Why would you pay money for an application that controls an older standalone TNC (old stinky
when you could buy a cheap Signalink interface and then use HRD for free?
I cleaned up you comment. While I assume you meant this as an inquiry (as stated by Sam, N2TJX), your word usage could be interpreted an arrogant insult.
Many "new radio amateurs" lack an understanding or appreciation for radio and its progressive developments over the past century -
especially the digital developments since the 1970s.
Rick, W4PC has already stated the capabilities differences between sound card DSP modes (ARQ) and
those modes (FEC) requiring additional hardware functionality (capabilities) not found in most computer based sound cards.
Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) is NOT free, per se.
It just means that you are a user (free lunch advocate) and not a contributor (provide donation) to Simon for his time and skills (giving back to the hobby)
so that you can use the simple DSP processor found in most personal computer sound cards.
The older RTTY TUs, TNCs and Multi-mode controllers (HAL, AEA/Timewave, MFJ, TAPR, Kantronics, Paccomm, SCS)
offer inexpensive (financial) and flexible (equipment, $) entrants for amateurs that may not have the $$ that you have.
With a simple serial terminal (VT220) you can use a standalone multi-mode controller/TNC without the need for a personal computer, Windows or HRD !!
SCS modems (still mfg. and produced today largely for marine users) routinely cost $1,000 or more for the PACTOR capabilities.
I have a HAL ST-8000A HF modems (acquired still new in box) .. Bill Henry's pinnacle of products (1990s state of art) for the US and Austraila military.
IF your digital mode usage is limited to PSK31 on HF bands,
THEN your needs may not be for these other modes or additional flexibility.
Last edited by W9GB; 03-10-2011 at 08:22 PM.
OK great, thank you Rick for taking the time to engage me in some question/answer.
I've heard of the mode you mentioned, but being a casual HF digital "rag chewer" I don't see those modes on the waterfall. It sounds like the basic purpose of the digital modes and hardware on the casual hobby side are different than the modes and hardware used for emergency communications support.
To liken it more to something I understand, it sounds like the difference between a Linux os and a windows os.
Linux is good if you like to learn the commands and you don't mind doing some writing of your own. Linux is free and the users help to develop it and provide tech support. It has a good deal of flexibility and for many people I know it's thought of as the "hobby os"
Windows on the other hand is professionally developed and (at least the office package) is the standard that the business world uses to get things done. It's designed to "just work" right out of the box.
Both have their strong and weak points, but you use them for different reasons.
Now, on the cost factor. I still see packet TNCs are pretty expensive. To be fare, you cannot use the hamfest used prices of things. If that we're so, I bet I could find all sorts of stuff for less than retail. I could make a sound card interface for less than $10, and the computer I'm using was free; it's hard to beat that. But, for comparison purposes, we'll use the new retail price starting from scratch for both setups.
1 The computer I'm using is around $300 dollars new on tigerdirect. Add $100 for the signalink, and the software is free. (A donation is a nice way to not be a free rider if you really like it, but nothing is stopping you from downloading and using it for free) The radio cost we'll leave out because they could be the same for both setups and the only variation would be how much capability you want/can afford.
2 If I understand correctly, a TNC can run as a stand alone system without a computer. Then all you need is TNC and the software (beside the radio, but we're not counting that here just as above). Does this include remote rig control? Can these two elements be purchased new for less than $400 dollars? Even if you can run this setup without a computer, I've never seen an EMO that didn't look like the latest and greatest laptop show on earth. Is anyone in emergency communications working without a computer? I have to assume the functionality of some of the features (like e-mail) would require a computer.
Tech support is important and should be factored into the cost of just about any product. Why do you think Apple products are so expensive? The tech support is phenomenal. Much like Linux, the community of user based support for HRD is very good (so I've heard). The most difficult part is that you must approach the problem with very specific questions. Going and saying, "somethings wrong" is going to get you no where. The user community is a vast resource of experience and knowledge, but they expect that you'll go in with some degree of understanding as to what your issue is. I can only speak from second hand experience because I've never actually had a problem with HRD.
Final Summation: You pay to play in both hobby and emergency communications. What you chose is a personal decision, but it also depends on what everyone else is doing (modes). For me cost plays a big part, but I can offset those costs with a better-than-cursory understanding of the operation of my radio, computer, software and interface. Emergency Management is my field, but emergency communications support is something that I'm looking to the amateur community to learn more about.
Thanks again, Sam
"we don't use 10-20 in the fire service, we all know where we're going" - Cursarius
do it for the lulz
The only aspect, of your argument, that you are leaving out is the case of Roger Barker, G4IDE (SK) - the author of UI-View, UI-View32, WinPack and other amateur radio programs.
Roger became a silent key on September 8, 2004.
UI-View had a huge and positive impact on the APRS community (and EmComm users who were using it) -- as its leading software application.
He was ever-present answering UI-View questions, always courteous and always helpful. Even in the middle of the night, he often posted replies.
Just before Roger, G4IDE passed away in 2004, he waived the registration fees for UI-View and WinPack applications,
but it is asked that you make a donation to your local or national cancer agency (he suffered from cancer, that led to his death).
The decision(s) after this death to have the software source code for these applications destroyed and not shared, sold or placed into public domain (GNU) ---
dramatically changed APRS development.
Users were informed that this was his desire (wish) upon his death. Some amateurs (and organizations) had a more emotional opinion about these turn of events in 2004.
A commercial software company has contingency plans for its users.
Users that utilize software applications from individual developers, who are not paid (directly or indirectly) by its users, have few legal rights (licensing).
The point is, that without the DSP software (Ham Radio Deluxe, others) .. the sound card interface has little value by itself.
EACH approach (software or hardware) has its place for users and specific applications (Strengths and weaknesses) --
the current Software Defined Radio (SDR) growth/problems/issues is very good example.
Since I have personally have worked on both sides of the technology (and even when they were not regarded separately),
I actually use both -- depending on my requirements/needs at the time.
Last edited by W9GB; 04-12-2011 at 05:44 AM.