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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

The Email Robots Are Coming!

Skip Teller (KH6TY) on January 24, 2006
View comments about this article!

The Email Robots are coming!

ARRL wants to let Email Robots cover the phone bands.

In the ARRL "bandwidth" petition, RM-11306, Pactor-III Email robots, 2.4 KHz wide (requiring a channel width of 2.5 KHz), are allowed everywhere phone is allowed, which is 14100 to 14350 KHz.

The current practice of Winlink 2000 is to scan two channels by each fully automatic Pactor-II station when they are allowed to operate anywhere in the RTTY/Data/CW areas of the bands. THIS IS DONE SO THE MOBILE STATIONS DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT AS LONG AS 4 MINUTES FOR A FREQUENCY THAT IS BEING USED BY ANOTHER EMAIL ROBOT, so then they can go to another frequency, where there is no Email robot, even if there is a CW or SSB already station there, and cause an Email robot to just take over the frequency.

If a single Pactor-III Email robot requires a 2.5 KHz channel, then a fully automatic Email robot scanning two channels will use 5 kHz.

There are currently 25 Winlink Email robots in the US and another 25 overseas, some of which can still interfere with communications in the US. There are another, perhaps 25, Email Robots assigned for Emcomm use by Winlink.

Assuming an average of 40 Winlink Email robots can be heard worldwide on 20 meters, and each one automatically scans only two frequencies, then 40 Email robots will take up 40 x 5 = 200 kHz of the 20 meter phone band, which is 80% of the phone band!

ARRL claims that the operator triggering the Email robot to transmit will not allow it to transmit on a busy frequency, but of course, it may not hear stations in QSO local to the robot but remote to itself, so the Email robot can just wipe out the local QSO, as is so often the practice now for CW and PSK31 QSO's, AND WILL BECOME A REALITY FOR PHONE OPERATORS IF RM-11306 is adopted.

If you think that sacrificing 80% of the 20 meter phone band to be used for Email messaging for Winlink's less than 1% of the US ham population is a good idea, you do not need to do anything.

IF YOU THINK THAT EMAIL ROBOTS SHOULD BE CONFINED TO A SEPARATE SPACE ON THE BANDS, THEN YOU NEED TO FILE COMMENTS TO THE FCC AND LET THEM KNOW YOUR POSITION!

It is as easy as 1-2-3-4 to file a comment!

1. Go to: http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/upload_v2.cgi

2. Fill in RM-11306 (in all caps) where it says "1. Proceeding"

3. Fill in the rest of the spaces with your name and address where indicated

4. Type a brief comment to the FCC where it says "Send a Brief Comment to FCC (typed-in)

Please make an effort to file a comment on RM-11306 before February 5!

73, Skip KH6TY

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WY3X on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Although I agree that this NPRM could be bad for amateur radio, do we really know what the numbers are? How about eHam.net setting up a poll about this?
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by K7NNG on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Just another nail in the Arrl coffin.
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N0AH on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Another of many reasons to learn and stick with morse code-
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N0XMZ on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I don't understand why people are so paranoid about this. From what I understand, the proposed rule change does not do away with the fact that an amateur station must be under the control of a control operator who must make sure the frequency is not in use first before transmitting.

The rules against causing harmful interference to communications already in progress are going to remain. So why the big fuss?
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WS4Y on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you Skip for bringing this to our attention.
Thank you eHam for a forum for this important topic.
I have already done as Skip has suggested and filed
my comments in opposition to ARRL's RM-11306. In
addition to the problems Skip has mentioned it will
lead to abuse of existing rules regarding commercial
content and third party international communications
due to the security afforded by pactor III. I think
it is ironic that we now find ourselves defending our
frequencies from a narrow special interest segment
being promoted by the same ARRL that has collected
funds from so many to DEFEND these frequencies. Take
a moment to think this through and follow Skips simple
directions and file your comments.
 
FCC - Put the "robots" outside amateur H  
by KT8K on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N0XMZ - as I understand it, this gives WINLINK an exception on the rule requiring a control operator. It also bothers me greatly that the ARRL (and Winlink - isn't that a for-profit organization?) are trying to ensure that UNATTENDED operation is OK for ONLY the WINLINK product. Personally, I do not want to see any kind of "robot" operation on amateur HF bands below 29 mHz. I think operations requiring unattended automatic transmissions should be provided special authority by the FCC to operate OUTSIDE the amateur HF bands.

I also feel this is an end-run on the prohibition of commercial activity on amateur radio bands. I have not seen how the email in question can be prevented from having commercial content. The very term "robot" indicates UNATTENDED operation, where it's assumed no control operator will be there to ensure that transmissions won't interfere with others.

Just my $0.02. I may not have all the information, but hopefully others will constructively chime in to fill in my gaps.
73 & best rx de kt8k - Tim
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
It is unfortunate that an otherwise good idea in my opinion (regulation by bandwidth) has gotten bogged down by the issue of automatic operation. Killing RM-11306 is throwing out the baby with the bath water. It is too bad that we cannot encourage the FCC to keep the bandwidth idea while placing limits on automatic (and so called semi-automatic) operation. I think the real issue is that we need to limit automatic operation, regardless of the mode, not just Pactor-III. Who knows what the mode-of-the-week will be in the future.

I am disappointed that the ARRL did not at least have a band-plan concept in place before releasing this proposal. They have clouded the primary issue, which could well result in the demise of the proposal.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N0XMZ - as I understand it, this gives WINLINK an exception on the rule requiring a control operator.

No, so called semi-automatic operation is permitted under current requlations for all digital stations less than 500Hz wide. The proposal (without a bandplan) would permit the wider Pactor-III to also be used. Without a bandplan it is possible for Pactor-III stations to intermix with SSB stations - that is the primary problem.

and Winlink - isn't that a for-profit organization?

No, WinLink is an amateur organization run by hams. There are no user fees involved. It simply gives a licensed ham a means of accessing a limited amount of e-mail via HF radio.

I have not seen how the email in question can be prevented from having commercial content.

WinLink has an "autorized user" list. Nobody can send you an e-mail via WinLink unless you first place them on the list. It is the WinLink user's (a ham) responsiblity to ensure that the people he authorizes to send him e-mail are informed not to send commercial content.

The very term "robot" indicates UNATTENDED operation

Actually only one end of the link is UNATTENDED. The unattended station never originates a connection. It only responds to a connect request from an attended station. In theory, that operator would ensure the frequency is clear before initiating the connect request. In practice it doesn't always prevent QRM because he may not be able to hear the stations using the frequency due to propogation differences.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by K6AER on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The SSB/CW gang will all be runing QRO for that will be the minimum power needed for a QSO. I keep noticing various HAM formats which have no where near the required bandwidth that the average Ham is using in the commerical digital world. I think on HF it will be no more popular than PSK31 or dital SSB audio.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by K4RAF on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
AA4PB: Whatever you call it, automatic or semi-automatic, there is a core problem with allowing this mixing of modes to occur in the same bandspace.

If a station is on voice in the proper segment for that bandwidth, & is even accidentally interfered with by a "robot", how will the voice station ever able to identify the offender without having a $1K modem? The "native mode" identification removed the ability to even read a CW identifier for contact purposes. CW ID is voluntary & easily can be used to eliminate identity of a robot station.

Unless I am mistaken, the proprietary nature of WinLink will not allow soundcard or 3rd party decoders. With this being the case, robot operation flies in the face of the ability to "self-police" & for attempting to solve interference issues.

While I agree the ARRL should have had other plan options, this proposal is fatally flawed on this issue & should be rejected outright.
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by W2WO on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think AA4PB has it exactly right: regulation by bandwidth is probably a good thing, but the issue of robots has been combined with it for some reason. (For those worrying about mixed modes, remember that any permitted transmission mode is valid in today's phone bands.)

Times are changing, unfortunately. I suggest regulating robots (or semi-automatic operation) to specific (and relatively small) subbands, something like 3650-3680, 14100-14130, etc. Perhaps 40 meters should be skipped entirely until amateurs own the entire band (probably not in my lifetime).

It is extremely unfortunate that Internet linking methods have been tied too closely to Winlink. I think the ARRL explores ideas as best they can, in good faith, but I believe something went wrong in this area. Perhaps it was just presented badly, but it has acquired a smell that will be difficult to overcome. Diffuse Internet links would be wonderful in disaster situations, but maybe the planning needs to be started over.

Squeeky wheels are noticed more than quiet, correctly-operating wheels. The same applies to comments in newsgroups. There is always group of ARRL haters, many of whom contribute nothing but dissention to the hobby. I doubt that statistics based on newsgroups (or FCC e-mail comments) correctly represent ham radio opinions. The bandwidth topic is more complex than it first appears and I can only hope that more people THINK about it for a while before forming an opinion.

Bill - W2WO
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WF7A on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Admittedly, I don't understand the entire issue here (more out of ignorance than stupidity...though The Wifoid would beg to differ), so I haven't decided to file a comment until I do. However, I do have a question or two.

According to Part 97.101 (General Standards):

"(b) Each station licensee and each control operator must cooperate in selecting transmitting channels and in making the most effective use of the amateur service frequencies. No frequency will be assigned for
the exclusive use of any station.

...and

(d) No amateur operator shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communication or signal.

Question 1) Are the robots going to frequency hop each time they operate or will they be assigned a specific frequency to operate on? The latter sorta violates (b) above.

Question 2) If you're in the middle of a QSO and a robot keys up (inadvertently or otherwise), doesn't that violate (d) above (at least the "willfully" part)?

True, it's our mission and duty to handle traffic (digitally or otherwise), but something just doesn't ring true with this robot scheme; IMHO, there are too many unanswered questions to approve it wholeheartedly.

Ciao!
Rich
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by RADIOBOB on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks ARRL. Wonder why I still belong ?

This has been around the block before. Why do we need this in the ham bands. There are so many other ways people can do the same thing.

OK here's an idea. Lets just place all these HF mail boxes, on one freq., say the last 3 KC of any band ??

Let them have at it. Since these stations seen not to care about who they walk on, then why not just let them have one and only one freq. If they can get a message though then fine, if they walk on each other, so be it.

If these people are in some remote out back, or in the middle of the ocean, then use cW, rtty, PSK, AMTOR, SSB, or sat phones.

If this is so all mighty important, then the peole who need this type of mode ?? service ???, should then partention the FCC for special bands just for there use.

Anyone know where there is a Henry 8 K for sale.


Good luck in the contest. We will all need it
 
The K1MAN-ization of digital modes  
by KF6IIU on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think what we are all feeling here is dread of the K1MAN-ization of digital modes. It's almost a slap in the face of the little guy - expensive, near-proprietary protocols, the difficulty of policing unattended and unidentifiable stations, potential commercial use. It took years to shut down K1MAN, who's to say how long it will take to get things under control if users start sending large attachments and managing their routine affairs, maybe of a commerical nature, via HF, and the number of gateways goes up to 40 or 50?

There's lots of quoting the FCC rules in these replies, but I think most of us are pretty cynical about the ARRL and FCCs ability to police HF. I'm against the plan, and I think it's justifiable to throw the baby out with the bath water in this case.

Even more alarming is the proposal for 100khz bandwidth in most of the 6m and 2m bands. Are they pushing free internet for the small number of elite operators who can afford the equipment?
 
Mixing of modes  
by AA4PB on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
K4RAF: The mixing of modes is already authorized. In the phone bands the present modes include AM, SSB, SSTV, digital voice, and digital image. On the CW bands we have Amtor, Pactor, Pactor-II, Clover, Gtor, PSK31, CW, and a whole host of new sound card modes.

The appropriate issue, in my opinion, is automatic operation (a particular type of use) and not the mixing of modes. Killing the proposal will keep digital *data* stations away from SSB stations but it won't keep digital *voice* or digital *image* stations from mixing with the SSB stations. It also won't keep digital *data* stations from filling the CW bands.
 
RE: Mixing of modes  
by NS6Y_ on January 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Wonderful, instead of the Russian Woodpecker it will be the WinLinkPecker. Wanna run SSB - go full on QRO and try to out shout 'em. Want to do real ham radio - do code. This will be a shot in the arm for CW but it's not the kind of shot in the arm we need.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N0IU on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Well now that the ARRL has a new president, maybe he will fix this problem. After all, Jim Hayne said, "...he believes someone with fresh ideas and a different vision from his now should take over the reins."

But wait, Joel Harrison said, "...he will promote the League's Petition for Rule Making (RM-11306) to have the FCC regulate Amateur Radio allocations by bandwidth."

Darn! Guess we will have to wait until he retires!

Scott N0IU
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N3HKN on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There is a taint on this entire process. The use of expensive proprietary communications systems within the Ham bands smells. I suggest that you just follow the money to see if anyone in the decision making process has been compromised. For example, is the manufacturer hoping to use its success in Ham Radio as a springboard for consideration of an award of a lucrative government contract? Selling a hundred boxes doesn't make a reasonable profit. Something else is afoot here.

N3HKN
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N3HKN Says:
----------------
There is a taint on this entire process. The use of expensive proprietary communications systems within the Ham bands smells. I suggest that you just follow the money to see if anyone in the decision making process has been compromised.
----------------

Here is a clip from the information I sent to my ARRL Director and Vice-Director:



About the bandwidth segmentation proposal and WinLink:

From what I understand, Jim Haynie, W5JPB, appointed Winlink architect, Vic Poor, W5SMM as chairman of the committee, and further appointed the Winlink Network Administrator, K4CJX to the committee, stacking two votes for Winlink from the get-go.

Jim Haynie took no action to intervene when Peter Martinez and Skip Teller told him that Vic Poor, W5SMM, was employing draconian techniques to the committee's running, shutting off discussion prematurely and forcing a vote which was always won by the Winlink majority.

Peter Martinez withdrew from the committee rather than participate in a farce, and Skip was threatened with legal action ( by WA1LOU of "Surfin" fame and director of TAPR ) if he published his dissenting opinion.

Can you imagine the kind of personallity that would threaten ANYONE for voicing thier opinion, minority or otherwise?

Jim Haynie then went on to show up at QRZ.Com during the earliest discussions about the bandwidth segmentation proposal, repeatedly making comments apparently designed to obfuscate rather than clarify, parroting WinLink propaganda points verbatim as if reading from a script, and going so far as to disparage amateurs for utilizing amateur radio in preference over the Internet in order to communicate.

Quoting Skip Teller KH6TY:
Quote
---------------------------------------
Given the percentage of ARRL petitions rejected over the years, the FCC rejection of ARRL's position on BPL, and their rejection of ARRL's attempt to give the force of law to ARRL bandplans, I would not be overly concerned that the FCC has already condoned what the ARRL is trying to get away with. Most of it is just an ARRL excuse to pander to Winlink, and they are relying only on Hatfield's comments to justify what they are trying to do. We have to remember how the "segmentation by bandwidth" proposed petition came about:

1. My request to my Director for the ARRL to petition to repeal 97.221© to solve the Pactor QRM problem was twice buried by my Director.

2. The second time, he seconded a motion by K1KI to establish the Ad Hoc HF Digital Committee. I suspect he and K1KI cooked that up in advance in order to bury my request for the second time.

3. Haynie then stacked the committee with Winlink operatives and supporters, appointed the Winlink architect as chairman, and K1KI as Committee/Board liason, which obviously let K1KI keep an eye on things.

4. Paul Rinaldo appeared to be giving secret instructions to the Committee chairman, the Winlink architect, without letting anyone else on the Committee know what they were.

5. Winlink then hijacked the Committee and produced a bandplan, tailored to Winlink's wishes, which was never even included in the charter of the Committee.

6. Finally, Sumner issued a news release declaring the Committee bandplan to be ARRL's own.

All this is officially documented in case it ever becomes necessary to use it to refute any ARRL claims.

---------------------------------------

So, overall N3HKN, you were right on target when you smelled a rat. - But actually there appears to be a whole smelly nest of them, not just one or two.

This behavior on the part of Sumner, Haynie, Frenaye, Poor, Horzepa, Rinaldo, and Waterman is not what any ham of good character would want to see in the ARRL.

If we really care about the ARRL, we should be doing what we can to see that none of these persons' association with the organization continues - for the obvious reason.

The fact that the new ARRL president openly supports this travesty does not speak well of him either... Not at all.


Charles Brabham, N5PVL
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by W8JI on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
We are in a tough position people!!

The ARRL made a proposal with a good core idea, regulation by bandwidth. They just made a couple mistakes, one with robots and one with mixing incompatable modes and one with ignoring 160 meters.

Now that we are changing ARRL presidents, let's hope the ARRL gets back in step with the people they are supposed to represent. Maybe Sumner should go also. Might be time for a fresh CEO. Call it a management shake up.

If you all think the ARRL proposal is bad, look at RM-11305 by the self-proclaimed "Communications Think Tank". This is a group with core support in the ESSB/ AM wide-as-you-can-be mindset. They proposed "good manners" will regulate the half-million amateurs in the USA and that any mode can operate on any frequency.

If you think the Robots are a worry, you better spend some time working against RM-11305 because anyone can go anywhere with any mode or bandwidth.

While the idea of no legal limits somewhat works in other less-populated countries, there are still very common violations of bandplans. It's a lot like highway traffic lines. With a low population you can get away without guidelines and rules. When there is a crowd, all hell breaks loose. People will be everywhere.

Americans, like it or not, also have an attitude of doing what they like within the limits of enforced laws.

Better worry about the loose cannons of RM-11305 also.
It will be worse than ANYTHING the ARRL proposed.

See:

http://www.w8ji.com/rm-11305.htm

and

http://www.w8ji.com/mixing_wide_and_narrow_modes.htm

RM-11306 the ARRL plan will hurt digital ops.

RM-11305 will just absolutely ruin everything for anyone but those who run 3kHz and wider modes, and even hurt normal voice narrow SSB.

