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  #81 (permalink)  
Old 10-18-2017, 8:48 AM
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I loved this thread, and the "candid" perspectives from people of which many I could relate to. It is sort of unfortunate the OP had to start by saying they may get some negative response, as some people don't like any negative opinions about the "Ham Hobby" and sometimes point the fingers back at you. Bottom line, everyone has their perspective, and it isn't wrong or right, it just their perspective.
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  #82 (permalink)  
Old 10-18-2017, 1:19 PM
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I have four friends that have tried to get me into ham radio for several decades. But after monitoring the egos on 2m, and drunks on HF, it never interested me. As for my four friends, only one of them has even turned on his radios in the last five years. Most have gave it up and sold all their gear.

HOA's can make it almost impossible for a serious base installation. New vehicles, with their limited space, digital instrument panels, and abundance of air-bags make it almost impossible to mount equipment.

Many of the rules and restrictions for people who obey them, are somewhat annoying and limiting. Then you have to blatant abusers that are allowed to totally disrupt the service.

As much as we hate to admit it, smart-phones (as long as the towers are active) have just about eliminated the need, and sometimes the attraction of ham radio IMO.
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Old 10-18-2017, 1:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
Hmmm you are quite a ways away. Does DMR have the infrastructure in place to now have a pretty well linked east coast system?
DMR is so built up that world-wide communications are an hourly occurrence!

On my local repeaters (UHF and VHF) we have many TalkGroups available:
  1. WW
  2. WW English
  3. North America
  4. Midwest
  5. Indiana Statewide
  6. Local (both local repeaters)
  7. The Bridge (allows inter-communications with the Brandmeister Network)
  8. A dozen other TGs that are PTT (push to talk) allowing for semi-private QSOs.
On WW there is the potential* to key up every repeater on the planet connected to the DMR-Marc network!

* NB: I say potential because some repeaters will undoubtedly be already in use on one of the other TGs.
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  #84 (permalink)  
Old 10-18-2017, 2:14 PM
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Originally Posted by JACK26 View Post
No worries. Are any of you ham operators old enough to remember the Johnsons who transmitted from Murray Hill NJ circa 1964? He was a Bell Labs engineer who was on the team that invented the transistor.

His son was Glen Johnson and the first ever hacker in the world and a childhood friend of mine.

Joking aside, Glen was able to hack the telephone network and call who ever he wanted for free long before the apple guys caught on.
I remember a thing called a "Black Box". Kids were using it in the '70s to talk all over the world via telephone for free!
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  #85 (permalink)  
Old 10-18-2017, 2:19 PM
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Originally Posted by N4GIX View Post
DMR is so built up that world-wide communications are an hourly occurrence!

On my local repeaters (UHF and VHF) we have many TalkGroups available:
  1. WW
  2. WW English
  3. North America
  4. Midwest
  5. Indiana Statewide
  6. Local (both local repeaters)
  7. The Bridge (allows inter-communications with the Brandmeister Network)
  8. A dozen other TGs that are PTT (push to talk) allowing for semi-private QSOs.
On WW there is the potential* to key up every repeater on the planet connected to the DMR-Marc network!

* NB: I say potential because some repeaters will undoubtedly be already in use on one of the other TGs.
Please don't forget EchoLink! Hams are using it to talk other hams and repeaters all over the world for free, anytime of the day or night! Introducing EchoLink
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  #86 (permalink)  
Old 10-20-2017, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TheSpaceMann View Post
I remember a thing called a "Black Box". Kids were using it in the '70s to talk all over the world via telephone for free!


I remember that "Black Box", too! I don't know anyone that had one though. They were the earliest "hackers" that I remember (in the sense that we use the term today, that is: illicit mods or equipment used to circumvent established systems such as the telephone network).

Back then, Ma Bell had a monopoly on all phone systems and they basically had their own "police force" to track down these early hackers. It was a real cat and mouse game!
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  #87 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2017, 9:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N4GIX View Post
DMR is so built up that world-wide communications are an hourly occurrence!

On my local repeaters (UHF and VHF) we have many TalkGroups available:
  1. WW
  2. WW English
  3. North America
  4. Midwest
  5. Indiana Statewide
  6. Local (both local repeaters)
  7. The Bridge (allows inter-communications with the Brandmeister Network)
  8. A dozen other TGs that are PTT (push to talk) allowing for semi-private QSOs.
On WW there is the potential* to key up every repeater on the planet connected to the DMR-Marc network!

* NB: I say potential because some repeaters will undoubtedly be already in use on one of the other TGs.
Well then. Iím going to hurry up and get me a license, a fancy DMR, and start trying to get a net going that caters to people that werenít alive during the Vietnam War. I have no idea how, but it seems doable.

N4GIX, how far down the rabbit hole does your knowledge of DMR go? I am going to need to build a list of people who donít mind answering questions.
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  #88 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2017, 9:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TheSpaceMann View Post
Please don't forget EchoLink! Hams are using it to talk other hams and repeaters all over the world for free, anytime of the day or night! Introducing EchoLink
Yeah. But radios have blinky lights, comforting tactile interfaces, and most importantly a ton of cool accessories and upgrade options.

Plus I feel like weíre all jaded when it comes to the global communication abilities of VoIP on internet connected devices.

There is still a romance to standalone off the grid gear that magically pulls voices out of thin air. And has accessories.
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  #89 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2017, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
Well then. Iím going to hurry up and get me a license, a fancy DMR, and start trying to get a net going that caters to people that werenít alive during the Vietnam War.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
There is still a romance to standalone off the grid gear that magically pulls voices out of thin air.
Huh?

