IC-705 + Pistar (MMDVM-HS)

Having got the 705 which is DSTAR capable spent the afternoon/evening with getting this setup. I already had the components, it was a question of getting it all together !

Register your callsign with DSTAR!

To be able to use the reflectors on the DSTAR network, you need to register your ID. This took only a few hours, so if your waiting on your MMDVM, do this now and you’ll hit the ground running when both your registration and MMDVM arrive!

Register here, you will need your email, callsign and dont forget your password !


Once your registration is acknowledge you can then setup your gateways. You should add the ‘Z’ prefix, as this ensures the account will stay open (any left without modification for 2 weeks will be expired).

Add B and C for UHF and VHF frequencies to your callsign (which will be automatically populated)

Dstar personal information page completed

This will take time to propagate across the DSTAR network. For DSTAR Administration this is all I had to do to allow my hotspot to attach to the DSTAR network.


The MMDVM being used is a popular one available from Amazon. This comes as a kit to assemble and includes all the necessary parts to get up and running – although I would recommend getting a dedicated power supply rather than depending on just USB ampage

MMDVM Hotpsot used from Amazon

70cm Antenna using Buddipole

I do have an external 2m/70cm antenna attached to a mast but was unable to get that to work (although later checks via SDR proved it was ok, will detract from the thread). I setup first in 2M configuration then ‘played’ with various lengths to get the VSWR down to 1.1. I used the IC705 internal SWR analyzer.

2M JPole from buddipole – adapted to 70cm

Lengths used and respective colours –

Buddipole antenna lengths
VSWR Sweep on 70cm
SWR on 70cm

Configure the IC-705 via Software

I used the IC-705 configuration software on Windows to be able to recreate the configuration steps. I’d advise you to first download your current configuration and save it to ensure you can recover to your pre DSTAR config.

The software is available to download from here – its a simple Windows Instal. The USB cable interface on the IC-705 is located just under the power cable.

This is the full video on how to configure, but snippets of the essentials are shown below.

Configure Icom radio for DSTAR

Once loaded, the essential configuration is the Digital/My Callsign. Although its called ‘your call sign’ it contains anything but (for this configuration). Add in the following table

NoNameCall Sign
1Use RepeaterCQCQCQ
2Unlink Repeater U
3Repeater Status I
4Echo Test E
Essential ‘your call sign’ entry. 7 Spaces for 2/3/4 then the character.

All, apart from CQ, DSTAR commands are 8 Characters long, so where you see the white-space these are created by 7 spaces, then the character, i.e. for Echo Test <SPACE><SPACE><SPACE><SPACE><SPACE><SPACE><SPACE>E

these are the messages you will send to the hotspot

You will then need to configure the radio for the new pistar hotspot

I created a new group called ‘hotspot’

Add Hotspot Group to the Repeater List

I then added the configuration for the hotspot to match the DSTAR configuration and the frequency of the radio (obtained from Amazon page – in this case, 433.550.000)

Configure the hotspot

You don’t need all the entries, the signifiant ones are as follows

NumberTypeNameSubnameRepeater Call SignGateway Call SignOperating FreqDUPtMode
1DV HostpotHotspot2E0FWE B2E0FWE G433.550.000DUP-DV
Settings for my call sign and MMDVM

I then pushed the configuration to the radio and rebooted. This completes the IC-705 Configuration.

Pistar Configuration

The next step is to configure the Pistar for DSTAR. If you havent configured your PI for Wifi yet, you’ll need to do that first. Probably the easiest way is to use the PiStar configuration tool, but that means sending your Wifi username and password, which some may not like, alternatly I connected a keyboard and screen with configuration on the commande line.


Once reachable on wifi, you will be able to reach the pi-star administration pages. Most routers running DHCP will allocate a record in the .local’ domain, so simply htttp://pistar.local/ will get you to the portal, default logins are username pistar and password raspberry. I suggest changing this on the admin page right away.

Navigate to ‘Admin’
the password is the very bottom of the page

Restart the pistar and login with the new password.

First configure to use DSTAR. from the panel. For now, keep it at DSTAR only.

Settings #1

If you make any changes, you must click on Apply Changes for *each section* else your changes will be lost.

Settings 2

The essential part here is to get the radio frequency and call sign correctly, i.e. 433.550.000 for frequency and your own call sign in place of 2E0FWE. I’ve removed my exact Long/Lat, but you can put your own in. Once complete, click apply changes. I believe in the UK we are required to put ‘Mode Type’ to Private as we cannot ‘broadcast’ as amateur radio users in the UK (which I think ‘public’ effectively does)

Settings 3

Here we match our hotspot config with the DSTAR network. As the node is on 433Mhz, Channel ‘B’ is the one to use, if it was 144Mhz, then C. Hit apply and that wil complete your configuration !

