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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Digital Voice Communications Anyone?

Butch Quallich (KF4HR) on October 2, 2006
View comments about this article!

With digital cell phones, home phones, digital television, wireless networking, and a world of other digital communications technologies out there, why does it seem most amateurs are slow or reluctant to embrace digital voice technology? Fear of change? Cost? Misunderstood or unexplained advantages?

My hat is off to ICOM for bringing out their D-Star equipment and for introducing a few digital VHF/UHF radios, and to AOR for bringing out their digital voice interface boxes; but digital interest seems to be lacking by most other manufacturers. Of course there has to be a market for digital equipment, and that's where it comes to down to each of us.

Rather than just upgrading to the next generation radio I've been holding off "upgrading" with the hope that one of the big-3 will eventually add a "digital voice interface" option to the next generation HF gear (backward compatible to analog). I think that would definitely get the digital ball rolling for amateur radio.

As impressive as the last few generations of amateur gear have been, we may be reaching a point where we are seeing only minor improvements in overall performance (along with minor improvements to the bells and whistles). Perhaps it's time to really start moving amateur technology forward. Spark gap leads the way to CW, CW to AM, AM to SSB. Going to digital seems to be the next logical step.

Of course there's plenty of computerized digital modes being used (PSK31, etc), but how do you feel about moving to digital voice on HF? And what advantages would make you want to move from analog to digital gear for VHF/UHF?

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by AI4NS on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I use digital daily. It is CW. Spark gap to CW.
The end.

Mike
AI4NS
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W7ETA on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Thought I saw an article in QST many months ago about digital HF voice, and ads selling the gear.
Bob
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA4DOU on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Ralph, perhaps you could help us out by telling us what you perceive as clear advantages of digital voice communications over analog, that dictate that we should change over.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WY3X on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I listened to a demo of the AOR boxes at the Dayton hamvention. A friend and I were both sold until we heard the price. It is capable of hi-fi voice in a narrow bandwidth. The only problem is that so few people are using them. There's actually a website with a list of users, and it's not very many! If only it didn't cost so darned much! I'll probably buy one eventually, most likely at Dayton next year. I liked the sound quality of it a LOT! -KR4WM
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
why does it seem most amateurs are slow or reluctant to embrace digital voice technology? Fear of change? Cost? Misunderstood or unexplained advantages?

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


SW stations for example have indicated they are going digital voice for many years now. The problem is that most receivers would require an interface for it to work. This means SW radio would no longer be "plug and play" for the typical end user. Oh sure the hardcore SWL would do it alright but SW radio stations are afraid of loosing the mass of their listener audience from this transition. This results in lower listener ratings, less revenues etc..

Essentially, mainstream listeners don't want the new digital voice technology on SW, they want better program content instead. The "technology" isn't as important to listeners.

A similar consumer study found the same problem when introducing HDTV technology into the marketplace. Basically, people didn't care about the high tech delivery system used to bring programming into their homes. What was more important to them was the quality of the actual program content.

Now consider how this translates over to the ham radio world as well. This is primarily due to the fact that what most hams are currently using "works." Digital voice technology has not sold anyone any differently than HDTV.

While using digital voice communications is a nice toy to have around the shack, hams have not been known to complicate their communications too much. After all some of us, including myself, still find the idea of using CW fascinating in 2006.

Perhaps the problem is related to the idea that the more they add on in terms of complication, the more it may become prone to potential failure.

Basically, hams want simple communication methods that work. This seems to be especially true on HF bands.

Let's face it, all the higher tech experimenting seems to be taking place on VHF and higher frequencies. I bet the digital voice equipment advertisements would have faired much better in QST if marketed to the VHF and up crowd instead of HF.

73
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by AI2IA on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
KC8VWM is on target with his post. Among the many good reasons he gives, this one is especially good: "Basically, hams want simple communication methods that work. This seems to be especially true on HF bands."

Of course, price is high on the list, too! Whenever new things are marketed, the price is at its peak. Most of us know the value of sticking to a budget.

Finally there is the wise advice of the ancient sage:
Never be among the first to buy something new, and never be the last, either.

The big question is "Do we really want digital voice?"

We have some great modes already in place. Why do we need digital voice?
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N9DG on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hmmm, ya know with a radio like the SDR-1000 and the Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) program a digital voice mode capable radio is just some software writing away. No need for proprietary hardware or external add on boxes to get there. Just some additional software period.

My advice is to not wait for the 'big 3', they lack imagination for such things, instead look at some of the existing and rapidly maturing alternatives that are already here today.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by G3RZP on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
So what is the advantage of digital voice at HF? To compete with what we have as a communications capability with a good operator, it's got to work down to a 3dB signal to noise ratio, and with a heterodyne giving a carrier to interference ratio of 0dB. The AOR box was reported as falling over at anything below a 14dB SNR - no measurements on what happens with heterodynes and splatter. Any comparison with the HF broadcast service isn't very good, since they rely on at least a 20dB signal to noise and interference at all times, even for DRM.

The move for police radio in the UK to digital has meant that instead of the gradual degradation of analogue, the signal is either there or not there. The result is that the 'digital dividend' has meant putting up more repeater stations..........nice dividend for the suppliers!

The digital craze reminds me of George Orwell's book 'Animal Farm'. There the cry was 'Four legs good, two legs bad'. Now it's 'digital good, analogue bad'. However, in Animal Farm, it became 'Four legs good, two legs better' I'm sure we'll see a time when 'Digital good, analogue better' becomes the cry.....although probably not in my lifetime.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N0XMZ on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
It's because most hams with money (i.e. retired) are still living in the 1930's. The first post proves my point:

"I use digital daily. It is CW. Spark gap to CW.
The end."

"The end"? 20, 30, 40, or whatever words per MINUTE is the END? Wow. With my computer, I can send MILLIONS of words per minute. But no - we can't have any of that new-fangled stuff on the ham bands!

Remember how hard it was to get hams to adapt to PL tones on repeaters?

D-Star is on my short list of future ham-radio purchases (if the prices ever come down). If it doesn't, I predict another standard like P-25 emerging on the ham bands (actually, it already is). AOR had better team up with a radio manufacturer and get an HF standard going before they get eaten up by us (few but proud) young-uns that WILL bring ham radio into the digital age.

I keep hearing those words over and over... "to advance the radio art". Just when was the last time we did that? I'm working on it, but give me time, I'm an amateur.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W3OZ on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Well maybe digital voice someday, but it is going to have to sound a lot better than the demo's I have heard. I like CD quality at 20Hz to 20Khz.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by VE3MFN on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If a digital voice mode could halve (or more) the band width occupied by a SSB signal and have good fidelity with the 3db s/n referenced above than I say why not? The fly in the ointment is the cost factor but that would come down ultimately. There are always the ops who must be 'first on the block' to have and use a new mode etc. I operate mainly CW and a fact that I notice overlooked by one poster here and in discussion by the 'digerati' in general is that CW is man OR machine decoded----all digital modes are machine only. I like the new modes mind you, I just hate it when the "tantrum junkies" come on line when anyone mentions charlie whiskey. However, these communications related discussions are tame compared to the vitriol and venom that is exchanged by so called 'high end audiophiles' when the subject of "analog vs digital" comes up!! I say bring digitized voice mode(s) on and lets play with them........just think how many more hams could operate voice in the same spectrum space if the bandwidth was cut down drastically AND if the fidelity is good------then no more space hogging ESSB (enhanced single side band)(-: The AMers might even be lured if the fidelity is good, as I think primarily that is a lot of what they (AMers) look for--not just nostalgia........
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA4GCH on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
OUTLAW DIGITAL NOW!

How come we are refured to as old or legecy modes?????
How come everyone wants this on 6 meters with 200 khz bandwidth?

No digital below 420 mhz !
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KI4OGD on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I'd say the biggest thing that's gonna hold digital voice back is people not willing to experiment with it. How do you think SSB and other modes became popular? people experimented with them, and found ways to implement them into the modern ham life.

I see a future where digital voice beats out SSB as the basic voice mode on HF, but only if people can embrace the technology and make it work. But that's not the Big 3's job, it's ours.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KG4RUL on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
<<< .......just think how many more hams could operate voice in the same spectrum space if the bandwidth was cut down drastically AND if the fidelity is good----- >>>

Over thirty years ago, I was a contractor to the Navy. One of our group's projects was creating digitized speech that could utilize a 300 Baud channel.

We succeeded in creating a device that produced "recognizable" speech at this data rate but, was far from high fidelity.

Accomplishing this required nine microprocessors working as a parallel processor and some extremely clever software.

Dennis KG4RUL
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by IZ3ATV on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Digital Voice is really capable of high quality reception but only over somewhat a threshold of signal to noise value.
Digital modes can also trade off bandwidth for S/N but:
What about performance of digital modulation/demodulation with marginal S/N ratio environment in narrow bandwidth?
Professional and military possibly will be not bothered with spectrum crowding, being focalized respectively on quality grade or security of communications, Hams simply cannot.
If you want clear high quality communications, Digital is the way but.... if you want work those jumpy, noisy, faint, signals on HF bands i guess Digital Voice can't beat old good SSB and good radio operator's ears both with or without DSP improvment.

Best 73
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA4GCH on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Then WHY are they asking to take BOTH the 6 and 2 meters bans for digital only because if 200 khz wide is approved thoes bands are gone ......

I don't see any talk of 3 khz wide signals
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KF4HR on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WA4DOU - Just trying to get a consensus of how a cross section of the amateur population feels about digital voice OM. As for me educating you; may I suggest you visit the ICOM website and read about D-Star, then use your imagination. If there was no clear advantage, D-Star equipment certainly wouldn't be selling. But it is. Best 73's.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC2KIS on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
We complain about crowded bands and this is one way of getting more people on the bands. It is another mode we can choose to use it or not. Some people use CW others SSB etc. digital voice is just one more we have to work with and allowing us to enjoy a new facet of the hobby.

As technology changes so does the popularity of different modes. If we look back to broadcast radio we saw AM as the first broadcasts. Then came FM and a new mode requiring more expensive equipments TV. Now we have XM radio, cable TV, Satellite TV (the list goes on) and we pay to listen. This is progress. Amateur Radio has the opportunity to embrace the new mode.

