John Kreno on 16 May 2019 19:47:37 -0700

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

Re: [PLUG] PLUG Fusion room or DMR Talkgroup


I guess I'm with the crowd that would call the AMBE vocoder encryption because of it's proprietary and closed nature. If your argument is that nothing else existed, then either you wait or someone innovates. You don't just take something that is arguably not suitable and push it. I think it was a fairly obvious push by Icom to try and lock people into a single vendor. Now with the dongles that are available and the other devices, any radio can use it. It still doesn't feel right to me. But that is my opinion only.


It does sound similar. I checked out the DVMEGA Cast, and I would certainly be way more willing to sink some money into that than, like you say, a one trick pony HT or even a mobile rig. I think that the Yaesu thing is an attempt to gain market share by dropping prices to incredible lows (At least by comparison). It's kind of a dirty move also. I agree on Flex, they do make decent gear.

I think that the prospect of digital voice is interesting, but things like echolink had been around and gave you the ability to either talk to folks beyond the repeater or internet link repeaters without digital voice at the RF end.

My interest in digital modes is more in the way of digital data. There was something fairly recent about a higher speed version of packet called like "New Packet Radio", and that definitely interests me. If we just want to chat, the internet has facilities to chat voice or otherwise. I think that the main draw of HAM radio is the thought that there really isn't any traditional infrastructure between the parties communicating.

At some point with the digital vocoders and the internet interconnection, the ham "network" at VHF/UHF frequencies becomes basically a cell network voice chat. I'm not sure how you end up figuring out how to carve up the bandwidth evenly for all RF end users. I mean surely for the most part we have the opposite problem right now, too much unused spectrum. But maybe this is a good evolution of this platform. I mean the internet itself is fault tolerant to a degree, a few odd fiber runs aside. I don't want to be received as someone who would rather the hobby stand still, that's not at all what I would like. I just would like to see it not lose what I think makes it special. And to me it's the HAMs themsevles, the tinkerers, the engineers. The folks who are exploring communication and at the core of it all RF theory and practical application.

I will definitely reach out to you at some point off thread. Thanks

On Thu, May 16, 2019, 7:42 PM Keith C. Perry <> wrote:

Your journey seems close to mine.  I've been licensed for over 20 years as well and didn't upgrade until 2017 because I had no longer had interest (or time) to learn morse code.  SDR very much interests me and as I said earlier, I refuse to drop any major coin on HT's that are 1 trick ponies (as a far as digital).  They only recently became dual banders so we have a long way to go.  I was just listening to some guys talk about this very thing- where's my SDR HT that can do it all?  We have SDR HF rigs so what the hold up?  Those are good questions and I have not heard a good answer.

That said, I would highly recommend this DV Mega Cast.  It is a bit quirky (nothing major) but it allows me to hit all the popular digital modes so I can understand what going on with that.  Two particular advantages of using this or any other hotspot is that you don't have to deal with DMR or D-Star radio programming.  Most of the programming software does not run on Linux so it was a no go for me.  D-Star and Fusion (C4FM) while not open source have been reverse engineered so XREF and DCS reflectors are alternative to the official REF ones like YSF and FCS rooms are alternatives to the official Fusion ones.  I agree that there should be more openess in this regard but ham enthusiasm to create those alternatives is probably what has kept Fusion and D-Star viable at all.  DMR is waaaaaaaay out ahead in terms of adoption and that is because its open.  Hopefully those vendors have gotten the message.  For what its worth, I think Yaseu might have since they are are pricing their Fusion capable radios pretty aggressively.

I do have to say that the "off putting" of digital has become more tempered for me since it is trivial to work people beyond the repeater.  In fact, you really get to pick where you want to work.  If want to talk to people in California, put a call out on that state talkgroup.  How about Ireland or the UK? Similar deal.  It is a different way to think about it but its pretty cool to see it in action while we wait for SDR HTs to become a thing .  No one wants to have to drop coin everytime something new comes up.

If I had any influence, I would ask the people at Flex radio to get on this.  They know how to do SDR stuff.  If Flex can come out with something that offers all the digital modes with a decent receiver for a not to premium price ($500 to $1000) it would move the market.

I'm a beginner with digital modes too but like most hams, I'm happy to share what I've learned if you want we can continue the conversation off-thread.

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

From: "John Kreno" <>
To: "Philadelphia Linux User's Group Discussion List" <>
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2019 6:26:38 PM
Subject: PLUG Fusion room or DMR Talkgroup

Long time listener, rare caller, love the show. 

Im a ham of 20ish years. My main issue with sticking with the hobby is finding hams that have similar interests. I want to get more into the SDR end of things and amatuer data networks, and I've been doing this at a somewhat slow pace. But without a community, and maybe I haven't found the right folks, it's daunting. I just recently ,within the last few years, upgraded to general. I find the state of digital voice modes to be very off putting, especially in the case of D-Star. They are using a licensed vocoder, where it wouldn't have been difficult to just use something without licensing and keep it as open/cheap as possible. That having been said, I'm not a fusion fanboy either.

Commenting on the all time high licensing of hams, I think that has to do with the lowering of requirements and perhaps the increase of the prepper crowd's interest in the hobby. But one of the other things that I have noticed, is that there are a fair amount of younger folks that are interested in experimenting with radio (SDR) that get their tech license for VHF/UHF and then never participate in the traditional sense.

On Thu, May 16, 2019, 5:40 PM Keith C. Perry <> wrote:
"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  --

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