMBE-3000™ technology is developed and licensed by Digital Voice Systems Incorporated.
All other trademarks are registered to their respective owners.
Beginning with orders placed after July 9th, 2015 a new revision of the ThumbDV™ will be shipped.
The only difference between the original ThumbDV™ and the new model ‘A’ is that the USB serial port will now operate at 460800 baud instead of 230400 baud. Programs like WinDV, DummyRepeater, and AMBEserver have been updated to support both baud rates. It may take a few days for DummyRepeater to be pushed out with the change.
There is no change for D-STAR applications except selecting the faster baud rate.
Note: At this time we recommend using DummyRepeater with ‘AMBEserver -n’ (-n is for new baud rate) for best performance with model ‘A’.
The latest source for AMBEserver can be found at GitHub.
Why are we changing the baud rate?
NW Digital Radio has been working with some OEM customers who will be integrating the ThumbDV™ into their products, including DMR based systems, and their existing programs use the higher baud rate to communicate with the AMBE3000 chip. Moving to the higher rate allows these customers to more quickly integrate these systems.
Will older ThumbDV™ devices continue to be supported and sold?
NW Digital Radio will support ThumbDV™ both original and ‘A’ models.
Our inventory of original ThumbDV™ dongles sold out on the same day that the new model ‘A’ was delivered from the Washington State assembly house. We do not plan to manufacture any additional 230400 baud ‘original’ ThumbDV™ dongles.
All new orders will receive the ThumbDV™ model ‘A’
What about the PiDV™ (DV3000)?
There are no plans to move the PiDV™ (GPIO) to a different baud rate. However, it is relatively easy for the user to modify the boards to support additional baud rates through trace cutting and jumpers.
There has been some confusion, hopefully the following will help clear it up.
The ability to do vocoding for DMR, D-STAR, Fusion, P25 Phase 2, etc. is built into the AMBE 3000 chip. The new Model ‘A’ only changes the baud rate that the serial port passes packets to and from the chip. It does not change any other capability between the original and Model ‘A’.
The 230400 baud rate is sufficient for all of these protocols. The OEM(s) we are working with are swapping out another USB AMBE-3000 device with the ThumbDV. That other device was strapped at 460800 and they just want to swap it out.
It doesn’t make sense for us to make 2 models, one strapped at 230400 and one strapped at 460800 so we are now making all units strapped at the higher baud rate.
There is no secret, hidden, message here. It’s a simple baud rate change that we wanted customers to be aware of, nothing more.
Here is the math:
The fastest input from one voice stream is 128 Kbps (8000 samples per second at 16 bits). So 230 kbps in is more than sufficient. The fastest rate out is Yaesu’s full rate at 7.2kbps, DMR, Fusion half rate, and D-STAR are at 3.6kbps. (This is for encoding, reverse for decoding.) There is only one packet stream, so you don’t get any doubling of these numbers.
There is literally nothing different than the selected baud rate, implemented in an update printed circuit board that changes what lines are strapped down.
The AMBE 3000 chip provides the vocoding, and only the vocoding. The various protocols embed the vocoding in their respective data streams. The ‘devices’ (e.g. AMBE 3000 boards, dongles, etc.) are not involved in the actual protocols, only in turning voice into AMBE and AMBE into voice.
Please view John Speaks on DV Modes at MicroHams to see how digital voice systems are built up.
When you run WinDV (DV Node for Windows), for the first time you need to configure it for the ThumbDV. Make sure you have the latest version from DutchStar with support for the ThumbDV.
- Select ThumbDV as your “RF Device”
- Select the COM Port that the ThumbDV is connected to
- Check Device Manager for “USB Serial Port”
- Baud Rate must be 230400 for original ThumbDV, 460800 for Model A
- Enter your Callsign
- Callsign is used for connection to gateways. An A,B, or C is required to connect to DExtra Reflectors (XRFxxx)
- Auth Call is used with US Trust Registration to connect to DPLUS Reflectors (REFxxx)
- Callsign / is used for ID
- Configure the Sound Card to use your desired input and output
- Select a Callsign Server. DUTCH*Star and Free*Star provide additional reflectors. If the server is down select another.
The default Tools-Settings will provide basic operation and don’t require any changes.
Close then restart WinDV
The ThumbDV Status should be RUNNING and the Version is read from the AMBE3000 chip on the ThumbDV. If both of these are correct your ThumbDV is working properly.
Press XMIT, even if you are not connected to a Gateway, and the RED/GREEN LEDs on the ThumbDV will flash.
The ThumbDV is not connected to your network or sound system. If you are having difficulties with either of them, you need to trouble-shoot those as Windows System issues.
If you like WinDV make sure to donate to Fred!
The Germans have done it again!
From the folks that brought us the ircDDB network, we hear from Hans-Jürgen Barthen, DL5DI, that there is now a gateway between D-STAR (DCS Gateways) and Hytera DMR Repeaters using the AMBEServer with either the PiDV™ or ThumbDV™. This gateway is in use at a handful of DMR repeaters in Germany and Austria with systems soon to be implemented in Sweden and Switzerland.
You can download executables for the gateway and combine with the AMBEServer to create your own gateway. The software does D-STAR callsign to DMR radio ID mapping and transports audio between networks using the Hytera API.
Another step toward Universal Digital Radio from the community of amateur radio developers using products from NW Digital Radio.