RM-11306 is a pain in the rear for a few people, but RM-11305 is like having band-cancer.

73 Tom
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Charles,

I have always wondered what the connection was between Dennis Bodson and Winlink/ARRL Email and I have have found it...

From Appendix page 1 of the ARRL HF Digital Handbook, Second Edition:

"The technical descriptions that follow authored by Steven Karty, N5SK, in collaboration with Dennis Bodson, W4PWF, are intended to document the manifest technical characteristcs of these systems. They are not intended as complete system definitions."

This is the same loophole that lets Winlink use Pactor-II without SCS disclosing enough information to let us add Pactor-II monitoring to DigiPan:

§97.309 RTTY and data emission codes.

4) An amateur station transmitting a RTTY or data emission using a digital code specified in this paragraph may use any technique whose technical characteristics have been documented publicly, such as CLOVER, G-TOR, or PacTOR, for the purpose of facilitating communications.


So, what is the connection with Dennis Bodson?

Apparently, Dennis Bodson was once Chief of the Technology and Standards Division at the National Communication Systems and he was also the Chair of the Federal Telecommunications Standards Committee.

Maybe this link explains why he and the ARRL appear to be trying to convert the ham bands from being used for non-commercial hobby COMMUNICATIONS to being used for Winlink/ARRL Email "MESSAGING":

http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/websites/www.ncs.gov/library/tech_notes/tn_vol7n6.pdf

73, Skip KH6TY

 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N0IU on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
W8JI wrote, "Now that we are changing ARRL presidents, let's hope the ARRL gets back in step with the people they are supposed to represent."

Tom,

Here is a link to the article I quoted above:

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/01/20/2/?nc=1

In that article, Joel Harrison said, "...he will promote the League's Petition for Rule Making (RM-11306) to have the FCC regulate Amateur Radio allocations by bandwidth."

If you think the new "administration" will change anything, I have this bridge in Brooklyn...
 
RE: Mixing of modes  
by K4RAF on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"K4RAF: The mixing of modes is already authorized. In the phone bands the present modes include AM, SSB, SSTV, digital voice, and digital image. On the CW bands we have Amtor, Pactor, Pactor-II, Clover, Gtor, PSK31, CW, and a whole host of new sound card modes."

Non of these modes is proprietary & I can decode any/all of them with programs such as MultiPSK. The problem with running WinLink is again, the inability to even figure who is the station interfering or what is being passed. This will then burder the FCC to get involved to figure who it is, in case of interference. Far from expeditious resolution!

"The appropriate issue, in my opinion, is automatic operation (a particular type of use) and not the mixing of modes. Killing the proposal will keep digital *data* stations away from SSB stations but it won't keep digital *voice* or digital *image* stations from mixing with the SSB stations. It also won't keep digital *data* stations from filling the CW bands."

They are full of data now. 3KHz of data in cramped phone bands is not the same as 300hz on the CW portion, but unlike WinLink, these other modes are OPEN protocols & easily decoded. My problem is with the closed WinLink protocol which is no different than scrambling IMHO.

Can you run iDEN on amateur radio? I can't think of another proprietary, hardware mandatory mode on amateur radio. Why is WinLink even allowed since it flies in the face of the service's spirit of openness & "self policing"?
 
RE: Mixing of modes  
by K4JF on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Regulation by bandwidth" is a terrible idea, and the favoring of robots makes it even worse. We do not need to add to the FCC's enforcement burden, and this proposal will do exactly that.
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WS4Y on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I appreciate Skip and Charles coming forward with
this info. I believe we have arrived at this point
driven by those following self interests rather than
by those seeking the best interests of amateur radio.
I hope the Commission will understand all of this and
act in the best interest of the service.
Thanks again to eHam for a forum for these things to
come to light. I think I'll subscribe.
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N4KZ on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I absolutely and strenuously disagree with the headline on this posting that claims:

"ARRL wants to let Email Robots cover the phone bands."

Why would ARRL want this? Where is the proof to substantiate this claim? I see none. This is another example of people using an unfiltered Internet to pass off opinion as being fact.

There's a hidden agenda here all right but it doesn't belong to ARRL. The Leage is an organization that's far from perfect but generally has been trying to do the right thing since shortly after the incentive licensing fiasco of the late 1960s in which many of us were unfairly penalized.

The best predictor of future behaviors are past behaviors. The reality is gentlemen's agreements have worked fairly well on the amateur bands for years and will continue to do so in the future.

Why don't those who are so critical of ARRL start an alterate organization? By its very nature, amateur radio must have representation in Washington, D.C. How many other hobbies need federal authorization even to exist? But those who constantly criticize ARRL never seem willing to create a viable, alternate voice for amateur radio. Instead, they just use the Internet to whine and come up with some of the most outlandish conspiracy theories ever.

73, N4KZ
 
RE: Mixing of modes  
by AA4PB on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
we have Amtor, Pactor, Pactor-II, Clover, Gtor, PSK31, CW, and a whole host of new sound card modes."

Non of these modes is proprietary & I can decode any/all of them with programs such as MultiPSK
-----------------------------------------------------
You can? MultiPSK will work with Pactor-II, Clover, and Gtor? These are proprietary modes.

Again, I believe your issue (which I can understand) is with the use of proprietary modes and robots on the ham bands rather than the basic regulation by bandwidth or the mixing of different modes in the same spectrum space.
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by W7WIK on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think you're blowing it way out of proportion.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
NK4Z:

"ARRL wants to let Email Robots cover the phone bands. "Why would ARRL want this? Where is the proof to substantiate this claim? I see none. This is another example of people using an unfiltered Internet to pass off opinion as being fact."

Sorry, NK4Z, but this is FACT, not opinion, and the "proof" you want is right here:

Just compare the current 97.221 regulations:

"§97.221 Automatically controlled digital station.
(a) This rule section does not apply to an auxiliary station, a beacon station, a repeater station, an earth station, a space station, or a space telecommand station.

(b) A station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on the 6 m or shorter wavelength bands, and on the 28.120-28.189 MHz, 24.925-24.930 MHz, 21.090-21.100 MHz, 18.105-18.110 MHz, 14.0950-14.0995 MHz, 14.1005-14.112 MHz, 10.140-10.150 MHz, 7.100-7.105 MHz, or 3.620-3.635 MHz segments.

(c) A station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on any other frequency authorized for such emission types provided that:


(1) The station is responding to interrogation by a station under local or remote control; and
(2) No transmission from the automatically controlled station occupies a bandwidth of more than 500 Hz.
"

with the ARRL revised version in RM-11306:

Section 97.221 is amended to read as follows:

"97.221 Automatically controlled stations transmitting RTTY or data emissions.
*****
(b) A station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on the
6 m or shorter wavelength bands, and on the 28.120-28.189 MHz, 21.150-21.160 MHz, 14.100-
14.112 MHz, 10.140-10.150 MHz, 7.100-7.105 MHz, or 3.620-3.635 MHz segments.

(c) A station transmitting a RTTY or data emission may be automatically controlled on any other
frequency authorized for such emission types provided that the station is responding to
interrogation by a station under local or remote control.

(1) (Deleted)
(2) (Deleted)"

In RM-11306, ARRL further states, "Therefore, it is proposed to modify Section 97.221 (c) to delete the limitations on semi-automatic control and to permit the same throughout the amateur HF bands."

In 1995, Docket 94-95, the Report and Order of the FCC limited ALL types of automatic operation (so-called "semi-automatic" AND fully automatic) with bandwidths over 500 Hz to only 3.8% of the HF bands, because they said they know the interference potential of wideband automatic stations was too great to allow them everywhere. Since 1995, there has been no signficant increase the ham radio HF spectrum allocations, except for a miniscule amount on 60m. THEREFORE, there is no justification for increasing the spectrum for wideband automatic stations like the ARRL proposes.

One half of every so-called "semi-automatic" control connection is a fully automatic Email robot, unable to check for activity in the frequency local to it, unable to respond to or even hear a "QRL", and unable to "QSY" if it is breaking up an ongoing QSO.

The ARRL statement, "throughout the amateur HF bands", INCLUDES all the frequencies used by PHONE stations, because Pactor-III is the SAME width as PHONE, and under "segmentation by bandwidth", is allowed to mix with phone.

In the past, ARRL has been the benevolent protector, to some degree or other, of the average radio amateur's rights, but things have changed, and RM-11306 unabashedly favors a small special interest group, Winlink, whose only interest is radio Email for less then 1% of the FCC-licensed hams, and not COMMUNICATIONS, and who was APPOINTED by the ARRL president to write a bandplan "for the rest of us". The rewording of Part 97.221 must make that abundantly clear.

ARRL's "segmentation by bandwidth" petition is nothing more than a red herring to draw attention from the REAL reason behind RM-11306, which is to grant access to ALL HF frequencies for Winlink "IN EXCHANGE" for ARRL access to the Winlink network for ARRL "messaging". Of course, because ARRL gave Winlink the job of writing the "bandwidth" petition to make rules for the rest of us! "Segmentation by bandwidth" is probably a good idea, but tying it to favoritism to Winlink politically taints the whole petition.

Everyone might benefit from reading this link:

http://www.zerobeat.net/bandplan-dissent.html

before you decide whether or not to blindly support the ARRL and RM-11306.

Things have changed at ARRL! :-(

If RM-11306 is adopted, phone operations on HF will never be the same, especially with the future slew of non-code Generals joining the phone operator ranks, mixed together with Pactor-III Email robots randomly popping up over phone QSO's all over the place.

If you have never experienced the problem of your QSO's being disrupted at randon by an Email robot, talk to some CW, PSK31, MT63, or MFSK16 operators who have to better understand why adoption of RM-11306, as written, would be disasterous to phone operators.

Email robots have never before been allowed to mix with phone operations, so those who only work phone have no idea what is in store for them if RM-11306 becomes law!

In any event, please file your comments with the FCC by February 5, and be heard!

Skip KH6TY
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N4KZ:

Sorry I transposed the 4 and K in your callsign by accident and just realized it...


W7WIK:

Please read the original post on this topic, and if necessary, go to http://www.winlink.org/status, and confirm the math yourself to see if the threat is blown out of proportion. www.winlink.org has lots of information on the system and about how many messages are handled each month.

73, Skip KH6TY
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WA6BPE on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
We always called the digital robots on HF "Auto-Lid" - you'd be on a frequency and then BANG! Sorry! This frequency is now in use by someone else! Irritating BEYOND BELIEF.

"Auto-Lid" needs to be banned from the amateur radio bands under 29 MHz under any and all circumstances.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by K3UD on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N4KZ Wrote
"The best predictor of future behaviors are past behaviors. The reality is gentlemen's agreements have worked fairly well on the amateur bands for years and will continue to do so in the future."

If either of the petitions are favorably acted upon by the FCC it would seem that we would need a whole new set of so called "gentlemen's agreements". I wonder who the gentlemen will be that will propose the agreements.

Gentlemen's agreements on 160 meters seem to work most of the time. However when there is a contest on 160 the agreements fly out the window because there is no regulation and anyone can do anywhere and do anything they want causing QRM all over the 160 meter band.

Depending on the petition in question we could have a daily free for all on our bands because you can go anywhere you want using any mode you want up to the limit of your operating privileges. If you have wide open spaces and no regulations you end up with chaos on the order of what happens on 160 during a contest. Toss in the automated or so called semi automated robots which can not tell if the frequency is occupied because of propogation even though it IS occupied, then you have a recipe for rather bad feelings, and most of us will have no way of identifying the bot causing interference.

As Bette Davis once said "Hang On, Its going to be a bumpy ride".

73
George
K3UD
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WA4DOU on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you Skip for that most revealing post. Many League members have suspected the directorship of the League hasn't been paying any attention to the members for a long time. This really looks pretty damning.
If the League came out and publicly admitted to a rushed and very flawed proposal and made an attempt to withdraw the RM proposal, they could possibly save face. But in all likelihood they'll remain silent in the background and hope this all blows over. As a member I hope the majority of members hold them accountable for this, whether it passes or not.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There have been many types of automatic operation over the years, not just WinLink. WinLink just happens to be the most prevelent at the moment. With the advancing technology we may see other modes (digital voice for example) under automatic control in the future.

I don't think that ALL automatic control should be banned from the HF bands. I think that a reasonable compromise may be to restrict all automatically controlled stations (including those accessed by a manually controlled station) to a fairly narrow range of frequencies on each band. If you, as a manually controlled station, choose to operate inside that narrow range of frequencies then you can plan on being subjected to the QRM. If you don't want to be QRMed by an automatic station then move somewhere on the remainder of the band where you will be protected.

Any type of automatic control is so different from the mainstream amateur usage that it needs to be more tightly controlled, in my opinion.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Bob,

I am happy to find that I am in very close agreement with you on the issues of segmentation by bandwidth and automated stations.

Here are several indications of just how "little" space automated Email systems, even the size of Winlink, need. I hope this helps to explain to everyone reading this a little about the nature of Email messaging systems and how they can fit in a neighborly fashion into our limited ham radio HF spectrum with everyone else.

Fact: 92% of all Winlink traffic, 150,000 emails a month, is currently flowing successfully, using Pactor-III, wholly inside the Part 97.221 sub-bands, eliminating QRM to everyone else outside the sub-bands from those stations.

Fact: Pactor-III only saves 30% in overall airtime over Pactor-II for the typical 2-minute email transfer, but consumes *FIVE* times the bandwidth.

Fact: Winlink's elimination of their spectrum-wasting "scanning" would cut Winlink's need for spectrun in *HALF*!

Fact: The suggested ARRL NTS/NTSD specification for maximum delivery time for a message is 60 minutes.

Fact: Time-sharing one channel between two (2) different PMBO stations would result in an average wait of less than 2 minutes for a clear channel, but would again cut the need for spectrum in HALF!

Fact: 15 kHz on each band could provide for 24 Pactor-II channels (one for each US PMBO), plus one Pactor-III channel to be shared by all 24 PMBO's for image, catalog, or large binary file transfers.

Fact: In practical terms, with "reasonable" time-sharing, only one fourth of the space in the sub-bands would actually be needed to handle the current level of Winlink email traffic.

Fact: A mere 5 kHz on each band for unattended operations could be sufficient to support ten 500 Hz-wide channels for Pactor-2, which would support 30 PMBO's with three sharing each channel (which is less than the maximum of seven already successfully sharing 2500 Hz wide channels using Pactor-3), with a *MAXIMUM* wait for a clear channel of only 4 minutes out of an ARRL NTS/NTSD specified maximum delivery time of 60 minutes.

The reason this is practical is that unattended systems, like Winlink 2000, are "store-and-forward" systems, not "realtime" systems, and any message inserted into the system will usually not be retrieved by the recipient for *MANY* minutes, or even hours, later, so a few minutes delay in insertion or retrieval is of little or no consequence. Unattended radio email systems, like Winlink 2000, are *NOT* realtime message delivery systems (like Internet broadband, with instant notification and availability of messages and Instant Messaging), but are more like Internet dialup services, in which the end user must *PERIODICALLY* decide to check for incoming email, then connect, and then download messages, because he is not always connected.

Since 5 kHz on each band is more than sufficient for unattended operations, there can be no justification for allowing unattended operations to have unrestricted access to *ALL* HF frequencies, as the ARRL currently proposes, which would make an already intolerable interference problem to others many times worse if implemented.

EmComm: No additional frequencies are even needed to add EmComm traffic to Winlink! Here is a quote by K4CJX (Winlink Network Administrator) from the March CQ magazine:

"The only difference in any emergency is that the content changes. I suppose there may be more outbound third-party information, or more recipients per message, but really no user increases that are noticeable. Unlike other types of systems set up for Emcomm, this system is used with or without EmComm daily by 6384 Winlink users to approximately 81,000 e-mail recipients. It takes a HUGE difference to be noticeable."

Posted recently by K4CJX on QRZ.COM:

"FYI, P3 is about 92 percent of the Winlink activity, and the P3 is getting larger while the P1, P2 (out of the auto-subbands is getting smaller. Very crowded situation in those small segments and intollorable on 40 meters. There are no Winlink 2000 stations on known "Fixed, fully automatic HF Packet machine-to-machine operations in these auto sub-bands."

The reason Winlink wrote "ALL" HF frequenices into the ARRL petition is that they want to continue, and even expand, their practice of assigning more than one published frequency to each PMBO so if one is busy with an Email robot, they can just try a different one that has no Email robot, but may have a CW, SSB, or PSK31 QSO and take away the frequency for their own use, because they can hammer away automatically until everyone else is driven off the frequency.

That is the advantage of a Winlink machine over a live operator. Once the robot gets on the frequency, the live operator often cannot even communicate through the robot to arrange a QSY with his QSO party. Sure, it's legal, but there is no way to enforce such draconian operating practices, and often no way to identify the robot.

All of us need to file comments to the FCC telling them that we do not object to automated operations, as long as they are confined to a separate, continuous, space on each band so we can stay away from them.

All the frequencies scanned by the robots are published in advance, so they cannot QSY, even it they could understand a request to do so. They effectively "own" the published frequencies they operate on, and regularly transmit on top of any ongoing communications on that frequency, as if they really did own it. The 97.221 subbands were set aside specifically to keep wideband "semi-automated" or fully automated digital stations from disrupting person-to-person communications.

All that is required to coexist with person-to-person communications is for them to be confined to subbands in all cases, and have those subbands sized to reasonably accomodate the anticipated traffic. That amounts to less than 10 kHz per band by limiting the amount of spectrum used by the automated stations enough that they are forced to share frequencies by waiting for a clear one, just like everyone else is forced to do.

