Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Jun 29, 2010.
Great sayings G8KHS!!! KISS is one I've always practiced!!!
"DStar repeaters do a lot more than connect to the internet"
Absolutely true! I love the way Dstar repeaters 30-40 miles away manage to obliterate everything within 20-30 Khz on either side of their TX frequency. I also love the way regional frequency coordinators have begun deciding to make adherence to the 2 meter bandplan "optional"- placing Dstar repeaters in simplex sub-bands. All to make ham radio sound like a bad cell phone call.
Digital modes that are open and free cannot by definition be used for gaining revenues,
security when it comes to ham communications is actually illegal,
I would like to stick with the third, but viewed under a different prism.
Digital allows for having orders of magnitude more users per communications channel, and this is what interests commercial spectrum users. But this is just a corner of a triangle of compromises.
Digital's triangle of compromises, versus a scenario of "a single user for a single channel for a given amount of data",
has one corner on "orders of magnitude more users for the same channel width and per user amount of information",
the 2nd corner declares that "for the single user and single channel there could be orders of magnitude more exchanged information"
The 3rd corner states that "for the same amount of information and single user, you could use orders of magnitude less bandwidth".
The latter easily transforms to
the 3rd corner states that "for the same amount of information and single user, you could use orders of magnitude less power
the 3rd corner states that "for the same amount of information and single user, and same power level, you could get orders of magnitude better SNR at the far side"
Trimming those characteristics as per the multiplier required, creates updates.
Once upon a time we modded hardware to make it perform better, now it is even easier - you only have to perform software upgrade.
If there is an easy path to upgrade for free, upgrading wouldn't be an issue at all.
It always was of enormous importance to reduce the spectral width of power envelope. From QRSS and through all digital and analog to Fast scan TV, the narrower the signal the greater the range. This is because you can limit receive bandwidth and thus total received noise,
And of course your emitted energy stays "laser-like" concentrated on a single spectral "dot" instead of scattering all over the spectrum.
so there IS another reason why we would like to have some digital options including some free vocoder, other than Goverment or corporate greed.
Excellent posts, SV9OFO!
There is a lot of fear that digital voice will kill analog, and granted there is a lot to be gained by keeping analog in place for a long time.
However, I feel that the intensity of this fear, although it may be founded in fact, is way too high at least locally.
Ham Radio, by it's very nature is a decentralized group of operators. If a critical mass of Hams decide it's worth going digital voice in their local area because it fills a need analog voice cannot (could be any of dozens of reasons already listed), this means the fundamental view of that area's Ham population has changed scope, and digital voice is doing a service, not being a hindrance.
How politics play into this is a local wildcard. However, even then, there is ONE test that even the most Digital Voice hell-bent frequency allocation board has to face, and that is user acceptance.
Hams vote by their operation. Plain and simple. If they don't want to to change, their "upgrade" speed will be glacial at best! If their clamoring for it tooth and nail, the frequency allocation board won't be able to keep up with demand!
DV - Yes, Dstar not today thank you
Yes agreed for amateur radio, the more focused your envelope the more effective your transmission, that's very elementry whatever technique used, analogue, digital, or other forms of energy transference.
It would be great to see a concerted effort put into all voice and data digital types of transmission pooling together the resources of amateur operators worldwide via the web using a dedicated development website run by a minimal subsciption to just to cover costs. Said website should be free of influence by any company, radio society or country/government. The software must be distributed as freeware and open source and must not be the property of anyone.
I must admit the whole field of digital signal processing is pretty fascinating, there's so much to be found on the net about the subject that it should keep me occupied for quite a while
Referring back to a section of your previous post about the AM vs SSB "battle", it seems to me that it was a minor skirmish really as CW / AM / SSB can co-exist together due to their inherent shared amplitude characteristics they can all be resolved by a locally derived oscillator in the receiver. Many times I've heard nets with all three modes being used. There's just a bit of sniping and mode snobbery still, but nothing of any consequence really.
My only concern as far as I can see is that DV doesn't fit in the way that CW, AM and SSB go together. It seems to stand apart from the traditional modes.
What makes me happier to support open source DV is that it could be inexpensive for operators to get equipped for providing they have a computer available.
Dstar is another matter, in Japan they have quite a different social structure and I can see it fitting in quite well with the way Japanese operators behave and think. Please take my word for this as I've worked for two Japanese companies and I think I have a good understanding and appreciation of their unique culture.
