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: The future?  (Read 1365 times)
KB9TME
Member

Posts: 10




Ignore
« on: January 28, 2007, 10:33:46 PM »

I know this will probably stand some people's hairs on end but it's something I've been thinking about lately.  Amature radio use to be the high tech hobby and now while we have some high tech toys it isn't nearly as cutting edge as it use to be.  AMSAT and EME are both interesting but there is already commercial gear to do satellite work.  Echolink was a nice leap as well.  The biggest issue lately is the large amount of whining, yes whining, about the FCC doing away with CW requirements.  We can talk around the world now with VOIP and without the effort of getting certified.  I do enjoy ham radio and I've been playing quite a bit with AMSAT and high powered  WiFi.  I think an area of focus should be digital modes, getting above 9600 baud which was passed up in the commercial world long ago.  It would really be interesting to see some high data rate AMSAT with more advanced BBS systems than are currently in use.  I can buy computer systems the size of a stick of gum with 32MB of ram that I've seen serve up websites over wifi links.  We're falling behind the technology curve here.  Where are our spread spectrum capabilities?  CW was great in it's day but outside of hobbyists there's not much use when you can use microwave satellite links for real time video conferencing or TPC/IP.  I'd love to see more ham gear in the microwave range myself.  Thoughts? (and yes I expect some flames from people digging their heels in.)
Logged
N7USR
Member

Posts: 56




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2007, 09:42:11 AM »

I'm on the same wavelength my friend.

I bought my first TNC back in October. A 1200 baud Kantronics KPC3. Not even a plus version. I bought it because I am disabled and spend alot of time at home and thought it would be good therapy.

I then proceeded to begin getting familiar with all of the local frequencies, nodes and BBS's. What I found was surprising AND disappointing.

It seems everyone, ok - not everyone, but many hams have given up on packet. They have jumped on the APRS bandwagon. It seems interesting at first but what are we REALLY doing with it?

If we could rebuild our packet networks to move data at higher speeds WITHOUT resorting to the InterNet to relay data we'd have something to really be proud of. This is afterall Ham RADIO, not Ham InterNet.

I have sent many packet messages over the last two months to packet addresses that I have found on BBS's just to simply ask for a reply so I can know that my address is correct and I have not received ONE reply yet. That's pathetic. It is an ARES BBS so I am sure the sysop has it set up correctly but this experience has left me wanting.

I personally think that simple packet, even at 1200 baud, has a place in Ham Radio that should be kept working and expanding. IMHO everyone should have a simple TNC connected and working at their residence for times when they are not home. They are cheap enough. 9600 baud would be better and higher than that better still but we first need Hams to use it, then improve it.

I personally make several trips to the desert for campouts and having the ability to send a quick packet home to let everyone know that everything is ok (when nobody is home) is a great thing.

Perhaps we need a new Packet Association to take it on? There doesn't seem to be a Nationwide association that has a handle on it.

If anyone would like to send me a message, here is the address. Please feel free to send me something. I would LOVE to be able to send a reply.

N7USR @ wb6dgr.#sca.ca.usa.noam

Thanks for reading through this entire post. I know it is long winded.

73's

Greg

Logged
N5PVL
Member

Posts: 210




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2007, 09:18:03 PM »

Howdy, Greg!

I know of most if not all of the ARRL HF Skipnet stations and am not familiar with WB6DGR, so I can't say how he connects to the network or even if he does.

I'll send a message to your address on Feb 3rd and we'll see if it gets through. Since I operate a Skipnet BBS, the message will go directly into the national network.

If you don't get the message by Feb 5th, then something is not right and WB6DGR should be notified. Most times I get my P-mail the same day it goes out, and have seen Packet mail go across the US faster than Email. - If your local BBS has a good linkup to the national HF Skipnet, you should be able to swap personal messages across the US and beyond with no problem.

There are of course places that do not have good connectivity, but this problem is self-limiting as you will not see their messages or bulletins on the BBS anyway. - Unless someone has been transferring ham radio messages over the internet instead of using ham radio, a practice that creates many more problems than it 'cures'.

Stop by at USPacket if you get a chance. We are the only national organization currently associated with independent amateur packet radio networking, on all bands. We are looking for hams who are interested in working with us, if you would like to be active in promoting the APRN here in the United States.

Charles Brabham, N5PVL@N5PVL.#STX.TX.USA.NOAM
n5pvl@uspacket.org
USPacket:
http://www.uspacket.org
Logged
N7USR
Member

Posts: 56




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2007, 08:32:23 AM »

And a big Howdy back to you Charles!

Thanks for popping in on this thread.

I just checked for messsages (local time here in SD is 8:30 a.m., Feb. 3rd) on the WB6DGR BBS. It has not shown up yet. It is the local ARES BBS here in San Diego so I assume that they would be connected in some way to the national network.