Do "voluntary" bandplans work? The FCC "bandplan" of 97.221 keeps all FCC-licensed automatically controlled digital stations of emitted bandwidth over 500 Hz in the specified frequency ranges. Winlink therefore assigns US Winlink PMBO's to those subbands. BUT, Winlink assigns one Winlink PMBO, VE2AFQ, a Pactor-III frequency OUTSIDE the subbands, 14068.9 kHz, BECAUSE he is in Canada and not restricted by FCC regulations. Nevertheless, Winlink gives him access to the Winlink servers, and you cannot operate just below 14070 if you want to, because of the heavy Pactor-III traffic of VE2AFQ.

Lesson: You cannot trust Winlink to adhere to any bandplan or "gentlemen's agreement" if they can find a loophole out of it. The same is true of their operations on 40m. Since the ARRL Executive Committee has a history of immediately granting Winlink anything they ask for, and even let them write the bandplan for everyone else, you therefore cannot trust ARRL to be fair and not concoct a bandplan that will not heavily favor Winlink in the future.

73, Skip KH6TY
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
For those who may not have taken the time to read and digest the ARRL's proposal, here is what they said in the Conclusions section:

"The Commissions's rules cannot efficiently prevent conflicts in HF spectrum usage between or among amateurs pursuing different interests. Of course, there must be mechanisms to minimize interference between analog and digital operation, since they cannot compatibly share the same "channel" or frequency range. However, using the Commission's rules to subdivide the HF bands should be minimized."

And further down... "The plan places increased responsibility on the Amateur community to establish workable, accepted band plans for these bands, but ARRL is confident that the ongoing effort to do that will be successful. ARRL is firmly committed to completing a competent and aceptable band plan to accompany the rule changes proposed herein."

Whether or not you believe that such a plan will be successful and whether or not you believe that amateurs will follow a plan, it appears to me that the ARRL is NOT planning on having "Email Robots" take over the phone bands and they are NOT planning on having analog and digital modes operating in the same spectrum.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Skip, I think we are in agreement with the automatic operation. I think that the ARRL BOD believes that they can handle the restrictions with a band plan. I'm not sure they can. Even if the FCC makes it a "cast in stone" regulation, it doesn't apply to stations outside the U.S. The WinLink management can enforce it though, if they will. All they have to do is say "if you don't follow the band plan you don't connect to the server". Simple - end of discussion. All it takes is the will of the management to enforce it.

I would also like to see a requirement for automatic stations to provide a CW (or MCW) ID at the end of their communications. Its easy to do and it provides a way to identify any stations that are causing QRM without having a Pactor controller. Even a voluntary band plan could then have some "FCC teeth" in it, similar to the repeater coordination process. If people are reporting that your station is causing QRM and you are not operating on a coordinated frequency then you loose.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by W8JI on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
What about 160 meters? Anyone can go anywhere they want.

The ARRL themselves ignores bandplans. For example in an ARRL SSB contest W1AW operated below 1843, and worse yet was running USA stations.

While we have "robots" for leverage (don't follow, you can't connect) we create a whole generation of Hams having to ask Hams to follow bandplans.

With that in mind, do an experiment. Tell someone he isn't ID'ing often enough. Tell a Ham he is using more power than necessary for the distance of the QSO. Tell one he is splattering, or has keyclicks, or is operting with emissions outside the band.

What you will hear 99% of the is "who are you, a policeman?".

So now we have no emission segregation rules, and we depend on nearly 100% of half-a-million North Americans following a voluntary bandplan with everyone taking it in good spirit and stride that the plan should be followed.

People are dreaming. It took FCC intervention to get four or five W5's to move from 1824 to above 1840 despite the fact nearly the entire band was empty above 1843. The reason they gave for parking on CW was "it was legal to operate there". I have recordings of them plotting to cause QRM on 1850 or 60 kHz before they moved to 1823 or 1824. We have a W8 in Ohio who obviously wathes packet spots and moves on top of people, and who has been doing that for at least 40 years.

160 works after a fashion only because just a few thousand people operate there, and because there is enormous peer pressure to comply. Despite that, everyone hates the cop who has to break the bad news that someone is violating a bandplan and causing QRM.

Bandplans must have teeth, and we must have uniform pressure and agreement that calling someone on the carpet for violating a bandplan will not place the complainer in the light of being a problem.

I can't imagine that working long term.

73 Tom
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Bob, AA4PB,

"Whether or not you believe that such a plan will be successful and whether or not you believe that amateurs will follow a plan, it appears to me that the ARRL is NOT planning on having "Email Robots" take over the phone bands and they are NOT planning on having analog and digital modes operating in the same spectrum."

My calculations in my original post on this article indicate that past practice shows that Winlink's Email robots will wind up covering the phone bands, popping up anywhere at random on their published frequencies. Of course they will always claim they determined the frequency was "clear". So, just avoid their published frequencies (approximately 80% of the 20m phone band, for example), if you do not want your QSO destroyed by a Winlink Email robot!

Why do you imagine ARRL/Winlink is petitioning for rules to let them go everywhere if they do not intend to do so! No - they MUST be confined by RULES to 10 kHz of subbands on each band, which is all they really need. This way, we know where they will be and can avoid them and they cannot just pop up on top of a person-to-person QSO. After all, in 1995, the Commissioners were wise enough to understand this, and created the subbands.

The graph at:

http://www.zerobeat.net/bandplan-dissent.html

clearly shows how Winlink spreads out with Pactor-II, which you can be sure would be the practice all over the phone bands with Pactor-III if they can escape the subbands.

Remember that their idea is to ELIMINATE WAITING for a clear frequency, any way they can. Do you have to WAIT your turn on a CW or phone traffic net to pass traffic? Of course, you do, and so does everyone else, and the typical net takes up perhaps only two frequencies, one for the Net and one to privately pass traffic. Why should Winlink not have to do the same? Restricting them to the properly sized subbands, as they are now for Pactor-III, makes them take turns on a frequency, AND THEY ARE DOING THAT RIGHT NOW SUCCESSFULLY! They only grumble because they must WAIT about 4 minutes on the average at the most! HORRORS!

Bob, "talk" is cheap, and the ARRL Executive Committee has always give Winlink everything they asked for, without asking for input from anyone else. What do you think an ARRL "bandplan" will do, and why don't they admonish Winlink for operating outside the current "bandplans", and why does ARRL endorse a Winlink bandplan that ELIMINATES all the restrictions on automatic operation that are part and parcel of the published IARU Region 1 bandplan? The answer to that is in the Ad Hoc HFDigital Committee report that Winlink wrote - IARU's bandplan is just unacceptable to "North America". "North America" means only one thing - Winlink!

We need REGULATIONS to control where Winlink and other Email systems operate, because they are armed with powerful ARQ automatic stations and have a history of just running everyone else off any frequency they want to use.

ARRL has a vested, and conflicting, interest in Winlink, because they have declared that they will use Winlink for ARRL traffic system messaging. What do you think is going to happen to the rest of us (99% of the FCC-licensed hams) when the bandplans give Winlink/ARRL messaging most of the space?

We are dealing with an entity that has a history of frequency domination and a history of ignoring bandplans. It would extremely naive and dangerous to assume this will change in the future, regardless of the spin from ARRL and Winlink.

Unless 97.221 is left alone, we have no alternative but to ask the FCC to reject the ARRL petition and throw out the baby with the bath water.




 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N6CRR on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The whole bandwidth RM issue brings what I think is a philosophical argument to Amateur Radio and it is probably a good time to put the discussion in those very simple philosophical points of view.

On the one hand we have the Winlink, and email over HF radio camp, which seem to view Amateur Radio in general as an ends to a means. The means appears to be well intentioned and altruistic in nature, but is fraught with conflicts of interest due to financial interests in terms of equipment providers by parties who are advocates of this sort of service. While the RF and radio aspects of Winlink are important is some ways, the payload or content of the information appears to be the driving force. From personal communications from amateurs to non amateurs via email to access to sources of information to the amateur radio operator which are not readily available by other means, such as weather forecasts etc, it's the information content which is important.

On the other hand are the traditionalists who view Amateur Radio communications as a direct person to person form of communications. Third parties operating on scare spectrum resources for the benefit of content, at least in the form of "Robot" servers are alien to this point of view. The information content in the traditional view of Amateur radio is not structured and is in some sense, the information content is what ever a fellow amateur wishes to convey. This point of view values the art and pleasure of communications higher than the content. (I'm in this camp by the way)

Turning from the fundamental philosophical issues, there are other issues at play that range from the use of proprietary modulation formats and techniques on what are public spectrum resources, to the role of automation of use of radio spectrum along with allocation of spectrum resources to tasks.


The ARRL in it's infinite wisdom has seen fit to ignore the fundamental differences in opinion on this fundamental point of view which may be present membership of the league, while at the same time those that are more interested in the content of the communications have done exactly what their point of view tells them is the correct thing, namely advocated with rule making that empowers their point of view. I'm not quite sure if the ARRL is merely incompetent, tone death or bought and paid for, I leave that for others to decide.

In short, the debate turns over a fundamental view of what is amateur radio is, and what it will become in the future. In the final analysis, it is the role of the FCC to listen to the public, for who they work, and issue rules which seek to balance the two points of view.

Comment, don't comment, but at the end of the day, things will either change or not change based on comments made by the owners of the spectrum, you.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WA6CDE on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Geee can't imagine why the ARRL would want to stop something is has been promoting for years... unlike BPL which is still going ahead full force... why shouldn't it after all they can make money... you have your hobby... who cares about your hobby when their is money to be made.

As to the digital stuff.. watch for the new manual and book published by the ARRL (suggested list price $79.95 after the huricane forced paper prices to go up? ) on how to get into it what it is and how to behave grin.

Naw its all about the money dudes... they need more to run the orginization as other long time people thumb their noses at them and leave someone has to make up the revenue shortage that they used to get.

I am still waiting for their lab to evaluate antennas and come out with reviews and ratings for compairson. Don't think its going to happen as they would lose the advertisment unless the manufacture won. Same with compairing radios don't hold your breath yet they say were the good guys. And some hams keep getting ripped off. Ain't technology great wait till the new generations of radios come out with digital voice and your old Sideband rig is a canadate for being a boat anchor. How much did you spend on it??
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Skip, I can't argue against your position because I don't "know" what ARRL will ultimatly arrive at as a band plan. I'm just saying that the ARRL is not telling everyone that they want WinLink robots to fill the phone bands. What they are saying to the FCC in the proposal is that they (the ARRL) are working on and will arrive at a bandplan that will separate modes within the range of frequencies authorized by the FCC for that bandwidth before the regulation changes take effect. Will that ultimately happen? I don't know.

My response to the FCC was that I agree with the basic idea of dividing the bands according to bandwidth rather than transmission content but that they should ensure there is some means of limiting the frequencies authorized for stations operating under automatic control.

Perhaps if the FCC issues the report and order and we go thru an additional round of comments then the FCC will modify the proposal to include the necessary controls.

If everyone would make their specific concerns known to the FCC then that may happen. I doubt that the FCC will pay much attention to all the comments that simply say "I vote no" or "I vote yes". I don't think they are taking an up or down vote or a poll. They are looking for specific comments about why the proposal should or should not be moved forward or specific ways in which it should be changed. As I understand it even if it is approved at this point, it could still be modified or dropped completely before it becomes law.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AB0WR on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
********************************************************************

aa4pb:

Skip, I can't argue against your position because I don't "know" what ARRL will ultimatly arrive at as a band plan. I'm just saying that the ARRL is not telling everyone that they want WinLink robots to fill the phone bands. What they are saying to the FCC in the proposal is that they (the ARRL) are working on and will arrive at a bandplan that will separate modes within the range of frequencies authorized by the FCC for that bandwidth before the regulation changes take effect. Will that ultimately happen? I don't know.

My response to the FCC was that I agree with the basic idea of dividing the bands according to bandwidth rather than transmission content but that they should ensure there is some means of limiting the frequencies authorized for stations operating under automatic control.

*********************************************************************

It doesn't matter what type of bandplan they come up with. It won't solve the problems that will be caused.

They didn't do any homework on the issues at all. They were apparently driven by special interests.

Consider: Under the mode regulation of today, digital modes using adaptive bandwidth can operate in with all the other digital modes of whatever bandwidth.

Under bandwidth regulation, those digital modes will all have to move up to the wide bandwidth segment - thus severly curtailing the possiblity of doing experimentation with narrow digital modes AND wide digital modes on an adapative basis since most narrow bandwidth users won't try to compete with the wide bandwidth signals and will stay in the narrow bandwidth segement.

If they had actually *tried* to vett this proposal throughout the amateur community - AND ACTUALLY LISTENED -- this would have been identified and the ARRL could have addressed it.

But no, they put forth a proposal that will actually *hurt* some areas of digital experimentation instead of helping it - as the proposal is supposed to do. And no bandplan they come up with will be able to help.

In fact, I can't find anything in the proposal that will actually help advance digital experimentation. It's basically just a straight pandering to special interests - which I guess could be considered as advancing those digital operations which want more spectrum available, but it isn't advancing any kind of experimentation.

tim ab0wr
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Tim,

Supporting your conclusion is also the fact that Pactor-III, capable of 225 characters per second on a wired circuit, only achieves a miserable 15 characters per second on HF in actual practice and consumes FIVE TIMES the bandwidth of Pactor-II, for only a 50% increase in speed.

Pactor-II only achieves 10 cps on HF, compared to a speed of 50 cps on a wired circuit.

In other words, "high speed" error-free data transfer on HF is just not achievable as far as we know, regardless of how much bandwidth is consumed, and regardless what ARRL says is the future. I think that must be because the data transfer must be totally error free, and to achieve that on HF simply requires too many repeats. If true error-free high speed data is possible in a reasonable bandwidth, then let it first be demonstrated and proven under a STA, and not by passing new regulations on everyone else in the hope it is possible.

The ARRL petition is fatally flawed in more than one way and there are many reasons to tell the FCC not to adopt it until it is totally rewritten.

I hope everyone will cite one or more of those reasons, many of which have been pointed out here, and file comments before February 5.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AB0TA on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
This write up is almost unreadable. The explanation is very poor.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by K5SOH on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Yes in a perfect world if every one monitored the frequency before transmitting (anyway) it would be nice kinda like the golden rule. But it wont happen just listen on the CW QRP calling 7040 durring a rtty contest You wont hear much CW with all the automatic rtty station wiping out the entire cw band not to mention all the other garbage modes doing their part. Given um a small window and let the computers fiqure it out works just fine on wireless lans a billion on the same frequencys every where and it works just fine. And the ARRL wonders why donations are falling off ? Duh
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by K7VO on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I'll add a few comments, hopefully devoid of some of the hysteria I read here. Skip, I am quite certain that the ARRL band plan, if the petition as written became a Report & Order, would not allow 80% of 20m phone to be given over to Winlink. That doesn't mean the petition as written shouldn't be changed -- it should. I do feel, though, that there is a Chicken Little element to your article.

Having said that, yes, there needs to be separation between digital and analog modes of communications. The ARRL porposal counts on "gentlemans agreements" and a bandplan to solve that issue. In my experience such voluntary bandplans and agreements don't work. The mess around 7040 (CW QRP in North American, RTTY calling frequency in most of the rest of the world) has already been cited as a primary example. During many if not most contests such agreements also go out the window.

I agree with AA4PB and others that regulation by bandwith, in principle, is a good idea. I also agree with the ARRL that the current subbands make it difficult for some kinds of wideband digital modes to be developed. I am also not sure that wideband modes on crowded HF bands are a good idea at all. Much of the rest of the world already regulated by bandwidth. I just think we need de jure segregation of analog and digital modes if such regulation is going to work well. I also don't support automated operation at HF. If it really is necessary then restrict it to a small subband and keep it off the WARC bands entirely.

One attack on the ARRL repeated often here is unjustified. The membership was polled for opinions, both on the ARRL website and, at least in some parts of the country, by e-mail by the Division Directors. I even got a response back from my Division Director when I lived in Ohio disagreeing with me. That's fine, but at least I was sure he knew how I felt and why I had problems with the proposal. He also stood for election last year and I did cast my ballot so I had another way to let my disagreement be known.

My comments to the FCC are not a simple yes or no. They are rather an agreement in principle but a disagreement with some specifics. My preference would be for the FCC to modify the proposal to address many of the concerns raised here and to issue an NPRM which moves regulation by bandwidth forward while offering protection to analog modes, including both voice and CW.

73,
Caity
K7VO/9
 
Correction and text of my comments to the FCC  
by K7VO on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
One correction/clarification to what has been posted above: there is no exemption for Winlink/Pactor III anywhere in the ARRL petition. Read the petition and show me where such an exemption exists. Winlink is not the issue here and it never was the issue. It is a great argument to stir up emotional reactions, though, isn't it?

Here are my comments to the FCC in full:

-----------------------------------------------------

While I agree with the petitioner (the American Radio Relay League, or ARRL) that regulation by bandwidth is necessary to foster the development of new forms of digital communications in the Amateur Radio Service and that regulation by emission mode is outdated, I do feel that RM-11306, as written, is significantly flawed.

The ARRL petition does not segragate analog and digital modes of communication. While the petition specifically states the need to "...not create interference with current analog or other digital modes in regular use in these crowded allocations" it specifically fails to offer such protection. The petitioner assumes such segragation can be achieved through voluntary bandplans and/or gentleman's agreements. I believe there is ample evidence that such plans and agreements often fail to achieve desired results for two reasons. First, such agreements are not always international in scope. The petitioner made no effort to obtain international agreement for new bandplans. For example we currently have a situation where amateur radio operators in North America define 7.040MHz as a CW (Morse) calling frequency for low power operation while the rest of the world defines the same frequency as a calling frequency for radioteletype (RTTY). The net result has been that the frequency is useless for its defined purpose in North America. Second, such agreements and bandplans are often simply ignored. For example, during contests many amateurs decide winning takes precedence over such agreements.