The equipment needed will change as time goes on. We don't use spark receivers to listen to SSB or RTTY. The manufactures will follow the market and if that requires us to home brew an interface then why not do it? Are we uncomfortable to get involved in something new? Are we to proud to move into the higher frequencies and test our own mental abilities? Are we holding on to the horse and buggy while the automobile zooms by?
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W5HSJ on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Over a decade ago Dolby came out with digital STLs (Studio Transmitter Links) for broadcasters. The systems cratered and Dolby got out of the business. At Marti Electronics we experimented some with the mode. However, digital audio required a much more consistent path and greater power to obtain reliable communications. We abandoned the idea because analog systems were capable of much greater s/n ratio with much less power and bandwidth. What really kills it for the ham bands (other than experimentation) is the fact that when you reach the noise floor the signal disappears. With analog you can still copy a signal below the noise floor and, in fact, this probably occurs close to a majority of the time on the ham bands, especially during these days of solar minimums.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KF4NBN on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The biggest problem I see is that the technology is patented, and controlled by a single company. It is expensive, and the amateur experimenter is prevented from using it.

This technology generates more appliance operators, something that used to be rare inthe amateur radio community.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W6TH on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.
Keep it up and ham radio will be only for the wealthy.
.:
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N4CDB on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Actually it's my understanding the Pactor is proprietary but D-Star is an open protocol. While you pay a premium with the former since manufacturers have to pay royalties, there are choices when looking for equipment. With D-Star, while open, Icom is the only manufacturer at the moment using it. I think Kenwood either has a new radio with it or has one in the works.

Digital is very impressive quality-wise. Unlike analog, it's either there or it isn't. So while with analog you may be in and out, with digital you'll be there the whole time until you drop out of the repeater. There isn't a gradual degredation of the signal.

Something I was surprised to learn is that D-Star is also all digital. This means that there are many, many hams that will be unable to use the technology w/o investing a lot of money. Pactor is mixed mode so they'll work with both analog or digital. Of course you won't be talking digitally with your analog radio, but at least a repeater owner can service both crowds. D-Star is also very expensive.

I think there are some really good uses for digital. From a disaster perspective when you're trying to send a thousand names from a shelter to the EOC, packet seems the way to go for speed and accuracy. If you're on the road w/o an internet connection, Winlink can still help you keep in touch. Need to send a picture of a disaster area back to the decision makers? How about slow scan tv?

Well, those are my ramblings.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N4QA on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Digital or analog...voice is still voice.
Now, Morse is digital...always has been, always will be. Perhaps not *binary* but digital nonetheless.
Morse is *good* for you.
Got Morse?
72.
Bill, N4QA
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W9WHE-II on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"My hat is off to ICOM for bringing out their D-Star equipment and for introducing a few digital VHF/UHF radios.."

Why is ICOM re-inventing the wheel?
APCO25 is already the world-wide digital standard. Its an open protocol used by ALL manufacturers of commercial equipment, INCLUDING ICOM for their commercial customers!

If APCO 25 is already the world-wide digital standard, why is ICOM going in a different direction for the ham market?? Do we, as hams, really want to be incompatable with the rest of the digital world?
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KB9TMP on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Manufacturer: AOR USA
Item : ARD9800
Description : DIGITAL VOICE/IMAGE INTERFACE FOR TRANSCEIVERS
YOUR HRO PRICE $549.95

Manufacturer: YAESU
Item : FT-817ND
Description : FT817 W 60M+1400MAH Nimh BATT & NC-72B CHARGER
$599.95
Coupon: $50.00
YOUR HRO PRICE $549.95

When an add on costs as much as the whole radio,
that is why digital voice isn't catching on.
For me at least if I had $549.95 burning a hole
in my pocket I would try QRP portable before I
would Digital Voice!

73 de KB9TMP
He may look like an idiot
and talk like an idiot
but don't let that fool you.
He really is an idiot.
-Groucho Marx
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by AF4KK on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I use the AOR ARD-9800 DIGITAL interface and it works like a charm. You don't even need to modify your radio at all! How much more "plug and play" can you get than that? Digital communications are out there and in easy reach of nearly everyone. Give it a try! Be a pioneer!
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N5GLR on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
My issue with digital voice on HF , and a few other "new" digital modes, is bandwidth. If it can be done in the width of a current SSB signal (or less), I have no objection. However, I've seen nothing to convince me that it can, and I remain opposed until it is a proven fact by disinterested parties.

As others have pointed out, the signal is either there or not. I think that's a distinct disadvantage. Why handicap yourself? Like CW, SSB will penetrate when digital voice (e.g.) will not. However, that hasn't deterred folks from using SSB and I doubt it will deter the determined digtial fan.

I look at it this way .... If you want HF FM, go to 10 meter and knock yourself out. Just keep the extremely wide (by comparison) signals out of the areas not designated for it to avoid interfereing with others.

We have very limited resources on the HF bands and I see no sign the FCC is ready or willing to assign more. We all have to live/operate in the same space. Wider is NOT better on HF ... no matter the mode.

Garry
N5GLR
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W4LGH on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I personally have not tried Digital Voice, but I am curious about it. The price of the AOR 9000 box is getting pretty reasonable, and have considered going that route. I have done DIGITAL PSK, which is truely amazing at the power and bandwidth levels. I have also played with Digital Pictures and it to works pretty well. I see no reason not to go to digital modes...you can simply fall back to SSB if necessary.

So maybe if I am a good boy, Santa will bring me one of those AOR-9000's. Who knows, but one day I will give it a try, and looking forward to it. Always looking for a new facet with this hobby...thats what keeps it interesting!

73 de W4LGH - Alan
http://www.w4lgh.com

 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, we really, really need to go digital voice at HF.

Or be buried with the dinosaurs.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KE3HO on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I am quite interested in digital voice modes. However, I can only tell you MY reasons for not jumping into it right now.

1. Cost - $550 for the digital voice modem is too much at this time. Let me explain. It is not that the price is out of line. Rather, it is my perception that there are few other people out there who have them, so I would not expect to get much use out of it right now. Catch 22 - if more people had them and used them, more people would have them and use them.

2. As it stands now, being an "alternative" mode to standard analog SSB, one would have to start a QSO in standard analog SSB and ask the other ham if he/she has digital voice capability. Or, I suppose, one could simply call CQ using the digital voice mode and hope that some ham who recognizes the mode for what it is and has the digital equipment to hear you comes back and answers you.

3. Compatability - is there any real standard yet? If Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu, Alinco, Ten Tec.... decide to build digital voice mode into their next HF rig, will it be compatible with, say, the AOR unit? Will Kenwood's new TS-5000 digital voice mode be compatible with Icom's new IC-9500 ditital voice mode. Will either of them be compatible with the AOR? If the big radio manufactures said today that they were interested in building digital voice hardware into their next HF rig and they all agreed on a standard now, then it would be easier for me to justify the expense of the AOR unit if the agreed upon standard was compatible with the AOR unit. I don't know what may be going on behind the scenes, but you would think that it would be in AOR's interest to be talking with the big ham gear manufacturers right now about adopting their standard and offering some sort of incentive to do so. If the ham gear manufacturers decide on some other standard and start putting it into their new rigs, AOR will be out in the cold and the people who have already bought their equipment will have to be satisfied with talking to others who also bought their equipment.

73 - Jim

P.S. I can see it now, someone will read this post and Kennwood will get a call asking about their new digital voice mode in their new TS-5000 and Icom will get similar calls about their new IC-9500 :-)
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K5UJ on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
No one has mentioned how cumbersome the current system is. you have to start txing ur digital stream and the rx station has to synchronize. This eliminates the kind of fast give and take you have in ssb roundtables and results in voice communication going back to the days of the geezer AM keydown for 10 minutes transmissions. On top of that, if the rx station fails to sync, he has to sit there and listen to digital tones until the tx stations finally comes up for air. Oh yeah, the audio quality is okay, better than the subway PA system quality of most ssb, but it ain't FM broadcast either, i.e. nothing to write home about. One word sums this situation up: Fugettaboudit.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N3OX on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think that performance is a big deal. I've not tried the AOR system, but if it really needs 14dB SNR to work then we're just not there. A few early adopters will start working it, the protocols and signal processing will be improved, and eventually maybe it will get to the point where you can work signals that are so far into the noise that the ear can't hear them, like you sometimes can with PSK31. That would be a shot in the arm for HF digital voice.

The cost is an issue too. If someone came out with a free, soundcard version of something like AOR's modem, we'd be in business :-)

Dan
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA4GCH on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Are we uncomfortable to get involved in something new? Are we to proud to move into the higher frequencies and test our own mental abilities?

Let's bring back spark gaps they took up 200 khz too
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KI6LO on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Great! I just upgraded my 30 year old gear to 15 year old gear. Now I'll need to upgrade that. I think I'll wait 10 or so years and let everyone else work out the bugs and wrinkles then I can upgrade to their current gear when they jump to the latest fad then.

I, like most, find CW and SSB fulfills my operating needs just fine the way it is. It will be a long time before these modes go away so no one needs to get their feathers ruffled about digital anything.

Digital voice is just another of the latest fads in ham radio. For a clue, look at packet radio. It was the craze in the early 80's. Anybody who was anybody tried to build the biggest and best packet station and local network. Then along came the internet. When was the last time you received a packet radio delivered message. It has been a long while for me and I used to be big into it.

Gene KI6LO
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N4KC on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think I can see plenty of parallels between the new digital voice modes and other major innovations in ham radio communication--AM to SSB and AM to FM. There are key differences, though.

When SSB came along, practically every ham had a receiver with a BFO and could copy SSB transmissions. And with a stable VFO, we could zero-beat and communicate just fine. Still, there was great lamentations and gnashing of teeth!

There was little activity on VHF/UHF on AM until FM and repeaters came along. And since most ham manufacturers were already building cheap, efficient FM equipment for other services, there was an immediate supply of gear for sale when the demand appeared.

There are natural obstacles to the adoption of any mode as radically different as analog-to-digital voice--cost, lack of understanding, perception that it isn't worth the trouble, lack of a solid standard, and more. A change in perception and more understanding will come if the mode does have distinct advantages, if those advantages are made clearly known, and if everyone settles on a standard. Only then will the cost become affordable (actually justifiable...the cost can be much higher if we can justify paying it) for the vast majority of hams.

Meanwhile, one of our area's more popular 2-meter repeaters just went all-D-Star and you would think the FCC suddenly dropped a CB channel on 145 mHz. I've even fussed mildly because I have to go back and take that frequency pair off all my scans.

One thing is for certain, though. This is going to be fun to watch and will provide plenty of fodder for these forums!

Don N4KC
www.donkeith.com

 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA3KYY on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
K5UJ got it in a nutshell. Until digital voice on HF is as easy to use as SSB and can be used under all the same conditions as SSB can be used, it will be an experimenters mode used by few people. Other than the clear signal with no background noise, it has no advantages over SSB and many disadvantages. Solve those issues and it probably will become the dominant voice mode on HF much the way SSB replaced AM, because it offered clear advantages. With no clear advantage over SSB, why bother?

