Droidstar aka DudeStar (a draft)
Open AMBE | DroidStar
This project is the brainchild of Doug, AD8DP
Where is that elusive radio that supports multiple digital voice modes you ask? After all is was 2015 when Johnathan Naylor, G4KLX first conceived a way to this in software as the MMDVM project. And meanwhile manufacturers likes Yaesu, who is now solely ham radio continue to pump out radios only capable of one digital mode, insisting C4FM will be all there is. Please don't support this narrow mindedness. Yaesu was the later comer to VHF UHF digital and rather than create a radio compatible with an existing digital flavor, they introduced yet another flavor.
If you have been observing for a while you may have noticed a few good radio initiatives that sadly haven't come to be. The; Connect Systems CS7000, Wireless Holdings DV4 Mobile, the HT of the Future (aka: Algoram, Katena, Whitebox), the Newradio initiative in Germany/Austria, and so on. (You should notice it wasn't the "big three")
Manufacturers are a fairly conservative bunch. They don't want to invest in anything unless they know it's going to sell. We all understand. Fortunately, much of the innovation now is purely in the form of software, which is much easier to mass-produce than hardware. So all you need the manufacturers for is to make general purpose SDR hardware, which is an easier sell than some new special mode. It's also important for leaders to recognize the works of the dedicated software developers. And when the hardware manufacturers see the potential from their work, to work out an agreement so the software folks receive more than just a thank you.
Implementations driving off-network, direct radio use:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-aNhCRmw8c - DUDE-Star Radio project, interfaced to analog radios using either;
INADVM - MMDVM (type) interface board from INAD Communications / Kevin, W3KKC
RB_STM32_DVM - Repeater Builder Multi-Mode Digital Voice Modem.
Teensy MMDVM - Interface board and microcontroller from Micro-Node International.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDOuwkyn1vg - Using DroidStar and MMDVM as an M17 HT Transceiver via a LoneStar MMDVM USB Stick.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze-OVZ6Nb5E - Linux in the Ham Shack Episode 393: DUDE-Star Deep Dive
The project started as dstar-monitor (not to be confused with the application that provides database reporting) that used MBElib to listen over the network. Later the name was changed to dudestar_rx, and only supported D-Star. When transmit support was added it was initially hardware only, software vocoding was added later.
When the project developed into a two way communications idea it was initially
conceived as a hardware interface (see his QRZ
profile) I wrote him about supporting the existing MMDVM radio interfaces and AMBE hardware and software solutions that already existed, as I didn't see
much sense in re-inventing the wheel and was concerned that his hardware would be hard to support/make available long term.
He got interested in M17 and added support for that in October 2020.
Nov 2021 Software AMBE support removed since no one was working on it to favor M17
However there have been discouraging bumps along the road.
In early 2021 when the software project first supported network two way access. Networks sometimes blocked the application. Prior to Dudestar (Droidstar) security/access to the various networks (brandmeister, etc) was solely reliant on the fact that you need a radio with a AMBE chip to talk. This application changed that.
The more recent separation at the end of 2021 of the software vocoder stuff into a plug-in I believe is related to trying to get his code to be accepted by the Pi-Star developer. At this time the name changed from DudeStar to DroidStar. Doug had also been maintaining a separate Android version called DroidStar. While it's mostly the same there was a difference in the Qt Widgets UI for DudeStar, while DroidStar uses the Qt Quick UI. He'd obviously prefer not to have to maintain both. So moving forward the project will be called DroidStar.
If you look at their forums, the pistar developer had reservations about that part unless it was an optional add on when he first requested it to be part of the distro in 2020.
In Feb 2022 the Developer of Pi-Star announced he is looking for assistance: End of an era, and the start of a new one! https://forum.pistar.uk/viewtopic.php?p=21384#p21384
It's just my impression, but reading his recent stuff Doug seems to be burning out from dealing with ham radio operators as his users. It started by not including windows builds, and it's been escalating from there. I hope I am wrong and Doug can keep up the good work.
Instructions & Steps to using DroidStar
Program and Vocoder Mirror: http://dudestar.gw8szl.co.uk/