Specifically, I oppose the proposed change to Section 97.221 which would permit semiautomatic operation throughout the amateur bands. I oppose the proposed 3.5kHz bandwidth to be permitted in the 30 meter band and oppose the elimination of specific regulation prohibiting the use of telephony in that narrowest of HF amateur allocations. I also can only support this proposal if the 3.5kHz subbands are further divided to restrict the area where digital data transmissions may occur to protect existing analog communications, primarily voice communications, from interference.

Respectfully,
Caitlyn M. Martin
K7VO
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Caity,

I suggest you go to http://www.winlink.org and figure out how much space Winlink will use by assigning two scanned frequencies to each PMBO.

This link:

http://users.iafrica.com/z/zs/zs5s/index_buls.html

Will let you see how many individual frequencies are scanned for Pactor-II stations. Right now, Winlink's use of Pactor-III is restricted to the 97.221 subbands, but if RM-11306 is adopted, they will be free to do the same with Pactor-III as they now do with Pactor-II.

You should also carefully study the chart at:

http://www.zerobeat.net/bandplan-dissent.html

No, "the sky is not falling", but if phone operators do not take the time and trouble to understand what Winlink does today, and file comments opposing the changes to Part 97.221, they will pay dearly for it later when it is too late to reverse the FCC Report and Order.

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

"A word to the wise is sufficient"

73, Skip KH6TY
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AB0WR on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
***************************************************************

k7vo:

"I agree with AA4PB and others that regulation by bandwith, in principle, is a good idea. I also agree with the ARRL that the current subbands make it difficult for some kinds of wideband digital modes to be developed.

**********************************************************************


I keep hearing this but never see any backup for the claim.

I *know* that regulation by bandwidth will make it difficult to develop digital modes using adaptive bandwidths by forcing them into the wideband section only thus making it difficult to experiment with the narrow band modes.

But I do *NOT* know what kinds of wideband digital modes are having problems in getting developed under todays regulation paradigm. Certainly mt63, Olivia, SCAMP, and q15x25 have had no problems with development because of the regulatory scheme.

Can you provide specifics to back up this claim? The ARRL could not.

tim ab0wr
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WA0LYK on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
<< K7VO
<< I agree with AA4PB and others that regulation >>
<< by bandwith, in principle, is a good idea. I also >>
<< agree with the ARRL that the current subbands make >>
<< it difficult for some kinds of wideband digital >>
<< modes to be developed. >>

<< While I agree with the petitioner (the American >>
<< Radio Relay League, or ARRL) that regulation by >>
<< bandwidth is necessary to foster the development >>
<< of new forms of digital communications in the >>
<< Amateur Radio Service and that regulation by >>
<< emission mode is outdated, I do feel that RM-11306, >>
<< as written, is significantly flawed.>>

You have taken the false assumption that emission/mode regulation is somehow stifling the development of new forms of digital communications hook, line, and sinker.

This just isn't the case. Emission/mode regulation is NOT preventing development of these 'new' types of communications! Content regulation is preventing it, more specifically, image and data restrictions.

Bandwidth regulation will not resolve this issue. Only the removal of content restrictions where image cannot be sent in the portions of the bands where data is allowed and vice versa will resolve this issue. The ARRL petition does this by eliminating these restrictions, however, they could have done so within current regulations also. Bandwidth regulation IS NOT necessary!

Bandwidth restrictions WILL hamper development of new digital communications methods. Let me give one example, multiplexing of multiple sessions on one channel. This can be done by using part of a channel for data, perhaps 300 to 2300 Hz for data and another part of a channel, perhaps 2800 to 3000 Hz for signaling information. While these examples will fit within the proposed bandwidths, it is quite likely something more like 6 kHz would be necessary to adequately multiplex both clients and PMBOs. However, by moving away from session oriented protocols like Pactor and to this type of protocol, it would be possible to reduce a service like Winlink from multiple frequencies on each band to just one frequency, albeit somewhat wider. Telephone companies were doing this 40 years ago with their N-carrier and L-carrier systems so it isn't anything new!

One other point, why were 500 and 3.5 kHz chosen as the limits? Did the Winlink folks have any bias toward preventing newer, wider, faster protocols from competing with Pactor II and III? I wonder when Winlink will announce that their "user base" won't allow a move to SCAMP because of the investments made in Pactor III modems? I don't remember seeing ANY warnings to Winlink users on their web site that investments in a Pactor III modem may be rendered unusable by a move to another protocol in the near future!

Jim
WA0LYK
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N6CRR on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Jim,

To what end, or what purpose do you propose that bandwidth available to serve these applications be allocated?

While weather reports, traffic reports, email traffic and other internet related data products are valuable, does the transmission of these sorts of data products over amateur HF spectrum belong on what has been until now a form of direct one on one human to human communications? Should resources in the form of spectrum be allocated to these services in lieu of other traditional amateur uses and users?

At what point does Amateur radio stop being Amateur Radio and just a free alternative to a commercial carrier?

In the whole debate of restructuring of allocation, the argument seems to be "build it and they will come", I for one do not see a pressing demand for digital services which serve the purpose of what I understand Amateur Radio to be all about going unmet. In short, what's driving the demand for this reallocation?

Are the vaulted experimental aspects of the argument actually codewords for coming up with methods to provide that free internet and deliver data content over Amateur Radio frequency allocations?

73
Steve
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WA0LYK on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N6CRR
To what end, or what purpose do you propose that bandwidth available to serve these applications be allocated?

While weather reports, traffic reports, email traffic and other internet related data products are valuable, does the transmission of these sorts of data products over amateur HF spectrum belong on what has been until now a form of direct one on one human to human communications? Should resources in the form of spectrum be allocated to these services in lieu of other traditional amateur uses and users?

At what point does Amateur radio stop being Amateur Radio and just a free alternative to a commercial carrier?

-----------------------------
I am not necessarily advocating for any of these. However, I am not totally against NON-regular use of ham radio to send and receive email. I do think regular use that bypasses available commercial entities needs be be examined closer.

However, IF these are legitimate uses, then good engineering design would lead one to minimize the use of a finite resource. Using one shared frequency per band of say 6 hHz would be much better than for winlink 2000 to use up to 24 3.5 kHz frequencies on each band, i.e. one for each PMBO. (I don't know if the 24 per band is currently accurate!)

The point I wanted to make is that BANDWIDTH regulation imposes its own set of restrictions upon experimentation of new digital communications modes. To imply that bandwidth regulation is the answer to this problem is simply wrong, especially when emission/mode regulation is not causing the problem to begin with!

Jim
WA0LYK
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Steve,

"In short, what's driving the demand for this reallocation?"

1. The most important is so Winlink's less-then-1% of the FCC-licensed hams can escape the subbands and spread all over the phone bands and they can scan two or three frequencies for Pactor-III SO THEY DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT for a clear frequency not being used by an Email robot.

2. A second reason, and a very minor one at that, is that there is a need to be able to describe a picture using text data and then send the picture in a different mode, such as sending narrowband fax pictures in the data segments of the bands. Right now, pictures are only allowed in the phone segments of the bands.

However, this can be permitted by a simple modification of the rules instead of a complete overhaul.

The rest of the reasons ARRL gives are just red herrings to distract everyone from underlying reason for the petition, which is -

to give favored regulatory status to Winlink's Email robot network (serving less-than-1% of the FCC-licensed hams) IN EXCHANGE for ARRL access to the system for ARRL messaging.

Do you know that the ARRL Board of Directors has selected Winlink for ARRL traffic handling and Emcomm? Have you seen even ONE mention in QST or the press of Winlink handling Emcomm traffic during the aftermath of Katrina or the Indian Ocean tsunami?

Can anybody provide any reason for the rewrite of 97.221 that is even remotely related to segmentation by bandwidth?

In politics, I think that is called "PORK"!

Just compare the ARRL Ad Hoc HFDigital Committee report to the ARRL petition and you will see that Winlink obviously authored the basis of both and biased the petition for RULE MAKING heavily in favor of Winlink at the expense of everyone else. Even the IARU restrictions on where Email robots can operate were totally thrown out by Winlink and ARRL.

This is what is really behind the demand for this reallocation as far as I can tell. Look carefully at the petition, compare it to the current Part 97 rules, and you will see for yourself.
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WA1RNE on January 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Once upon a time, there was communications entity known as the ARS or Amateur Radio Service.


Suddenly, some shrewd individuals from Connecticut realized they needed to push an Internet Interface to create the revenue stream that dreams are made of.


It's called AES - No, sorry, it's not Amateur Electronic Supply.......


......it's the Amateur Email Service, aka "WinLink"



So let's see, in approximately 1-2 years:


>> The VE's will need to bone-up on their WinLink protocols and begin revising the question pool;

>> All applicants will need to understand how to operate a WinLink equipped station so as not to interfere with other stations;

>> All amateurs will need to understand how to avoid interference from WinLink stations and still operate on the same band.


But wait: the consensus seems to be there is no way for the average ham to operate using Winlink - or to avoid interference - without purchasing a $1000 piece of equipment.


Can you imagine if the SSTV crowd created the same type of proposal and began running ripshod through all the HF bands?


What if they also told you this was also necessary for enhanced disaster communications but never offered one scrap of documented evidence?


Do you think you would be a little skeptical??


Oh, OK, you say you were not born yesterday.... sorry to insult your inteligence.



Bravisimo!! Now THAT'S a master plan, yes?


Correction, just substitute "disaster" for master.


WinLink is strictly a play toy for those who have time on their hands and lots of extra green-backs. Ever notice they folks who have the money are also the ones who try to nickel and dime their way to get something for nothing - like email on the high seas?

One positive note, WinLink is certainly a potential enabler for the amateur OEM's (courteousy of the ARRL). I wouldn't be a bit surprised if several OEM's are already designing Pactor II/III Modems as optional equipment for their latest HF tranceivers.


The guy who can afford his own 60' yacht can also afford an ICOM IC-7800 and a couple of SCS modems.

So much for the rest of us.....


Chris, WA1RNE
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by NK5A on January 27, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Jan. 27, 2006

13:30 CST

There are 313 comments posted with the FCC about this issue NATIONWIDE!!! That's a drop in the bucket out of all the hams in the U.S.

Come on folks, voice your opinion where it counts!


http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/upload_v2.cgi

73
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4LR on January 27, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
K5SOH writes:

"...just listen on the CW QRP calling 7040 durring a rtty contest You wont hear much CW with all the automatic rtty station wiping out the entire cw band not to mention all the other garbage modes doing their part."

There are two errors of fact in this statement:

First, none of the RTTY stations in question here are "automatic". They are all controlled by a live operator.

Second, 7040 kHz is not an internationally recognized CW frequency. In fact, 7040 kHz is the international RTTY calling frequency. During a RTTY contest, especially one involving international communications, one would fully expect stations to appear on the RTTY calling frequency.

That said, a considerate RTTY operator will actually try to avoid 7040 kHz and it's immediate vicinity because of the large number of crystal-controlled QRP CW stations on that frequency.

But no RTTY operator should feel any guilt for operating in the vicinity of 7030-7050 kHz if they are making international QSOs with Region 1.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4LR on January 27, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
K5SOH writes:

"...just listen on the CW QRP calling 7040 durring a rtty contest You wont hear much CW with all the automatic rtty station wiping out the entire cw band not to mention all the other garbage modes doing their part."

There are two errors of fact in this statement:

First, none of the RTTY stations in question here are "automatic". They are all controlled by a live operator.

Second, 7040 kHz is not an internationally recognized CW frequency. In fact, 7040 kHz is the international RTTY calling frequency. During a RTTY contest, especially one involving international communications, one would fully expect stations to appear on the RTTY calling frequency.

That said, a considerate RTTY operator will actually try to avoid 7040 kHz and it's immediate vicinity because of the large number of crystal-controlled QRP CW stations on that frequency.

But no RTTY operator should feel any guilt for operating in the vicinity of 7030-7050 kHz if they are making international QSOs with Region 1.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4LR on January 27, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
K5SOH writes:

"...just listen on the CW QRP calling 7040 durring a rtty contest You wont hear much CW with all the automatic rtty station wiping out the entire cw band not to mention all the other garbage modes doing their part."

There are two errors of fact in this statement:

First, none of the RTTY stations in question here are "automatic". They are all controlled by a live operator.

Second, 7040 kHz is not an internationally recognized CW frequency. In fact, 7040 kHz is the international RTTY calling frequency. During a RTTY contest, especially one involving international communications, one would fully expect stations to appear on the RTTY calling frequency.

That said, a considerate RTTY operator will actually try to avoid 7040 kHz and it's immediate vicinity because of the large number of crystal-controlled QRP CW stations on that frequency.

But no RTTY operator should feel any guilt for operating in the vicinity of 7030-7050 kHz if they are making international QSOs with Region 1.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on January 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Yada

Yada

Yada!

Charles, N5PVL
 
HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by N5PVL on January 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
HF Packet, as it stands, is both functionally and technically superior to WinLink in every particular.

Both systems are being used to move 'store and forward' type messaging, the very nature of which is not time-critical. By definition, a wait of an hour or more is typical before these kind of messages may be retrieved by any method. Longer waits are not unusal by any means. So while it is true that PACTOR III is faster than HF Packet, ( while taking up 6-7 times as much spectrum ) this additional speed is not the critical factor it is made out to be.

Both systems are designed to serve a large number of locations... HF Packet, being an AX25 application allows a dozen or more stations ( locations ) to share a single frequency slot at the same time in what is known as 'vertical stacking'. Compare this sprectrally efficient system with PACTOR ( and any other TOR mode ) which cannot stack vertically and so must utilize 'horizontal spreading' instead, with each station located beside ( or spread out from ) the next one, taking up a great deal more spectrum in order to serve the same number of locations.

Add PACTOR's significantly wider bandwidth to this equation, and it is easy to see why the WinLinkers are trying to gain access and control of virtually every bit of available HF spectrum while the PACKET networkers are content to efficiently operate within the narrow automated sub-bands, as they have done for decades with no problems.

Then there are issues of reliability and technical advancement to consider... The WinLink 'network' is designed around the STAR network topology that became obsolete for anything but home LANs in the late 1970's. WinLink's central server provides a single failure point that can ( and does ) bring down the entire network in the event of a minor difficulty. Last year for example, the entire WinLink 'network' went belly-up for a day or two as the result of a common email virus corrupting thier user base, which had to be re-established from scratch.

The Packet network utilizes the more modern and secure PARTIALLY-MESHED network topology that the Internet also uses, and because of this, there is no single failure-point within the network which can affect operation of the network as a whole. It is more technologically advanced than what WinLink utilises and it is also much more reliable.

Do a web-search on NETWORK TOPOLOGIES, then compare what is said about WinLink's STAR topology with what is said about Packet's ( and the Internet's ) PARTIALLY-MESHED network topology. - You'll see what I mean in short order.

So you have two networks attempting to do the same thing:

Packet is more advanced, more efficient, works just fine within the narrow autiomated sub-bands, is more reliable and historically causes no problems.

Compare that with WinLink's use of a long-obsolete network topology that is far less efficient, unreliable in the extreme and which has already garnered WinLink a widespread reputation as a spectrum hog and QSO-crasher. - A reputation which will rapidly worsen if they are allowed to spread all over the phone bands and crash QSO's as the ARRL proposes.

That's why I say that HF Packet, as it stands, is both functionally and technically superior to WinLink in every particular.

When you consider the additional speed that Q15x25 mode brings to the Packet net ( a virtual 2500 baud ) and the even greater increment of speed that the development of AMP ( Amateur Multicast Protocol ) will give the Packet net for distributing messages addressed to "ALL", then it is easy to see why the WinLink 'network' has a pretty firm grasp on the 'hind titty' position among ham radio store and forward messaging systems.

In other words, Packet is cool and WinLink sux.

Charles Brabham, N5PVL
Director: USPacket.org
http://www.uspacket.org

 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AA4PB on January 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Yada

Yada

Yada!
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Try working your 30% duty cycle phone QSO through a Pactor-III station (90% duty cycle), that automatically keeps trying to force itself though your signal until you lose contact with the other person...

Go to here to see a Pactor-III signal:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/hteller/pactor3.jpg

Lots of luck!

73, Skip KH6TY

 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by K4RAF on January 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Packet network utilizes the more modern and secure PARTIALLY-MESHED network topology"

2006 definition of "meshed" makes AX.25 look like a joke. Dual band, dual radios, dynamically self-healing & easily managed.

"Secure"? - [BULL] Only if you consider security through obscurity!

Get out of the 1980's & throw away the packet baby rattle!
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AA4PB on January 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Lets see, packet radio is the more modern mode? Packet was first authorized by the FCC in March of 1980. The Canadians were using it about a year and a half before that.

The first experimental Pactor tests were done in 1986, six years after Packet was authorized. The first commercial Pactor unit was released in 1989, 9 years after Packet was authorized.

According to the Pactor developers:
"PACTOR® (lat.: the mediator) is a fast and reliable ARQ teletype mode, developed by Hans-Peter Helfert (DL6MAA) and Ulrich Strate (DF4KV) to overcome the shortcomings of AMTOR/SITOR and Packet Radio on short wave."

This is where I got the "silly" idea that Pactor was a more modern mode developed to overcome the shortcomings of HF Packet.
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AA4PB on January 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Lets see, packet radio is the more modern mode? Packet was first authorized by the FCC in March of 1980. The Canadians were using it about a year and a half before that.

The first experimental Pactor tests were done in 1986, six years after Packet was authorized. The first commercial Pactor unit was released in 1989, 9 years after Packet was authorized.

According to the Pactor developers:
"PACTOR® (lat.: the mediator) is a fast and reliable ARQ teletype mode, developed by Hans-Peter Helfert (DL6MAA) and Ulrich Strate (DF4KV) to overcome the shortcomings of AMTOR/SITOR and Packet Radio on short wave."

This is where I got the "silly" idea that Pactor was a more modern mode developed to overcome the shortcomings of HF Packet.
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by N5PVL on January 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

Yes, I agree... Your asessment is quite silly.

