Emergency Communications with D-Rats

What is D-Rats?
D-Rats is a data emergency communications tool.
Developed by KK7DS
dsmith@danplanet.com
Operating with D-RATS
The Big Picture
D-RATS is a communications tool that allows stations to communicate via D-STAR radios using low speed data (DV data mode), Packet Radio and the Internet. D-RATS also provides for transferring of files and forwarding of messages from one user to another, automatically. D-RATS works as a message hub, allowing seamless transfers from one port to another
Modes:
Messages
D-RATS allows creating and forwarding of pre-formatted messages like Memos, Incident Command forms, Patient Information forms, Radiograms and custom forms to suit your application using the form builder utility. It is intended to look and work as an E-mail client in order to be familiar to new users.
Chat
Real-time keyboard-to-keyboard chat with multiple stations.
Files
Transfer all types of files, including images, with file compression.
The Chat Tab
The Chat tab opens the Chat Window where Quick Messages beacons can be managed.
This is where real time text is exchanged with all stations. Received and transmitted text is displayed in different colors and includes the port name and time stamp. The colors can be adjusted in Preferences > Appearance. Text can be selected, copied and pasted into other applications. Likewise, text can be pasted into the [message box] from other applications. Click Send.
QSTs
Various types of bulletins can be sent periodically. These may contain: a string of text, the contents of a text file, your current position, the position of a station or static location in the map window, the current temperature at an airport, or an RSS or CAP feed.
The Stations Pane
This area on the window displays callsigns heard and the time since last heard in parentheses. Hover your mouse over a callsign to display their status and status message.
Port Selection
Use the drop down arrow to select the port where text and QSTs are sent. All enabled ports are monitored and can receive messages and file transfers, but text and QSTs only go out the selected port. Go to Preferences > Radio to create the ports you need. D-RATS supports serial connections to D-STAR radios, IP Networks, KISS TNC's and the DV Dongle. Note: The ports are listed alphabetically by name. When you start D-RATS, or click “Save” in the preferences window, the selected port reverts to the first one on the list.
Right click your mouse on the station pane to display a context sensitive menu of additional operations.
Right Click in the Station's Pane, to display the menu, select "Ping All Stations" to display the list of stations that are currently on D-Rats FL-EOC reflector. You will see KA4EOC as they keep the reflector active 24 hours a day for ARES groups to chat and train on.
The Status Pane
The status pane displays the current status of your station and the Sign-On message that will be sent to other stations.
Changing your station status by using the drop-down list to select between On-line and Unattended
On-Line: you are presently monitoring D-Rats. Your callsign color is blue.
Unattended: you are away from your computer, your callsign turns to a gold color. 
The Station's pane is where you will see the callsigns of Hams that are logged into D-Rats.
Below the Station's pane, Use the drop-down arrow to set your status as “Online” or “Unattended”.
Below that you see (Patrick in Cheltenham) This is what other users will see when they hover their mouse over there callsign in the Stations pane.  At a glance you can tell where that operator is located.
Put your cursor in (Online (D-RATS)) delete and type your Id  to displayed your information.

Example: Mike Tallahassee FL.  When people hover there mouse over your callsign in the station pane they will see Mike Tallahassee FL. or you can put Joe Orlando Orange Co FL.
The Messages Tab
This is where all pre-formatted messages are sent and received.
D-Rats supports a number of different types of forms, such as ICS213, ARRL Radiogram, HICS260, and email, that are packaged and distributed with D-Rats Program and these function in the same manner to that of an email message.
Join Channel / Open Private Chat
“Join Channel” and "Join Private Chat (next to the event tab) is an auxiliary chat rooms or channels for those in your team that are invited to use by providing them the name of the channel. Theses channels are not private and anyone can join the channel if they know the channel name.

Example would be “BREV-EOC” or “NWS-MLB” or “BREV-SHELTERS”. or BEOC-LOG” (logistics).
Those asked to use this channel would be able to communicate to the amateurs on this channel and away from the main stream activity.

While on this selected channel, traffic on the main channel continues and when users on the selected channel QSY’s back to the main, they will see all the traffic posted while they were gone. When there is activity on one of the channels, the channel name will turn red.
NOTE: Spelling out the channel Names is very IMPORTANT as D-Rats look for that name as it is spelled out. One wrong character  and you will not be able to join the channel.

