Keith C. Perry on 16 May 2019 14:40:22 -0700

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [PLUG] PLUG Fusion room or DMR Talkgroup

"So, I think this was more about the intersection of the PLUG community
and ham community, which isn't the same as the general ham community.
I doubt anybody is going to stop attending PLUG meetings or their
local ham club meetings because they're also participating in this."

Exactly that...  Let me expand on my motivation for this.  A couple of reference points.

The last paragraph of that say this,

"The number of Amateur Radio license upgrades was 9,576 in 2017, continuing a slight downward trend over the past 10 years."

So, while we getting new members is good, they and other hams are not upgrading.  They're are lots of reasons for that but lets focus on technicians since that is the largest block of licensed hams.  Here's one idea.

“Our amateur population is at an all-time high, but most new hams are getting a Technician ticket, getting on VHF and UHF, and hanging out with like-minded friends,” Hull said. The limitations on what Technician licensees can do often leads to boredom, Hull said, “and they drop out of the hobby. They never get the exposure to HF ham radio, and as any veteran radio amateur can tell you, that’s a lifelong exploration.”

I can't count how often I heard things like that and yet when I talk about going at least up to general class what I've heard is people either don't have the space for the antenna(s) and/or the gear or the prices of the gear is too expensive.  The motivation and satisfaction of being able to be create your own communication infrastructure and being able to talk up to world-wide distances is not there in the same way it was years ago.  So the willingness to get the gear and "sciene it" is gone.  However, the desire to talk in what I would call beyond-the-repeater is.  That's one of the reasons why we started linking repeaters because the truth of the matter is that we're not always doing field day lugging around a mobile shack or wanting to be tied to base station.  Sometimes you just want to chop it up with other hams an easy to work mode and band.  What digital modes have done, particularly on the high bands techs have access too, is allow for a new phase experimentation in linked systems.  In this case technology advances have brought this down to the station licensee- you can get a single board computer and actually contemplate what we are talking about right now without having to be a repeater operator.  I'd be the first to say that in my book this not playing radio in the traditional sense (since most of the infrastructure that carries traffic runs over commerical lines) but so what?  A 25 year old ham is not a 50 year old ham is not a 75 year old ham.  If the merger of technologies inspires newer hams to play in the hobby, I think they will upgrade.  If they like digital modes on UHF/VHF over the internet then I think there will be a natural motivation to get into the digital modes and other things on HF.

To that point...

“Our ambition should be to embrace these individuals in their activities and accept that some of the more traditional aspects of the hobby will hold little interest to them, and indeed may no longer be relevant,” he continued. “That is not to say that some are not enthused with what we all hold as the core of our hobby, such as contesting or operating generally. I fear, though, that we need to look at what will attract the new generations to Amateur Radio and make sure we promote Amateur Radio as meeting their needs, rather than promoting the historical view of what Amateur Radio has to offer.”

So, here we are.  I think what PLUG has to ofter the ham community in terms a GOTA (get on the air) effort could be playing in the digital mode area.  I've been listening to hams on digital talk about some of the frustrations of setting of hotspots (and it general how to use this SBCs) that we would take for granted in PLUG.  While you could (and I think should) support local ham radio clubs that have nothing to do with the cross pollentation of knowledge or having a place where someone can gain confidence learning how to play radio with people they know who [probably **grin**] aren't going to take of their heads it they don't do things just right.

Of course, my thesis could be wrong when applied to PLUG'ers, which is why I posted to see what others thought.  I appreciate the discussion.

Would a general GOTA event or a show and tell (operate) be useful?  If so, from there we could gauge what the interest is in a PLUG room or talkgroup.

***side thought***

In the interest of using what is out there.  I'll let people know where I tend to have my radio parked.  Give me a shout when you are feeling froggy.  I'll respond if I can.

HF (40m / 80m), I tend to work phone regionally (400 to 1000 miles).  If you want the challenge to trying to make contacts within the skip zone, I'm happy to oblige.

analog:  If anything W3WAN and W3QV since N3KZ is having so many issues but usually only when I'm mobile
         (like when I'm on my way to a PLUG meeting)

digital: Fusion:  YSF64230 (America-RC), FCS00422 or FCS00285 (AmericaRagchewWireX)
                  (those are all the same)
         DMR(BM): 31360 (Tri-state) but sometimes 3173 (midatlantic) or 3172 (northeast) or 91 (worldwide)

         D-Star:  XREF310A or DCS006B

FYI... D-Star does have pretty low use from what I can hear so I would say its a good place for longer conversations especially not on the main modules (i.e. the letter after the number).  For instance, XREF310C and XREF310E through XREF310Z are listed as general use and I don't think I've even seen someone one module G or higher.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Keith C. Perry, MS E.E. 
Managing Member, DAO Technologies LLC 
(O) +1.215.525.4165 x2033 
(M) +1.215.432.5167

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rich Freeman" <>
To: "Philadelphia Linux User's Group Discussion List" <>
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2019 8:35:52 AM
Subject: Re: [PLUG] PLUG Fusion room or DMR Talkgroup

On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 6:27 AM Jim Fisher <> wrote:
> OK. Let's get back to where this started....getting local like-minded
> folks ON THE AIR.

I thought this was about a place to talk about PLUG/Linux, ideally on
the air?  If you just want to talk on a repeater you can tune into any
of the local repeaters and key up...

> A private talkgroup or whatever is STUPID. NOT ham radio.
> JOIN the Ham community. Don't isolate. Join a club. Go to meetings.

So, I think this was more about the intersection of the PLUG community
and ham community, which isn't the same as the general ham community.
I doubt anybody is going to stop attending PLUG meetings or their
local ham club meetings because they're also participating in this.

The problem with just pointing PLUG members to the directory of local
ham clubs is that they tend to cover different geographies/etc.  There
is likely no repeater which all the PLUG members would all be able to
use conveniently (at least not which would make sense).

The advantage with starting with an online reflector/group/etc is that
it immediately covers both the topic (PLUG members) and geography (the
world).  It can then easily be bridged onto repeaters where this makes
sense, which gets you the OTA access.  In the case of a BM DMR
talkgroup this can be done dynamically by anybody on any BM repeater
or hotspot.

While I get that this might be perceived as isolationist, I think it
has the benefit of covering its niche better.  I mean, we could all
talk about PLUG in some general-purpose IRC channel with 50 million
people on it, but #plug gets used because it is more focused.

I think this is also part of why repeaters/etc are struggling.  They
organize discussion by geography by default, and people prefer to
organize discussion by topic/interest.  If you're interested in PERL
you would probably prefer to talk with somebody who is also interested
in PERL in Germany, over somebody who just doesn't see the point in
writing programs in syntax that resembles line noise who just happens
to live nearby.  (Sorry, Walt, just curious if you've endured my rant
this long...)

And of course there is no reason we can't do both.  Continue to allow
the ham community to expose the Linux community to ham, and also
provide a more focused area.

That said, if we don't think the RF adds a lot of benefit another
option is to just go with an FOSS voice chat protocol (mumble,
whatever), and then you don't need a patent-encumbered radio or FCC
license to use it.  That would literally be voice IRC, but you
couldn't bridge it over RF.

Philadelphia Linux Users Group         --
Announcements -
General Discussion  --
Philadelphia Linux Users Group         --
Announcements -
General Discussion  --