I can develop a new mode next week and it would be "more modern" by your silly criteria even if it utilized spark-gap technology.

Grow up and get a clue, OM.- Go back and re-read what I said, as necessary. If you really get stuck, have somebody explain it to you.

Charles, N5PVL



 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AB0WR on January 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
n5pvl: "I can develop a new mode next week and it would be "more modern" by your silly criteria even if it utilized spark-gap technology. "

Charles,

I love it when someone gets caught making the "its newer so it must be better" argument.

Winlink using Pactor is like the old daisy-chained, coax based ethernet links. Packet is like today's hubbed arrangements.

Anyone who had to troubleshoot the old daisy-chained, coax based networks will tell you why such a system is so bad. I can still remember getting my butt chewed over taking down about 20 workstations in order to fix one!

tim ab0wr
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AA4PB on January 29, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think *you* need to read what I wrote again. I know what I said. I said that Pactor was developed later than Packet and that the developers designed it in part to overcome the shortcomings of HF packet. Earlier, Charles wanted to know where I got such a "silly" idea. Regardless of what you choose to believe about packet and pactor you can't change those facts. Pactor was developed after packet so claiming that pactor is an outdated HF mode is rather silly.

If you'll take the time to read what I said, you'll notice that I never claimed that pactor was better *because* it was more modern. My personal experience with both packet and pactor on HF is that pactor (even pactor-I) is far more effective at getting the message thru from station to station under poor conditions. That has nothing to do with network topology. It has to do with the ability to transfer data from station A to station B under poor conditions.
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by N5PVL on January 29, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
That's real nice - IF you don't mind being a bandwidth hog and - IF you are not trying to operate a network that serves many locations, as WinLink is trying to do.

IF PACTOR exists as an 'improvement' over PACKET then clearly the designers missed the mark by a wide margin. Maybe that will give you a clue as to why the PACKET net never did go over to using PACTOR.

Fact is, PACTOR is not an improvement over PACKET because it is not capable of doing the same things at all, much less doing them 'better'.

In this discussion of digital networking ( not individual QSO's ) PACKET is cool, and PACTOR sux. - That's all there is to it, OM.

You'll just have to learn to live with that fact.

Charles, N5PVL
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by K0ZN on January 29, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

Note that the efforts to justify this "automatic" or "semi-automatic" or whatever spin is put on it are PRECISELY that "justifications". This IS a REAL problem and CLEARLY favors a SMALL number of hams who would use it.

The "gain vs. loss" Ratio on this is TERRIBLE. This is a negative to most "average" hams.

Once something like this gets going, there will be unforseen problems come up. I guarantee it.

This needs to be STOPPED now. This IS a BAD idea with the potential do do much more harm than good.

K0ZN

 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by N4ZKF on January 29, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Charlie! I finally agree with you after all these years. hihi
I have run my packet BBS for close to 20 years now on 4 ports. One on 14.098 with a dozen others. Let's see winlink do that.
We have put up and stayed on a SMALL section of the band for A LONG TIME.

Why does winlink need to roam free?

73
Dave n4zkf
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AG4RC on January 29, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Winlink Sucks!

I live a couple miles from winlink station N0IA ("November Zero India Alpha").

This LID runs almost full legal limit, UN-ATTENDED, UN-ANNOUNCED Winlink transmissions
on 80, 40, and 20 meters!

Good ole' "Bud" (N0IA) has been a thorn in my side ever since I got my license in 2002 - - It's almost impossible to hold a "reliable" psk31 QSO in Deltona Florida!

I just filed my RM-11306 "comment" to the FCC!

Peter - AG4RC
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AB0WR on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
n4zkf: "Charlie! I finally agree with you after all these years. hihi
I have run my packet BBS for close to 20 years now on 4 ports. One on 14.098 with a dozen others. Let's see winlink do that.
We have put up and stayed on a SMALL section of the band for A LONG TIME.

Why does winlink need to roam free?

73
Dave n4zkf "

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If the ARRL proposal goes thru your 14.098 station will have to be taken OFF THE AIR. That frequency will no longer be an automatic frequency. You'll have to move up the band into the area that has all the Pactor stations.

In fact, if the ARRL proposal goes through with its changes to Part 97.109(e), your Packet station will not be able to forward messages that were not directly typed into a Packet TNC-based connection by a local control operator on the original end. If the originating end is forwarding messages that were received via telnet into JNOS or were typed into a BBS messaging queue by a non-amateur, it will be illegal to forward them.

Just another attempt by Winlink to kill off all its competitors.

If you don't like this, post your comments against RM-11306 soon. Time is running out!

For those that are interested in other developments it has been discovered that the ARRL proposal also removes all baud rate limits on the HF band. The only limit is the cap that the 3.5khz bandwidth will put on the signals. So expect to see 3500baud signals at some point in the future.

So what, you ask? Well, consider that such signals will have to be very powerful in order to provide acceptable operation (Shannon's law). If using multiple bits per baud modulation methods the average power output of these signals will be very high.

Expect to begin seeing 750watt average output, Pactor IV signals sometime soon on the phone bands providing 15khz and up data rates.

If this scares you, tell your friends. And post your comments on www.fcc.gov very soon!!! Tell your friends to post soon!!!

tim ab0wr
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AA4PB on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If the ARRL proposal goes thru your 14.098 station will have to be taken OFF THE AIR. That frequency will no longer be an automatic frequency.
------------------------------------------------------
How do you read that into the proposal? 14.098 will be in the 500Hz segment. As long as his packet station is under 500Hz he can continue to operate there. Under the proposal there are no "automatic" frequencies so legally he can operate anywhere in any band segment where his bandwidth is less than the maximum specified, 14.065 to 14.350 for normal packet. The proposal actually gives him more freedom, not less.

---------------------------------------------------
your Packet station will not be able to forward messages that were not directly typed into a Packet TNC-based connection by a local control operator
---------------------------------------------------

According to the proposal: "All messages that are retransmitted must originate at a station that is being locally or remotely controlled."

I read this to mean that the station who first transmits a message on the amateur system must be under local or remote control. It does not say that the control operator must personally type the message. It means that a control operator must screen the message and be responsible for its content before he enters it into the amateur system. Is that not what you are doing now? Do you now have an automatic station (with no control operator present) originate messages entered by a non-ham?
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Peter, AG4RC,

Your beloved Florida Winlink PMBO, Bud, N0IA, is also actively promoting the violation of 97.113 by Winlink users.

Here are links, taken off the Winlink website, but subsequently removed, to images promoted in Winlink presentations by N0IA:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/hteller/secure.jpg
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/hteller/secure2.jpg

Note the suggestion to use the BBS protocol (F6FBB) in order to "make them secure from casual monitoring".

The FCC regulations expressly prohibit using codes or ciphers to obscure the meaning of the message:


§97.113 Prohibited transmissions.
(a) No amateur station shall transmit:


(1) Communications specifically prohibited elsewhere in this Part;
(2) Communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise provided in these rules;

(3) Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer. Amateur operators may, however, notify other amateur operators of the availability for sale or trade of apparatus normally used in an amateur station, provided that such activity is not conducted on a regular basis;

(4) Music using a phone emission except as specifically provided elsewhere in this Section; communications intended to facilitate a criminal act; messages in codes or ciphers intended to obscure the meaning thereof, except as otherwise provided herein; obscene or indecent words or language; or false or deceptive messages, signals or identification;

(5) Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably be furnished alternatively through other radio services.

The arrogance of Winlink to think they are above the law and can routinely transmit on top of others in order to download Email at their convenience, operate outside the ARRL bandplans, ignore the IARU Region 1 bandplan, and use the F6FBB protocol to intentionally disguise the meaning of the message (so they can send commercial messages undetected) is appalling!

History shows us that Winlink CANNOT BE TRUSTED to follow any "voluntary" bandplan, so RULES to contain them are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!

Gentlemen, amateur radio has a very serious problem here. Please be sure to file comments to the FCC and tell them that ALL automatic stations must be confined BY REGULATIONS to the 97.221(b) subbands, as the FCC has already decided in 1995.

For the survival of HF ham radio as COMMUNICATIONS intstead of raio Email, PLEASE take the time to file comments and encourage everyone you meet on the air to do so likewise.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Please be sure to file comments to the FCC and tell them that ALL automatic stations must be confined BY REGULATIONS to the 97.221(b) subbands, as the FCC has already decided in 1995.
-----------------------------------------------------
I completely agree! I would however suggest that the automatic sub-band be moved to the low end of the 3.5KHz segment so that they can operate Pactor I, II, or III in it. That would not subtract from the space currently authorized for phone use since the proposed 3.5KHz spectrum includes an extra 50KHz. It would also free up space in the 500Hz spectrum for non-automatic modes.

If the automatic segment were given, for example, half of the expansion (25KHz) they would have 5 or more channels available for automatic operation at 3KHz.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Correction: That applies to 20M. The width of the automatic segment would have to be adjusted on other bands depending on the width of the 3.5KHz segment.
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AB0WR on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
******************************************************************
aa4pb:

How do you read that into the proposal? 14.098 will be in the 500Hz segment. As long as his packet station is under 500Hz he can continue to operate there. Under the proposal there are no "automatic" frequencies so legally he can operate anywhere in any band segment where his bandwidth is less than the maximum specified, 14.065 to 14.350 for normal packet. The proposal actually gives him more freedom, not less.

*************************************************************

If his packet station is part of the packet forwarding network, which it seems to be from his message, it will no longer be allowed to operate on 14.098Mhz. Only manually interrogated robots will be allowed to operate there. I don't know of any packet stations in the forwarding network that work on manual interrogation. This doesn't even address the move of the Packet network to wider, faster protocols like q15x25.

I think perhaps YOU need to read the proposal a little more closely.


******************************************************************

According to the proposal: "All messages that are retransmitted must originate at a station that is being locally or remotely controlled."

I read this to mean that the station who first transmits a message on the amateur system must be under local or remote control. It does not say that the control operator must personally type the message. It means that a control operator must screen the message and be responsible for its content before he enters it into the amateur system. Is that not what you are doing now? Do you now have an automatic station (with no control operator present) originate messages entered by a non-ham?
*****************************************************************

Unattended operation is how many networks serving emergency agencies are being set up. Go the the winlink site where they show anyone in the emergency agency with Outlook Express using the Winlink email station over a LAN - no control operator needed.

I have two networks set up to operate that way - legally, mind you.

I have one set up that anyone on the lan (that I have screened and provided a password) at the Salvation Army can telnet into, leave a message in the queue and my Jnos system will pick it up and forward it - 24/7, available during any emergency whether I am there or not. I have another one set up so anyone can telnet into my F6FBB bulletin board, leave an NTS message, and it will forward it over a 2m link to my Winlink Classic station where it gets forwarded out for delivery.

This won't affect Winlink because even if a control operator is not there, they only have one link before the message hits the internet - i.e. no retransmission is done by an intermediate station. That's not the case for most of our other networks which use 2m tcp-ip packet and digipeaters to set up links for delivery.

It truly IS an attempt by Winlink and the ARRL to kill off competitive networks.

Did you really think something else was behind this? Why would bandwidth regulations require deleting one of the highly used automatic sub-bands on 20m if it wasn't to hurt the operations using that sub-band? Why would you want to add 97.109(e) back in if it wasn't to kill fully automatic networks (it was originally deleted to allow fully automatic networks to operate). If you go read the original ARRL documentation on the proposal they specifically say that is the purpose of the rule changes - to kill fully automatic operation. They didn't include that wording in the proposal sent to the FCC but they left the rule changes accomplishing it in the proposal.

If you think this proposal is anything more than pandering to special interests you aren't reading it for meaning.

Why would the ARRL include such a technically incompetent statement that Steve Waterman needs the changes in order to incorporate a new mode with a symbol rate of 5600baud and a bandwidth of 2400hz? Anyone who understands Nyquist theory knows this is impossible. Yet the ARRL didn't even question the statement. They just pandered to Winlink and included it in the proposal as a justification for needing bandwidth regulation and for removing all baud rate limitations on the HF band.

Frankly? You haven't seen anything yet. Wait till the HSSM committee gets through with the HF bands.

tim ab0wr

 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AA4PB on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
You are correct. The proposal has moved the automatic sub-band up to the 3.5KHz segment so he would have to move between 14.100 and 14.112MHz to continue fully automatic operation. Hey, that's better than the original idea which was to eliminate fully automatic operation completely.
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by AB0WR on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
**************************************************************

You are correct. The proposal has moved the automatic sub-band up to the 3.5KHz segment so he would have to move between 14.100 and 14.112MHz to continue fully automatic operation. Hey, that's better than the original idea which was to eliminate fully automatic operation completely.
***************************************************************

If the change to 97.109(e) goes through it *will* eliminate almost all of the automatic operation except for Winlink.

What a shame!

tim ab0wr
 
RE: HF Packet vs WinLink:  
by N4ZKF on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If the change to 97.109(e) goes through it *will* eliminate almost all of the automatic operation except for Winlink.

What a shame!

tim ab0wr
******************************************************
A shame. A bunch of bull is what it is...
They got my comments. Maybe we need lobyists like they do?

Dave n4zkf
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KO6UJ on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I agree 110 percent with W8JI.

"in the ESSB/ AM wide-as-you-can-be mindset. They proposed "good manners" will regulate the half-million amateurs in the USA and that any mode can operate on any frequency.

If you think the Robots are a worry, you better spend some time working against RM-11305 because anyone can go anywhere with any mode or bandwidth."

Email robots are nothing compared to the 6.5KHz required for ESSB. The go anywhere with any bandwidth is bad news. No gentlemen's agreement will prevent densensing the front-end of a receiver.

What about DX? You'll never hear them.

 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AB0WR on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
You think ESSB is bad?

Wait till the 750 watt output, 3500baud digital signals hit the voice bands based on the ARRL proposal. Can you guess what the noise floor will go up to? Even the CTT proposal doesn't go this far.

tim ab0wr
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WA6PBJ on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Email robots! Sounds like something from another planet!! 'Invaders from Mars"! Anyway, these little puppies will walk all over code and SSB...they are DESIGNED to do so! WE DON'T NEED ANY SUCH ROBOTS ON 20 METERS...or within any other ham bands!!!!!!!!
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WA6PBJ on January 30, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I understand these things 'wait' for the freq to be clear...but suppose they don't hear the guy with whom you are in QSO. Maybe he takes too long to come back to you. ENTER THE 'BOT! ARGH!! There goes your QSO!

I wonder if foreign nations will allow these bots on our bands??
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by WA0LYK on January 31, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WA6PBJ
I understand these things 'wait' for the freq to be clear...but suppose they don't hear the guy with whom you are in QSO.

--------------------------------
This is certainly one problem with the "busy detection" that is proposed. For example, a winlink client starts his session and the busy detector is able to tell you are in qso on that frequency so it remains silent.

What happens when you turn it over to the other end, and the "busy detector" in the winlink client station can't hear your buddy? It begins to poll the winlink PMBO and there goes your qso because YOU can no longer hear the your buddy over the winlink client. Even if the PMBO hears your buddy's signal and doesn't respond, the QSO is wiped anyway!

This is pretty much the problem scenario that the FCC investigated their Software Defined Radio and Spectrum Sharing proceeding. They couldn't arrive at a solution either without using a centralized database to track who was transmitting where and when!

Jim
WA0LYK
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on January 31, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
97.115 Third party traffic

(b) The third party may participate in stating the message where:

(1) The control operator is present at the control point and is continuously monitoring and supervising the third party's participation;

Question: Doesn't this preclude having non-hams enter messages into a system under automatic control? I guess one could say that he is "typing" the message rather than "stating" it but I wonder about the intent of the regulation. It seems like the intent is to prevent unlicensed people from utilizing an amateur station without the continuous monitoring and supervision of a licensed operator.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on January 31, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Bob,

Last summer, I tested the ability of Winlink to prevent commercial traffic.

I established two throw-away Yahoo email accounts. One, davesumner@yahoo.com ;-), and another for my non-ham wife at yahoo.com.

Over the course of two weeks, I DAILY sent "pretend" commercial emails, giving production shipment statistics for a fake company, to a cooperating ham@winlink.org from both accounts.

These were sent from my home computer or my wife's computer, and every email went straight through the Winlink system with no problem!

So much for non-ham and commercial traffic being blocked by Winlink! So much for non-hams being prevented from using the airwaves!

If you want to send a message to a cooperating Winlink 2000 user, just attempt it, and you will be presented with a screen where you have to "register" and tells you it is for radio amateur use only. Just ignore the warning (which I am sure that you would if you were a drug dealer or terroist), and "register" your account.

You can try the system out by sending an email from any email account, ham or non-ham, to w1aw@winlink.org. Winlink/SCS "gifted" a Pactor-III modem to W1AW.

If you want to establish your own Winlink 2000 email address, just pick a callsign from the QRZ.COM database, preferably one that was recently listed as SK in QST, and login on the air using a PK-232. :-)

So, Winlink claims that Winlink PMBO's check messages for commercial content, or other illegal content, is obviously just more B$ from Winlink!

BTW, Winlink actively PROMOTES using the BBS transfer "TO PREVENT CASUAL MONITORING OF WINLINK EMAILS".

here is the link from a Winlink presentation by Florida PMBO N0IA:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/hteller/secure2.jpg

The presentation has now been taken off the Winlink website, but I captured the images when it was still up.

Also disappeared is the listing of about 25 Emcomm PMBO's on the PMBO list at http://www.winlink.org/status. I wonder if the near total absence of Winlink during the tsunami and hurricane disasters was so embarassing that Winlink decided not to make too big a deal about Winlink for Emcomm, now that the ARRL BOD has already released their petition and put all their eggs in the Winlink basket.

For this, ARRL wants to effectively turn the HF bands over to Winlink? They only need 10 kHz on each band to handle all current and projected traffic.

