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W6CX-DV -- D-Star Linking to Reflectors & Repeaters

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Most of the fun from using D-Star comes from talking over links to users connected to reflectors.  Reflectors are really conference servers.  A transmission on any one of the connected systems is repeated on all of them.  This means there are more people out there to talk to than just the people within RF distance of your closest repeater.

Linking is easy.  Just put the link command into the URCall of your radio and hit PTT. For example, if you want your repeater to link to REF014C, just put “REF014CL” in URCall.  The first 6 positions are for the name of the reflector or the callsign of the repeater to be linked to.  The 7th position is the band module (normally A, B, C, D or E) and the 8th position is the D-Plus command.  L is the link command; U is the unlink command.  A common way to do that is to program your radio with several memories.  

Then just dial up the memory with the linking command, briefly press PTT to ask the gateway to do the command, then immediately dial up your normal QSO setting like the W6CX example below. 

Note: Instead of programming memories, a simpler way is to learn to use DR Mode on your radio.  But either way, the objective is to configure your radio's callsigns so you can talk, link and unlink.  The following will help you understand D-STAR linking, regardless whether you use memories or DR Mode.

Let's assume you are in RF reach of D-STAR repeater W6CX module C on 2 meters.  Shown below is an example of some memories you could set up in your D-STAR radio. The name of the memory isn’t important and is just to remind you what that memory is used for.

Note: for all of the following memories, you will need to set RPT1 and RPT2 as follows:

RPT1 = W6CX…C  (3 spaces so C is in 8th position)
RPT2 = W6CX…G  (3 spaces so G is in 8th position)  

Name = W6CX (Normal operating mode)
YourCall = CQCQCQ

Name = UNLK (Unlink)
YourCall = …….U  (7 spaces then U in 8th position)

Name = Info (Ask for link status info)
YourCall = …….I  (7 spaces then I in 8th position)

Name = LnkREF014C (Link to REF014C)
YourCall = REF014CL

Name = LnkREF030C (Link to REF030C)
YourCall = REF030CL

Name = LnkDCS006B (Link toDCS006B)
YourCall = DCS006BL

Name = LnkXRF001C (Link to XRF001C)
YourCall = XRF001CL

To be sure the repeater isn't already being used, give a call to ask if the repeater is busy and that you plan to link it.  If it’s not busy, you can then switch to the link command of your choice and hit PTT.   Then immediately switch back to your normal operating memory with CQCQCQ in YourCall, so the repeater isn’t trying to re-link every time you hit PTT.

That's all there is to it.