I read bulletins on it every day from all over the world. Seems like most of them are from England. Lately there has been a few regarding Foxes and gun laws in Australia and Tasmania but there are many different topics, including ham radio.  Smiley

So if I do not receive a packet message I should contact the sysop at WB6DGR and see if he has it receiving Skipnet or the InterNet?

I'll check periodically to see if any messages have arrived and let you know. I'll also check with the sysop to see what they are "connected to".

73's de  N7USR

GReg

Have a great day
Logged
N5PVL
Member

Posts: 210




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2007, 08:50:50 AM »

Howdy, Greg!

I just got the message sent off at 10:35 AM CST, from my BBS in the southern tip of Texas to a BBS in Indiana. - How it will be routed from there, I can't say with certainty because the network is flexible and routes around difficulties and slow spots.

I was tied up this morning with the kids and didn't get into the shack until late in the morning. I was a bit slow getting the message entered and on its way.

If your local BBS is mainly carrying foriegn and @WW messages, then he is almost certainly getting a bulletin feed from the internet to "spice up" his BBS.

It's usually the guys who have no connectivity who do that, but we should have a good idea about that in a few hours at the least and a few days at most.

I know there is at least one ARRL SkipNet station in California, but that is a big state and I'm not sure where it's located. I'll try to find out.

Charles, N5PVL
Logged
VA7CPC
Member

Posts: 2377




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2007, 07:05:52 PM »

There has been some interesting work on HF in the past ten years or so.

PSK31 is now common, and very useful in weak signal / high noise situations.   MFSK16 is frequently heard.  Both of those are usable in situations where CW would have been the only viable mode, pre-computers.

Pactor-II (with WinLInk) is popular enough for there to be a ham lobby opposed to it.  I know that WinLink is dependent on the Internet backbone . . .

Some of the recent earth/moon/earth and meteor-scatter modes are beyond my understanding -- very quick QSO's, no content.  And there's a QRSS (very slow CW) community on 160 meters and down.

Maybe we don't have a _need_ for high-bandwidth communications?  I think if we did, people would be working on them.

    Charles
Logged
N7USR
Member

Posts: 56




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2007, 09:06:23 PM »

Hi Charles,

I checked for messages tonight and so far have received none.

Last night, after having received no messages, I messaged the sysop. Here is his reply.

Hello Greg;
     I checked your heirarchical address and it looks fine. If the addressee
of your message sends a return (SR) to the message number, then it should
go. This assumes that the BBS software on their home bbs is capable of the
SR command (I can't think of any BBS software that can't; that includes the
bbs software in the Kantronics tnc's) and that your addressee knows how to
use it.
     The second issue is the current state of the packet network. The network
has been deteriorating over the last 5 years to the point where users no
longer check their packet mail as often as they used to. Tat being said, my
forwarding link is K6VE in Los Angeles and he has pretty good distribution
to the east. Both he and I use ham radio only. No internet hookups involved
which is the way it should be.
                    73 from San Diego County A.R.E.S / RAVES
          Bill ( WB6DGR@WB6DGR.#SCA.CA.USA.NOAM / [44.8.0.61] )
                   (San Diego County packet hub)


Charles, I'll send you a message and then, if you receive it, maybe you can send a reply back to ME.

Thanks and 73's...

Greg
Logged
KB9TME
Member

Posts: 10




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2007, 10:54:29 PM »

Yes there are uses for low data rates on HF but I'm talking about things like digital radio communications that can send both voice and data over the same channel in full duplex.  I've read a bit about ICOM's D-Star system and it sounds really cool but then again there isn't a lot of gear to use it.  How about being able to set up TCP/IP networks with your gear so you could be out in the field and sending video and voice along with position information back to an EMCOMM center by just using your HT over a repeater plugged into your laptop with a USB connection.  _That_ is the type of capability I'm talking about.  Radios could dynamically adjust bandwidth based on frequency so you can dial down to HF for longer ranges and still send some data along with your voice.
Logged
KB9TME
Member

Posts: 10




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2007, 07:41:54 AM »

A correction, D-STAR being an open standard. ICOM has just been one of the early adopters with Kenwood also having a D-STAR radio in the works.
Logged
N7USR
Member

Posts: 56




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2007, 08:15:17 PM »

Charles, I have not received any messages yet.

Looks like something is wrong.

Greg
Logged
K0JEG
Member

Posts: 653




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2007, 08:21:56 AM »

D-star is interesting, but not easy to homebrew equipment. The standard is based on GMSK (can be implemented in software/soundcards), and ATM (very difficult to implement on a PC). The voice mode uses a properitary vocoder called AMBE-2020 and the manufacturer has said they will not license it for sofware-only systems.

