I think that in his haste, the guy that set up the repeater was in too big of a hurry to get it on the air to take the time to learn everything that you need to know to program this new repeater and have it function properly.
The same holds true with the handheld radio he was talking on.
I read some stuff in QST Magazine about it, and it is starting to make more sense.
Digital has a better capture ratio - hence the people that are selling digital technology uses that as a selling point. So when you have a better capture rate, what does the manufacturer go out and do? They decrease the transmit power. What happens when you decrease the transmit power? It doesn't transmit as far! This is a catch 22 that causes the repeater owner to hook up a brick amplifier to the repeater to compensate for what was lost.
ICOM is not a bad company, they just make bad product decisions.
What ICOM does to support their image is they give away a lot of free stuff, especially to those that are planning a DXpedition.
When you are handed a bunch of Top of the Line HF transceivers to use for free and ICOM foots the bill for getting them there and back, you are not going to have a lot of bad to say about them..
If all a guy has to work with is a cheap multimode mobile radio all of their life, or a Kenwood TS 2000 or a Icom 746 Pro, to those people, the 7700 or 7800 is going to look like a Mercedes Benz.
D-Star doesn't work here because the hills are too steep and the valleys are too deep and the Digital Signal does not penetrate into the valleys, or through the foliage or up over one hill and down the next.
A GE Mastr II repeater has very good sensitivity, if tuned for two meters analog, it will listen to things a little below the thermal noise floor.
Your mind is very complex, even if you only hear every other word, as long as you can hear noise, your ears will continue to listen. Eventually your mind will paint a picture in your head of the information that your ears received. This was the reason why the Mastr II was designed for the Apollo Space Program.. They were afraid that if something happened, they would loose all communications and so even if you only got most of what the astronauts had to say - you could figure out the rest.
Only after they had used it and found how well it worked did they realize what they had.
GE was electronically correct, while Motorola was politically correct.
The GE stuff was designed from a engineering standpoint to work when others would fail, regardless of the cost.
While Motorola knew how to dot the I's and cross the T's...
Give the customers what they want at the price they are willing to pay and forget about it working properly or at all. Sell them upgrades to fix your stupid mistakes and charge the customer for everything that you do was Motorola's policy.
OOPS, just fell off my soap box...