IC-705 Usage

With the DSTAR Registration, PiStar and IC-705 Configuration complete, its now time to enjoy using the IC-705 on DSTAR via your own hotspot !

DV Mode

PRess the CALL button situated on the left side of the radio and change from FM to DV. To use the hotspot tap ‘from’ on the screen, select ‘repeater list’, ‘hotspot’ then the hotpot added via the configuraiton tool, in my case 2E0FWEB.

To start using right away, tap ‘to’, select ‘your call sign’ and ‘use repeater’. You should now be able to key-up and call CQ on DSTAR ! Of course you can test using Local Echo and Status commands (just adjust the last step in ‘yor call sign’.

You will be able to confirm your radio is communicating with your hotspot and the DSTAR Network.

Local RF Activity shows our radio is speaking to the hotspot, gateway activity shows others in the talkgroup talking

The DSTAR ‘last heard‘ feature can then confirm you are on the DSTAR network.

Finding talk groups / repeaters,etc.

With your IC-705 now on DSTAR you can choose which Talk Groups and Nets to join. There is an extensive list available on here. You can configure the group via the Pistar admin page and putting or selecting the reflector.

choose your reflector!

I hope this helps people use the IC-705 on DStar, it took me a little while to piece together all the pieces (including the antenna !) to get it working, but is worth the effort. There seems to be an increase in simplex D-Star usage on HF with the IC-705 being able to do the full range of HF, VHF and UHF.

Hope to hear you in DSTAR !

IC-705 & Shack Tidying

shack tidying is going well

So it has been a *very* busy week with work-work, uni-work and a ‘test’ at uni (which i done surprisingly well at!). I completed the cable management install last weekend (where did the week go again ?!), and got ‘this lives here’ sorted, but until Friday night havent been able to install the radio at all ! Am glad to say the IC-7300 reinstall was very easy , the one USB cable for the audio is amazing on this transceiver and I was soon back on FT8 & WSPR testing out everything was working again.

I’ve still got finessing to do on the cable management, but thats more about when everything is setup, know where the cables and lengths are – so far I’ve not got any less or any more QRM, and the amount of deskspace reclaimed is massive. Its just nice to have it much tidyer than it was !

IC-705 aimed at mobile operating, also includes VHF/UHF !

One of my favourite you-tube HAM radio operators is Tim G5TM, he always offers good advice and interesting operating. My favourite videos of his are the mobile operating.

G5TM mobile DX

Whilst is transceiver can pack a might punch (100W – mobile !) the Foundation experience of using 10W has taught me to be patient and make use of the equipment and frequencies available. For telephony on 10W I used the local repeaters and digital modes, namely GB3PB (really sad to read this repeater had gone (temp) due to Covid).

I am mostly think at home i will use the 705 on 2m and 70cm, and see if I can re-configure my pistar for DSTAR. I have a fantastic camper van, being the mazda bongo, and following G5TM’s lead will aim to go mobile with the IC705.

I’ve done a basic ‘out the box’ comparison video of the IC-705 being driven by the same end-fed antenna i use on 7300. Not disappointed by the ‘default’ audio quality here.

IC7300 and IC705 switched between multiband end-fed

I’m really happy with the IC705 and cant wait to go mobile with it. I’m wondering what antenna to use, i do have the buddipole, so that will be worth testing, but maybe a verticle fixed to the bongo where I can change the antenna ? Anyhow have loads of settings to tinker on the 705 and continue to tidy the shack and get the cable management tidier still.

Stay safe and keep well




Tidying the shack

It has been a mixed bag with the weather here, so not as much as chance to do the outdoor work I had wanted to do. Mostly its prep for when the Nebula arrives as in measuring out a 5m circumference for the guying points, no chance of that with the wind and rain !

As is I decided to tidy my shack up. As I’m doing far more software development than before and less time with the synths I’ve moved the music equipment to the ‘spare’ room. Everything has fitted quite nicely back in there, making it into a nice dedicated space for the synths. I will take pics when my lad is back and we have it all working agian !

My main motivation in tidying the shack was to get several of my rigs out and make the exterieor and interior cabling as tidy as possible. I really dislike untidy cables, especially in ‘racks’, so i really wanted to get my shack tidy !

Having moved mac #2 out, i have now moved my ‘build’ station to that desk, freeing up the space near the windows where rigs have tended to go (and will likely stay there). Also i have a nice desk for prototyping and working with my new Raspberry Pi 400. I’ve put in a smaller mixer which i will use for the radio audio and maybe the mac audio (good the occasional movie!)

messy cables ugh ! and i can re-work the PSU correctly 🙂

As you can its a heck of a mess at the moment, but this is after moving computer desks around. There is so much cabling with all these things, its quite amazing how it builds up !

