DROID-Star

After talking to a friend just to the north of me, he told me about the app DROID-Star for Android. As I only have apple devices, this wasn’t initially an option for me, however I do have an Android TV box which I use for Amateur Radio, so will review it from that device.

At the time of writing this review, I must state it is an Early Access version. It has been updated slightly since.

This app connects to D-Star and Yaesu System Fusion reflectors and repeaters via UDP and decodes audio and data in software. No AMBE hardware is required. It is written by Doug McLain.

Start screen to DROID-Star

The two option menus at the top of the screen allow you to Reload DMR IDs, Reload host files, and check the current version. I recommend reloading these.

From here you have the following options:

  • Mode – select what mode you want, this could be REF, XRF, DCS, YSF, DMR, P25 or NXDN.
  • Before pressing connect, select your Host, and fill in the other details.

Once working you will be able to listen into the room you select and it will display the call sign and even caller ID (if there is one), on the user that is transmitting.

As I said earlier, this app will no doubt be updated. I will try and keep this review updated as the app changes, but this may not be possible. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed. If there are other apps you would like us to look at or think we should know about, please let me know. Don’t forget to subscribe to our posts by putting in your email address on the above follow us page.

I also spoke to Doug AD8DP, who wrote this app, and he said to mention that the app is very much in beta development stage. He plans on users being able to add custom reflectors/servers and so on. He also wants to add TX ability with the choice between on board software IMBE/AMBE encoding or remote AMBE server. He also said to me that he APK installer file can be downloaded directly here for Amazon Fire users and others without access to the Google Play Store: http://www.dudetronics.com/radio/DroidStar.apk

UPDATE:

I have now heard many people use this app with great ease. The biggest question I have had is what is the password. Just put in your DMR network username and password.

One of the good rooms is YSF with Host 0-0-CQ-UK-Aussie. Then again, I am from downunder, but you might hear me on this one.

Please post and questions or comments below. Or join the discussion at https://groups.io/g/DroidStar

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Using DMR with DROID-Star

I have found most people struggle to use this app on DMR. DMR requires a few other options to be set as other networks do not need all these filled out correctly or at all.

After you have installed the software, go to settings area and put in the following. First put in your call sign then your DMR ID number. If you don’t have one, then you will need to get one.

You should then update the ESSID number other than blank. If it is a second radio, I use 2.

Then put in your Password that you put in for your BrandMeister account. If your unsure what that is, go to BrandMeister Self Care area and set it again.

Once the above has been done, click on ‘Update Hosts” then “Update ID files”, and this will make sure everything is updated.

Then return to the main screen and change the mode to DMR. Change the host to BM_3102_United_States (for example, this can be changed later). Then enter the talk group you want to go to adn press the connect button. Press the big blue button and start testing.

I suggest you test it on a quiet talk group and if you have another radio, listen to what you sound like. Adjust the mic gain as often this can be set to high. You don’t want to test it on a very busy talk group – it only upsets people.

Just remember, DROID-Star is being made by a volunteer, so updates will come in time. Currently it is really important you check your audio first as it can be very clear you are using a PC and not a radio.

Hope this has helped. Please let me know. Below are some other interesting reads you may enjoy also.

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WizNet DMR

The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have a licence as an Amateur Radio Operator, but approved to be part of the beta testing group. You can do this by googling the web site, submitt a few details, and a password. Once approved, you will get an email with a link and log in details that will tell you how to install.

I understand this app is currently only available on android devices at this time, however there are plans to extend this to Apple.

Installing on Android, you will need to make sure you turn on the feature where you download sources from anyone. Once installed, put in your callsign, and your password as per the email and your in.

The first thing you will need to do is click on the settings menu right down the bottom left of the screen. In there you will have your call sign already populated, but you will need to put in your DMR ID number. If you have two Wiznet apps on different devices, you can use two different DMR ID numbers. You can on this same settings screen you can adjust your mic gain also.

Over the left side is five menu options.

The first item at the top on the left side expands out the menu’s so you can see the text for each item and not just the icon.

Talk Groups

By default you should land Talk Groups page which has the icon of a person and paper next to the person.

On this list you can see available talk groups. The scan ones will scan talk groups on that network, and will continue to scan until someone is talking.

Talk Group

When you click on a talk group, you will go to a new screen, the Talk Group screen, where you can see yourself in that talk group, and whoever else is in that talk group that is also using the same app.

If you go into a dynamic one, you can put in the Talk Group number at the top of the screen and select set to join that group. If the dynamic talk group is on the TGIF network, then you can select talk groups on that network to join, however it is on the BrandMeister network, you can select talk groups on that network.

When you switch the dynamic talk group to another talk group, you take everyone already logged into that group with you, so it is usually best to ask to see if anyone else is using it first.

Down the bottom of the screen is the button you press to transmit – you have to hold it unfortunately but I guess this stops accidents.

At the top of the screen is a chat window also. Just select the background and type.

2020 Update

Since writing this review, this software no longer seems to be available. Thank you for the many people who have contacted me to let me know they couldn’t download it. I am not sure what happened, but while it was working it worked very well. Hopefully it will return or turn into something similar soon.


Other Apps and Software

Hope that was helpful. Below are some other apps I have looked at also:

  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…
  • WizNet DMR
    The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have a licence as an Amateur Radio Operator, but approved to be part of the beta testing group. You can do this by googling the web site, submitt a few details,…

Android Apps

  • DROID-Star
    After talking to a friend just to the north of me, he told me about the app DROID-Star for Android. As I only have apple devices, this wasn’t initially an option for me, however I do have an Android TV box which I use for Amateur Radio, so will review it from that device. At…
  • Mini Keyboard Options
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  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…
  • Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio
    If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this. I have Apple equipment, and therefore miss out on a lot of the testing apps that are only available on Android. There seem to be more and more there all the time! I don’t…
  • WizNet DMR
    The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have a licence as an Amateur Radio Operator, but approved to be part of the beta testing group. You can do this by googling the web site, submitt a few details,…

Apple Apps

  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…

Orion Push to Talk

Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own channels easily in it and invite a small group of friends.

Below is based on my understanding of the app, and may not be 100% accurate, but if you find anything not quite right, or wish to add your suggestion, please let me know.

From what I can see, the app is only available on Android and iPhone, not Windows.

First you need to create an account using an email address and then your off. You can enter a phone number if you want to.

Once you connect to or start a group, you can invite people to join you. Then once in the group, at the top of the screen you can see a map that shows the locations of all current online members in your group. You can zoom in or out the map as required or press on a member and select “show location on map.”

You can then talk to the group by pressing the large microphone button at the bottom of the screen.

The DigiComm Cafe Amateur Radio Group use it, and they welcome new visitors. Otherwise there is nothing stopping you making your own with family and friends.

You do share your exact location though, so be careful who you accept into your group or groups you join if this bothers you. They will be able to see when your home and not for example. However you only share your location when your online, not when your off line.

I can really see many benefits in this great little app, but it only works if you are in a WiFi or phone network area.

Here is the official video, clearly you can get microphones and speakers as shown in the video:

You can download the app here: orionlabs.io/get-the-app/

Further information is available here.


Other Reads

There are many other applications I use on my devices, have a look at some of them I have listed via the list on the right.

Android Apps

Apple Apps