73,
Mike WA3KYY
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K3AN on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Going to digital voice will take the last bit of "magic" out of the hobby. It will be the end of weak-signal DXing and contesting. No more tuning around on a "dead" band, listening for the occasional whisper of a signal that means it's about to pop open. No more deciphering a fluttery over-the-pole south Asian station. No more continuing the QSO when your frequency temporarily becomes the "national tune-up frequency."

If you want to be able to talk over a clear, reliable connection, use the telephone.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
...so you are saying NOISE is romantic and FUN?

IMO, good riddance!
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Meanwhile, one of our area's more popular 2-meter repeaters just went all-D-Star and you would think the FCC suddenly dropped a CB channel on 145 mHz. I've even fussed mildly because I have to go back and take that frequency pair off all my scans"

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

Don, could I trouble you to elaborate? I know little about this particular method and want to understand why it degrades the experience compared to FM repeaters. Is it because it attracts a certain crowd?

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W9OY on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
PSK31 became popular because it could be generated in a computers sound card. Many software engineers wrote the code, some under an open format others under a closed format, some for free and some for fee. In the end you makes your choices and has your radio fun.

You can call CW a digital mode, but the real digital mode of yesteryear ham radio was RTTY. In the old days not too many got on RTTY because of the expense of the printer, demodulator and just the physical room you needed to get the friggin thing to work. It was complex sucked up paper and ribbons like crazy, and it was always breaking down. You needed big iron if you were going to run any power because of the continuous duty nature of RTTY, etc. Today it is easy to implement the software and get on PSK31 with 25 watts, your 'puter and a little old dipole flipped up in a bush outside the shack window.

There is no reason not to duplicate this experience with voice. It may not be the bees knees when it comes to weak signal work in its present iteration, but once it gets started it will only improve. If you use the sound card then the only thing you have to change is the software as improvements and new ideas come to pass. You bypass all the analogous experience of owning a model 15 RTTY printer. Part of the problem is the old analogue radio doesn't lend itself to digital technology. You need interfaces and hardware with the resultant complexity lack of plasticity and cost to implement the system. So maybe what you really need is a forward looking radio instead of a pro-10, mark-15 dinosaur.

As N9DG said, the SDR-1000 and VAC is perfect for implementing such a mode. It's software defined from the git-go. I think he has a point

73 W9OY
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Keep it up and ham radio will be only for the wealthy. "

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

Actually, for the most part that's what it was many years ago.

If I may pass along a rather sobering opinion, I bet you a cookie that the wealthy are underrepresented within our ranks today ,along with women and people of color. We are not exactly a representative sample of Americans, unfortunately.

I would also wager that the median income of the average American ham has declined in the last decade.

73,
Chip W1YW

 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K5UJ on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Another thing about digital voice is that it flies in the face of one long held aspect of ham culture: competitiveness. Let's be honest. If digital voice gets to the point where it levels the playing field, where anyone with a 100 w. rig and dipole can get through on phone just as well as the King of the Band, that will go over as well as a lightbulb antenna. Face it, there are lots of things about operating in the ham game that are competitive--dxing, contesting to name two. And there are lots of hams who have spent big money, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars to be the Big Kahuna, The Big Bad King Loudmouth of such and such meters, and if their 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 array on the 200 foot towers is suddenly no longer an advantage, you'll be looking at some p***ed off hammies. There's too much money out there spent or products selling for big $$$$ so some guy can be Major League L O U D for anyone to get interested in a little encode/decode equality box.

That doesn't mean it wont sell; it just means that lots of hams who get off on dominating a frequency or pileup will ignore it.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W2FS on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I had an HF digital voice QSO last weekend and the fidelity was quite good... at least as good as 2 meter FM. I used the free WinDRM software and a soundcard. Yes, I was using an SDR-1000, but the fellow on the other end was using a Kenwood TS-440. The software is free. Performance, from what I've heard, is not as quite as good as the AOR product, but did I mention it was free?

http://www.n1su.com/windrm/

John W2FS
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K0RGR on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I just acquired my first HDTV digital TV receiver. My cable connection is not set up for digital TV, so I bought a cheap pair of rabbit ears.

I discovered that I can copy about 20 over the air stations - mostly from neighboring Wisconsin. The digital signals are essentially perfect. The analog signals from the same stations are unusable. BIIIIIG difference! I'm seriously thinking about telling the cable company to take a flying leap!

I like the suggestion of using a software-defined radio (SDR) to do this. A friend of mine acquired some Amplitude-Compandored Sideband (ACSB) rigs for 220 Mhz. surplus, and is trying to use his SDR to work with them. Apparently, the code exists already for ACSB. However, ACSB lost out to digital voice in commercial applications, so I suspect that's the direction we should go.

I can see a number of advantages for digital voice. The digital signal can be replicated as many times as needed with no loss of quality. This makes remote controlled HF radios much more practical.

I think that if we go digital, we'll see an increase in the 'basic' HF station power level to around 400-600 watts. This will also help to overcome BPL, plasma TV's , and other curses. The constant-carrier 400 watt rig won't disturb neighboring electronics nearly as much as 100 watts of SSB.

As for the AOR units, if I had the money, I'd buy one. It reminds me of the outboard units we used for SSTV years ago. Now, the same thing is done with PC's for free if you have the PC for other purposes. I would like to see a manufacturer build this into a rig. Of course, ICOM and Alinco already have it for VHF.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N5EAT on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
On vhf/uhf - Icom's Dstar is really taking off here in Alabama and elsewhere. What are the advantages? On HF I have no idea. It may be something that is downgraded by signal fading and other problems some digital modes have on HF. On VHF, it's a neat technology which is conducive to TALKING and not just putting up a beacon which so many of the digital modes have encouraged. If you want to experiment with Digital, try Dstar.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

I don't see this digital voice technology working out for the average QRP operator using an FT 817ND with a Miracle Whip antenna.

I am not against the technology, I'm just trying to assess it from a practical usefulness point of view.

...Can you hear me now? ...No, nothing at all?


73
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Digital voice is just another of the latest fads in ham radio. For a clue, look at packet radio. It was the craze in the early 80's. Anybody who was anybody tried to build the biggest and best packet station and local network. Then along came the internet. When was the last time you received a packet radio delivered message. It has been a long while for me and I used to... "
----------------------------

So...you are saying that ham radio has been replaced by the internet?

If you include WiFi, I think there is some validity to that argument.

If we do not live up to our Part 97 mission, then there will be no NEED for ham radio. Digital HF fits within 'extending the radio art'.

Most welcome.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Digital voice is just another of the latest fads in ham radio. For a clue, look at packet radio. It was the craze in the early 80's. Anybody who was anybody tried to build the biggest and best packet station and local network. Then along came the internet. When was the last time you received a packet radio delivered message. It has been a long while for me and I used to... "
----------------------------

So...you are saying that ham radio has been replaced by the internet?

If you include WiFi, I think there is some validity to that argument.

If we do not live up to our Part 97 mission, then there will be no NEED for ham radio. Digital HF fits within 'extending the radio art'.

Most welcome.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1XZ on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
We can sit around on our fat butts coming up with reasons why it won't work, or we could actually try it. W2FS has some good information there. N1US' site is pretty informative and with a free download what have we got to lose? I would suspect that some of us might actually be able to build an interface and get on the mode for pennies. Here is a chance to get in on the edge of what is happening. If any of you have heard AM digital radio you know what that meduium has done for broadcast audio...it has made a HUGE improvement. Have you heard what the digital modes have done for very weak signal work on VHF/UHF and up? For moon bounce? Is digital the end all...Is it the only mode in our future? No, probably not, but it is headed at us like a run away train and we can embrace it or go hide with our HT's firmly in hand with our heads in the sand. (that was edited)
Chip is right. We need to stop being a group of grumpy old white men and open doors to new horizons.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"W2FS has some good information there. N1US' site is pretty informative and with a free download what have we got to lose?"

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

This is VERY cool!

I highly recommend, and will be trying it on the IC-7000 later in the month.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KI6LO on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
W1YW asks "So...you are saying that ham radio has been replaced by the internet?"

I think if you go back an re-read my post you'll see there is NO mention of anything replacing anything. I simply stated the obvious, that being packet radio messaging simply could not competitively compete with e-mail on the internet. Now in a situation where packet is used in a local environment without a installed infrastructure, such as would occur in an emergency, packet is the KING. We use packet setup for relaying messages in our local ARES/RACES group.

Ham radio (in the large sense) will never be able to be replaced by the internet simply due to the many facets that do not overlap. HOWEVER, having said that, look around and see the major influx the internet has provided in operating such as Echolink, APRS, WinLink, and other various linked systems that use the internet as a pipeline for transferring data and voice.

My main point I alluded to that you seem to have misunderstood is alot of hams do not have the hobby budget (yeah I work for a living too) to go out and spend a boatload of money whenever a new mode appears on the horizon. Given a few years and a level of maturity, I (along with others) might be inclined to spend some money on upgrades and new gear to use the new mode.

One of the other posts mentioned that "ham radio is the sport of the rich" (or something akin to that statement). Given $13000 transceivers and multi-thousand dollar antenna systems, one might start to actually think that. I get by with what I have and try to use it in the most efficeint manner possible.

Digital voice and other digital modes are most likely going to start being more and more common place since everything technical is getting more and more into totally digital. Why not ham radio too?

Gene KI6LO
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W6TH on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.

Digital Voice Communications Anyone?

..................By................

........Ralph Quallich KF4HR........

I wonder how much mazuma Ralph KF4HR is being paid for this advertisement of Digital Voice Communications?

eHAM deserves some commission out of this.

Ralph, have you ever listened to "Angel Music" with a 10 Khz spread?

.:
 
Digital Voice over HF needs to be open standard  
by KB1HTW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The problem with both D-STAR and AOR's APCO-25 implementations is that while both use standards, they both specify proprietary codecs. D-STAR specs the use of AMBE (Advanced Multi-Band Excitation) and APCO-25 specs the use of IMBE (Improved Multi-Band Excitation).

If you want to use either, you have to pay a license fee to Digital Voice Systems, Inc for the privilege - they own them both. That's why you won't see either used in any Open Source codec like Speex. Icom has to pay a license to DVS for every single D-STAR system they sell.

There's a good overview over at:
http://technocrat.net/d/2006/4/5/2084

There are no patents on SSB, PSK-31, AMTOR, etc. That's why they're widely available. If you have to pay a license fee, you basically bar the experimentation aspect of the amateur radio hobby. Any digital voice mode for HF needs to be an open, non-discriminatory standard unencumbered by patents.

Look at what the US Patent System did to the adoption of Edwin Armstrong's invention FM - RCA's lobbying prevented the acceptance of commercial FM broadcasting for almost 40 years...
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If that's the case (advancing ahead with the radio art paving the way with leading edge communication technology ) then we have a lot of work ahead of us to do besides the idea of opening the doors to digital voice communications.