But when you get Americans and Europeans involved with a system like Dstar you will get problems due to our rather outspoken nature. Hence banning of stations from networks / nodes who speak in another language or who voice critical opinions are just two examples.
So from a cultural point of view Dstar will fail in the USA and EU because it will encourage exclusion, i.e. people don't like being censored after paying out for expensive equipment so will give up and sell the radio and there are the operators who will not even contemplate owning a Dstar radio because it goes against their spirit of amateur radio.
Finally there are the stations that will totally ignore it, if they can't hear it with the equipment that they have then it's not there.
Dstar is an exclusive club at the moment and to quote the late great Groucho Marx, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member"
73 de G8KHS
OK now, this is NOT about a digital switchover, "as seen on TV!!!" style. It's like saying that allocating just a few KHz at .070 for PSK left no space for CW or RTTY!!!! Or like saying that since there is SSTV on 14.230 there is no SSB over there.
As said before, all we talk about here is another o p t i o n , not the "doom" of digital. We talk about having *some* allocation of say 5KHz of bandwidth for digital in HF or do D*star free on normal DV IARU allocations. Whose who like, may join. But even with all those problems, proprietary coding schemes, cost for equipment too high, there are still operators that use d* on V-U-S. Why having the standard opened as in having a netbook and an SSB capable transceiver would hurt-
-the rest of DV users? More people would be accessible, granting system establishment and success
-Analog operators? Being able to have F U N with more gadgets, cheap gadgets, already owned gadgets, getting more value for already paid money, while still having the option to switch back to any mode you want, can't hurt!
Of course there is politics especially regarding some digital groups, but do you know that excluding licensed people out of licensed repeaters is ILLEGAL and the repeater operator could lose repeater license shoud be confronted in front of the law? Noone has the exclusive right to any frequency within ham bands. If I get excluded off a given repeater who would stop me from operating it in reverse and use enormous power to vanish all signs of its existence on the frequency? The law? But the repeater group itself breaks the law by setting it up as a "small group" repeater!
I believe some people need to read the law more.
Some people are already on to it. The effort to join online all ham operators is alive and well and I am writing to you through it! When it comes to digital, HRD is the effort to join all digital modes into one program.
It is rarely a matter of "mixed operation". Some hams just like talking to their "buddies". It is good to be able to ragchew with clear audio when analog signals are as low as s3 or even lower. I have this very problem every single day.
This is the sole target of digital systems. because if you have s9+90dB you could have HD uncompressed video riding it, not just voice! under perfect situations all transmission modes are perfect.
I wish there could be a way to add a "half-a- penny" sized board costing $2-$5 to all tranceivers of the world and make them digital capable. Well, this *could* be coming one day given that a free vocoder is on the way. Just for the right to "opt in".
I do respect all cultures of the world and try hard to understand them. But following the Japanese culture here in SV for example is a certain way to financial disaster. So, cultures do have a "field of coverage" and Japanese culture cannot be enforced to the whole world, be it as narrow as the application of a digital system or as wide as their employment standards.
Spirit of amateur radio is engraved to the law. Noone can legaly exclude any operator out of a repeater.
And what if they can? Because this is the case we are talking about here.
you said it yourself - "at the moment". When all standard but vocoder is open, if we opt to use all the standard but the vocoder it wouldn't be that "exclusive".
I take your point on HRD, it is an amazing program and one which has my highest admiration.
You have my support 100% for adding a cheap add-on for digital voice vocoder providing it exceeds the performance of the analogue SSB voice system at weak signal levels by a significant margin as we agreed on in an earlier post.
As for Dstar and Japanese culture, please don't misunderstand me, my point was that Dstar fits well into Japanese culture and the way that amateur radio works in Japan. I was not advocating adopting Japanese values and social structure in other countries, it was an attempt to clarify why Dstar will not succeed in other places due to the cultural difference.
You, yourself are a prime example of that:
Quote SV9OFO "If I get excluded off a given repeater who would stop me from operating it in reverse and use enormous power to vanish all signs of its existence on the frequency"
And there are many others that would react and have reacted in such a way when conflicts like that arise.
This situation would not occour in Japan, no one would exclude an operator because it would be insulting and demean the network. By the same token operators would not openly challenge others on the air, simply apologising for making a mistake as not to make a fuss or causing the other operator to lose face publicly.