How much more abuse of the regulations by ARRL and Winlink do we have to put up with!


73, Skip KH6TY
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by K4JF on January 31, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"The ARRL made a proposal with a good core idea, regulation by bandwidth."

Wrong. It's a lousy idea, and so is the concept of the robots. BOTH need to be outlawed. Period.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AB0WR on January 31, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
*********************************************************************
aa4pb:

97.115 Third party traffic

(b) The third party may participate in stating the message where:

(1) The control operator is present at the control point and is continuously monitoring and supervising the third party's participation;

Question: Doesn't this preclude having non-hams enter messages into a system under automatic control? I guess one could say that he is "typing" the message rather than "stating" it but I wonder about the intent of the regulation. It seems like the intent is to prevent unlicensed people from utilizing an amateur station without the continuous monitoring and supervision of a licensed operator.
***************************************************************

The third party never operates the station - only the computer the station is connected to.

It's no different than a non-ham logging into the bbs to read messages that have been downloaded via the packet node. That's not illegal either.

What operates the station is the computer software. At regular intervals it scans the message database for new messages. When new messages are found, the messages flow through the routing software. The routing software will determine if it is a message that should go out over the internet or out over the packet system. If it is an internet routed message, the system activates the smtp software and the message is sent out just like it would be from the Eudora application on your local Windows system. If it is a packet routed message it goes out over the packet system to the next station in the chain - as determined by the routing table. If it is an amprnet location it may go via tcp-ip over the packet node. If it is a packet heirarchal address it will flow out ax25. If it is an NTS message it will flow to the NTS node using ax25 and F6FBB automatic BBS operational commands.

The main issue here is security. You want to vett adequately who you give telnet/ssh access to. You want to provide security procedures just like you would on any computer system.

The biggest problem is the lack of encryted access security over the packet network. I'm working on getting MD5 encoded passwords set up but just haven't had the time to get it done. That will let you verify who is accessing your system to leave messages. If it wasn't for the internet email cross-link I probably wouldn't worry much. Most of the other messages stay within the network or are NTS messges which will be screened at the delivery end if no where else.

I don't see the operation as being outside either the letter or the intent of the law.

If it were changed to require a control operator to enter the messages into the database, I could live with that -- as long as it was applied equally including to the Winlink system. I would merely change the system to not do an automated message forward routine. I could still telnet/ssh into the system from a remote location, screen the messages (perhaps by moving them from an incoming directory to an outgoing directory), and manually kick the system to do the mail forwarding. It would also be easy to set up a cron job to check the internet availability every so often and if the internet is down (so I couldn't log in) to automatically kick the messaging forwarding so things would still work during emergency outages.

(that's the nice thing about doing all this with JNOS/Linux -- you can do lots of things that would almost impossible to do under Windows!)

Like I said. I don't see anything in this that is at cross-purposes with the letter or the intent of the rules and regulations as written. I am not accepting email off the internet to forward. I do run management software to monitor who is sending how much. If that looks out of line I will investigate. I don't normally monitor the NTS side since no one has ever used it on a "regular" basis for things that could be done via other radio services. And the Jnos side is for use in emergencies, so it normally only carries test messages. And whether I'm there or not to watch someone type messages into the system seems kind of irrelavant with respect to the Part 97 rules and regulations. I worry more about the software getting corrupted via viruses or something and causing problems with the station.

tim ab0wr
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by NK5A on January 31, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Let's get to the heart of the matter.

DUMP ARRL

If you are a member, do not renew.

If you are yet to be a member, do not join.

Like all the other "politicians" in this country, all they understand is not getting votes and money in their pocket.

"The League" no longer represents my views as a ham.
Do they REALLY represent yours?

I'm sure they do if you love HF robots.

Aside from giving out "official" plaques and awards (that they charge outrageous prices for) what good are they?

Oh yeah, they protect our bands,too. Horse Feathers!
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N4ZKF on January 31, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"If it were changed to require a control operator to enter the messages into the database, I could live with that -- as long as it was applied equally including to the Winlink system."


Not me. At 1000 bulletins a day thru this BBS. I don't have the time to set and weed thru everything.
After over 16 Years. I'd shut it down.

Dave n4zkf
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N4ZKF on January 31, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Let's get to the heart of the matter.

DUMP ARRL

If you are a member, do not renew.

If you are yet to be a member, do not join.

Like all the other "politicians" in this country, all they understand is not getting votes and money in their pocket.

"The League" no longer represents my views as a ham.
Do they REALLY represent yours?"



I WILL NOT renew. No, they DO NOT represent what I want in Amateur Radio and they don't care if I like it or not.

The only way to make them listen, hit them in the pocket book. The can keep Q Street also....

73 Dave n4zkf

 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by VE7ETS on February 1, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I share some concerns about robots on HF. If the wrong strategies are employed they could cause much suffering to the more traditional users.

On the other hand, we should keep in mind that our operating privileges are just that - a privilege, not a right. The more useful we are to our fellow citizens, the stronger becomes our case to free the 40m band from broadcasters, for instance.

In the case of a massive disaster in N. America, wouldn't it be great if we had an immediate, effective way to provide communications between government and relief agencies? Pactor II/III is the current mode of choice. We are going to NEED robot stations to make it all work, and it should all be tested prior to a real emergency.

I'm not a Pactor operator. I like phone and cw and have no desire to switch to such an impersonal mode of communication. On the other hand, I support the move to reliable error-corrected digital hf networks as a necessary part of our public service. There should be room for a reasonable compromise.

de Nathon, VE7ETS
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 1, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Nathon,

We "can have our cake and eat it too"!

The Email robots ONLY need a maximum of 10 kHz per band to handle ALL Winlink, ARRL NTS, and Emcomm traffic, not the WHOLE band.

It is the attempt by ARRL to open up the WHOLE BAND to Email robots that is the problem, not Email robots staying in the 97.221 subbands.

The problem is caused because Winlink does not want their users to have to wait only a few minutes for a clear frequency, but instead, go to a frequency where someone else, less powerful, is operating and take away that frequency, because if they go to a frequency where there is another Email robot, they will be unable to take it away from that robot.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N4ZKF on February 1, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
AND, the backend uses internet to connect to each other. Do you think your going to have it in a disaster?
I went thru three hurricanes last year and didn't have it.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 1, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Did the whole Internet go out over the entire world during the disaster? Of course not. In the majority of the cases the outage is limited to fairly local areas. For the emergency traffic you bridge the outage with radio and then put it back on the Internet for the remainder of the trip.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N4ZKF on February 1, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
While winlink creators AND users might have the best intentions in mind using it for "the last mile" during a disaster.

They cannot be allowed to run amuck anywhere they want. No more than I expect to with my packet BBS.
They CANNOT be allowed to dictate rulings.

We have a place to run and they should also. NOT EVERYWHERE.

73 Dave n4zkf
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AB0WR on February 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
****************************************************************
aa4pb:
Did the whole Internet go out over the entire world during the disaster? Of course not. In the majority of the cases the outage is limited to fairly local areas. For the emergency traffic you bridge the outage with radio and then put it back on the Internet for the remainder of the trip.

****************************************************************

Which, of course, doesn't require Winlink 2000 on HF. Even in a widespread disaster like Katrina, a 2m emergency station with a portable mast and antenna that can be put up 25 feet in the air will give you a 25mile line-of-sight to a similar station.

Set one up as a digipeater, if needed, and you can get 50mile coverage.

That should be sufficient to carry any amount of text traffic that would be required from most emergency sites.

tim ab0wr
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
VHF/UHF should always be the band of choice for emergency comms if at all possible.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"VHF/UHF should always be the band of choice for emergency comms if at all possible".

I agree. Each VHF handitalkie operator is essentially a "mobile" station that can go directly to the site of the disaster if needed. That means there are probably MANY portable/mobile/pedestrian mobiles compared to only ONE Winlink station, who is tied down with a HF antenna and a computer draining the batteries.

If text transmission of messages is needed, consider that I host a local (25 - 35 mile radius) 2-meter PSK31 FM ragchew net on 144.145 twice a week, and text transfer is always error-free, as there is no QSB, QRM, or QRN to worry about. There is now even PSK31 message software tailored for net use. We reliably cover over 25 miles with omnidirectional antennas on both ends, up about 30 feet, AND NO REPEATER!

Using PSK63 instead of PSK31, we can achieve 100 wpm text (8.3 characters per second) without any compression. Using the F6FBB compression that Winlink uses, we could even equal the actual HF performance of Pactor-III, but in a bandwidth of only 100 Hz.

The trick is that no ARQ is needed on VHF with full-quieting signals, so there is nothing to slow things down. If ARQ IS required, then PSKmail at 5 cps (with ARQ), also based on PSK63, can be used instead.

We started out using SSB to attempt statewide coverage, but so many locally had FM-only transceivers that we switched to FM so more could join in.

One advantage in using FM is that there is no problem with drift or frequency offset as we sometimes found when using PSK31 on 2 meter SSB.

No $1000 modem required - only the computer soundcard! ;-)


 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AD6ZJ on February 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Why the big fuss? Because many of us run 100 Watts or less and these robots will likely not detect we are even there. Last week I was working PSK at 25 Watts when one of these automated systems clobbered me and the station I was working. How would you expect a robot from determining the difference between a 31hz wide signal and some local harmonic from a PC. If these can or can't detect a weak signal QSO isn't the issue... the issue is they don't. Now put these same automated QRM machines on the phone bands and I can kiss my DXCC goals goodby. This interference will make BPL look like nothing.



 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AK7ML on February 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I had some correspondence with ARRL on this topic. They are 100% for Pactor and show no understanding of other digital signals at all. According to them if you are blasted out of the band by these stations you should get a narrow filter so they won't affect you...completely giving up the panoramic view of 2.5 Khz that PSK and other modes' programs give you.

They don't care that the programs do not listen for other signals, just like every other operator has to do.

The only cure for automated stations is to corral them into sub-bands where they can interfere with each other and no one else.

But don't expect ARRL to stand up for the average ham. They are all for big money and that is what talks to them.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
you should get a narrow filter so they won't affect you
---------------------------------------------------
Well, they may have a point there. How efficient of crowded spectrum is it to need 31Hz of bandwidth to transmit the signal but ask for 3KHz of clearance around you so you can view the spectrum? If the 3KHz is filled with stations that's one thing but if there are only one or two QSOs then there is a whole lot of free spectrum available for use. I am fortunate enough to have a rig that can switch a 50Hz filter in and out. Switching in the 50Hz filter certainly eliminates the vast majority of QRM.

PSK31 is not the only mode in this regard. I've been accused of not listening first on RTTY only to find that the QSO I disturbed was over 2.5KHz away. These guys were using 500Hz of bandwidth for their communications but demanding 3KHz of guard band so they could use their SSB filters. With a 500Hz filter I had no idea they were on the band.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!


Check out this link:

http://www.uspacket.org/digiblog/?p=20

See why PACTOR III takes up 62.4 times more spectrum than HF Packet, when used in a network!

All that spectrum hogged up - to transport store-and-forward type messaging?

Charles, N5PVL
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"you should get a narrow filter so they won't affect you"

Actually, the problem is not only poor filtering, but the receiver design itself. Our latest PSK-20 design uses a high-dynamic range detector, and no AGC. It can copy a PSK31 signal right adjacent to a Pactor station, while still printing all the other PSK31 signals in the bandpass not covered by the Pactor signal. I have read advertisements for new transceivers that are also claimed to be immune to "AGC pumping" by strong adjacent signals. However the PSK-20 approach is nice, because there is no desensitization of the receiver by any signal in the passband either.

Previous receiver designs use AGC to keep the audio output more or less constant with input level (and also protect the later IF stages and detector from being overdriven), which is what you want for CW or SSB, but the dynamic range of the computer monitor allows a great variation in audio output with little ill effect, so extremely constant audio output versus RF input is not necessary.

However, if the ARRL gets its way and Pactor-III robots roam the phone bands, what width filter are you going to use to get rid of the Pactor-III QRM to a phone signal? Both are of the same width...Let's hope this never comes to pass!

Bob, I realize we have disagreed on the issue of wide filters used for narrow band reception (even in the pages of QST!), but receivers specifically designed for digital reception often let you "have your cake and eat it too"!

If you want to enjoy the benefits of simultaneously decoding and displaying all PSK31 signals in the passband, then you need a receiver that can handle that, or, as you suggest, switch in narrow filters, or use IF Shift and Passband tuning to reduce the QRM of adjacent signals instead of complaining. The DigiPan web site specifically explains what is true QRM and what you might think is QRM, but is not.

73, Skip KH6TY
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by NV7E on February 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Skip, thanks for bringing this problem to our attention. I have posted a comment in opposition to RM-11306 at the FCC web site. I have never filed a comment to any of the ARRL's ruling making proposals before, but this time they really have gone too far. This makes me think about resigning my life membership to the ARRL.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AB0WR on February 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
With all due respect guys, you are missing one of the operating procedures for using psk31.

Sure a narrow filter is nice for getting rid of the adjacent QRM, e.g. a Pactor signal.

How do you find other pks31 signals using a 50hz bandwidth and a receiver that tunes in 100hz steps when scanning (either in scan mode or when turning the vfo dial at a moderate rate)?

Do you know how long it would take to tune through just the 20m data area using a 50hz filter using 10hz steps looking for a psk31 signal calling cq?

A 3khz filter allows full display on the waterfull and provides a very nice operating mode for finding other signals. It might be nice if the manufacturers made 1000hz or 1500hz SSB filters but I know Icom doesn't.

The Winlink folks know where this activity takes place. If they won't voluntarily avoid it today, what makes anyone think they will comply with any voluntary bandplan issued by anyone?

tim ab0wr

 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Tim, you don't use the 50Hz signal when you are looking for a contact. You put in the 50Hz filter once you have the station tuned in. Using MixW you can create narrow and wide macros. Click the wide button and see the whole waterfall. Select a station and then click the narrow button to see only that station.

Skip, you are certainly correct about the wide dynamic range. That is by far the best way to handle adjacent channel QRM. My comments about the narrow filters apply to the "typical" SSB receiver with AGC like the majority are using. This is how the majority of people experience QRM and they consider any undesired signal inside their receiver passband to be QRM. I've even been told that you should only use a low dipole with PSK31 in order to keep your signal strength down so you don't bother other stations :-) Better dynamic range and no AGC will certainly improve the situation.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AB0WR on February 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
*****************************************************
Tim, you don't use the 50Hz signal when you are looking for a contact. You put in the 50Hz filter once you have the station tuned in. Using MixW you can create narrow and wide macros. Click the wide button and see the whole waterfall. Select a station and then click the narrow button to see only that station.

***************************************************

Wait a minute -- the pactor signal wipes things out when the wide filter is in yet you are saying that you should use the wide filter to find psk-31 signals? And then switch to narrow?

Something doesn't compute there!

That means that people should only look for psk-31 signals when Pactor isn't being used?

Narrow filters and no agc WOULD be helpful. I turn the agc off on my 751a when using psk-31. Yet I still get blown away by Pactor signals just above and below the psk-31 area.

I just looked up the psk-20 transceiver Skip mentioned - that would fit my station very well. It is easier for me to move antennas than to move the computer hookup. Yet I notice that *it* has a 3.5khz bandwidth. Perhaps someone will correct me but I'll still bet it is susceptible to interference from the Pactor signals right above and right below the psk-31 waterhole.

tim ab0wr

 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"I just looked up the psk-20 transceiver Skip mentioned - that would fit my station very well. It is easier for me to move antennas than to move the computer hookup. Yet I notice that *it* has a 3.5khz bandwidth. Perhaps someone will correct me but I'll still bet it is susceptible to interference from the Pactor signals right above and right below the psk-31 waterhole."

Tim, it is not susceptible to Pactor signals right above and below the psk-31 waterhole, because they only show up as Pactor signals on either end of the waterfall. Reception of PSK31 signals is not affected. In fact, that is exactly how I discovered VE2AFQ transmitting Pactor-III outside the FCC 97.221 subbands, as he is allowed to do under Canadian regulations. Of course, K4CJX did not have to allow him the use of the Winlink network, since he would interfere with CW communications just below 14070 in the US, but of course, we know he did - another way to circumvent a "voluntary" bandplan by Winlink.

The dynamic range of the PSK-20 is only about 60 db, and is limited, not by the dynamic range of the detector, but by the dynamic range of the soundcard and the weak NE-602 front end. This is no problem for normal PSK31 operation, since most run only 20 watts or less, but could be a problem on Field Day, if there were high power transmitters nearby.

Interestingly, I have NEVER encountered a PSK31 signal on the air that overloaded the PSK-20, but then I only have dipoles for all bands.

If ham radio is supposed to be FUN, most of all, then the PSK-20 concept, with DigiPan 2.0 automatically displaying the callsigns and text of all the stations in the IF bandpass can be lots of fun! During PSK31 contests, I have seen as many as 16 DX callsigns displaying simultaneously on DigiPan 2.0.

I just wish my old IC-761 could work with the AGC disabled, but the IF chain or detector distorts so badly I have to keep it on. So, I use the IC-761 at 50-100 watts on my attic tophat vertical on 80m, because the power is needed, and the PSK-20 on 20m, where one watt is enough for S5 reports. However, I am well along on a bandswitching tribander for PSK31 (80m, 40m, and 20m), the same size as the PSK-20, but with 15 watts on 80m, 8 watts on 40m, and 5 watts on 20m, and it also has the high dynamic range detector and no AGC. Now that the ARRL petiton has been fully commented on, I hope to get back and finish the tribander and make it available as a kit.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

Let me know if you need an alpha-tester, Skip!