Quite frankly, that technology is nothing new and has been around for many years now.

We are only getting started when exactly? Heck we are already 10 years behind the times...

I wouldn't exactly call digital voice technology "advancement" in my books.

A billion people already communicate using digital voice technology every single day. (except of course the majority of hams using HF )

So what's the next plateau after digital voice technology?

With all due respect, the starting point when considering the idea of advancing the art of radio communication with newer communication technology is not 10 year old digital voice communication technology.

73
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Any digital voice mode for HF needs to be an open, non-discriminatory standard unencumbered by patents. "


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

Your opinion here is presented as fact. But the fact is that many people will NOT experiment within the context of amateur radio if patents are not part of it.

In other words, there is NOTHING in the definition of amateur radio--and don't play games on this; I know it and understand it very well (especially the 'gains' part)--that precludes patented or patentable new technology.

Ownership of property is not the same as 'gains'. Anymore than if a section of an authorized copyright work transmitted on RTTY is not part of ham radio--because someone owns it.

Go play communard in some open source sanction. I can tell you right now, knowing many, many hams who are inventors, that your definition neither 'fits all' nor is demonstrable as the majority view.




 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
BTW,

If N1US or someone else goes after patents, my comment is, in parlance understandable in Marblehead,:'wicked pissa!'.

Also, some of you should be WELL aware that SSB most certainly has patents--many many. As does FM. They have expired.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KF4HR on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting how a few people are getting upset over this thread. CW has been around some 100 or more years, right? And rightfully so! What's wrong with a future generation radio having a mode switch labeled: CW, USB, LSB, RTTY/Packet, & DV?!

Sure Digital Voice has worse s/n figures than SSB (well... based on our current technology anyway), but when conditions are good, why not have the ability to step up to a digital voice quality qso?

Personally, if ICOM comes out with the IC-756Pro4 with Digital Voice, I'd be first line to buy one!

And comparing DV to; Internet taking over Packet Radio?
You've got to be kidding, right? Please! QLF As always, good solid technological improvements will catch on with the majority, and end up ruling the game.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way, digital voice is coming to our hobby.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"My main point I alluded to that you seem to have misunderstood is alot of hams do not have the hobby budget (yeah I work for a living too) to go out and spend a boatload of money whenever a new mode appears on the horizon. Given a few years and a level of maturity, I (along with others) might be inclined to spend some money on upgrades and new gear to use the new mode. "

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

I've thought a lot about this and I honestly feel that if you can't afford it you shouldn't do it.

Ham radio is hardly expensive in a relative way, and club stations abound.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KE4ZHN on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I see nothing at all wrong with digital voice. In fact I think its very cool to have FM quality audio on ssb without being a bandwidth hog. To me, this is the direction the audio guys should be going for their audio experiments because they can enjoy all the quality they want without splattering and being overly wide and disturbing others on the band running ridiculous bandwidths on ssb. When this becomes more popular and the price comes down Im willing to give this mode a try. However I feel that the AOR digital modem is a bit pricey just for a toy you wont be using all the time. Theres simply not enough users of these to warrant spending over $500 for it to sit and collect dust. I dont believe this will replace ssb for some time because of the efficiency issues using digital on a noisy band, but someday Im sure the technology will be available to fix this problem. Im all for tradition on amateur radio, but we must also move forward and embrace modern technology or our hobby will die off like the dinosaurs some wish to remain. Whats wrong with keeping some of the time honored traditions and still enjoying modern digital modes too?
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W6TH on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.
I myself and am sure a large amount of hams really have no further use for this digital stuff. After all, I have been using cw for over 68 years and am very satisfied with my type of communications.

This post and topic is really not for every ham radio operator, stop being so pushy and remember, Democracy is not for everybody.

Democracy:

Democracy is where 51 percent get what they want and the 49 go without. The 49 can do without and not needed.
.:
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N4KC on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Don, could I trouble you to elaborate? I know little about this particular method and want to understand why it degrades the experience compared to FM repeaters. Is it because it attracts a certain crowd?

73,
Chip W1YW"

Chip, what I was alluding to was that a big repeater with great coverage is now D-Star-only. I'm not saying it's a bad or a good thing but some lament the loss of the repeater to 99% of its users.

I suppose you could say it attracts "a certain crowd." Market researchers know them well: "early adopters." If there are enough of them, and their word-of-mouth endorsement is strong enough, they can influence the rest of us to try something new. But if they dislike the experience or declare it not ready for primetime, they can kill a product dead as 15 meters at 2400Z.

For me, I simply have to un-program that machine from four different radio scan setups because they stop on all that "static."

But I'll make one prediction: the presence of this repeater will sell more Icoms than a fire sale at HRO!

Don N4KC
www.donkeith.com


 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
After all, I have been using cw for over 68 years and am very satisfied with my type of communications.

----------

Apparently, I have a need to catch up with that technology first before considering the idea of using digital voice technology on HF.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"But I'll make one prediction: the presence of this repeater will sell more Icoms than a fire sale at HRO! "

Don N4KC
-----------------------------

TU OM!
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KG4RUL on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
<<< We can sit around on our fat butts coming up with reasons why it won't work, or we could actually try it. W2FS has some good information there. N1US' site is pretty informative and with a free download what have we got to lose? >>>

Could you please show me where the W2FS site is regarding "digital audio"?? Also the same for N1US??

As far as sitting around on our "fat butts", please direct us to any affordable hardware/software that we can use to experiment with digital audio??

Dennis KG4RUl
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K9VQ on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Cw is digital. CQ = 1010 1101
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
101 11110 0001 1101 100 0 101 1010 11100 0001 011 11


 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W6TH on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.
KC8VWM
After all, I have been using cw for over 68 years and am very satisfied with my type of communications.

----------

Apparently, I have a need to catch up with that technology first before considering the idea of using digital voice technology on HF.
-----------------------------------------------------
A word to the wise is sufficient. Good thinking old man.
.:
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K5UJ on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
<<<If any of you have heard AM digital radio you know what that meduium has done for broadcast audio...it has made a HUGE improvement.>>>

I almost laughed when I read this. IBOC is widely derided among broadcast engineers, at least the AM version is. It generates digital sidebands out about 10 khz on each side of the analog sidebands creating at least a 30 khz wide broadcast signal on a channel that's supposed to be only 20 khz wide, and can only be run in the daytime because the night skywave qrm problem has not been dealt with yet. If hams want to tx digital voice data at a bandwidth that's similar to IBOC they'll run afoul of just about every HF user since they'll be about 10 to 15 khz wide. Now those wide ssb guys are starting to look pretty good aren't they?

The idea that ham vhf fm audio is some sort of standard to compare hf digital voice to is funny too, since ham vhf fm communications has audio quality on a par with the telephone. The telephone in the U.S. is not an audio standard I'd like to emulate.

I do not have a problem with digitized communications per se, but for hf, the data rate is going to have to increase to make it workable. Some sort of transmission scheme is going to have to be employed other than the narrow restricted data rate to be had with data run through a ham ssb rig.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WB2WIK on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I tested the AOR stuff. It works.

Drawbacks include that you can't just tune around to find another digital voice signal. You meet using analog SSB and then switch over.

I asked, "Well, if I made the initial contact using analog SSB, why would I bother switching over? Obviously, we could already hear each other to begin with."

Couldn't find a reasonable answer to that.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W8ZNX on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N4KC states

there was little activity on VHF/UHF
on AM untill FM and repeaters came along

bunk

there was tons of activity on 2 meters am
and lots of action on 6 am

who the blank, do you think
were buyin all those Gonset, Clegg, Polycom,
Heathkit ect 6 and 2 meter am xceivers
and all those Ameco 6 n 2 transmitters
and converters

here in Detroit when fm machines
came along it killed off the local
160 am, 6 am, and 2 meters am, action

in 1966 there was loads of
am ops here in Detroit on 6 and 2 am

some ops were just starting
to get into 6 and 2 ssb
but fm set back 6 and 2 ssb
by 30 years

in the end fm was about the worst
thing to happen to ham radio

Mac



 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WB4JB on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hmmm, HDTV is not selling. I beg to differ with you. HDTVs are running out the stores. I have had mine for over a year now and there is no way i would ever go back. It is as wide as the difference between black and white vs color.

If a really good digital ham radio came on the market at a reasonable price, I would buy it. But I would not get rid of my current set-up. I really would like to see how it works on weak but readable sigs. If it is close to UHF police I would dump it. You lose those weak ones.

WB4JB
Joe
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K3UD on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The debate is interesting. It seems like the only reason why somce are singing the praises of digital voice communications on HF is beacuse it is something new. Is it really better than SSB? Is it even better than AM? There seems to be quite a bit of kludgyness associated with it.

Some here are old enough to remember when narrowband FM on HF was "the new thing". There were adapters manufactured for the receivers of the period and for a time NBFM was built into many receivers. What ever happened to it?

Why do we think that analog is inferior to digital voice? I remember when I got my first cell phone. It was analog and found that I could be on the outer fringes of the closest cell and even though it was sometimes rough copy, I usually could complete the call. Now we have more cells than ever and it seems like more drop outs as digital voice is either there or it is not, anlike analog where contact could usually be
held.

As far as digital TV is concerned, I agree that the images are usually tremendous. Last Christmas I was goinf to purchase one of the 42-52 inch plasma TVs with the digital tuner. I was in Clarksville Tennessee at a Best Buy store which is about 50 miles from Nashville.

I live about 25 miles further away from Nashville. I aske the sales person if he could demonstrate the TV I was looking at as to how well it picked up the digital transmissions from Nashville.

I think he was stunned by the question and told me that no one had ever asked him that question before. He then told me that Best Buy had erected various antennas on the roof of the store to do on the air demonstrations, but they could not pick up any signals from Nashville. I was told that there needed to be some kind of repeater/translater located around the Clarksville area in order to receive the signals from Nashville.

In any event he said that about of his customers had cable and probably watched DVDs and it did not matter if they could not get over the air signals. In Hopkinsville KY I can get a great a analog picture with a typical TV log antenna aimed at Nashville, (which we use when the cable goes down) but have zero chance of getting hi def digital from Nashville.

It seems to me that the AOR digital voice adapter is an updated version of the old narrow band FM adapters of the 50s. At this point it is probably more of a toy for those who can afford it than anything else and introduces more compatibility on the phone bands.

73
George
K3UD
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1XZ on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
http://www.n1su.com/windrm/

Visit the WinDRM How-To page to learn how to use, configure and optimize your WinDRM usage - New! Updated 1-Dec-05


 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC7QDO on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
From what I hear digital works well.

