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Author Topic: Zello? Yes, free version of Zello, for Emergency Service use.  (Read 13770 times)
VK5CQ
Member

Posts: 115




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« on: March 08, 2014, 03:22:30 PM »

I don't know where it comes from, but - judging from what I've seen, so far, in Zello - it should be very handy for ES use, at leasr, in those possibly rare situations, in which most comms stations & operation centers have internet connected computers.

While point to point comma is possible, Zello seems at last as useful connecting users via "channels" which can support ~ 100 concurrent users (more, if an agency wants to use the non-free version of Zello.

(Here, however, I will focus entirely on the features & possible uses of the cost-free version of Zello.)

Any user can create any number of Channels, & each can be given a name, in very reader-friendly ways, eg:  Foreground WEST; Strike Team 7; Murgas ARC; Debate Energy from Thorium (LFTRs); etc.

Each Channel has a Profile page, with fields for a good size image (eg, fire truck; club logo; Thorium's symbol & atomic number (from the Periodic Table of the a elements; etc., a web address, & a lot of easy-to-change info, as well as owner's name & eMail-address, if memory serve.

Each user has a similar Profile. Users can define several users names, under an account name. To use one or more Channels, one connects to each one, in turn, as you might do in EchoLink. However, one is NOT creating pipes between multiple Channels when connecting to more than one Channel, in Zello.

While connected to a Channel, along with other Zello users, one has a received Volume Control for EACH other user, ie, to to compensate for varying voice levels. (D-STAR gear could do this, eg, by dynamically assigning a user-settable volume level with each call sign heard over a period... Are you listening, ICOM? ;-)

Each Channel you create can let Anyone speak, No one (except owner & Moderators, eg, who can use thie Channel for 1-way Broadcasts), or Trusted users (A user wanting to be Trusted not to run amock on the  Channel can only be heard by Moderators; when a Moderator identifies a user, s/he can Trust the see, thus, letting that user's late transmissions be heard by all Channel users).

Moderators can interrupt overly long-winded speakers, & if necessary Untrust some users, at any time.

Moderators know which user is transmitting, by the display of their user name and - if s/he is connected to multiple Channels, the Channel name also appears.

Lots of other useful feature make Zello (free edition) a cost-free, tool to enhance comms between responders, bases & other services.

During a directed net, net controls need to be given Moderator status, which allows them to Block interfering Channel members.

Among the Trending Channels, created by others, are several Channel names that suggest Amateur Radio connections to, eg, storm watchers / chasers, EchoLink, simulations (presumably for training purposes).

Channels may be closed to others (& optionally protected by password).

For the paid edition, familiar radio interconnects (eg, USB interfaces) are listed, suggesting that one or more Hams were involved in Zello's development. :-)

PS We tried to list Zello among eHam's other Ham Software reviews, but either its generic nature or my Aussie callsign seems to have lead to it being quashed/never published...

Oh, a user can monitor traffic arriving over several Channels (if s/he's connected to each one), or - with Solo mode selected - only 1 Channel will be heard, ie, the one you've most recently selected, from those connected to.
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ONAIR
Member

Posts: 1744




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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 02:25:17 AM »

I don't know where it comes from, but - judging from what I've seen, so far, in Zello - it should be very handy for ES use, at leasr, in those possibly rare situations, in which most comms stations & operation centers have internet connected computers.

While point to point comma is possible, Zello seems at last as useful connecting users via "channels" which can support ~ 100 concurrent users (more, if an agency wants to use the non-free version of Zello.

(Here, however, I will focus entirely on the features & possible uses of the cost-free version of Zello.)

Any user can create any number of Channels, & each can be given a name, in very reader-friendly ways, eg:  Foreground WEST; Strike Team 7; Murgas ARC; Debate Energy from Thorium (LFTRs); etc.

Each Channel has a Profile page, with fields for a good size image (eg, fire truck; club logo; Thorium's symbol & atomic number (from the Periodic Table of the a elements; etc., a web address, & a lot of easy-to-change info, as well as owner's name & eMail-address, if memory serve.

Each user has a similar Profile. Users can define several users names, under an account name. To use one or more Channels, one connects to each one, in turn, as you might do in EchoLink. However, one is NOT creating pipes between multiple Channels when connecting to more than one Channel, in Zello.

