ThumbDV

WinDV Configuration

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 Tools-Options

Screenshot 2015-05-22 13.58.43

 

  • 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

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!

DMR / D-STAR Gateway

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.

 

ThumbDV™: AmateurLogic.TV Episode 77

Tommy Martin, N5ZNO, shares his experience with the ThumbDV™ on Episode 77

 

 

Manufacturing Reliability Data

We have now shipped over 300 PiDV™, and the ThumbDV™ will soon pass it for units delivered. There are currently 200 more units in process.

Out of the Box MFG, our local assembly house in Renton WA, does a great job on their SMT line which includes automated optical inspection or AOI. We physically tested all of the first 100 units and found 1 failure, which was attributed to a bad AMBE3000 IC, probably due to hot plugging the board during test.

At this point we stopped functional testing and now rely on AOI to flag any assembly issues for operator inspection or remedy. We have had one working unit returned as suspect but it turned out to be a failed R-Pi and the PiDV™ was returned to service with no charge to the customer.

I want to thank Chad, Paul, Brian and all of the people at Out of the Box for their hi-quality and reasonable cost assembly services.

Bryan – K7UDR

Statement of Origin:

The PiDV™ and ThumbDV™ are assembled in the USA by Out of the Box from globally manufactured components obtained thru Dig-Key and Mouser. The PCB Fabs are made in China.

 

ThumbDV™ Passes FCC Approval

Because the ThumbDV™ attaches to a computer using USB, it is clearly a “Computer Peripheral” as defined by the FCC and is required to meet the Part 15 Subpart B standard for conducted and radiated emissions.

We sent a sample unit to Nemko-CCL, an accredited test lab in Utah, and they performed testing to the following standards:

  • EU: EN5022:2010
  • USA: FCC Part 15, Subpart B
  • CAN: ICES-003, Issue 5
  • AUS/NZL: CISPR 22:2009

After passing all tests, a Declaration of Conformity was issued by Nemko-CCL and as of today all units are shipped with a sticker on the back.

ThumbDV Passes FCC 15b

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.

 

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/