But the only reason I am not setting up a digital repeater I am waiting to see where the ham rado trend is going to go.

With the narrow band fm gear becoming readily avaible it is hard to tell which way it will go.

With allot of the folks that I have talked to there is some interest but when and if it comes to linking between D star and the P 25 digital mode; I am affraid like packet systems will not communicate cause of the my version is the right one and we refuse to work with your version. Hmm sounds the potential of packet all over again if you ask me.

Packet is the same protocol betwen the systems but the cause of the differencing of opinions of back boning the 2 meter side. That has cause people not to get along and made the once mighty packet radio network world wide almost useless.

I truly hope this is not the case but I have started seeing it already between the p-25 verse the D-star.

Long live SSB
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N6AJR on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
hmmm seems to me packet is also qualified as a digital mode,

perhaps you should qualify that as mdigital voice..

as a aside, I love to listen to thessb "wifi" hams with their "broadcast quality" on the orion. most rigs are pushed to transmit 3 kc width of signal, and the orion can listen up to 6 kc's in BW. so you hear the wanabe big voice and open the bandwidth up and it dies at 3 k. the orion can tx up to 4 kc BW but I never do, who else out there can copy it easily.

so digital is going to make it easier to do what????

I think the $ for digital would be better spent on antenna improvements...
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think the $ for digital would be better spent on antenna improvements...

-------

500 bux would make a lot of fan dipoles!
 
Amateur radio is a tool.  
by AI2IA on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Amateur radio is a tool, an efficient tool. Attempts to make it into something else don't even succeed into making it half something else. If digital voice can be made both cheap and electronicaly efficient, then more real hams will look into it. At the moment everything about it is premature and marketing ploys. Part of the attraction of ham radio is its "down to business" equipment construction, whether commercial product or home built. What attracts in ham radio is just the opposite of what they pitch in new car commercials - sleek appearance, fashion design, everything but the mechanical guts. They have got to go farther down the road with digital voice, then with money in hand, we will take a harder look at it.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W4CNG on October 3, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, and it works. The Children here again, W6TH, W1YW, W1XZ need to sit down there, take a Chill Pill you wanna be Old Guys, and let me tell you how it's done from an old Song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by Charlie Daniels. We are all tired of you just running off at the mouth about anything new in technology and Postulating all over the place here on Eham. Your comments are really stupid and mostly dumb because you do not know the basic subject from the screen in front of you. So take a rest and leave the rest of this post alone. Got a problem, Direct it to me! Cause none of you basically knows your head from your posterior. I have already forgotten more than you collectively still know.

Steve W4CNG
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA4GCH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N5GLR on October 3, 2006

My issue with digital voice on HF , and a few other "new" digital modes, is bandwidth. If it can be done in the width of a current SSB signal (or less), I have no objection. However, I've seen nothing to convince me that it can, and I remain opposed until it is a proven fact by disinterested parties

BINGO!

So they want 200 khz wide digital on 6 and 2 meters ALL of 6 and 2 meters including the repeater bands!

O but they will allow 300 khz on each band for thoes
OLD modes .......

I say since the ARRL wants this allow 200 khz wide digital to 80 40 and 20 meters ONLY and see how fast people wake up! NO DIGITAL BELOW 420 MHZ that is over 3 khz wide!

Bruce SMIRK# 70
on 6 since 66
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
. We are all tired of you just running off at the mouth about anything new in technology and Postulating all over the place here on Eham. Your comments are really stupid and mostly dumb because you do not know the basic subject from the screen in front of you. So take a rest and leave the rest of this post alone. Got a problem, Direct it to me! Cause none of you basically knows your head from your posterior. I have already forgotten more than you collectively still know.

Steve W4CNG

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

The last time I checked, I taught a course, several times, one among many, on digital modes et al. at Boston University. The last time I checked, I had 9 customers in the queue specifically worried about antenna specs that relate to their digital modes (go figure that one out...) The last time I checked, I had a few dozen e-mails through feedback from my comments here.

So, as much as you are entitled to your tight little circumscribed opinion, it does little to represent the amateur radio service other than, IMO, to embarrass it, with respect to this matter.

The ARS is in deep trouble, in the next twenty years, over its own survival. Your comments only help others EAGER TO SEE SPECTRUM TAKEN AWAY justify a plan to do that, IMO.

Cherish and appreciate those who make a difference, because they are trying to help make a difference THROUGH you.

There ya go--a nugget of wisdom...open source even!

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W6TH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.
W4CNG says,
Yes, and it works. The Children here again, W6TH, W1YW, W1XZ need to sit down there, take a Chill Pill you wanna be Old Guys, and let me tell you how it's done from an old Song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by Charlie Daniels. We are all tired of you just running off at the mouth about anything new in technology and Postulating all over the place here on Eham. Your comments are really stupid and mostly dumb because you do not know the basic subject from the screen in front of you. So take a rest and leave the rest of this post alone. Got a problem, Direct it to me! Cause none of you basically knows your head from your posterior. I have already forgotten more than you collectively still know.

Steve W4CNG
.....................................................
Steve, this has been talked about and considered back 35 years ago, not on the Amateur bands, but on the Citizens Band (CB). This is all about CB and those microphone alterations and modifications.

You were a CBer, were you not?
.:
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA4GCH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I am NOT anti digital im against allowing one mode to run all others off the bands.

No one can tell all of us that digital 200 khz wide signals on 146.52 or 52.525 is not going to close down all other modes.

Now if digital wants some space fine however if it is done at the expence of the other users HAM radio will not have to wate 20 years to die .......
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W6TH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.
Just think about it, the past and now the future.

The past was to use speech clipping, voice limiting of 300 to 2500 cycles and volume compression. The speech was to cut through the qrm and above the stronger signals..Single Sideband Carrier Suppression has changed and you can hear the new hifi as it is called on SSB of today and the carrier is now inserted, brought back to be heard. So now the talk is to rid of the communications voice and go for high fidelity and believe it or not, on the Amateur bands.

I don't believe the DXer's will go for this on the phone bands as the DXer's are communicators and not glorified CBer's.
.:
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"I don't believe the DXer's will go for this on the phone bands as the DXer's are communicators and not glorified CBer's. "

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

No, DX'ers are not communicators--the information content of their contacts communicates as close to nothing as possible.

DX'ers are hunters! Huzzah!

73,
Chip W1YW
DXCC #1 Honor Roll; 8BDXCC; and so on
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1XZ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Vito, Chip, and I should start an emcomm club and wear digital vests.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KE3HO on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WA4GCH - no less than 5 times now you have talked about "200 kHz bandwidth". The digital voice mode being discussed fits in the standard 2.4kHz SSB bandwidth. Nobody here is promoting any wide bandwidth digital mode.

73 - Jim
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA4GCH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!


N5GLR on October 3, 2006

My issue with digital voice on HF , and a few other "new" digital modes, is bandwidth. If it can be done in the width of a current SSB signal (or less), I have no objection. However, I've seen nothing to convince me that it can, and I remain opposed until it is a proven fact by disinterested parties


He is right .......

the arrl is not talking 2.5 khz they want 200 khz ....

I say lets put it on 20 meters if your digital is so good ....


 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N9DG on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Most only think of digital modes in terms of utilitarian communications. Other than rag chewing and 'public service' work a large part of ham radio is playing on the edges of what our equipment and systems are capable of. Improve our stations capability in one form or another and we will once again be playing at its capability limits. As such none of the existing digital voice modes will replace good old SSB or CW for DX'ing or contesting, no surprise there.

So we collectively need to think in terms of developing new digital modes that perform well at very low S/N ratios. Any such mode must also be able to accommodate fast paced Q's when conditions are good (i.e. high S/N) and also still be effective when condition are very poor with lots of QRN and QRM. None of the digital voice modes developed in commercial 2 way coms industry fit that description. Such a new DX/Contest digital mode will not likely be voice based but instead data. Although there would be no reason to not extend its capability to include voice if the path is solid enough.

At a very high conceptual level I would envision such a mode combining the traits of JT65 and FSK441 into a single mode. That way operators will not need to know ahead of time if the station they are working is going to be loud or weak. The modes protocol will be highly adaptive and simply adjust as needed depending on the QSO in progress.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by NI0C on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
One of our local DX club members gave a presentation on digital voice at a recent club meeting. We listened to some pretty impressive recordings; however it seemed more of a novelty than anything-- especially for HF communications. As I recall the scheme used 36 closely spaced tones that fit within the standard SSB bandwidth. I won't be rushing to implement it in my station.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W6TH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.
W1YW,
No, DX'ers are not communicators--the information content of their contacts communicates as close to nothing as possible.

DX'ers are hunters! Huzzah!
.....................................................
Of course you are kidding. Right Chip?
Communicators:

To convey knowledge or information and/or to transmit information, so that it is satisfactorily received and/or understood such as 59, 59 Mass.

.:
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by NL7W on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
G2RZP's comments are right on-target. For the government crowd, analog is perceived as bad, while all digital comms seems to be the only way to the future, despite a myiad of new techical and organizational issues rearing their ugly heads. These thoughts filter down to the average ham and citizen, too.

73.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KB1HTW on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Chip Cohen said:

"Your opinion here is presented as fact. But the fact is that many people will NOT experiment within the context of amateur radio if patents are not part of it.

In other words, there is NOTHING in the definition of amateur radio--and don't play games on this; I know it and understand it very well (especially the 'gains' part)--that precludes patented or patentable new technology.

Ownership of property is not the same as 'gains'. Anymore than if a section of an authorized copyright work transmitted on RTTY is not part of ham radio--because someone owns it.

Go play communard in some open source sanction. I can tell you right now, knowing many, many hams who are inventors, that your definition neither 'fits all' nor is demonstrable as the majority view. "

Jeez, Chip - a little testy, huh? Just because I like the idea of open, non-patent encumbered standards and you happen to specialize in patenting fractal antennas doesn't mean you have to label me a Communist. You seem to be confusing Open Standards with Free/Open Source Software, and further believe the FUD about open source is viral and causes you to lose your copyrights and patents if you incorporate GPL code into your software projects.

Keep mis-characterizing me and I'll start falsely accusing you of getting submarine patents incorporated into a new IEEE or ISO radio standard... Tit for tat, dude. You want to have an intelligent discussion about submarine patents, and I'll talk. Otherwise, I don't want to see you foaming at the mouth like you used to over in alt.rec.radio
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KB1HTW on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Likewise, Chip, if you want to get educated one what Open Source Software, is all about, let me know. From the tone of your post it sounds as it you're very mis-informed and believe much of the FUD.