While connected to a Channel, along with other Zello users, one has a received Volume Control for EACH other user, ie, to to compensate for varying voice levels. (D-STAR gear could do this, eg, by dynamically assigning a user-settable volume level with each call sign heard over a period... Are you listening, ICOM? ;-)

Each Channel you create can let Anyone speak, No one (except owner & Moderators, eg, who can use thie Channel for 1-way Broadcasts), or Trusted users (A user wanting to be Trusted not to run amock on the  Channel can only be heard by Moderators; when a Moderator identifies a user, s/he can Trust the see, thus, letting that user's late transmissions be heard by all Channel users).

Moderators can interrupt overly long-winded speakers, & if necessary Untrust some users, at any time.

Moderators know which user is transmitting, by the display of their user name and - if s/he is connected to multiple Channels, the Channel name also appears.

Lots of other useful feature make Zello (free edition) a cost-free, tool to enhance comms between responders, bases & other services.

During a directed net, net controls need to be given Moderator status, which allows them to Block interfering Channel members.

Among the Trending Channels, created by others, are several Channel names that suggest Amateur Radio connections to, eg, storm watchers / chasers, EchoLink, simulations (presumably for training purposes).

Channels may be closed to others (& optionally protected by password).

For the paid edition, familiar radio interconnects (eg, USB interfaces) are listed, suggesting that one or more Hams were involved in Zello's development. :-)

PS We tried to list Zello among eHam's other Ham Software reviews, but either its generic nature or my Aussie callsign seems to have lead to it being quashed/never published...

Oh, a user can monitor traffic arriving over several Channels (if s/he's connected to each one), or - with Solo mode selected - only 1 Channel will be heard, ie, the one you've most recently selected, from those connected to.
   Interesting!  There is another free online application that could also be used in emergencies if necessary.  Although there are some "clowns" using it, there are also some Hams who use it to set up contacts with their friends.  The URL is: http://www.cbradiochat.net  and it could be used directly via a smartphone or tablet.
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K6CPO
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 10:14:06 AM »

All well and good, but it overlooks one major fact:  That in the event of a major disaster, such as a hurricane or earthquake the infrastructure that supports the internet and cell phones is going to go down.  Even a widespread power outage, such as we had in San Diego County in 2011, will disable that infrastructure.  When we lost power, I lost internet service because my modem and router require electricity to operate.  The cell phone network remained up for the most part but was soon overwhelmed by high demand and it was impossible to make a call or send a text.  The only reliable communications I had were my radios.   A number of the local repeaters died because of the duration of the outage which prompted my club to convert our repeater to 100% solar power, the first in the county.
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ONAIR
Member

Posts: 1744




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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 09:47:23 PM »

All well and good, but it overlooks one major fact:  That in the event of a major disaster, such as a hurricane or earthquake the infrastructure that supports the internet and cell phones is going to go down.  Even a widespread power outage, such as we had in San Diego County in 2011, will disable that infrastructure.  When we lost power, I lost internet service because my modem and router require electricity to operate.  The cell phone network remained up for the most part but was soon overwhelmed by high demand and it was impossible to make a call or send a text.  The only reliable communications I had were my radios.   A number of the local repeaters died because of the duration of the outage which prompted my club to convert our repeater to 100% solar power, the first in the county.
   Good point!   Funny thing is that when hurricane Sandy came in and took out our power, landlines, cable, internet, and cell phone towers, radio was the only game in town!  What's even funnier is that the CB operators and truckers were the only non hams who could communicate. 
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AF5DN
Member

Posts: 24




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2014, 12:11:08 PM »

You should really consider Broadband Hamnet.
www.broadband-hamnet.org
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KE7TMA
Member

Posts: 471




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2014, 07:06:33 PM »

Zello still relies on all the infrastructure that is probably going to be knocked out if EMCOMM is really needed anyway.

I don't see the point.
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NX5MK
Member

Posts: 65




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 09:21:39 PM »

...
I don't see the point.

The point may be that it might be of use for the ICS Command Center to communicate with other resources, both situated outside the affected zone.

73
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