Add FlexRadio's FLEX-6000 series to the list of amateur transceivers compatible with the D-STAR digital voice and data standard. Through an arrangement with NW Digital Radio, the next update to Flex's SmartSDR™ software will support D-STAR via NW Digital's ThumbDV™ dongle. Though many hams associate D-STAR with ICOM, it is actually an open standard developed by the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL). But it uses a proprietary encoder/decoder which until now has only been offered via ICOM and NW Digital Radio. Through this arrangement, FLEX-6000 series users will be able to use D-STAR as well.
The FLEX-6000 series radios are all HF/6-meter transceivers, and until now, most D-STAR activity has been on the VHF/UHF bands. However, a news release from NW Digital notes that the use of D-STAR on HF is growing and that the new availability of the mode on the FLEX-6000 radios will help stimulate further growth. The ThumbDV™ dongle will be available from both FlexRadio and NW Digital.