I'm not sure what you mean by "many people will NOT experiment within the context of amateur radio if patents are not part of it". That may be true of commercial vendors of ham radio who have a patent arsenal themselves. But the true amateur "tinkerer" needs to be careful when creating something using a patented technology without a license to the patent. Unlike copyright law where only the distributer of copyrighted material is liable, even innocent users of patented tech can be held liable under US Patent Law. You of all people here should know that one.

If I'm a struggling inventor who wants to create some new amateur radio technology, I don't want to have to license someone's patent if I can do it another way. Of course, as a patent holder, you may me to license your patent so you can make some money. If I can work my way around your patent, why pay you? In a roundabout way, your patent is "encouraging the development of the arts and sciences" as envisioned by our founding fathers because it gave me the incentive to come up with a new technology to get around your patent. Funny how things work, don't they?
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"But the true amateur "tinkerer" needs to be careful when creating something using a patented technology without a license to the patent"

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

Thanks for the misguided lecture. Do yourself a favor and don't discuss patent law with me; it will fall on deaf ears. I used to listen years ago to hams (on patents) and found it without merit. I have seen nothing that changes my mind since.

The fallacy here is the very word you yourself use: "created".

If it is a true creation then it is hardly a patent issue.

I have zero sympathy for open-source 'justifications' for getting rid of patents.

If you don't like patents well, then, go live in a country without a patent system.

We have a patent system in the US; hams often can ask for and acquire patent license use for one-off experimentation; I will continue to use Part 97 to 'enhance the radio art', and protect new invention s with the property of patents.

73,
Chip W1YW

 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Did you know...

- It costs approx. $10,000 to register for a patent and anyone claiming you can do it for any less is stealing your idea and ripping you off somehow.

- Patents requires about 18-22 months from the initial filing date before one is issued.

- Patents are protected by law however anyone can take anything you have created which is protected by a patent, reengineer it by making minor modifications making it into a better mousetrap and it's not a patent violation?

- There are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant.

- Patents expire after 20 years if they are classified as utility or plant and 14 years if they are considered as a design patent.

- US Patents offers the owner no protection outside the US... Yes really. A Person in China can manufacture or reproduce what I have invented with no legal recourse whatsoever.

- In order to keep the patent in force for the full 17-year term it also is necessary to pay progressively higher maintenance fees at 3-1/2, 7-1/2 and 11-1/2 year levels.

Just thought you would like to know.

73 Charles - KC8VWM
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There are many actual errors in the above...and that's why I don't discuss patent law with hams.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WB2WIK on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
>Digital Voice Communications Anyone? Reply
by W1YW on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There are many actual errors in the above...and that's why I don't discuss patent law with hams.
73,
Chip W1YW<

::Good thinking.

But will you discuss telescopes? :)

My favorite three local ones:

http://www.mtwilson.edu/
http://www.griffithobs.org/
http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/

Griffith Park Observatory is re-opening right now. Still free admission for all, but no parking at the site yet; shuttle bus from down below in Griffith Park runs day and night. I'm happy it's only a 20 minute drive to the site, and can't wait to get back in there after their $90M+ renovations just completed.

But the serious stuff is at Palomar. That's 90 mins away, but worth the drive.

WB2WIK/6
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Certainly. But lots of folks on here are likely to join in and should.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KI6LO on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
W1YW states "I've thought a lot about this and I honestly feel that if you can't afford it you shouldn't do it.

Ham radio is hardly expensive in a relative way, and club stations abound."

Sorry but not at my club. Closest club station to my QTH is well over 100 miles away.

It was never said ham radio was unaffordable. Personally, I implied that I didn't want to (and wasn't going to) spend vast quantities of money to keep up with someone else's station. I do rather well with my modest station and have lots of fun operating and building. And No, I don't compete in contests which are a whole other waste of time and money IMHO!

Spend all you want...It's your money.

 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by AE6RO on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Nobody needs a 200 KHz signal on HF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In what universe is this progress? Why not allow wideband FM? It's narrower.
Put it on UHF where it won't bother anyone.
CW signal: 500 Hz
SSB: 3 KHz
AM: 6 KHz

Oh, I get it. A joke, yes? Good one! 73, AE6RO
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by AE6RO on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hey, Chip, spot on about the median income declining.
How about wealthy women and people of color? Now there's a rare find.

As a musician, do you dig the warm sound of


TUBES?!

If it wasn't for musicians who like the tube sound, we tube afficionados would have to dig the landfills for our iron! 73, AE6RO

Tubes are EMP proof too. One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There are many actual errors in the above...and that's why I don't discuss patent law with hams.

73,
Chip W1YW


------

Please inform these people and the U.S. Patent Office of their discrepancies immediately.

http://www.patent-it.com/patfacts.html

I work with patents, copyrights and other matters of business law as part of my everyday job. In fact, I recently licensed technology when we opened a new location in China.

Got to meet with high ranking Chinese government officials during the boring gala affair. Never got any t-shirt from them though. Can't stand the tea they drink, but hey.. they did seem very nice even though I couldn't understand half of what they were saying. They did smile a lot for some apparent reason. Hopefully, someone didn't paste a sign on my back on anything.

Have fun.

73
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by VE1BLL on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
With respect to Digital Voice on HF:

Following the link, WinDRM looks amazing. It has all the latest and greatest stuff (COFDM, QAM, RS FEC & ARQ, MELP). I'm very impressed.

But, let's be honest too. It requires a fair amount of CPU power (very common with advanced 'waveforms'). It requires a higher minimum SNR. It has a brazillion modes and options to choose from (as opposed to choosing LSB or USB). I assume that there is some latancy (~1 second ?) with every exchange. It is sensitive to clipping with its 7dB peak/avg ratio so you have to cut back on power. It is sensitive to all the usual HF issues: QRM/QRN/QSB. Etc.

It is certainly an interesting thing to play with, but it seems obvious that SSB will be around on HF for many, many, many years to come. Not because people are luddites, but because Digital Voice on HF fails to provide an attractive ratio of compelling advantages to disadvantages.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone? Reply
by KC8VWM on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There are many actual errors in the above...and that's why I don't discuss patent law with hams.

73,
Chip W1YW


------

Please inform these people and the U.S. Patent Office of their discrepancies immediately.

http://www.patent-it.com/patfacts.html

I work with patents, copyrights and other matters of business law as part of my everyday job. In fact, I recently licensed technology when we opened a new location in China.

Got to meet with high ranking Chinese government officials during the boring gala affair. Never got any t-shirt from them though. Can't stand the tea they drink, but hey.. they did seem very nice even though I couldn't understand half of what they were saying. They did smile a lot for some apparent reason. Hopefully, someone didn't paste a sign on my back on anything.

Have fun.

73
--------------------------------------------

Your lack of precision in the language so worded led to factual inaccuracies. I'll give you one example: patents don't have 17 year terms, and haven't for years. If issued they expire twenty years from the filing date.

And there is no meaning to an 18-22 month period so discussed.

Also, your cost is a poor guideline.

Finally, 'minor improvements' does not a trump card make. If the earlier patent's claims are identifiable then it is incumbent to license the earlier patent, if so available. If not, then the later patent holder is essentially screwed and has a very narrow set of claims, that cannot be used without also infringing on claims of an earlier patent. Failure to distinctly identify produces ambiguity that will not be advantageous to the later patent holder.

Argue these points if you wish: I don't care. I have to spend my patent time getting a press release thru legal at the moment.

Again, my assessment is that hams who do not hold multiple patents and work closely with patent attorneys, have a poor understanding of patent law.

I can give you an example of a ham who HAS a very good understanding of patents: W1XYZ, who checks in here on occassion. I know many others as well, and have learned much from them---as fellow inventors. Not as hams chattering about patents.

73,
Chip W1YW



 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W6TH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.
Analog versus digital.

I prefer my wrist watch with the hour hand and the minute hand and the second hand over the other kind.

I don't appreciate patents and copywrites as I believe all inventions, ideas, etc., should be free for all to use. That goes with electronics, medication and whatnot.

Companies have offered me a few patent rights in my name, but being not a believer of such, I have declined to have any submitted in my name.

In my line of work, I have had the rights to use any and all patent rights and have done so, with no in law suits.
.:
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I can give you an example of a ham who HAS a very good understanding of patents: W1XYZ, who checks in here on occasion. I know many others as well, and have learned much from them---as fellow inventors. Not as hams chattering about patents.

73,
Chip W1YW

----------

Of course this is assuming that I would need W1XYZ's advice but thanks for the tip anyways.

I have invented some products and equipment for my industry. Nothing to prove here. I have the services of patent attorneys at my disposal that take care of these details.

Too busy to care about the intricate details of Patent laws, that's why they are there.

Perhaps your right, my information isn't helpful to anyone. These are after all as you say, just hams and not inventors.

73
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by AI4NS on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I am not retired, have lots of money, or live in the 30's. I wasn't born then. I just happen to think that CW and RTTY are digital modes of communication, and that works for me. Until the technology improves, I don't need another mode to say "Can you hear me now?" Cell phones and FM are enough.

Mike
AI4NS
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC2WI on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I would do digital voice if it were not a $500+ box. Why do you think people prefer FM to AM? I'm not thrilled to be listening to all the QRM/QRN and would be happy to get rid of it if a digital mode would work at reasonable S/N ratios.

Heck, I wouldn't even mind near-real-time digital, where there was a slight delay while the receiver error-corrected and assembled packets.

I'm not saying I'd give up SSB, but digital would be interesting.

Saying CW is digital is a little bit of a stretch. I guess you could consider it asynchronous serial digital data transmission using simple amplitude modulation though.

Bandwidth: If you can listen to reasonable-fidelity music over a dial-up Internet connectin on a channel originally designed for 300 Hz to 3 KHz voice, then it seems that it should be possible to transmit communications-quallity speech over roughly the same bandwidth. Granted the phone line S/N is much better than a lot of HF signals.

We need a "Linus Torvalds" of ham radio to develop a working open-source algorithm.

Cost: With the IF-level DSP and SDR radios it should be possible to build it in to the radio without outregeous cost. The advantage over the AOR box is that you don't have and restrictions of audio processing.

 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC7QDO on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
First off ham radio is a hobby and not everyone is going to like or support a new digital mode that is for sure.

It would be nice to have a digital repeater setup on 2 meters so one would not have to deal with the fade in and outs along with the picket fencing.

As far as playing with the different modes it is all a matter of what it is that you all want to do since that is what has made ham radio fun cause there is just about a freq range to do what you want with in reason.

Now the next problem is the cost factor and allot of hams don't have the resources to do the more exotic modes like digital voice. So in that case the old analog modes are here to stay and psk 31 is fun and it gives hearing impaired hams a means of talking to people and this I know because I have chatted with several on psk 31 from time to time.

I am just happy that we are not stuck with one type of mode and that there is still plenty of band width for digital either for Uhf down to HF.

