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HR2.0 - M17 Project - New Ham Radio Digital Mode

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KC5HWB, Sep 22, 2021.

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  1. NC5P

    NC5P Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are a number of DMR systems around the country that are operated by professional public safety radio people. Some of the systems around DFW and Phoenix, AZ come to mind. These people tend to take the excellence from their regular job into their ham activities and do things right. The results are evident in the reliability and performance of these systems.
    KD5BVX and NK8I like this.
  2. KC1AWV

    KC1AWV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Everyone!

    M17 dev and admin here. I don't post on QRZ, but I thought I'd at least take a few minutes to try and address some concerns, now that the fire seems to have cooled a little in this thread.

    Firstly, I want to thank Jason and Frank over at HR2.0 for giving us at M17 the chance to chat a bit about M17 on a very popular YouTube show. It was a lot of fun, and I hope as the project progresses, we have more opportunities to do so again.

    Let's try to tackle a few comments.

    N3HGB - "The various encryption schemes will have the usual suspects trying to get everyone involved kicked off ham radio..."
    Not if they don't use encryption. Encryption by default is disabled. Encryption is an option for some people, such as in Poland where M17 started development, to use on air.

    DO1FER - "How to screw up hamradio? M17 is the answer. When something like this is implemented for example into the Pi-Star project, its over. Then everybody, if licensed or not, is able to get on the bands..."
    I mean, let's be honest here. What's stopping someone who is unlicensed from doing so already?

    W1YW - "What does M17 offer that is not already available in extant digital modes?"
    Open source is the biggest offering in my opinion. The ability to experiment and work on something together with other hams. Learning experiences that you can get from actually understanding how and why, not just picking up an appliance and using it. Ease of use.

    W4EAE - "D-Star is not proprietary. The protocol has never been proprietary, and the AMBE codec which it uses is now out of patent. It is now no more or less open than M17."
    Can you find me the source code for anything D-Star? Anything AMBE?

    W1YW - "Why reinvent the wheel?"
    Why not? A lot of the people working on M17 are using it as a way to learn about radio. Sure, I can go buy a wheel and use it, but now I want to make my own.

    KB9MWR - "The logic behind keeping it 4FSK, is maybe we can make a radio that supports it just by re-writing an existing radios firmware."
    This is partially the reason. Hotspots out there being used for digital modes mostly use the ADF7021 RF chip. That's what the TR-9 radio was originally designed to use, as well.

    KG2C - "FreeDV is already doing the same and is using Codec2 just like M17, so I don't really see the point."
    FreeDV isn't taking advantage of the 1600 and 3200 bit rates, as far as I can tell. M17 is doing so, however. FreeDV was designed to make digital voice available as a low bitrate mode that could be used on HF bands, and M17 is extending that idea to VHF and higher. At least, that's what I think.

    KB9MWR - "...being able to build transcoding bridges to the other modes..."
    This is one of the other benefits I forgot to mention. A transcoding bridge between analog to digital can be realized without worrying about "grey-area" legalities with other codecs.


    I don't want to take up too much space here on the thread, but I want to at least say:
    M17 is a new digital radio protocol in development that aims to be open-source, non-proprietary, and provide a learning experience for all. We're only a couple years into the Project, we may not have a whole hell of a lot to physically offer right now, but we do see great things on the horizon. If you're interested, we'd like to have your help. If you just want to sit down and have a chat with us, that's great too. We have a growing community of hams and non-hams coming together to make M17 the best success possible.

    If anyone has any questions, feel free to join us on Discord. We're usually around!

    Steve - KC1AWV

    And FYI, I probably won't follow up on this thread.
    UT7UX, KC7ZXY, SP5WWP and 1 other person like this.
  3. KC1AWV

    KC1AWV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok, I will follow up with at least one more post here.

    "AMBE is no longer patented"
    Free from patent doesn't mean free from license. As far as I know, DVSI still holds the IP for AMBE and hasn't released it openly. The closest you'll get is IMBE. And subjectively, I find codec2 easier to listen to than the old AMBE or IMBE.

    "D-Star is not proprietary"
    The protocol isn't, but the vocoder used is. M17's protocol is licensed under GPL 2.0, and codec2 is LGPL 2.1.

    "Why not change D-Star?"
    Well, even if licensing AMBE isn't an issue, we're changing the modulation type as well as the vocoder. You're starting from scratch there anyway. Changing an existing protocol leads to more fragmentation, basically creating a D-Star version 2 which is incompatible with the original D-Star.

    From a networking side, M17 is similar with call routing, call sign encoding, etc. Included in at least one implementation of M17 by G4KLX includes GPS and gating to APRS-IS.

    M17 does not rely on a callsign registration system. By design, each callsign, reflector, "talk group" (for lack of a better term) already has a unique encoding (even when adding an SSID) which can be easily coded and decoded.

    Steve - KC1AWV
    UT7UX, KC7ZXY, SP5WWP and 1 other person like this.
  4. W9TMK

    W9TMK Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is a reason a new comer to digital voice is hesitant on getting into it and stays with analog.
    With DSTAR, Fusion, DMR, P-25 and NXDN in use now I am looking at 6th option.
    And with no radio that can do all of these, how is a newbie to digital to decide. Especially if there are equal repeater options on each in his/her area.
    Just my two cents worth. It would be nice if there was a simple standard. I get that amateur is to explore new avenues and push the limits, but investing in a digital voice radio is expensive and how long will it last?
  5. KD5BVX

    KD5BVX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think digital is somewhat location dependent. Meaning, for example, locally System Fusion is what's on the air - 3 or 4 repeaters in our county alone are DMR, NXDN, P25, or anything other than System Fusion. So, around here, most buy a YSF radio is they want to do digital voice. But, if we were in an area that was heavy into DMR I would suspect most that wanted digital voice would have a DMR radio. Now, if an area has multiple modes on the air I know that adds some complexity to it but for some this is how they decide on what to go with.

    Obviously the 'hot spots' have changed it, too (e.g. I have a hotspot to do DMR since no DMR repeater is within range of here) but location factors heavily into what hams in a particular area buy in my opinion.
  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page if that didn't already happen on this thread?

    W5PFG likes this.
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    If something is off patent there is no property held to license. You have this wrong. Perhaps there is CODE which is licensed--that is, a licensed COPYRIGHT.

    Either that or the license is for some TRADE SECRET.
  8. KB9MWR

    KB9MWR Ham Member QRZ Page

    While I tend to agree, what happens or doesn't happen in terms of projects developed by hams is soley their prerogative. They are the ones advancing the technical art, not the end users.

    If one has to complain, so do about commerical manufactures and their senseless intoduction of uncessary modes. Everytime Yaesu unveils a new HT everyone goes gaga. Yet they were the boneheads to intoduce System Fusion after the ham community was already vocal about the fragmentation problem. At that time there was speculation they'd introduce a compatible mode like P25 or DMR since they just ended a partnership with Motorola.

    I recommend commending the M17 team, they are trying.
  9. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Of course! Commendation so noted:)

    The point is that technology adoption because of a political philosophy is not the first thing hams have an interest in.

    They want something that works, works well, is cheap or free, readily available, and has supported 'service'.
    W5PFG likes this.
  10. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The magic, universal standard mode is already here.

    It's called ANALOG.
    KC5HWB, K2WH and KE0GXN like this.
  11. UT7UX

    UT7UX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    FM is hard to receive with SSB receiver and vice versa.
    KC5HWB likes this.

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