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Codec2 - Open Source DSTAR Digital Voice

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AD7N, Jun 7, 2010.

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  1. AD7N

    AD7N Ham Member

    The DSTAR protocol is open and freely available, developed by the Japanese Amateur Radio League (JARL). However, the AMBE voice encoding scheme currently used by the DSTAR protocol is not open, rather it is patented by DVSI, Inc.

    Development on an open source, freely available alternative to AMBE has been spearheaded by Australian amateur David Rowe, VK5DGR. This open voice codec is called Codec2, and is in a highly experimental stage at this current point. It's advocates include Bruce Perens, K6BP, (www.codec2.org) who is well known in open source software circles, and is a huge Free Software advocate.

    What's the issue with AMBE?

    Codec2 developer David Rowe, VK5DGR talks about this on his blog: http://www.rowetel.com/blog/?p=128
    David Rowe's development site is: www.rowetel.com/ucasterisk/codec2.html

    He is currently looking for assistance, either financially or with coding. Because of financial obligations, he's currently on hiatus from development to pay bills with other work. Development milestones and source code are available through his website. David can be contacted at his email: David (at) rowetel.com

    A DSTAR protocol implementing Codec2 Digital Voice would significantly drop the entrance level and appeal to a much wider audience. Once Codec2 is stable and competitive, it would offer a real, developed-by-a-ham alternative to the patented AMBE voice encoder.

    If you are able to help with development please contact David Rowe!
     
  2. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member

    Open source DSTAR voice - Codec2

    Open source DSTAR voice - Codec2

    The DSTAR protocol is open and freely available, developed by the Japanese Amateur Radio League (JARL). However, the AMBE voice encoding scheme currently used by the DSTAR protocol is not open, rather it is patented by DVSI, Inc.

    Development on an open source, freely available alternative to AMBE has been spearheaded by Australian amateur David Rowe, VK5DGR. This open voice codec is called Codec2, and is in a highly experimental stage at this current point. It's advocates include Bruce Perens, K6BP, (www.codec2.org) who is well known in open source software circles, and is a huge Free Software advocate.

    What's the issue with AMBE?

    Codec2 developer David Rowe, VK5DGR talks about this on his blog: http://www.rowetel.com/blog/?p=128

    "Due to patents and the amount of confidential information surrounding these codecs (AMBE) I don’t think it is possible to make an open codec compatible with these closed codecs. It is however possible to develop a open source, free-as-in-speech codec with similar performance at similar bit rates. [...] A free codec helps a large amount of people and promotes development and innovation"



    David Rowe's development site is: www.rowetel.com/ucasterisk/codec2.html

    He is currently looking for assistance, either financially or with coding. Because of financial obligations, he's currently on hiatus from development to pay bills with other work. Development milestones and source code are available through his website. David can be contacted at his email: David (at) rowetel.com

    A DSTAR protocol implementing Codec2 Digital Voice would significantly drop the entrance level and appeal to a much wider audience. Once Codec2 is stable and competitive, it would offer a real, developed-by-a-ham alternative to the patented AMBE voice encoder.

    If you are able to help with development please contact David Rowe!






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  3. K2WH

    K2WH Premium Subscriber

    D-Star will go the way of Packet. Give it time, codec or no codec.

    K2WH
     
  4. SV2EVS

    SV2EVS Ham Member

    If not....it won't last for long...
     
  5. N0AZZ

    N0AZZ Ham Member

    D-Star adds many new users every day all around the world and more and more. On most days I work 8-12 different countries in the morning people I know on a first name basis and hams from most states. I am an avid DXer and spend most all of my time on HF but when bands are dead will work some D-Star none logged.

    Some states have went to D-Star for state wide ecomm and more are looking to switch to the more secure system.
     
  6. AD7N

    AD7N Ham Member

    How would Codec2 be best implemented? Joel Koltner, KE7CDV offers this brilliant tidbit from the Dstar_digital yahoo group:


    The repeater could seamlessly translate to and from existing the D*Star gateway to both codecs!
     
  7. AD7N

    AD7N Ham Member

    A Codec2/AMBE repeater would allow both ICOM DSTAR owners access AND *free* experimentation with Codec2 using existing FM radios and Smartphones/netbooks/laptops/etc.

    I think hams have become senile with the proprietary codec, and asssume "its here, that's the way it should be and will always be". Sure, ICOM's radios and the DSTAR protocol itself dictate AMBE codec use. However, a open source codec allows infinite latitude to experimenters in software installations and inexpensive (FREE) soundcared etc etc *without* the need for a hardware chip layer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  8. AD7N

    AD7N Ham Member

    If anything, supporting Codec2 development would add to the existing DSTAR pool of users...

    It would drop the bar from a $200 DV dongle to a free implementation - and I know most hams would go for a free implementation :D

    How would they access the DSTAR gateway? Through a Codec2-compatible DSTAR repeater or node - it would exponentially add more users to the existing DSTAR user base!
     