Charles, N5PVL
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
All I can tell you is that it works for me, Tim. I don't normally find Pactor signals so strong that they "blow" my receiver away and many times they are not there at all. Having a narrow filter selected while in a PSK31 QSO keeps the QSO from being disrupted by AGC pumping if a Pactor station comes on during the QSO. If you are working a very weak PSK31 station, even a strong PSK31 signal in the passband can affect the AGC enough to loose copy on the weak station and a filter helps there as well.

The PSK31 waterfall has many advantages but the one disadvantage is the QRM problem. I just don't think it is realistic to expect all other modes to leave a big "guard band" around the PSK31 area so that they stay completely out of the receiver passband. It would be nice but it's probably not going to happen. In that regard the ARRL proposal will probably actually help the PSK31 stations by putting them down in the 200Hz segment where all they are isolated from wider modes like Pactor.

I think Skip has the right idea with wide dynamic range receivers and no AGC.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
You guys might be interested in something I put together two years ago using CI-V on the IC-761.

The IC-761 can use a 500 Hz filter in CW, but not in SSB, and PSK31 needs to use SSB for transmit.

So, I wrote a little program, as part of another PSK31 program I was writing, that had a macro button that toggled between "wide" and "narrow". After clicking on the waterfall on a PSK31 signal I wanted to work, I pushed the "Narrow" button and the CW filter kicked in. Since the IC-761 has an offset for CW, I had to use a CI-V command at the same time to reverse the offset from SSB so I was still tuned to the station. Going to transmit, I needed the SSB filter again, and the original transmit frequency back, so the program saved the original frequency and restored it on transmit, but switched back to the SSB filter.

I'm not sure, but I think MixW has a similar feature that will center a PSK31 signal in a narrow IF, if your transceiver can use a narrow filter on SSB receive. The IC-761 is 15 years old, and cannot, so I had to do it "Rube Goldberg" fashion.

Anyway, it worked to eliminate adjacent Pactor interference, but of course could not help if the Pactor station totally covered the PSK31 signal. It was interesting to find that the resetability of the CI-V was sufficient to make it all work within the AFC capture range of the PSK31 program.

Let's hope all the disruptive Pactor Email robots will some day be in one small place and all this complexity will not be necessary.

73, Skip
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WinLink started off as a participant in the global HF Packet network, one of several outfits who were involved in providing remote E-mail service on Packet at that time.

All of the Email-over-Packet services then ran across the same problem... The fact that E-mail often contained content which is illegal to carry over the ham bands. This included advertising, messages related to pecuniary interest, foul language and even pornography.

Juno.Com Email service, the first free E-mail service attached an ad at the bottom of each Juno.com E-mail, for example. Many SYSOPs were concerned about losing thier liscenses and did not trust non-hams who originated much of the E-mail that went through the system to keep thier messages clean and appropriate.

It was also obvious that some users of these E-mail over ham radio services were utilizing the system to conduct business.

Various filter software was tried, but as it is today with SPAM, clever hackers regularly found a variety of ways to defeat such software and in the end, it was determined that only manual review of each E-mail message by a human operator was reliable enough to ensure legal operation.

Manual review of E-mail messages to be transported across the ham bands then became the standard for that kind of operation, for the obvious reason.

Unfortunately, the amateurs who found themselves in the position of reading every E-mail that entered the system tended to find other, better things to do with thier lives after a while. - They tended to "burn out" after so many months of this activity, especially in the most poplular services that carried the most E-mail.

One by one, HF Packet operators who handled Internet E-mail ran out of people who were willing to manually review each message and in all cases but one, they eventually discontinued the practice rather than risk losing thier liscense due to transporting the illegal content so many E-mails tended to have.

The exception was the WinLink group, who decided to pull out of the global HF Packet network instead, and utilize a digital protocol ( PACTOR ) which was much more difficult to monitor. This "to heck with the rules as long as you don't get caught" attitude defines the WinLink group to this day, in many respects.

The WinLinkers claimed that they started thier new network from scratch because of PACTOR's greater speed, but the fact is that when they left the global HF Packet network, they also left behind over a thousand servers located in cities around the world, and had to start off from scratch with only a few PACTOR servers located in the United States. Obviously speed and service area was not the motivating factor there.

The primitive STAR network WinLink developed, in conjunction with a TOR digital mode that was not appropriate for network use was encouraging for them at first, when thier "let's circumvent PART97" network operated on a small scale, with just a few users. As it grew though, the "technological jail" they had locked themselves into became more and more apparent.

WinLink had painted themselves into a corner where the only way they could expand thier services at all was by hogging up more and more bandwidth, and by developing a cavalier attitude abnout crashing other hams' ongoing QSOs.

See:

http://www.uspacket.org/digiblog/?p=20

- for an illustrated demonstration of why thier network as it stands today takes up 62.4 times as much spectrum as HF Packet in order to operate and expand.

Because of the poor technical decisions the WinLink group made, motivated by a desire to "get around" the PART97 regulations concerning content restrictions, they are now trapped with a need to either take up ever-increasing amounts of spectrum - or wither and die off altogether.

Thus the naked spectrum-grab made by WinLinkers who have infected the ARRL executive cadre, known as the "bandwidth segmentation proposal".

This crooked proposal will allow WinLink QRM-bots to crash QSO's across the ham bands including the phone area, instead of being restricted to just a few areas as they are at this writing.

WinLinkers, as a group, have demonstrated a blatant disregard for the FCC regs, thier fellow hams, and any 'gentlemen's agreement' within the hobby that has stood in thier way. - To think that they would suddenly become angels after being given the ability to park thier QRM-bots wherever they please is laughable.

Why doesn't WinLink go over to Packet? - Because then they would have to start manually reviewing every E-mail that goes through thier system again in order to keep from getting caught at what they do right now. - Transporting E-mail with illegal content every day on the ham bands, in direct competition with existing commercial services. They know that if they had to go back to operating legally, they would soon run out of message monitors and have to shut down.

They coudn't continue to operate illegally without getting caught, if thier message content were open to review and self-policing by thier fellow hams.

In other words, WinLink is a shameful scam being perpetrated upon the amateur radio community. Of course they are not going to "come clean" or work cooperatively with others.

What they will do instead is to hog up more and more spectrum, and crash more and more QSO's until the amateur radio community and the FCC finally loses patience with them.

Charles Brabham, N5PVL
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!


http://www.idiyachts.com/RadioEmail.html

Tells it all.

Charles, N5PVL
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N4ZKF on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, that pretty much says it all.

Dave
n4zkf

I guess it's time after 16 years of the packet bbs to hang it up. Maybe put up a DX cluster node or something.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

No, this is the best time to hang in there. Besides the new Q15x25 net, there is AMP ( Amateur Multicast Protocol ) currently being tested on the air. This will remove the load of messages addressed to "ALL", freeing up HF Packet for personal messages and local bulls only. Imagine how much faster things will go then.

Charles, N5PVL
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KC2OYZ on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks - I just this to them:

Do NOT allow digital modes to operate on the phone bands indiscriminantly, particulary Pactor-III email robots, etc. Ham radio is for people, not computers. If people want wireless email they can buy a Blackberry. These robots will eat up bandwidth and destroy ham radio as we know it. The ARRL has its agenda but that does not always coincide with what hams want and need.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
A Blackbury will work really well when you are out in the middle of the ocean :-)
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Imagine how much faster things will go then.
--------------------------------------------------
Yup. The less traffic you put on the network the better 300 baud HF packet will work.

Isn't it amazing that when "packet" people compare packet to pactor for us they fail to mention that HF packet has a throughput of less than 300CPS while pactor III does 5200CPS. Minor detail.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Wrong.

You are talking about througput over a wire, not what happens on the air.

But such dishonesty is what we have come to expect from WinLink apologists, propagandists, or whatever.

Charles, N5PVL
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Bob,

I think it is documented in many places that HF packet is not as fast as Pactor-II on HF, although Packet has the ability to handle multple connnections on a single frequency, whereas Pactor does not.

What do you think about the statistics at

http://winlink.org/status

,CMS traffic, that states that last month, the average HF minutes per message was 3.6 minutes, or 216 seconds, and the average message size was 3861. K4CJX has gone on record several times as stating that 92% of all Winlink traffic is on Pactor-III, and it is probably even higher now.

3861 characters in 216 seconds comes out to 17.6 cps, not 5200 cps, nor the Hans-Peter Helfert, of SCS, claim on QRZ.COM of over 500 cps. (That is obviously on a wired circuit where no blocks have to be repeated!)

So, which is correct?

Even if 500 characters per second is the correct speed for for Pactor-III, as SCS claims, do you believe a 3800 character message, or a typed page and a half would actually transfer in only 7.6 seconds after linking? 3800 characters / 500 cps = 7.6 seconds. If this were true, the average time a Pactor-III station would be linked passing Email traffic would be much less than observed - probably 30 seconds or less. (This would also mean the WAIT time for a clear "SHARED" frequency would be so small as to be insigficant!)

Also, Pactor-III is FIVE times as wide as HF packet, so five packet stations, each transmitting 1/5 of the message would complete the message transfer at a speed of 1500 cps, would they not?

PSKmail, based on PSK63, which itself is capable of 100 wpm (without ARQ), or 500 characters per minute = 8.3 characters per second, attains 5 cps in actual HF use in a bandwidth of only 63 Hz, fitting easily in a channel of 100Hz.

If 21 PSKmail stations could divide up a 3800 character message and each send 1/21 of it simultaneously, each one would only have to send 180 characters, and at 8.3 characters per second, would take 21 seconds, so with the most efficient bandwidth utilization, and 21 PSK63 tones, 21 seconds for a typed page and a half does seem realizable. It is just that Pactor-III takes MUCH longer.

However, PSKMail on the air actually achieves only 5 cps in roughly 100 Hz bandwidth, so the 3800 character page and a half would actually take 30 seconds, after linking, in true average HF conditions.

ARQ mode on-the-air speed comparison:

PSKmail: 5 cps in 100 Hz bandwidth
Pactor-II: 10 cps in 100 Hz bandwidth
Pactor-III: 20 cps in 2100 Hz bandwidth
PSKmail equivalent in 2100 Hz bandwidth: 105 cps

What this says to me is what we all already know - a narrow bandwidth mode "totally" filling a narrow filter bandpass has less problem with noise and QRM. The S/N is more favorable for the narrowband mode, and it "MAY" be able to continue copy farther under the noise level than the wide mode. MFSK16 is a good example of this, using 16 tones and a bandwidth of 316 Hz, and able to copy farther under the noise than PSK63, but then data is spread reduntantly over the 16 tones, and there is no ARQ to insure nearly perfect copy by repeating, so it is not fast for the bandwidth used.

It is obvious to me from the above actual results on HF, and especially from the comparison between Pactor-II and Pactor-III, that there is an ever diminishing return on error-free data transfer speed on HF with increasing bandwidth, and this is why Pactor-III is such a poor performer relative to Pactor-II, achieving only a 50% increase in speed for 500% of the bandwidth.

73, Skip KH6TY

 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Wrong! I thought we were talking about data of HF, not over a wire. I think you are making a one-sided presentation pointing out the positive aspects of packet and conviently ignoring the positive aspects of pactor. There are positive and negative aspects of both modes so why don't you present a complete picture?
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Correction, Pactor-II bandwidth should be shown as 450 Hz.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Skip, all of the "advertised" speeds are based on zero repeats regardless of what mode you are talking about. Packet throughput doesn't come anywhere near 300CPS when conditions are poor and there are many repeats. Pactor also slows down as conditions deteriorate and repeats increase. Either one of them eventually drops to zero when conditions don't permit any data transfer. Given the variables in HF propogation I don't see how anyone could specify anything but the maximum speed under ideal conditions. I don't consider this "false advertising".

As I've said many times, while packet can maintain many connections on a single frequency, it can't transmit data in parallel on a single frequency. The data throughput must slow down in order to share the available bandwidth among all of the connections. Packet has its advantages, pactor has its own advantages, as does PSK31 and many other modes. What I don't understand is why we have to have these "protocol wars" with people claiming that their favorite mode is perfect and others are worthless. I see it as just a repeat of the "AM" vs "SSB" days.

I agree that increasing bandwidth results in diminishing returns on increased throughput. What percentage is acceptible is a judgement call. Personally I'd opt for the slower speed of Pactor I or II over the bandwidth of Pactor III. However, I don't know why it should be okay to use approx 3KHz of bandwidth to rag chew or work DX on SSB but not okay to use 3KHz of bandwidth to send data. Just don't do it in the same spectrum space - at least not with automatic stations!

In my mind all of this is a separate issue from stations under automatic control (or semi-automatic). This type of operation, regardless of mode, needs to be restricted to narrow bands. I don't much care whether that occurs by FCC regulation or by an international band plan, as long as there is some means to ensure that everyone abides by it. It would be possible for governments to enforce an international band plan but I doubt it will ever happen given the politics involved.

I keep reading about WinLink handling all this commercial traffic but those making that assertion fail to produce any documented evidence. The boaters and RVers who use WinLink are all licensed hams and I have no reason to believe that they are any "less" hams than those who choose to operate packet. There are also a few of us who still prefer to use pactor for keyboard to keyboard communications from time to time.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

Let's see... The original WinLink/ARRL proposal called for the complete elimination of the automated sub-bands, which would have legislated the Packet net out of existence altogether, then after several ARRL directors protested, it was modified so that only a few of the sub-bands are called upon to be eliminated - and the WinLink apologist/propagandist here has to gall to whine about "protocol wars."

Be sure to be looking in the mirror when you do that, OM.

Charles, N5PVL
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KC2OYZ on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If the bands start to get messed up by robots, I for one will get a legal limit amplifier and fight back - 1.5 KW double sideband AM.... if a robot can step on my QSO, I can step on the robot just as well - and we can all do the same thing - fight fire with fire - If it's not called 'harmful interference' for a robot it isn't for me either. Just make the bands so unpleasant that the robots will leave....
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Bob, the actual data transfer speeds are only of significance in determining the "reasonableness" of the size of the segments to be alloted to automated operations. This is because the data transfer speed determines how long a channel will be unavailable for someone else to use. It also must necessarily influence the weight given to regulations that serve to take away space for "communications" in real time, between humans, which has always been the main point of the hobby, and the promise of high speed data or multimedia transfer which ARRL uses to attempt to justify giving automated operations access to ALL the HF frequencies.

If high speed data or multimedia is simply not possible without sacrificing an inordinate amount of spectrum for "communications", then that sacrifice is not justifiable. I'm sure there are those of us who would like to quickly send a large color picture of our shack or selves, but for the same reason ATV is not permitted on the HF bands because of its bandwidth requirement ("slow-scan" TV is permitted, only because of the "reasonableness" of its bandwidth requirements, which provides a good example of the comparison between real time exchanges and store-and-forward exchanges), multimedia and "high speed" data transfer is simply a false promise by ARRL, and no reason to approve legislation taking away precious spectrum needed for communications to be used for futile attempts to achieve high speed data transfer by using enormous amounts of bandwidth.

The actual, "real world" achievable data transfer rates is what is important, and Pactor-III only achieves about 15 cps, while the "false promise" element at ARRL keeps quoting the wired speed numbers, which Winlink claims is 225 cps before compression, and for Pactor-II is 50 cps, but actually about 10 cps in actual HF daily use.

If 15 cps using Pactor-III is the best that can be done on HF, and Pactor-III is a bandwidth hog compared to Pactor-II, then HIGH SPEED DATA TRANSFER on HF IS A FALSE PROMISE, and therefore the ARRL petition is based on FALSE PROMISES.

Just because TAPR and Winlink pulled the wool over the eyes of the BOD is no reason the rest of us to have to suffer the loss of communications space free from interference that would be caused by allowing automated data transfer systems to share the same space, or even keyboard-to-keyboard operations using an exhorbitant amount of space to send still or moving images.

The merit to the ARRL petition, once the favoritism to Winlink is removed, is that they also recognize that the same amount of spectrum will have to be shared by more and more hams in the future, so for "communications", there needs to be a reasonable limit on emitted bandwidth, and that limit was determined to be about 3.5 kHz.

Although the HSMM Committee keeps mentioning using 25 kHz on HF, the ARRL did not include that in their petition for HF, but did provide for wider emitted bandwidths on the VHF/UHF bands where more spectrum is available.

I agree with you that segmentation by bandwidth by rule is probably better for the hobby than segmentation by mode, because once the ability for the unattended operations to abuse the use of the spectrum is curtailed, operators of different modes will voluntarily form "watering holes", simply so they know where to find those using the same mode they are using.

It is the unattended operations which are not "communicating" with anyone else in real time, but only "using" the frequencies for a delayed-time answering machine, that do not care about congregating in one place, because their channels are published in advance and can be anywhere. Winlink scans many frequencies for each PMBO, only for the purpose of eliminating any WAIT for a clear frequency where there is no Email robot and they can take it away with ARQ from a weaker, less patient, human operator. Therefore, we must have RULES to prevent this abusive use of our scarce spectrum.

I think it is time to stop arguing the pros and cons of HF packet over Pactor and just be sure the rules are such that the most bandwidth-efficient modes have to be used to handle the needed amount of traffic. If the traffic load in the future is too great to use Pactor-II or Pactor-III, then instead of taking away more and more spectrum from "communications" to be used for data transfer, there will be an incentive to develop new technologies that do the same job in less bandwidth, such as PSKmail, or some yet undeveloped mode.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"If the bands start to get messed up by robots, I for one will get a legal limit amplifier and fight back - 1.5 KW double sideband AM.... if a robot can step on my QSO, I can step on the robot just as well - and we can all do the same thing - fight fire with fire - If it's not called 'harmful interference' for a robot it isn't for me either. Just make the bands so unpleasant that the robots will leave....

