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Author Topic: SGARN  (Read 31814 times)
N5PVL
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« on: July 06, 2013, 08:20:53 PM »

SGARN – Second GenerationAmateur Radio Network

07/06/13

   The first significant amateur radio digital network, the packet radio network, rose to some prominence in the late 1980's, and then declined throughout the 1990's. Far before the turning of the century, it was effectively in hospice care at best.

   Presently, very little of the original packet radio network remains, and what does remain is fragmented, adulterated and with no particular sense of purpose and direction.

   Some of what remains is nostalgic, the enfeebled efforts of rapidly-aging die-hards, while other surviving parts of the network are zombie-like, still moving data but very seldom via amateur radio, instead being parasitic afflictions upon the internet.
   As amateur radio network, this internet-driven activity is the shuffling stumble of the living dead. - A hideous, pathetic simulacrum of what once lived and thrived. - But amateur radio it most definitely is not.

   Many of the old packet networks' functions have been superseded by the internet, and so one has to wonder exactly what kind or type of data a modern amateur radio network could or should transport, that the internet cannot do a better job with. This is perhaps the most difficult and yet the most vital question that we must answer with second-generation amateur radio networking.

   We must ask ourselves what an amateur radio network can do, in the long run, that the internet cannot.

   I have put some thought into this, and have a few ideas about that – but I would like to hear some other ideas on this subject from my fellow amateurs.

(1)    What kind or type of data can a second generation amateur radio network  transport, and under what circumstances, that the internet cannot do a better job with – and why.

(2)    What a second generation amateur radio network may be capable of, in the long run, that the internet cannot do.

   I know that there will be a lot of sarcastic and witlessly witty answers, and answers that originate from minds that cannot shift gears and think afresh – but optimist that I am, I hope to hear from some serious thinkers as well, from amateurs who are ready, willing and able to look ahead and see a way to innovate, and not merely emulate.

73 DE Charles, N5PVL
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K0JEG
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2013, 09:47:30 PM »

I always thought it would be interesting to have a chunk of RF spectrum digitized in one area and retransmitted in another. For example, instead of the input to a repeater connected to an FM receiver, just sample the bandwidth. That way one could send several SSB, CW or other modes though a linked system, with the added benefit that the output would be a digital copy of the original signal.

Downside is that long haul links are expensive and difficult, which is why we don't have them.

On another note, I'm looking at picking up a few of these and doing some experimentation:
https://www.xagyl.com/store_us/product.php?productid=31&cat=0&page=&featured=Y
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AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2013, 12:13:55 PM »

I don't think that there is any type of data that amateur radio can transport that can't be done faster and more reliable by the Internet - when the Internet is working. The one thing that amateur radio can do is transport data without dependence on wire-line or fiber-optic infrastructure. Although there are many who oppose any interconnection between the two, there are times when this makes the most sense to me - especially for temporary emergencies or mobile/portable connections. I don't think that Amateur Radio will ever provide any type of reliable, stand-alone replacement or substitute for the Internet.

My experience with the packet radio network, even during its heyday, was that while it worked reasonably well on the East and West coasts it never provided a very dependable service to the middle of the U.S.
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N5PVL
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 04:51:04 PM »

The SGARN will not be doing any point-to-point transmissions on HF. - It will all be multicast.

An entirely new system, with new capabilities.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SGARN/

You can find out something about HF multicast at:

http://uspacket.org/network/index.php?board=5.0

73 DE Charles, N5PVL
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KC2UGV
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2013, 10:42:18 AM »

I'm not sure how multicasted signals don't violate Part 97's requirement of point-to-point communications (Shy of a CQ)?
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N5PVL
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2013, 11:15:44 AM »

I'm not sure how multicasted signals don't violate Part 97's requirement of point-to-point communications (Shy of a CQ)?

You are not sure - but the FCC is.

I contacted the FCC about a STA for HF multicast operation, and was told that a STA was not necessary, as multicast transmissions are already legal under PART97.

I should not have been surprised, as AMSAT has been utilizing multicast protocol for many years, and the ARRL has been making one-way transmissions of material "of interest to amateurs" for much longer than AMSAT has.

Don't feel bad though - I had my doubts for a while too, before I contacted the FCC office and took a good look at PART97.

Sections of PART97 Relevant to Multicast Protocol Operation



73 DE Charles, N5PVL
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 12:06:36 PM by N5PVL » Logged
KC2UGV
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2013, 02:09:11 PM »

So SGARN is just PSK bulletins?  Not seeing anything really novel here.
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N5PVL
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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 08:31:37 PM »

So SGARN is just PSK bulletins?  Not seeing anything really novel here.

