If you own a D-STAR HT but don't live in the near vicinity of a repeater or hotspot the possibilities to use D-STAR are somehow restricted.
Well I have to admit that when I'm at the topfloor of my house I could work PI1UTR or PI1DSA but I'm not always at the attic. So what to do?
You could buy a kit, start soldering or buy a readily built repeater and put it on a high location. You could also buy a DV-DONGLE and hook it up to your laptop but what to do with your HT?
Another solution is to buy a DV Access Point, better known as the red dongle. The DVAP contains a 2m transceiver and should be connected to a spare USB port on your PC.
The required software can be downloaded from www.dvapdongle.com. After having installed the software the only thing you need to do is setup your callsign and frequency to be used and you're ready to go. Now you can link/unlink directly from your D-STAR HT to several gateways/reflectors without disturbing the users on a repeater.
Of course you'll first have to register yourself on a gateway; but since you own a D-STAR HT I assume you've already gone through that process. It's recommended to register an additional callsign on the D-STAR dashboard like "<callsign> A" as you can see in the above example. In this case it's my old callsign PD0PRS A.
If you don't want anyone to use your DVAP without you knowing you've got to option to use callsign locking.
The DVAP doesn't produce a lot of TX power; it's sufficient to to walk around the house and be able to receive D-STAR QSO's. Though the DVAP uses an SMA connector you could consider using a different antenna or even an amplifier. I would strongly oppose against this because the absence of decent filters.
My experience with the DVAP is positive; in a easy way you're able to use the full options of your D-STAR HT.