Discussion in 'Survey Center' started by KC2SIZ, May 15, 2020.
Did not know there was a promise, more like a last act of desperation. I preface this with I do have and know how to use Digital modes. In my area around Tulsa there are some fairly active conventional repeaters and a few digital ones here and there that are for the most part inactive. The traffic on the digital side is more like a Clan of a few privileged users the owners bless. They use it for private communications between themselves. Conversations topics are different than most other bands. Usually more technical, and up to date technology topic. Never anything like HF like how old tired and sick you are. Or how big is your antenna rod?
Just like conventional FM repeaters, way too many of them. Digital modes are in very early development much like the VHS BETA video format, there are too many modes. So the question is which mode will win and become an Open Standard.
Digital voice is busy on hotspots. DStar, DMR, Fusion reflectors/talkgroups/rooms can be very busy. Transcoding is knocking down the need for one standard for DV.
We have a few analog and DStar repeaters in Berrien County, and the analog repeaters carry the most traffic.
With all the conversations I hear at the ham club and on FM repeater - it appears that the Guys that use VHF / UHF digital voice stuff spend about 95% of their time jacking around
with it trying to make it work. Code plug this, code plug that, talk groups that they dont talk on, trying to get some NOOB set up on digital that could not figure
out an FM HT much less a digital one. Trying to get hotspots to work - because SURPRISE your teeny HT with a duck cant 'hit ' any digital repeaters or there are
none within 100 miles with the mode you were unlucky enough to buy on your HT.
The same ops spend their talking time on the FM repeater telling other ops how great digital is and why they need to buy a $400 HT and a hotspot to talk to the same 8 guys
that they used to say nothing to on the FM repeater.
People are trying to use my local analog repeater to repeat their digital voice mode now.
So I've removed that from my scanner list now because that screeching noise is pretty annoying.
Forgive my ignorance, but does that mean that you can buy rigs now that transcode out-of-the-box?
Yes, the demise of the repeaters has little to do with digital vs. not. For repeater use, the available DV modes were never going to outperform analog(*). Even the LMR folks understand this.
(*) FreeDV is a notable exception, which can outperform analog, but it was designed mostly for HF use.
Repeaters (like APRS and other AX.25 FM modem-based modes) are on the decline because they are infrastructure modes that require investment of time, money, and effort, to keep them working effectively. And the majority of AR licensees as a whole are simply not interested in doing that work these days.
There's a thread going elsewhere in the forums about how "unfair" it is that so many people will be operating 1D at FD this year, which means they can't work each other under the rules. These folks won't even hook a car battery to their own HF radios so they can run 1E and work everybody. People like that won't even think of investing the technical effort needed to assemble, site, install, and maintain a repeater that has good performance and respectable range. It's just more work than they are willing to produce.
As @KF5LJW points out, there are a few people left who will do the work to have repeaters (of whatever flavor). But even in Tulsa, the number of active repeaters with good coverage and performance is a tiny fraction of what it used to be. I remember in the early 1990's when that whole area from OKC to Tulsa to Joplin was covered with tons of voice repeaters on VHF and UHF. Most of those machines were installed in fantastic location that gave them excellent and overlapping coverage. Very few of those machines are left, and many of the ones that remain have very poor coverage.
And back to DV, I noticed that the Broken Arrow D-Star repeater couldn't even cover to Catoosa on the interstate. So DV obviously wasn't the solution in Tulsa, either.
And to be fair, a lot of the repeater work was driven by the technician boom before 2000. These days, it's easy to just get a General or Extra, and use NVIS to cover far more area than repeaters ever did. The mobile antennas aren't nearly as attractive, but that's another discussion.
Hotspots, not rigs (as far as I know).
All this discussion about digital voice modes (NOT "digital modes"!!) is great. But only addresses half of the survey question, regarding linked repeaters.
Personally I think linking repeaters had given them more use, life. But the rich get richer, they get more activity, the rest are forgotten. Talking clocks.
Why won't the talking clock trustees turn in their frequency pair? Yeah, right.
DMR does not sound all that good to me.
Some VOIP codecs sound very good.