If SGARN was just PSK bulletins, that would not be very new or novel. - The ARRL already does that.

73 DE Charles, N5PVL




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KC2UGV
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2013, 03:12:23 PM »

So SGARN is just PSK bulletins?  Not seeing anything really novel here.

If SGARN was just PSK bulletins, that would not be very new or novel. - The ARRL already does that.

73 DE Charles, N5PVL






So, to take a quote from "Office Space":

So, what is it, exactly, you do here?

In other words:  How is continuously sending the same data, over and over, not a bulletin?
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N5PVL
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 10:15:20 AM »


[/quote]

So, to take a quote from "Office Space":

So, what is it, exactly, you do here?

In other words:  How is continuously sending the same data, over and over, not a bulletin?
[/quote]

For the PART97 impaired:

97.3 (26) Information bulletin. A message directed only to amateur operators consisting solely of subject matter of direct interest to the amateur service.


That's what a bulletin is. Note that how it is sent is not included in the definition.

Duh.

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KC2UGV
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2013, 08:18:23 AM »



So, to take a quote from "Office Space":

So, what is it, exactly, you do here?

In other words:  How is continuously sending the same data, over and over, not a bulletin?
[/quote]

For the PART97 impaired:

97.3 (26) Information bulletin. A message directed only to amateur operators consisting solely of subject matter of direct interest to the amateur service.


That's what a bulletin is. Note that how it is sent is not included in the definition.

Duh.


[/quote]

So, basically, it's a bulletin, sent over PSK, using multiple streams in the same channel?
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2013, 10:03:52 AM »

SGARN, like dSTAR, is a solution, desperately looking for a problem.
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KC2UGV
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2013, 10:27:02 AM »

SGARN, like dSTAR, is a solution, desperately looking for a problem.

I guess that's what I'm asking Charles to define:  What is the problem set, and how does this solution set fit the problem set?
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K0JEG
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2013, 11:09:20 AM »

SGARN, like dSTAR, is a solution, desperately looking for a problem.

Depends on how you look at things. The modern Internet was built on a "weak client" model. That is, client machines are underpowered, low memory, low storage device that can't store data. So the World Wide Web protocols were developed that sent formated text on demand. If you look at the top of this thread you'll see something like (Read 2542 times) next to the subject. That means the server sent this same text out 2542 times. To do that over a narrow radio channel would be impractical at best and destructive at worst.

Now look at the broadcast/multicast model: e-ham sends this message out once, and it's up to the recipient to store it locally until the reader feels like reading it. There's a fraction of the traffic over the channel, if anything just any edits or changes once the initial message goes out. The receiver constantly monitors the channel listening for changes and additions that can be added to this thread, and is powerful enough to store, sort and format data without needing to send requests to the server.

Now, how useful (and practical) would such a network be on HF? Depends on how much control you (the operator) are willing/able to give up. Right now modes like PSK31 and RTTY are so "real time" most software won't even let you type ahead and then transmit in a QSO, whatever you type goes out, warts (typos) and all. If you want to converse with someone, you both have to be on frequency at the same time. If you can't type, it's even slower. Of course, much of that has to do with the requirement of having a control operator present for the QSO and the "unicast" rules of HF. But if you had a receiver just listening to the channel all the time, looking for relevant messages and storing them, you could re-create most of eham.net's forum model over RF, stored on a local PC. It's not going to be some new transmission mode, but it could be a way to use existing emissions more efficiently (I don't know that PSK31 would be all that useful given the speed is geared to keyboard QSOs, maybe MFSK-16 or something with a higher bit/symbol rate).

It would be something fun to try, but I don't know that the HF bands are the proper place to do it, given the intermittent nature of the bands and the international rules covering the use of them. To me it would make much more sense to develop wireless networks on UHF and above for this sort of thing and work on improving the human interface on the keyboard to keyboard modes for HF.
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KC2UGV
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2013, 07:11:16 PM »

SGARN, like dSTAR, is a solution, desperately looking for a problem.

Depends on how you look at things. The modern Internet was built on a "weak client" model. That is, client machines are underpowered, low memory, low storage device that can't store data.

Wrong.

The internet was designed so that every node was a publisher node.  It was Peer-to-peer from the get go, with implicit trust of each node as the model arrangement.
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