Well, since I have a multimode hotspot, I decided D-STAR was not enough so I bought a low end DMR radio. DMR is almost as daunting as D-STAR, maybe even more, but I think I have the basics figured out. AT least I have been able to make a contact in a talkgoup. Now looking at how to find repeaters I can connect to.
I'll be operating W9OAB during the Illinois QSO Party this coming Sunday.
If any of the Midwest hams are interested in contesting, you might look into the Society of Midwest Contesters. A great bunch of top notch contesters that love to share their knowledge.
I enjoy many aspects of ham radio, more of a hands on than appliance operator. Home is in west central Illinois.