  9. N3CRM

    N3CRM Ham Member

    End of ham radio?

    I worked on the early development of digital voice comms in the 70's. I was involved in the military/secure telephone comms including the design of the DSVT and the DNVT. I know what LPC is and what it isn't. But it is not in the best interest of Ham radio to have a secret digitization code for voice comms.
    Ham radio is supposed to be an "open" forum of users of all types of radios and manufacturers. In order to use "DStar", you are being held captive by the manufacturer of the codec and by the licensed radio producer. Now we are purporting to have a "secret" society of "secure" radio communications - sounds like we are in the ICOM military. This is not ham radio as I used to know it. What is happening to society?
     
  10. K5OKC

    K5OKC Ham Member

    Over-population.

    Before you can use Spread Spectrum, you have to digitize the audio. That's what my cell phone does :)
     
  11. N9CXI

    N9CXI XML Subscriber

    Other manufacturers

    I think that the Codec2 would allow other manufacturers (like Alinco, who said they had a place to plug in a digital voice type board on several of their rigs) into the fray and this would help bring the prices down to a more affordable level.
     
  12. N2OBS

    N2OBS Ham Member

    Amateur Radio

    Hmmm, lest we forget the rules. In the beginning the concept of amateur radio has been explained and apparently must be continuously explained.

    §97.1 Basis and purpose.-

    The rules and regulations in this Part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

    (a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

    (b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the ADVANCEMENT of the radio art.

    (c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communications and technical phases of the art.

    (d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

    (e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

    But then again....we forget when our very own ego eclipse everyone's enjoyment of the hobby. Enjoy the hobby and personally don't allow your ego to make it less enjoyable for those in our community.
     
  13. WA6ITF

    WA6ITF Ham Member

    What happened is that ham radio -- and all other personal radio changed forever back on 911 and there is little or no chance of ham radio ever returning to the hobby / service that it was before that date. Ham radio -- and all personal radio -- from CB to FRS to MURS to whatever -- is now a part of protecting the United States Homeland -- whether its members want this responsibility or not -- or even recognize that they have been recruited by viirtue of owning a two-way radio.

    In the years to come I predict you will see the DHS exert more and more influence on ham radio (and other personal communications services) with an emphasis on making any personal radio owner a fully trained emergency communicator with a responsibility to be ready to participate in any form of declared emergency.

    Scoff if you want. I suspect that many of you will. But in 20 years -- after Im long gone -- think of the words I have presented here and see if I am not at least 90% correct. -- de WA6ITF
     
  14. KB9MWR

    KB9MWR Ham Member

  15. KD7ZOS

    KD7ZOS Ham Member

    Great Info from N3CRM: Thanks so much! I compared D-Star to the old fight between competing manufacturers, long ago with VHS and Beta. Lot's of money spent, no agreement on a world wide standard. Same crap now between Blu-Ray and HD. This time Sony kicked butt after losing to VHS here in the US.

    Wake Up gang, it's proprietary, controlled by one company, with big price tag. Guess what, others are now in the arena, and their radios won't talk to the original! Gimme me a break! Line of sight usage... Dream on, methinks when the crap hits the moving fan, vhf/uhf and hf will still rule and be saving lives.

    As predicted, a good ole boy network is developing, and any government that stakes human lives on this, in my humble opinion...Negligent! Look at the government millions spent on 800mc trunked systems. Now they want to resell everyone nationwide, 700mc crap as a universal public service frequency. Sure be nice if the fcc would protect the american tax payer, and us hams from this greed and power hungry bunch. My advice, leave your wallet in yer pocket! 73, Tom
     
  16. AA4HA

    AA4HA Premium Subscriber

    The same thing happened during two world wars. After "The Great War" the Navy wanted all of the RF spectrum. After WWII (when we decided war was so much fun so we would number them) it took the amateur community several years to recover ground. Look at the old requirement for hams to have CONELRAD receivers at the operating positions.

    All governments have a great distrust over the free exchange of information. The more repressive the regime the greater that distrust. Look at how many hams are licensed in North Korea (0).

    Back to the topic;
    We would be advancing the art if we were doing the research. When we just buy a mode (protocol) from a manufacturer we are merely consumers.
     
  17. K2LCK

    K2LCK Ham Member

    love it..

    i remember all the bad things the am'ers said about this new thing called single sideband in the late forties and early fifties.. and some of them are still around convinced that AM sounds better, some never learn.. we shall see....love it... Elsie Kay
     
  18. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member

    We all just use the internet now...except it's still ham radio because we use super special secret agent callsigns.
     
  19. K2WH

    K2WH Premium Subscriber

    I admit I don't know much about Dstar so I have (2) questions about your reply about "More Secure System".

    1) How does the use of dstar make a more secure system?

    2) More secure from what or who?

    K2WH
     
  20. MM6YET

    MM6YET Ham Member

    Something only an American could think, let alone say.

    There is a world outside of the US, you know - and 11/09 didn't change Amateur Radio.
     
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