Have fun you all.......
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by W1YW on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hmmm...

Anyone suing their in-laws:-)?
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC2NOD on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
No, but I'm gonna go catch a smoke..gave myself a headache reading this. Digital? I just bought a $850 radio (FT-897) that took me 3 years to save for.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K6TLA on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I saw a demo of the AOR box recently and have some observations. First with the minute bandwidth of a typical SSB passband available the audio quality is nothing to write home about. Think in terms of your average cellphone. Delay is also an issue as it usually is with digital audio and video. Rapid fire contest operation would probably not be super great with the inherent delay present. Digital audio and video are great where sufficient bandwidth is available to do it properly. For what it is, the price of the AOR box was a concern as well. I can see doing this with a soundcard and some shareware but not an expensive box that does so little. The technology as presently implemented for HF radio isn't really worth the trouble or expense, yet.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KX8N on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Hmmm...

Anyone suing their in-laws:-)?"

I HAVE the suit of in-laws, as copywritten in the advent of disaster, or as I see it, a NEW propagation of the helix loop. Henceforth, father time himself in spite of mother nature, did give me the time, as of GMT.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by AA8X on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Listening to cell phones conversations using digital technology rewards you with the sound of pure garbage. Maybe in a few years digital voice may be acceptable but for now itís analog that works and the voice is understandable.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
AA8X said,

Li ning to c l pho s con rsa ons us g gital te h ogy re a ds you with the so nd of pu e garb e. Maybe in a ew ears dig al vo e may be acc pta le bu for n w itís a al g th t wo s and the vo ce is un rstan ble.

---------

I'm sorry, I didn't understand your digitally sent message.

73
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KX8N on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Listening to cell phones conversations using digital technology rewards you with the sound of pure garbage. Maybe in a few years digital voice may be acceptable but for now itís analog that works and the voice is understandable. "

I don't entirely agree. I bought a phone about 2 years ago that was digital, and it sounded the way you describe. However, I bought a Sprint phone about 9 or 10 months ago, and it's just fine. The conversation is very clear on both ends. Maybe they're getting the hang of it now.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by G3RZP on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There's a basic problem on number of bits, bandwidth and SNR. Once you restrict bandwidth and need a certain number of bits, that defines the SNR (strictly Eb/No) that's needed for any digital modulation mode. Somebody said that digital will need to be higher power but will cause less RFI problems, because of the constant carrier nature of it. Unfortunately, constant envelope modulation schemes don't give you enough freedom in terms of SNR. COFDM and the like are definitely not constant envelope, although with suitable coding, you can reduce the theoretical peak to average power effectively - some get down to about 8dB, and there maybe others that can get lower. So if you need more power, the RFI problem is likely to be worse.....Plus, it's not very 'green', is it? And with the cost of electricity these days, QRO gets less attractive.

So it's fine to talk about being dinosaurs and out of date. But that's just avoiding the basic issue that narrow band digital voice in a 2.5kHz or so bandwidth can't get down to the same SNR as analogue, because of physics. In a 25kHz channel, it's another matter, while GSM cell phones use a time multiplexed 200kHz wide channel to support 8 channels, and they can get down to SNRs of under 6dB (and cochannel under 9dB) before falling over.

But where your normal SNR is better than 15 or 20dB, AND you have the bandwidth, you can get an advantage from a digital modulation scheme

Yes, it's digital world for lot of things. For a living, I do (amongst other things, such as international standards and regulatory meetings)top level system design of radios - these days, for ones to put radio communication in pacemakers and the like - and I haven't professionally worked on an analogue radio system since 1988.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KG4RUL on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Recheck:

Over thirty years ago, I was a contractor to the Navy. One of our group's projects was creating digitized speech that could utilize a 300 Baud channel.

We succeeded in creating a device that produced "recognizable" speech at this data rate but, was far from high fidelity.

Accomplishing this required nine microprocessors working as a parallel processor and some extremely clever software.

=========

Bandwidth des not necessarily have to be the governing factor in digital speech. The desire for "high fidelity", as evidenced by the use of equalizers and studio mikes on HF SSB, seems to be the goal. Achieving this is what drives the hunger for bandwidth.

Dennis KG4RUL
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by G3RZP on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
But once you get below a certain speech quality, the intelligibility drops off. Even more so in conditions of high ambient noise. So 300 baud speech quality isn't always going to be particularly helpful. This is especially so for people with a degree of hearing impairment.

BTW, what SNR did it need, and how did it behave when you had a heterodyne type interference - or even several of them??
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by VE1BLL on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
In principle, there's no limit to the level of abstraction that could be applied to speech compression.

For example, exchange a few bytes during the handshaking to establish the operators' voice characteristics, then switch to ASCII (voice recognition autogenerated) for the voice synthesizers at the other end to speak. Probably could be made to work as good (I mean, as bad...) as LPC-10 or MELP.

Might as well keep the voice characteristics for every station on file (storage is cheap) to reduce handshaking for later contacts with the same station.

Next you could prepare one of those tables where the most common information requires the fewest bits:
1 = 'You're 5 and 9'
01 = 'Q S L via the buro 100 percent'
10 = 'C Q 20 C Q 20 C Q 20'
11 = 'Q S B say again Q S B say again'
...
1111 = 'Weather here is fine'
...

Eventually, the complete typical voice contact on 20m might require only a couple dozen bits to be exchanged in each direction.

;-)
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC8VWM on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
000111000

???
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by AA4PB on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The advantage I see with HF digital voice is that the quality is excellent WHEN IT WORKS. The problem is that if you don't receive the starting sync signal then you get "garbage" for the entire transmission. This means that either you use a channelized system or establish net frequencies or you have to establish contact on analog first.

HF Digital voice also doesn't take QSB very well. A quick, momentary drop in signal strength can cause you to loose sync and miss the remainder of the transmission.

While it's fun to experiment with, in its present technical state, HF digital voice doesn't apprear to be very practical for the way we presently operate on the HF bands.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by G3RZP on October 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
At the end of the day, the HF channel isn't a nice AWGN channel with Rician fading. Especially with multipath, it gets pretty horrible once you want to pass much data relatively quickly. Vocoding is one way out of it, but the voice quality won't be terribly good in terms of semi-accurate reproduction - everyone can sound the same if you really chop it down to minimum number of bits/sec.

Amateru radio is somewhat different in that we look to passing pretty short messages when DXing or contesting while operating under interference and/or low SNR conditions that just wouldn't be considered for other services. That puts constraints on the radio system that don't appear elsewhere. Same way as the standard phonetics are fine for good SNR for very strongly accented speech by someone speaking a foreign language, but don't have the syllabic redundancy to necessarily be ideal under high QRM low SNR conditions.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K5HSV on October 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Considering how the FCC is allowing BPL to run "rough shod" over the bands in some areas of the country, digital can be a nice thing to have. I'm all for amateur radio stepping up technology to advance the interest and connectivity of the hobby. I remember hearing rumbles from hams that stated the internet was a bad thing for amateur radio. I use it with HRD to control my rig, rotor and look for DX Clusters. Not to mention, I use Yahoo's IM to let others know in my ham group that I'm available for a QSO and what band I'm on.

I've listened to the demo at AOR and love what I hear. I just think the price is too rich for me at this point. We all have out favorite mode...

My Two Cents / 73s
Paul - K5HSV
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by G3RZP on October 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think K5HSV is missing the point here. If digital at HF doesn't work as well as current analogue under poor SNR, the increased noise level from BPL will really upset it.

It boils down to the fact the existing digital voice schemes don't work well under the very limited bandwidth, low SNR, high interference scenarios common in the amateur service on the HF bands, and unless something radically new in terms of vocoders comes along, the physics say that it won't. New vocoders that 'learn' for example, over several QSO's, the characteristics of K5HSV's voice could conceivably end up needing few enough bits that heavy FEC and a low data rate could give competition to straight SSB. But then the speech quality on someone else's voice would be dreadful until the vocoder 'learnt' the voice characteristics. The interference problem is still there, though...we all know that DX stations running a pile up listen at the same time as they transmit. They must do, because otherwise, why do so many people consistently call them while they're transmitting?
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by NJ6F on October 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Just wait for an AOR type free software version and it will take off. This hardware thing ....having to have another box is for the birds. I am waiting for the weather in Europe to get bad, so as to keep some software programmer in his room long enough to squeak out a free software version.
Google - Chromasound for a nice ham DSP on the computer or MixW all mode free software.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by VE1BLL on October 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The vocoder is one thing, and the bit transport is another. You can draw a boundary between the two (although there might be future progress in smudging that boundary a bit).

Looking at the minimum bit rate for current state-of-the-art vocoders, and looking at the reliable bit rates that can be achieved through HF channels under various conditions, the minimal overlap strongly suggests that digital voice on HF is presently a 'Sunny Day Mode'.

Considering that some of the latest modulation schemes are already getting within a couple of dB of Shannon's Limit, it seems that most of the required progress will have to arrive on the vocoder side of things (reduced bit rate).

The other thing that might happen is that you'll see some hams starting to pork-out and use the full 6kHz bandwidth (that they might be legally entitled to use) to achieve more practical digital voice of HF. In other words, wider signals to pass more bits. Progress eh?

I wonder how far in the distant future that some ham seriously says, "I can hardly hear you on USB. Switch to Digital Voice, switch to Delta Victor." I'd guess 10 years minimum.
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA4DOU on October 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
" Ralph, perhaps you could help us out by telling us what you perceive as clear advantages of digital voice communications over analog, that dictate that we should change over. "

Ralph, we're all still waiting.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N2LRB on October 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If it isn't broke don't "fix" it. And while we are at it, can we PLEASE also get rid of Echo Link. It is not Radio!!! How don't see how others don't see this. It is IMing. If you do not need a radio to use it, then it is NOT RADIO!!!!!!!
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by G3RZP on October 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
VE1BLL said:
>Considering that some of the latest modulation schemes are already getting within a couple of dB of Shannon's Limit, it seems that most of the required progress will have to arrive on the vocoder side of things (reduced bit rate).<

Very true, although the necessary SNR to do this is another matter. Incidentally, I've even seen claims for modulation schemes that say they beat Shannon........

Additionally, at HF, there's not only SNR but also the interference to consider, so VE1BLL's comment that it's 'a sunny day' mode maybe should be a 'very sunny day mode'. But on the basics of his comments, I'm not arguing.
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by N6AOT on October 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
It appears the existing AOR codec box uses someone else's vocoder, an AMBE codec on a TI DSP chip (IIRC).

AMBE is a proprietary but standardized codec that may have some patent claims behind it. It's had some kind of digital->multitone backend added to it. How good this interface is, who knows...