If you want to start your own Channel you must pass the channel name to everyone that you want to join your channel. The hyphen (-) must be used to join the words so D-Rats can read it the whole name. Add a space bar and it only reads the first name. Example: LAKE-CO-ARES, D-Rats adds the # sign to all channel names.
If you are on the Main chat window, when traffic comes in on the channel, the channel name turns red alerting you of a message, same goes for the Main window. if you are on the Channel, the Main turns Red.
Amateurs on the main will not see the traffic on the selected channel. In using this method, each EmComm Operator could have a channel to operate the emergency without all the traffic confusion on the main. Click on the channel name or the Main to jump back and forth.
Private Chat Channels
Here you see next to the Main tab, RF, this is a Channel, ACØRN NØSEX, KØRN, WØRM, N6USP is private Chat channels.
To delete the a Channel, click on the channel you wish to delete to make it the active window, go to View and Click "Delete Filter" in the View tab or click the "Remove Filter" button just below the Chat tab.
The Files Tab
D-RATS can transfer files from one station to another using D-STAR radio or the Internet. The left side of the screen shows the files in your local D-Rats Shared folder. The right side of the screen displays the files in the remote stations sharing folder. Use the drop down arrows on the right side of the screen to select a station from the list, and the port to use for connecting to them. Click on the connect button. The remote stations file list will soon appear on the right side of the screen. To retrieve a file, highlight it and click on download. To send a file to the remote station, highlight a file in the local list and click upload. Be sure to click on the disconnect button when you are finished exchanging files with a station.
It should be remembered that D-Rats operates the slow speed segment of a D-Star Digital voice transmission and that the file speed is less than 1kbps. Therefore it would be unwise to attempt the transfers of large file across D-Rats. A file of 276 kb takes 12 to 15 minutes.
To retrieve a file from KK7DS, highlight it and click on download. To send a file to the remote station, (Your D-Rats Folder).
To send a file to KK7DS from your local folder, highlight a file in the local list and click upload.
Be sure to click on the disconnect button when you are finished exchanging files with a station.
Radio Settings
Go to File, Preference, to open the Preference.
Short Cut: Alt + P.
Add a port
Click add, the port tab comes up, fill out just like it is shown for the FL-EOC reflector, (reflector names has change, make it read cfl.ratflector.net) click add. In the radio tab check mark to enable the reflector.
Add a IC 880H to a Port
Name: IC 880H (or your radio that you are using, IC 80, IC 2820 etc.)
Type: Serial
Serial Port: ? you will need to check the hardware device manger for the serial port number that has been assigned to your radio when you plug the USB into your PC. You will need a USB to serial adapter and a data cable with the newer computers that have no serial port.
Baud Rate: 9600
Password: No pass word is used.
NOTE:
Enabled: If enabled, this makes this port active and available for use with D-RATS. Check mark only the ones you want to turn off & on. Then Click Save.  
If you are using a IC 880H (RF) you will only want to enable your radio and the FL EOC reflector when working EMCOMM.
Keep the emergency traffic local. If you enable a reflector with the 880H, you are going to have people all over the USA trying to help with the emergency.
D-RATS can be configured to operate simultaneously across multiple ports by enabling all the ports at once.
Radio
Rate
Radio settings required for D-RATS to function
IC-80AD
9600
DATATX = AUTO, GPS-TX = OFF, GPS.ATX = OFF
IC-U82
9600
ATX = ATXON, SPD = SPD96
IC-V82
9600
ATX = ATXON, SPD = SPD96
IC-91AD
38400
DV DATA TX = AUTO, GPS TX = DISABLED, GPS AUTO TX = OFF
IC-92AD
38400
DV DATA TX = AUTO, GPS TX = DISABLED, GPS AUTO TX = OFF
IC-2200
9600
ATX = ATXON, SPD = SPD96
IC-2820
9600
DV DATA TX = AUTO, GPS TX = DISABLED, GPS AUTO TX = OFF, UT123 must be installed
ID-800H
9600
DVT = DVTAT, SPD = SPD96
ID-880H
9600
DATATX = AUTO, GPS-TX = OFF, GPS.ATX = OFF
ID-1
19200
DV DATA TX = AUTO, Cannot use PC application
Ratflector password: Optional password to send if required to access a Ratflector (default = no password).
Sniff packets: If enabled, log some information about packets seen that are destined for other stations.
Receive raw text: If enabled, displays all text received in the chat window.
 
Note: Be sure to go to DV Set in the menu and set DATATX=AUTO. Other wise to transmit you must use the PTT.
The Map Window
This map shows Hillsboro OR. US 26 in blue goes to the  coast.
NOTE: I recommend that when you are going to upgrade to another version that you do a Clean uninstall.
Instructions
Go to Start -> Run
• Type %APPDATA%\D-RATS and hit OK
• In the resulting window, you'll see the D-Rats.config folder, Delete this folder
• Go to C: Drive, program files, D-Rats and delete the D-Rats folder. Now you have a clean uninstall.
• Nothing has been installed in the OS register. D-Rats works out of the 2 folders.
Write down your settings in your Preference before you uninstall.
LINKS
Paul Eakin - KJ4G - section Manager for the Northern Florida Section is happy to announce that in Tallahassee, Florida, a team of amateur's have installed a D-Rat reflector for ARES use in emergencies and for general amateur use at other times. This system is set up both on the internet and on “RF” on the K4WAK-B, the local D-Star repeater for District use
Note:  The files to be downloaded below is in ".PDF" format and requires Adobe Acrobat© Reader -- available free for most computer platforms (just click below):
D-Rats Setup
How to install ICS forms
Join Channel and Private Chat Instructions
D-Rats Operating Guide
How to save your Messages
How to fill out the ICS213 US OS form
How to send Messages via relays
How to send ICS 213 replies to include the Original Message
Created and Maintain by: Bobby D Jones, N6USP.
Copyright © 2011 [Bobby D Jones] All rights reserved. Revised: