Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: USB Headsets  (Read 2030 times)
W7STS
Member

Posts: 28


WWW

Ignore
« on: October 10, 2011, 03:05:21 PM »

It seems that the market for quality headsets in Amateur Radio is too small to draw meaningful competition.  There are the few including a big name, but not nearly enough to drive innovation in my humble opinion.

What I find interesting, is the shear number of headsets available for the computer industry.  Many of those are building in USB interfaces for easy connectivity.  They come in just about any price point, and on the ear, in the ear or over the ear, even wireless.

I'd sure like to see a radio manufacturer see the light of the power of the USB interface.  Most radios already have a processor, wouldn't it be nice if they would put a few USB spigots (and USB profiles) on their radios and jack for a PTT switch so we could tap into the gamers headset market.

Thoughts??
Logged
TANAKASAN
Member

Posts: 933




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2011, 03:17:48 AM »

I'd like to see manufacturers using the USB interface a lot more as well. It's 2011 and we STILL see manufacturers coming out with new rigs that use RS-232 as a signaling standard. OK, they sometimes hide it under different names such as CAT and CI-V but it's still RS-232 under the hood.

Tanakasan
Logged
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12985




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2011, 05:34:25 AM »

It's all serial data under the hood, but it's not all RS-232. RS-232 is a voltage level specification and CI-V, for example, doesn't meet the RS-232 specification. It's serial data at a TTL level.

USB is not without its issues. Most of the mfgs who presently offer a USB interface really place a serial to USB converter inside the radio. You still need a virtual com port driver to permit existing software to connect to it like it was a legacy RS-232 serial port. From personal experience, this can get pretty messy if you have a number of these devices connected to a computer. Each one will get assigned a different COM port number and you have to locate them all and determine what they are connected to. If you plug into a different USB port you will get assigned a different number. If you use a different operating system then you may need a new driver. RS-232 may be old technology, but it is simple and it is 99% standard between different manufacturers.

My point is that USB is not always as simple as it appears because we are used to plugging in devices that the operating system and software knows about and can identify. This requires coordination between hardware mfgs, software writters, and the operating system to make it really "plug and play".
Logged
W7STS
Member

Posts: 28


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2011, 05:11:41 PM »

It is messy, and to some level, that's my point.

I'd love to see the mfgrs lead us into this century!  It's not rocket science, it's just delivering a "product".

As much as folks hate the Apple computer, the limited flexibility to enhance usability.  Having worked in both environments, there is something to be said for integrating your products.  Iphones play nice with Ipads as an example. 

I'd sure like to see a clean sheet engineering approach than the patchwork quilt we've been dealt so far!!

Rick

It's all serial data under the hood, but it's not all RS-232. RS-232 is a voltage level specification and CI-V, for example, doesn't meet the RS-232 specification. It's serial data at a TTL level.

USB is not without its issues. Most of the mfgs who presently offer a USB interface really place a serial to USB converter inside the radio. You still need a virtual com port driver to permit existing software to connect to it like it was a legacy RS-232 serial port. From personal experience, this can get pretty messy if you have a number of these devices connected to a computer. Each one will get assigned a different COM port number and you have to locate them all and determine what they are connected to. If you plug into a different USB port you will get assigned a different number. If you use a different operating system then you may need a new driver. RS-232 may be old technology, but it is simple and it is 99% standard between different manufacturers.

My point is that USB is not always as simple as it appears because we are used to plugging in devices that the operating system and software knows about and can identify. This requires coordination between hardware mfgs, software writters, and the operating system to make it really "plug and play".

Logged
M0HCN
Member

Posts: 473




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2011, 07:37:33 PM »

Thing is, if I make my rig control look like a class compliant USB-serial device then I actually don't need a driver on most modern operating systems. Windows/Mac/Linux/BSD/ all know how to talk to a FT232 or similar and make it appear as a serial port. Nobody wants to get into writing USB drivers, never mind the USB descriptor block needed at the radio (Trust me, that structure is not even slightly sane).

Granted USBs epic fail in the globally unique identifier department is annoying, but from a rig manufacturers perspective I can simply keep shipping exactly the same control software (possibly with a minor UI tart up) that I have been for the last 10+ years.

If I actually wanted a clean sheet approach to rig control it would probably be ethernet via some suitably discoverable protocol (and maybe fall back on offering an embedded http server (not that big a deal)), USB would be a very poor second in my view.
 
Give each radio an IP address and just network the suckers, do it right and you could even remote that audio and key over ethernet so you could put the radios out by the bottom of the tower and just have a control console plugged into the switch next to a laptop for the logging and such. Less feedline losses, less fan noise in the shack and less gear at the operating position.
It also opens up some cool remote operation possibilities.
 
USB as a interface for headsets, keyboards, memory sticks and such might make sense if the rig was running enough internal computer (There are some async sample rate conversion issues with USB headsets in a radio that make it slightly non trivial).

Regards, Dan.
Logged
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2825




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2011, 11:53:04 AM »

USB Headphones are all well and good, but what if I want to operate on 40 or 75 meters?... Grin
Logged

73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
G3RZP
Member

Posts: 4844




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2011, 12:01:35 PM »

K7KBN,

the same thought struck me. You need LSB headsets for 160, 75 and 40....
Logged
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2825




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2011, 02:16:10 PM »

G3RZP -

That's what I was afraid of:  more expense.  D'eau!  (Pardon my French..)
Logged

73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
W7STS
Member

Posts: 28


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2011, 10:28:39 PM »

USB Headphones are all well and good, but what if I want to operate on 40 or 75 meters?... Grin


AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH Maties!

Sheeesh.....figures a swabbie would be the one to point that out......  Smiley

Rick
formerly STS1/SS
Logged
NJ2X
Member

Posts: 35


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2011, 07:23:39 AM »

Interesting idea.  Has anyone tried a little surgery on a USB headset to convert it for use with radio equipment - i.e. replacing the USB connector with standard plugs?

Michael
NJ2X

NJ2X.COM
Logged

73,

Michael
NJ2X
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12985




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2011, 08:02:53 AM »

"Having worked in both environments, there is something to be said for integrating your products."

Yup, all we have to do is get Microsoft to start making ham rigs and control software and they'll be "plug and play" with Windows.  Undecided

Tight integration will probably never fly in ham radio because hams like the wide variety of software that can do rig control. Getting cooperation between the various parties will be the issue.

I have a PK96 with USB. That was probably a mistake because they charge about $100 for the internal USB adapter whereas I can purchase a USB to RS232 adapter cable for about $15. In addition, if you have a PC tower you likely have an empty slot and you can get a card with two RS-232 ports for about $15.

Using Ethernet for rig control is probably the best long-term solution. You can even build a small server into the radio so that all you have to do is connect to it with your Web browser.

Logged
M0HCN
Member

Posts: 473




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2011, 08:39:33 AM »

My experience of Microsofts 'plug and play' implementations is that they usually about half work, specifically the 'plug' bit almost always works.....

Ethernet just has to be the one for doing remote control right, but putting some USB host ports on there would be good for keyboards, mice and memory sticks (And maybe headsets).

There are a few high end radios out there that look like they may be running mini ITX or similar internally (RFI nightmare!), and I suspect that that will slowly become more commonplace. 

Regards, Dan.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!