However, there's no reason hams can't build devices that use other speech coders - variations on the open-source SPEEX code, for example, or just using vector-coded LPC with LSP parameters and a few extra 'hints' for the residual.

While the back-end symbol system (trellis coding etc) may be very good, if the codec is using all the availble bit rate, it won't be a great solution.

Fundamentally, a good vocoder is a trade-off between bitrate, frame size, voice quality and MIPS/complexity required. In a perfect world, the best vocoder system would be a speech reader->text->speech synthesizer but you lose prosodic features (intonation, etc.)

The actual effective information rate of speech is only 60- 100bps if parameters were perfectly decorrelatable/ extractable - add a 100bps, say, for inflective content. If we can get a vocoder at 500-700bps (readily possible, though not great) we can get some coding gain due to redundancies.

This is kinda like a PSK31. PSK31 signals are regularly extracted from within/below the noise floor, where they're otherwise undetectable by ear. Its back-end coding and signal structure is good (spread over time and frequency domains) for the bit rate desired.

Using a 750bps speech coder, say, instead of a 2400bps speech coder will help due to redundancy. The voice quality may not be nearly as good, but you'll have a recognizable signal that can be pulled in in even the weakest of conditions. It may sound squawky but it'll get the job done where a regular SSB signal will be unrecognizable.

There is much, much more room for exploitation of vocoder to on-air-interface and symbol management. Both sides need to be optimized and not just glued together.

One interesting experiment would be to use output of a 700bps vocoder onto 22 syntheiszed PSK31-like channels (with appropriate spacing and re-done trellises). Maybe another 1 or 2 channels could carry some ECC info on the most important bits in a speech frame. A 700bps vocoder would likely use vector quantization of LSP (line spectral pair) parameters and there may be some reduncance over time for a given speaker, which can be exploited in the trellis back end...



73 DE BILL N6AOT
SAN JOSE CA USA
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KF4HR on October 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WA4DOU - Since you posted the same question again, I can only assume you did not take my advice and do your homework (read). But since you are still "waiting", wait no further my friend. Here's a few advantages:

1. Increased voice clarity on HF.
2. Reduction of bandwidth.
3. No need to give your callsign (digitally embedded).
4. Linking of cross band repeaters, or other inband repeaters.
5. Easier interfacing to the internet/world.
6. Talk and send digital data, at the same time,(picture, file, wx, qsl data, etc).

But perhaps the best reason for going digital, is it helps moves amateur technology forward - and who knows what DV could lead to?

Is DV the FINAL ANSWER? No, but it may move us in that direction.
Is DV perfect? No.
Is DV for everyone? No, but neither is CW, AM, FM, SSB, RTTY, PSK31, EME, etc.
Are there flaws in DV? Yep! (But technology tends to make things better over time.)

But the BIG QUESTION... Is it for YOU? Probably not, because it seems you spend your time re-asking questions rather than reading and using your imagination. If it's not for you, hey don't sweat it. Now you can stop waiting!
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA0LYK on October 10, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There are a lot of advantages to DV on HF, but I haven't really seen anyone discuss them in terms of concrete data like spectrum, technical, and economic efficiencies.

Just a couple of thoughts. How does DV, in its current implementations help the economic efficiency of ham communications? The AOR box certainly doesn't, WinDRM, since it is free, may. However, you have to have sufficient computing power to use it, so there may be an additional cost.

Right now, as it effects my pocketbook, DV on HF just doesn't cut it. As it progresses, it may very well may. However, it really irks me to see the posts about hams being luddites if they don't immediately embrace newer digital modes and throw out the old. As a post earlier said, if I have to switch to plain old SSB to complete a QSO, then what does DV buy me? Where is the economic and technical efficiency?

By the way, a previous post said an advantage was the sending of DV AND data AT THE SAME TIME. Maybe I haven't kept up but I'm not aware of an implemention on HF that allows simulaneous voice and data in the same bit stream. Not sure the data rate is available for this.

Lastly, be careful of what you wish for. A rig with a DV position on the mode switch may have to be expanded to DV-Icom, DV-Yasaeu, DV-Kenwood, DV-other1, DV-other2, and DV-other(n). Hopefully, the rigs could be updated via software to newer versions, but maybe not!

In other words, standards become extremely important in the digital world. Plain old SSB is an accepted standard that works well. Just look at the types of digital text standards in the ham world. PSK-31 is the only one that has become somewhat of a standard. Whose going to pick the standard for HF DV and how long will it be used before the next standard is implemented? What will the costs be to upgrade to the new standard, say in 12 months? This all effects the economic efficiency of DV and helps determine how many hams will rush to buy it.

I look back at the telephone network where the same old basic T-carrier standards are still being used after some 30+ years. With the amount of bandwidth being buried everyday you would think, something newer would be used. Yet the costs to change would be tremendous. APCO-25 may very well suffer the same fate. We may still be using this same basic standard 30 years from now since changing it may be cost prohibitive.

Sorry about the rambling, but I am in rush.

Jim
WA0LYK
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WT0P on October 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If you did just a little research and I mean just a little you wouldn't be wasting other peoples time discussing and wishing for something that already exists
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KT1B on October 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
SSB was a great improvement over AM, half the bandwidth, no carrier, (alright, supresed carrier) and all of your power going into the remaining sideband.

PSK-31 is popular because it is so narrow and cuts thru the qrm and qrn. It's a real improvement over baudot.

With digital voice what improvements do we get?

Better audio quality? Probably.

Reduced bandwidth ? Not yet.

Better performance in tough conditions? No, reports indicate it's a lot worse.

Can be operated legally in the digital portions of the bands? Yes, as far as I know.

Some privacy due to the fact that not many people are setup to receive the digital audio? Yes.
--
Digital voice may be the way to go if it can provide an improvement in s/n over ssb, in other words, if it can prove itself as being better at getting thru the noise than ssb is.

Digital voice will be the way to go if it can cut the necessary bandwidth for voice communications in half.

Until there is a real benefit and compelling reason to switch from ssb, digital voice will catch on with experimenters who want to work with something new. The vast majority of those operating phone on HF will continue to operate using ssb.

There were a few people in this forum who asked for a compelling reason to switch to digital, I don't see where they got one.

Those who do experiment with digital voice should be encouraged. I believe that there will be a time when digital voice can at least meet the goal of cutting the bandwidth for voice communications in half while maintaining at least ssb quality voice.

So, if you're interested in digital voice, go for it and have a good time. Those who are not interested in DV needn't worry, unless digital voice offers some very compelling reasons for people to switch it will be used only by a small number of people.

If it does offer some compelling reasons to switch from ssb, such as only requiring half the bandwidth of ssb then it will be worth switching over to.

 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WA6BFH on October 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

Yea, is it too late to preserve the Novice sub-bands for such digital modes?

You know, lets capture the magic and interests of all those youngsters out there that are computer geeks and nerds! Shoot, these folks could still even operate straight iCW if they wanted to. Afterall, it is a digital mode!

That is of course if the ARRL does not have a better plan for encouraging and supporting Ham radio!
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by NI0C on October 13, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
KT1B:
Yours was a most thoughtful and reasonable posting!
73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by G8KHS on October 14, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I'm really not concerned about the better quality of digital audio, but if it rejects qrm, reduces bandwidth and can be built into qrp equipment without reducing the battery consumption it should have a use.

My first point of concern is the high level of peak power needed by this mode and the stress it will put on amplifier stages. Qrp stations would have to reduce output by at least 50% to be sure of not damaging the final amp imo. Battery consumption would rise heavily.

The other point is about the arrogant digital LID (DLID) operators that abuse others and behave in a manner unbefitting to amateur radio. See the site of G7LLR for more info on this or tune to 14.240MHz on drm. The offending stations should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

Amateur radio is an inclusive interest, and others should be encouraged and not abused. This nasty spiteful attitude has put me off big-time on buying any digital hardware like the AOR9800, I'll stick to the free software.

Looking at how the uk repeater usage has plummeted since ctcss was introduced; D-star would reduce it still further.

Digital still has a long way to go, but should not be discounted, as the benefits could be quite an advantage to operating if the obsession with so called 'FM' quality is discounted.

73 to all,

John G8KHS
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by KC7QDO on October 15, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
After reading this post then doing the research it was Jarl in Japan that worked with Icom to come up with this D star system.

It does appear to be a neat setup with cost for a repeater system a average person can save up the money and get on to setup.

The new D start system one can have packet, APRS, Digital voice and high or slow speed interent depending on what band you go with.

I am not knocking the P 25 stuff but the average ham or club may not be able to afford the commercial gear to make it together.

With D star on can just using the ethernet connection on their radio to interface with the puter using standard protocols. And for the ones worried about band width on 2 and 440 it is 6 Kc wide and uses less bandwidth than a standard analog repeater system.

And if you have a high speed connection you can set it up to work with other repeaters on the D start network which is useful in emergency communacations.

Like for instance Katrina if there was some D star 10 to 20 miles out that had intenet hook up or the 10 gig hook up to another system that has high speed internet could in theory work direct with voice or packet. Back to the command center and anywhere in the US. That or with 10 gig link setup the back up repeater for local ops hmm and have the ability for the non aries hams to communcate out via packet and interent hmmm and hams are still spreading digitl does not work.

For the folks that say it does not work do the research it was not that digital did not work in 911 or Katrina it was the fact the systems were not capadible with FEMA and inter deparment either. They were using different systems with different protocols. Fema uses P 25.

Sounds like the next generation of radio to me with more possibilities and allot of fun for the younger hams. I know in about a year or or two I am going for it.

Bruce
 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by K5YF on October 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Search for WinDRM with your favorite engine.... interesting stuff on a few of the links I followed.

If its fun, and it isn't at the expense of someone else, do it again.

73's to the group
N5JYK
 
Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WB4ALM on October 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
What is the holdup for acceptance of Digital voice?

For me? Cost. Period.

For Others? I would guess that many people have a question of "Why?" and "What makes it better?"

It always boils down to "Is it worth the cost to me?"

...and since it is very dificult to buy parts anymore, it becomes harder to "roll your own..."

But the concept of software defined radios might actually allow us to get back into the business of "rolling our own" once more.

/s/ Bill Turner, wb4alm

 
RE: Digital Voice Communications Anyone?  
by WB4ALM on October 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Get rid of EchoLink?

You will NOT get a vote from me for that...

In my area, most of the Emergency Nets are Tone Encoded. My Trusty and reliable 2-meter rig is a Kenwood TR7400A - which does NOT have tone encoding capability.

The local repeater system, however, does have an EchoLink interface --- so I participate (transmitting)in the nets via Echolink, and generally receive via my Kenwood.

Echolink allows me to participate and without it participation would be impossible.

/s/ Bill Turner, wb4alm
 
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