Your comment "Spirit of amateur radio is engraved to the law. No one can legaly exclude any operator out of a repeater."
True, but they will then use illegal ways to achieve their objective.
Finally my comment that Dstar is an exclusive club at the moment was to illustrate the urgent need for a DV vocoder that will render Dstar obsolete asap.
I guess there will be no funding from Icom for this
73 de G8KHS and thank you for a most interesting discourse.
I didn't misunderstand you, I totally agree, (ah, that language/cultural barrier again).
I never meant to be aggresive in any way. I am really sorry if my lack of actual diatribe in english language communication techniques drives readers into creating such impresion - I strive to be friendly and enjoy the coversation much!!!
Saying " who would stop me" doesn't mean that I would do it, One can as easily use that big smooth dial knob to get rid of the problem all in once.
Jamming any licensed user is every bit as illegal as blocking any licensed user from using any licenced repeater, and others non-legality is no excuse for being illegal.
Japanese operators consider it keeping their pride to apologise for an error "to regain their respect" thus demostrating "their superb level of ethics, knowledge and flexibility" if they were wrong. They prefer not to be part of any quarrel to not let their name caught in someone else's mouth. They do not want to become part of a story that disgraces someone.
Europeans deal with it totally differently - will fight to death over their point of view, even after realizing they are wrong, because in our culture, admitting being wrong once is a sign of weakness for others to step on, making claims that "since you were wrong back then you probably are wrong now as well". So there is no "returning things to previous state by admitting our fault".
and then we, provided that as ham operators we uphold the law (our license terms in CEPT include guarding our spectrum ourselves anyway), will do everything required to ensure that malpracticers lose their license or even get busted for illegal operation, whatever stands.
a DV vocoder will NOT render the D-star system obsolete, will just FREE it. The whole free vocoder concept is not there to "force" things into one or another situation. It is more like
"imagine that the marconi antenna is proprietary, covered with patents and expensive.
We need to concentrate enough development force to improve performance of the simple dipole, to manage creating formulae for fast deployment, get free from grounding, and maybe evolve it by adding reflectors and directors to end up with a Yagi or LPDA."
...because the creation of a free vocoder refers to the creation of a tool, rather than an application. A tool can aid to the evolution of a million different applications. An application can work just inside its definition borders.
Thank YOU all for creating the grounds of a discussion that should be finally held, without flaming.
I agree there is nothing wrong with the concept of the free vocoder as such. I am not against it, any more than I am against the development of new digital data modes. The issues arise with the deployment of such a development.
If it simply becomes a mode used between a small group of enthusiasts, much like say the Olivia or Hellschreiber modes, then there won't be much impact and the only arguments will probably be just about where in the bandplan it is allowed to operate.
If it is proposed as an alternative to SSB then I don't think it will have much success any more than the AOR digital voice system of a few years ago. SSB operators are mainly interested in DX and they won't move to a new mode if it means they might miss the DX on SSB. So you will have a situation where everyone is waiting for everyone else to switch. I don't think there will be much incentive for anyone to switch unless DV offers a huge DX advantage over SSB, which the AOR system certainly didn't. So I think it is a case of wait and see on that one.
If it is intended as an alternative to analog FM as I think D-Star is intended to be then I believe that you have to be looking at an eventual "digital switchover" situation. FM is really about making local contacts with your friends around town or with mobiles passing through and I don't think it enhances the hobby to have users fragmented over two incompatible systems. It isn't useful to have the situtation where Fred can't call Bill, the new friend he made at the local club, because Bill is on digital and Fred isn't.
Having two incompatible systems also puts pressure on spectrum space because they both need things like repeaters that must have exclusive use of a channel. It also puts pressure on financial resources (at a time of economic crunch when clubs find it hard to get members to dig into their pockets) to maintain both analog and digital repeaters. I think there will be an inevitable pressure to "turn off analog" if digital starts to gain momentum.
I think this could be disastrous for the hobby because the cost of entry to the DV world is too high especially for many young and new hams. You need look no further than QRZ to see pleas for advice on how to get on the air for $100. It will be years before the price of old D-Star radios falls to that level. And I don't see that having a free open codec will make much of a difference to the price of new digital radios. It might allow someone to connect PC software to an old FM radio and get on the air digitally at low cost (though how IF filtering designed for 25kHz channels will fit with digital channeling I'm not sure) but what about mobile or handheld operation? We're in danger of dividing the hobby into the "haves" and the "have nots".