The radio worked fine, but I’ve not reconnected the computer yet.

The fish eye lens gives a good view of the room and the new free space, yes that is an exercise bike ! I actually use it durign the week when working, i have 15 minutes away from the keyboard very hour or so to help me concentrate and also get some safe exercise ! but as you can see its quite a mess in here, but still better than it has been.

I love the new RPI 400. At £100 for a Pi, it wasnt cheap, but i love the functionality. Obviously i have a full-scale mac that I use for all my work, but I think the PI will see alot of Pi R&D with actual device I/O programming. The keyboard is excellent and the mouse very ergonomic. I was able to use Youtube, webbrowsing with no problem, its a very capable unit. I wont be in any rush to remove the OS from it, next steps will be to setup the physical ‘build’ board to do some hardware prototyping with.

Here is the smaller mixer I am using for now. Its not as complex and nor does it have USB input for a mac, but i like the size and simplicty of it. As long as I can descern the radio output from headphones and the speakers, it will do for me.

My next job (and why i’ve not gone crazy/OCD On tidying the upper desks) is to install these under desk cable trays. I think they will help alot as i can put the PSU strips in there and also velcro the cables together. I am not 100% on how to tidy the RX/TX cables – its so overlooked that the sheaths are also conductors, so its important to get things like RF bonding and earthing right to remove any in-shack RFI. I’ve asked a fellow Youtube Ham for help, so wont post on here yet, but hopefully stage 2 will have a link to that video 🙂

In the mean time I am looking forward to the Nebula arriving in the coming weeks and getting a couple more transceivers out of storage. I’m keen to get back onto VHF/UHF and maybe even 6M, will see how the tidying goes and how much space i have.

Until then 73 & Stay Safe !

Alan / 2E0FWE


Whilst enjoying my studies of Machine Learning I had the radio on in the background. I was very interested to see some ‘patterns’ on the 40m band

Interesting patterns in the waterfall

Not right at this time, but earlier in the day my fellow ‘neighbour’ ham G7VRD told me these are OTH. What is that ? Well this is Over the Horizon Radar, where radio signals are based off the ionosphere and then measured. They have been around a while, as in the 1950s, but technology has ‘evolved’ and ‘new’ arrays are being built ! These patterns were throughout the 40m band most of the evening ! Whilst annoying if you wanted to use the band for its intended use, nevertheless provided some interesting reading on what OTH was and how it worked.

FT8 and JS8 Call

Whilst I was busy with Juypter Notebooks, and as I now have the antennas plugged in thought it interesting to monitor JS8. Its nearby digital mode of FT8 gets plenty of traffic, JS8 is very sparse, which seems a shame as it looks a good way to ‘chat’ via FT8 digital mode.

I sent out HB and ACK’s and it was clear there are people listening, but not many sending CQ, nethertheless it was an interesting evening and this somewhat ‘dubious’ amateur transmission was observed, whilst interesting am wondering the legitimiacy of it.

Covid Stats transmitted into JS8 Call (no call signs only a reference of the source material)

I enjoyed seeing JS8 Call in operation though and didnt interrupt my studies, so i could do a bit of both.

late into the night… that’s data science for you and having a day job

So i enjoyed my FT8 and Data Science, having worked thru the night and with work-work the next day headed for bed eventually at 4AM.. 🙂

Stay safe and keep well !

Al / 2E0FWE

A bit of time off the radio

Been off the radio for the last week or so for exam revision (passed, if your interested its for IAC Terraform). Am waiting for the Nebula to arrive, so not been able to post about making cables, etc. I dont really want to use the new cable for the existing antennas, will see what is left after the nebula arrives.

I’ve only just today re-plugged my antennas back in the very late evening around midnight. Am thoroughly enjoying listening to a ‘net’ on 3.767, its coming thru crystal clear, its really nice to hear all ends of the conversation. Not caught any call signs yet, but I’m only half paying attention, but the banters good.

I’ve ordered a rotator from Farnell for the MFJ1886, being a VH226E. I didnt want anythign very expensive for a heavier Yagi or any other setup, i’ve got enough, probalby too many, antennas up, and just want to rotate my MFJ1886.

I’ve not really done a review on it yet, just not had the time… Uni work and work-work are just keeping me so busy, and absence of antennas..

Anyhow, good news on the C19 front today, lets hope that we can all stay safe and keep well.

73, Alan / 2E0FWE