Interesting to note that the 2020 vocoder is also used by the AOR digital HF system. This may be why JARL picked it.

I think there are possibilities for a GMSK based digital modulation system, but not this one. There are several open source vocoders available, and lots of voip software that may be able to be adapted for radio use. We just need to start messing around with it. We also have to have better policing of the content. When I got started in ham radio, 1200 baud packet networks were at their peak. ALL of the message traffic I ever saw was "junkbox for sale" stuff sent to the entire world. I put down the radio for the next 10 years, until APRS (which isn't too much better) re-sparked my interest.

Finally, I think there will be a renewed interest in digital modes if/when the WRC changes HF rules to allow data speeds above 300 baud on HF bands, and just put a limit on bandwidth used instead.
Logged
VK4JRC
Member

Posts: 17




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2007, 03:23:28 AM »

Sadly, Packet is dying for several reasons, I guess the Internet can be blamed for part of it. Most of the TNC makers have closed up shop, along with no real advances in software etc. Most of them need RS232 COM ports and hardware is starting to move to USB, see the SCS DSP Tracker/TNC combo.....that does not even have a PBBS mailbox in it. Not even the upmarket SCS TNCs have beacon facility for the Packet side, only APRS.
So.....most Packet work has to be done with old hardware & software. Soon that will be a no go because of no older computers left, running DOS etc.
I guess MFJ and KAM are still there with hardware, but SCS are way in front with DSP technology, but forgot some of the niceties of the TNC2 days. People will also argue, who needs Packet?....we have the Internet!
Maybe it would be nice to have, a PSK31 TNC??? :-)
73s

Jack VK4JRC
Logged
N7USR
Member

Posts: 56




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2007, 09:36:22 AM »

I chose to get involved with packet because I have an older HF rig that does not have any interface to my older pc (and would not be impossible, just difficult to build). I am also disabled and spend most of my time lying in bed due to mutiple spinal conditions. I could build one but I wanted to start with what was the easiest way to get on the air, (VHF packet using soundcard software and a simple cable using one transistor to key up the radio).

I built one in an hour or so, loaded the software and I was on the air searching for BBS's and nodes.

I wanted to learn how it works. It is simple enough. Two audio tones; one for mark, one for space. 1 or 0. Packets are built and decoded by using those two tones.

I've been involved in digital communications for 15 years and figured that part out, and more, by reading what I could find either online or in books.

Now for the disappointing part. PSK31 is a mode that I have tried to learn about but NOBODY I have asked nor anything I have read explains how it works. Nut n' bolts style. Nobody that I have talked to that actually uses it knows either. They plug in their equipment, turn it on, and send / receive messages. I am sure that there are hams out there that can explain it to me but I have not found any yet.

I have been involved in electronics since 1974. I've learned alot. I would like to learn more but in this area (digital communications) but it seems a little harder for some reason. I always teach what I know to fellow hams but it seems that these more sophisticated modes are a little more guarded or that little has been written openly on the web. I can't find anything that helps ME understand it.

If anyone out there wants to offer weblinks, books, E-mail addresses of those in the know, or other help so that I can learn I would appreciate it. At one time I did see a posting that offered a weblink to a site but all I could find was information on how to download and purchase THEIR software, nothing on how it works. Wonderful. I try to abide by the amatuers code "PROGRESSIVE...with knowledge abreast of science, LOYAL...offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, etc..

Please do not take any of this out of context. I am not complaining. I am simply pointing out the facts. I am trying to learn further and find that I am running into a brick wall. That is why I started out on VHF packet. Baby steps. I'm still using my TNC every day but find it lonely at times. Oh well, more air time for me. I go node to node all the way in to Los Angeles and there are many stations there. I'll find someone to talk to keyboard to keyboard.

If you have any advice, knowledge that you would like to share or help in general please, by all means post it. Thanks!

73's

Greg
 
Logged
VK4JRC
Member

Posts: 17




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2007, 01:06:50 PM »

Fortunately, there are a lot of modes to choose from, each has their band of followers for reasons known to themselves. In some cases, information is hard to find, in others....there are Internet User Forums etc. My intro to PSK31 was...it came in the box I bought :-) So, I investigated further to find out what/why and IF I thought it was worth trying.
I found:
http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2006/08/06/1/
http://www.psk31.org/
http://www.psk31.com/
It is a good mode to use, but my typing skills make it slow for me, but PSK31  performance is very good, even when signals are weak.
Jack VK4JRC
Logged
N7USR
Member

Posts: 56




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2007, 08:35:32 AM »

It works!

I received a reply to my packet message!

A big THANK YOU to all the packet guys who runs nodes out there! Without you guys running all those nodes my message would not have been routed and delivered.

This is GREAT!

I hope I can return the favor someday.

A big 73's to you all!

Greg
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!