It also isn't clear to me how the open vocoder would fit into the existing D-Star system, which isn't going to vanish overnight. If existing D-Star equipment can't be modified to make use of the new vocoder then a lot of people aren't going to be happy. Also it remains to be seen whether other manufacturers would develop radios that use an Icom-trademarked system. If not we would never escape from the undesirable situation of a single supplier.
If the free codec will be used in a system separate and independent from D-Star then people will be faced with three choices for what to use for their local chats. This is going to be even worse than the D-Star / analog situation. Of course, D-Star might eventually die off altogether which would certainly be desirable for all the reasons many have stated. But my concern is that the years of confusion that will exist before the dust finally settles will turn a lot of people off the hobby altogether.
My position, which is to oppose D-Star and keep analog FM as it is, is held because it permits everyone to communicate with everyone else and doesn't exclude those who can't afford the latest equipment. Ham radio doesn't need to slavishly follow the commercial world and adopt digital technologies just for the sake of it.
People accepted a move to digital TV because they got more channels, and also because they were willing to upgrade their TV anyway to get wide screen, etc. DV doesn't offer the average ham the same kind of must-have benefits.
I do have some objections.
AOR mode didn't fly because it wasn't even near the definition of being open for others to adopt or free. Instead, it is an expensive toy for some people who want some sort of "privacy" over the air, meaning that there are so little a total number of users continent-wide, that statistically you get a tiny audience compared to SSB.
there is no "Digital only" as all but one transceivers support digital and analog as well, when it comes to d-star. If a sked is made on analog, contact will be made. if one opts out of analog in favor of digital, that one opts out of most users networks just like that.
New hams pursue the knowlegde and have the hunger for doing things black boxes do not. If they should go "black box", they could just buy as they buy iPhone4 or iPad. But one that goes after black boxes doens't have to become a ham to go digital; modern connectivity solutions exist that require just raw money to obtain hardware and pay for services. "Connectivity and fun with communications, the cheap side" can be easy if one becomes an amateur, and have the amazing ride of selfaccomplishment through experimenting.
This is the actual reason why we need an open vocoder. To do things on our own, not having to buy to operate.
But this is why we are not talking about "digital radios". There are SSB 2m radios in flea markets and hamfests starting at $99 or even lower! (and they can do all digital modes, DV, ssb (!) and FM as they come given a sound card interface is made! I happen to own 2 of them (FT-480 and FT-290II).
that's why I am keen on defining SSB as basic requirement.
as for /p or /m operation there are some FPGA's that can do it cheaply.
DV free following d-star protocol can disquise as "data" and pass through the repeaters like that. Users of conventional D* rigs could push the data stream to their PC's and decode it.
the trademark is actually covered by JARL who clarifies that by mentioning that everyone can create a d* capable transceiver. Some lawyer should evaluate whether it is the icom leg that stands on the copyright or JARL's. But for a rig manufacturer, evaluating or getting written permission by the JARL is easier than it is for me or you.
This is why I insist on utilizing D-star protocol as is with the sole exception of vocoder. It belongs to hams already. Hams use it already.
but instead, we can enjoy the sound of waves coming out of a broken squelch of an FM rig just because our next door neighbor decided to turn on the powerline gigabit ethernet pair he just bought.
noise levels keep rising in urban areas, making analog communications more and more difficult. There will be a time when making contact having both parties in urban areas will require so high a power level than nearby electronics will start misbehaving. If we stand on 100% FM carrier of 50 watts in a mobile and believe that "this is it, we can't have more than that" then, yes, ham radio is in declining orbit and will probably burn touching the atmosphere of noise clouds.
FM radio remains the same since 1965. Before that, there was SSB and AM on the cheap side. Noone tells you to throw all FM rigs to the bin, but there is someone frustrated enough by the noise levels already that waves a flag saying "look folks, there would be a problem sooner or later if we don't DO something for enhancing our systems tolerance to noise and power level for given SNR."
This tiny bit of something is "escaping from the commercialisation of rigs" and trying to do something for ourselves. Else, of course, you can step to your neighborhood's local "Verizon Wireless" or "Vodafone" shop and get the latest of the rigs - ooops, they charge each time you press the PTT, but what can we do....?