That will not work, because the robot can be programmed with UNLIMITED patience, whereas you are not. YOUR frequency is not published, but the robot's frequency is, so the robot would cause you to lose contact with your QSO partner and all the robot would notice is that it just takes longer to dominate the frequency, IF it were even capable of noticing (which it is not). It would just "time out" and then either do the same thing to someone else on a different frequency, or rest for some seconds, and come back on your frequency and start all over again! Sooner or later, your bedtime will arrive, but the robot never sleeps and will keep trying 24 hours a day if necessary.

In a fight for a frequency, the Email robot will ALWAYS win! :(
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
KH6TY says:

" I think it is time to stop arguing the pros and cons of HF packet over Pactor and just be sure the rules are such that the most bandwidth-efficient modes have to be used to handle the needed amount of traffic. If the traffic load in the future is too great to use Pactor-II or Pactor-III, then instead of taking away more and more spectrum from "communications" to be used for data transfer, there will be an incentive to develop new technologies that do the same job in less bandwidth, such as PSKmail, or some yet undeveloped mode. "

That is a sensible attitude Skip, but since there is no way to effectively monitor or self-police the WinLink network, there is no way to determine how much of the traffic there is "needed", and how much of it is originated by "Idi-Yachts" keeping tabs on thier stocks and conducting business while out vacationing in thier yachts or RV's.

WinLink did not choose the obsolete STAR network topology for it's efficiency or reliability, because as we know, it is the very worst choice one could possibly make in those areas. What they did specifically choose it for was its ability to defeat self-policing.

In the Packet network ( on any band, HF or not ) messages are passed from server to server and must pass the scrutiny of each server's SYSOP as it transports through the system. This prevents one crooked SYSOP from getting away with much of anything for any great length of time, as everything his system sends is subject to review by his peers - many times over.

With WinLink, everything goes through a central server and if the folks operating that server are crooked or are direspectful of the law - then so is the entire network as there is no system of independent review.

It may be inefficient and prone to net-wide catastrophic failure, but the STAR network topology is still attractive - to somebody who has something to hide.

There are several glaringly poor choices that the WinLink folks made in designing thier network ( TOR mode, STAR network topology ) that are extremely poor choices for designing a network, but are great choices if you have something to hide and so are out to defeat peer review and self-policing.

This is part of why arguing the pros and cons of HF packet over what WinLink utilizes is important, and should ( and will ) continue.

WinLinkers can characterize this uncomfortable scrutiny as "protocol wars" all they like, but for as long as they use these technologies to defeat peer-review and self-policing by amateurs, they have not got a leg to stand on.

Another example of this great need to "control" and thus hide what they are doing can be seen in how WinLink handles VHF/UHF Packet as a resource. Again, a comparasin with the way the Packet network handles this same resource is instructive.

In the Packet network, the HF component of the network is used where it has to be, but wherever possible the traffic is carried and distributed by VHF/UHF Packet networks, the bigger the better. Several of the VHF/UHF Packet networks have coverage areas that measure close to or slightly over one thousand miles and utilize dozens, sometimes hundreds of nodes and servers. Most of the HF traffic is between these VHF/UHF networks, not to the message's final destination by any means. - To do that would require an HF server in every city and would be as inefficient and wasteful of HF spectrum as - WinLink.

WinLink also utilizes VHF/UHF Packet but not Packet networks as they deliberately limit the utilization of VHF/UHF resources to one or two hops.

Why ( you might ask yourself ) would WinLink short-circuit the great efficiency and reliability that utilizing large-scale VHF/UHF networks by limiting the use of those resources for only one or two hops?

I think you can guess by now.

By avoiding using VHF/UHF for more than one or two hops, you can avoid having outlying servers, - and so avoid peer-review of the traffic that transits the network. Everything is still processed and controlled by that central server, and the concept of self-policing is once again defeated.

Understanding these issues pretty well depends upon arguing the pros and cons of 'HF Packet' over what WinLink uses.

The WinLink network is shot through with design flaws and backward thinking that would make no sense at all from a networker's point of view - unless hiding what you are doing and defeating the process of self-policing is more important to you than issues such as efficiency, good operating practice or reliability.

Skip, I think your heart was in the right place about calling for an end to arguing the pros and cons of HF Packet over what WinLink uses. For my part, I detest the "protocol warrior" outlook, where other hams and what they do is denigrated solely on the basis of their using a different protocol of system.

On the other hand, this situation with WinLink does require some scrutiny in this area, as it is plain that WinLink has designed their entire system around the idea of using technology to circumvent and bypass the PART97 regulations, peer review of the content of the messages they transport, and self-policing by the amateur radio community.

If you go through the WinLink system and highlight the many poor or dubious choices they have made in design, in each case it turns out that good design was sacrificed in the name central control and the "security" from simple peer review it offers.

This is not the ham radio way, and it should not be tolerated.

Charles, N5PVL


 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Charles,

I think the most constructive thing you could do at this point is develop a new HF network to replace packet, but using PSKmail.

PSKmail is based on gMFSK (a Linux PSK program) and Linux, but has the advantage of being able to also use the Internet for forwarding, so you could do an end run around Winlink for Emcomm that anyone could afford.

No modem is needed, only a soundcard, which everyone already has. Even a computer without any OS, such as the six IBM 300 PL's I bought on Ebay for less than $50 each, can be used for PSKmail by using Linux for the OS.

Linux is free, and you can just remaster a KNOPPIX CD or AI9L's "Hamshack Hack" CD to add PSKmail server and client programs. It is easy to set up a dual-boot system on any Windows computer so you can run Linux or Windows as you wish. That is what I do here at KH6TY.

PSKmail is based on PSK63, which runs at 100 wpm (8.3 cps without ARQ) and achieves 5 cps WITH ARQ in actual HF use. If the F6FBB BBS protocol continues to be used by Winlink, even though it cannot be monitored by third parties, I assume using it with PSKmail would achieve Pactor-II equivalent output, but in less than 100 Hz bandwidth!

You can download PSKmail, both client and server software, with instructions from:

http://pskmail.wikispaces.com/

You can download Harv's hamshack hack from:

http://hamshack-hack.sourceforge.net/

Harv, AI9L, can help you with remastering, or you can use my own step-by-step procedure that I developed for remastering KNOPPIX:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/hteller/remaster.txt

It is really worth considering...

73, Skip KH6TY

 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

I've looked at PSKmail, but would get more use out of a Windows version, or perhaps a KISS-type interface for PSKmail where another computer running BBS software thinks it is talking to a KISS TNC over a serial link, as MixW allows for Q15x25 mode... This may not be possible but if it is, it would greatly enhance PSKmail's general usability.

In general, the Packet network SYSOPs are not interested in utilizing Internet links as part of the network. The system will need to be able to stand on its own feet as an amateur radio application in order to see widespread use in the "Packet" net.

Some of the Packet SYSOPs already use Linux, but trying to get all of them to do so would create problems and generate divisiveness, more than anything else. It would be best to avoid that if at all possible.

We are already utilizing PSK63 as the mode of choice for multicast. I don't know if you were aware of that.
Amateur Multicast Protocol (AMP) is still in the testing stages, but is close to moving on to regular use now. We have tried PSK31 and QPSK31, but PSK63 is more popular with the hams who are participating in the tests and all of our current testing is in that mode.

Once multicast is implemented, it will change the face of point-to-point networking forever and this would be a good time to introduce new systems for that purpose.

One serious drawback with PSKmail is that it is an ARQ mode as opposed to AX25, so once again you have the problem that "horizontal spread" introduces when you are trying to serve a large number of locations. Remember that we have to operate within narrow slices of spectrum, and spreading out horizontally would place severe limits on the number of locations we could serve, even with the much more spectrally efficient PSK63 mode.

Packet has been criticized for decades now but interestingly enough, nobody has come up with a demonstratably superior alternative to it, that can do all of the same things - better.

Q15x25 mode for example is an AX25 application that can stack vertically, allowing multiple stations to share a single frequency, but it is very wide ( 15 PSK streams wide ) and you have to have an S7 signal or better to get much done with it. It is useful - but in a limited way and in most onair situations 300 baud Packet is actually faster.

Is there any chance of an AX25 version of PSK63 with a KISS or FlexNet 6-Pack interface?

Charles, N5PVL

 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Is there any chance of an AX25 version of PSK63 with a KISS or FlexNet 6-Pack interface?"

Very little chance, I think! I developed PSK63 as a possible future contesting mode that outperforms RTTY, except over the polar path, but I do not intend to do anything more with it.

PSKmail is even less than 100 Hz wide at -26 db down, so it fits easily into a 100 Hz-wide channel. 25 PSKmail channels would fit into one Pactor-III channel, and if each channel were shared by only two servers, that 2500 Hz-wide channel would handle 50 servers.

I don't see where the "horizontal spread" problem is anything compared to Winlink with either Pactor-II or Pactor-III, and ALL 50 servers could fit in just 2500 Hz, and all could be seen on the waterfall at the same time (if they happended to be active at the same time). Because of this spectral efficiency, I think there is no horizontal spread "problem".

Considering all the negatives PSKmail presents to you, I have no better alternative, but take another look at the PSKmail website and note all the latest enhancements like APRS and keyboard-to-keyboard mode.

My own personal opinion is that it is better to use radio for the "last mile" and the Internet for the rest of the forwarding, leaving more spectrum for everyone else to use. You can continue to try to promote packet and all-radio forwarding, but the advantages of using the Internet for delivery are so great, the FCC might agree not to allow on-the-air autoforwarding as RM-11306 proposes, and then where are you?

The tsumani and hurricane disasters definitely confirmed the usefulness of Emcomm HT's at the disaster scene, and then using the Internet for final delivery if desired. There is only a very remote possibility of the Internet totally failing, so I think hams need to rethink their role in disaster communications, even if they hate the arrogance of Winlink. I personally think the last mile by radio and delivery by Internet is a good concept in this day and age. PSKmail fulfills this purpose for Emcomm delayed-time messaging and traffic handling quite well as an open source, GNU, alternative to Winlink, and only requires a soundcard to operate.

For only $50, one can run a separate computer with Linux, and it is more safe from malicious attacks. I don't see how that is a big disadvantage in having to use Linux. In any event, there is very probably never going to be a Windows version of PSKmail.

I've done all I can to help. What happens next is your decision and totally up to you...

73, Skip KH6TY
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AA4PB on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
While the WinLink PMBO may be automatic and able to keep trying forever thus outlasting a human operator, the other end of the link is always manned by a human operator. The PTC has a default MAXErr setting of 70 and a maximum of 255. If it can't get a packet through in that many attempts then it disconnects. The human end will then have to attempt to re-establish the link. Agreed that pactor is likely more persistant than the average operator, but it won't go on trying forever unless the operator on the initiating end is willing to stay up all night.

Charles claims that one problem with WinLink is that control operators at the PMBOs are not personally monitoring all of the traffic for content. On the other hand, Tim claims that his (and most other) packet stations are permitting non-hams in served agencies to send traffic over packet without a control operator being present to monitor. Seems like the same thing to me. In fact typical WinLink operation always has a licensed ham in control of one end of the link. He, being the control operator of the mobile end, is the one with primary responsibility for content. In this respect it seems to me that WinLink is more tightly controlled than the packet system.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

Taking the "last mile" thesis to it's logical conclusion, we should stop using HF altogether all go over to EchoLink for voice comms, and VHF Packet with Internet for long-haul QSO's instead of using PSK31, HF Packet, PACTOR, PSK63, MFSK, etc...

Be careful what you wish for... You might just get it.

Assuming that we are back on the page where amateurs utilize HF for long-haul communications, I do not see why digital amateur radio communications should be discriminated against and forced to go off the air and onto the Internet, where they are no longer amateur radio communications.

I always wonder where ideas like that come from. It kind of reminds my of the "widder Douglas" in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, who saw tobbacco as an abomination but who also dipped snuff and thought that was different 'because she did it'.

What is so different about digital communications that they should be forced off of HF and shuffled off to the Internet, while voice communications remain on radio? We do, after all, have VOIP these days.

Really, Skip, you should take a little time to think this attitude about "the last mile" through, and realize that all amateurs should be able to do thier thing on HF.

If one group should be shuffled off to the Internet except for "the last mile", then why not all?

Charles, N5PVL
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KC2OYZ on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
At the risk of sounding like a reactionary, I believe that the HF bands are not the place for any computer based contacts whatsoever. You computer guys, just go somewhere else - you can do what you want to do anywhere, while we who want to use the hf bands for traditional ham dx cannot. You need HF for disaster communications?? So much bs - what kind of reliable disaster communication can be dependent on the mood of the sun and the atmosphere at any given time.... I think the real motivation for all this is pecuniary...

(BTW, I am not 'anti-computer' - I make my living as a systems analyst)
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KC2OYZ on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
And all you guys saying it's not such a big deal are just spinning - robots are robots - did you ever hear a computer call QRL or respond to a request to end its QSO? All computer based contacts continually violate good operating practices and often the Part 97 rules themselves.
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KH6TY on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Charles, ham radio is a great toy of many uses and much personal enjoyment. In a true emergency, the last mile (or 25 miles to a functioning repeater) is often ham radio, whether it is a HT, mobile SSB, or digital station and that is just one of our values to society. As long as we can help where help is needed, that is enough, regardless of what way we do it, and Winlink is just as useful as other alternatives. For all-radio operations, we do that every day and I see no point in trying to insist that messaging be all-radio. The hobby aspect of ham radio does that. After all, 50 years ago in my teenage ham days, the "Radiogram" was delivered by telephone or mailed locally. Today the message might be finally delivered by email. Don't expect it to be delivered by telegram, though, because as of January 27, Western Union terminated the telegram service they provided for 145 years in favor of email delivery. Is that not handwriting on the wall, or what!

The rest is the hobby aspect, the ability to use the airwaves for experimenting, interesting young people in electronics as an occupation, and so forth.

Bob, I am going to leave this discussion now with one final observation. A little acknowledged advantage, under the present 97.221 rules, is the "LEGAL" right to use "autocalling" in Airmail (programming in a list of PMBO's to automatically call and try to link with), and also to just load email into the program, activate "Send" and walk away to do other tasks, returning later to read email automatically downloaded. We suspect this is already being done illegally, outside the subbands, due to the extremely high level of interference by the client stations trying to get a PMBO to notice them, but of course, to Winlink's glee, I'm sure, there is no way to prove this one way or another, just as there is no way to prove whether or not commercial traffic is flowing on Winlink, even though the average message size is up from 1700 characters to 3800 characters lately. A typed page and a half is a LOT of "personal" messaging, I would think.

Anyway, there is a real legal advantage to Winlink in staying in the subbands in terms of reducing the operator workload, and an advantage to everyone else that they know where the automatic stations are and can avoid them and the automatic stations will be avoiding everyone else. Most people seem to comment that if all unattended messaging operations, of any sort, were confined to the subbands, it is OK for them to contine. 10 kHz per band should be more than enough space and leave the rest for person-to-person communications and propagation beacons.

Thanks to everyone for taking the trouble to follow these discussions, and hopefully, taking the trouble to file comments one way or another.

73, Skip KH6TY
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N5PVL on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

Take it easy, Skip! I read your comment on RM-11306 and thought it was a good piece of work, very well written.

The global digital network ( 'Packet net' ) is not an Ecomm network, it's character being much closer to that of an HF voice net in that personal communications and sharing of general information about ham radio comprises the great majority of the communications there.

Participants like the idea of operating an independent, global digital network, perhaps because amateur radio operators are the only group of private individuals in the world who have the opportunity to do so.

What will the "Packet" net do if the automated sub-bands are eliminated in the US, in defiance of the IARU? - We will set up "semi-automatic" of course, and go right on operating, but no longer confined to autoforwarding sub-bands and picking out our own "watering holes" instead - of course.

The automated sub-bands are the best thing for all, but we can get by without them just fine if necessary, so don't worry on our account OM.

73 Skip,

Charles, N5PVL
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by AB0WR on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
************************************************************
Charles claims that one problem with WinLink is that control operators at the PMBOs are not personally monitoring all of the traffic for content. On the other hand, Tim claims that his (and most other) packet stations are permitting non-hams in served agencies to send traffic over packet without a control operator being present to monitor. Seems like the same thing to me. In fact typical WinLink operation always has a licensed ham in control of one end of the link. He, being the control operator of the mobile end, is the one with primary responsibility for content. In this respect it seems to me that WinLink is more tightly controlled than the packet system.
***********************************************************

I think you need to consider the difference in the *content* of what is being sent when comparing what is being done over packet and what is being done over Winlink before saying Winlink is more tightly controlled.

The private packet users have no access to email *from* the internet. The first primary purpose is for access to other emergency agencies connected to the VHF network. The second primary purpose is for accessing incoming NTS traffic and sending outgoing NTS traffic. A secondary purpose is for access to outgoing internet email access for those who are approved for doing so.

BTW, the Winlink folks like to beat the drum that they provide 2-way email service for emergency agencies. While our network won't do that, it will allow the far end agency to send answers back via the NTS. So a duplex loop is available. Origination via NTS is also available. NTS traffic, if the intermediate operators do their jobs, has a built in delivery confirmation process that internet email lacks. Email going into a black hole just disappears.

You should also take an actual look at the Airmail software used with Winlink. The only "control operator" function exerted by the end user is to hit the *go* button. The software does the rest without the control operator even listening to the frequency.

As Charles has pointed out, a major problem with receiving email from the internet is the problem with restricting commercial content from being sent. Our network doesn't have that problem. Nor do we have problems with the limited user base we have. We aren't in this as a business trying to grow our customer base as much as we can.

tim ab0wr
 
RE: The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by KC2OYZ on February 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
> a major problem with receiving email from the internet is the problem with restricting commercial content from being sent.

An even bigger problem is that there is no reason whatsoever to eat up our bandwidth with your robots.
Another big problem is that you are not teaching your robots good operating procedures.
 
The Email Robots Are Coming!  
by N8DNG on March 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
AA4PB - You make some very interesting points. Do you have a Winlink email account?
 
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