On one hand, you want to use an Internet-connected global communications system to engage younger hams, but on the other hand you reminisce about communications systems that are totally infrastructure independent. I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to accomplish.
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  #90 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2017, 10:31 PM
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Huh?

On one hand, you want to use an Internet-connected global communications system to engage younger hams, but on the other hand you reminisce about communications systems that are totally infrastructure independent. I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to accomplish.
I intend to become a competent analogue radio operator, progress through the license tiers to extra, and ultimately have the skill set required to be an asset to organizations built to facilitate reliable emergency comm traffic exchange should primary infrastructure be impaired.

I also plan to enjoy chatting with people from geographically disparate regions via DMR in a casual capacity while I study the protocol in depth. Eventually Iíll probably have a little repeater to practice offering local DMR coverage.


Iím trying to accomplish having fun with a new hobby.
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  #91 (permalink)  
Old 10-22-2017, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
Well then. Iím going to hurry up and get me a license, a fancy DMR, and start trying to get a net going that caters to people that werenít alive during the Vietnam War. I have no idea how, but it seems doable.

N4GIX, how far down the rabbit hole does your knowledge of DMR go? I am going to need to build a list of people who donít mind answering questions.
Well, I'm certainly no spring chicken, as I'll be sixty-nine next January, although I still feel like twenty-something mentally.

DMR repeaters still depend on internet connectivity to work their world-wide magic, but in the event the internet grid is down will continue to work as a local repeater as long as there is power at the site.

A General class license and HF radios remain the only true means of long distance communications that is not dependent on any supporting infrastructure beyond your own radio(s) and antenna system.

It's unfortunate that propagation is still poor and there's no real way of predicting when conditions will improve. At least we aren't in the middle of another Maunder Minimum though!
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  #92 (permalink)  
Old 10-22-2017, 12:58 PM
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If somehow the incredibly improbable happened and the internet grid went dark could DMR repeaters form ad-hoc groups by using one of their TDMA slots to start rebuilding talkgroups? Or is the fancy repeater linking built around access to a wide area network?


Edit: I don't care if you are 15 or 150 years old -- as long as you haven't traded in the excitement of embracing new stuff and experiences like that felt in youth for a curmudgeonly abdication of any pretense that your dated established understanding of the world shouldn't be proselytized as truth.

Basically if you aren't excited for Digital, even if only to have new things to fiddle with, you are probably old.

Last edited by Jasphetamine; 10-22-2017 at 1:09 PM..
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  #93 (permalink)  
Old 10-22-2017, 1:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
If somehow the incredibly improbable happened and the internet grid went dark could DMR repeaters form ad-hoc groups by using one of their TDMA slots to start rebuilding talkgroups? Or is the fancy repeater linking built around access to a wide area network?
The repeaters are currently dependent on a connection to the WAN. However, they could be connected peer-to-peer via the old-fashioned radio and/or microwave links.

Hey, we're amateur radio experimenters! We improvise, adapt and overcome obstacles!

Well, those of us who aren't just "appliance operators" that is...
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  #94 (permalink)  
Old 10-22-2017, 3:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
Basically if you aren't excited for Digital, even if only to have new things to fiddle with, you are probably old.
I disagree.

Digital is the current trend in communications, but depending on what your goals are, it's not necessarily an improvement. Without improvement, innovation is pointless.

If one's goal is to build a radio with the best possible audio quality without a huge increase in occupied bandwidth, analog is still the best way to achieve that.

If one's interest is in developing hardware for the upper microwave frequencies, that's analog. Even the most highly integrated digital communications techniques rely on linear analog RF devices, and that gets some people more excited than the digital modulation being used.

Playing with DMR, NXDN, or P25 isn't innovative, from a purely technical standpoint. It's mature technology, that's being deployed on the ham bands because it's been out long enough in the commercial sector long enough that used radios are now available at ham prices.

Building ham networks with this stuff is new... for hams. And that's great. But there's plenty of other "new" stuff out there that isn't digital.
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Old 10-22-2017, 5:31 PM
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Originally Posted by zz0468 View Post
Building ham networks with this stuff is new... for hams.
Amateur radio operators have been building networks of analog repeaters for years. Some use point-to-point radio links and some use the Internet.

Building ham networks with D-STAR, DMR, or System Fusion may be "new", but building networks, in the generic sense, is certainly not new.
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:40 PM
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I disagree.

Digital is the current trend in communications, but depending on what your goals are, it's not necessarily an improvement. Without improvement, innovation is pointless.
The innovation behind the mechanically encoded television never improved very much at all, however it fueled a race to offer a better product which resulted in the electronic based CRT television that defined an era.

Quote:
If one's goal is to build a radio with the best possible audio quality without a huge increase in occupied bandwidth, analog is still the best way to achieve that.
This is a strawman argument. With the ability of digital radio to distribute occupied bandwidth, you cannot compare it to analogue radio bandwidth.

NB: If the best possible audio quality with the least bandwidth overhead was analogue,
these wouldn't exist. Few places are as crowded with RF as live venues for music and theater.



Quote:
If one's interest is in developing hardware for the upper microwave frequencies, that's analog. Even the most highly integrated digital communications techniques rely on linear analog RF devices, and that gets some people more excited than the digital modulation being used.
Life is analogue. Of course there is a stage in digital communication where analogue is required -- absolutely everything we interact with is at some point sent through a DAC, whether between integrated digital comms and analog RF Tx/Rx, or between a computer monitor and our visual cortex.

Quote:
Playing with DMR, NXDN, or P25 isn't innovative, from a purely technical standpoint. It's mature technology, that's being deployed on the ham bands because it's been out long enough in the commercial sector long enough that used radios are now available at ham prices.
Playing with time (a mature standard as of the beginning of the universe at minimum) made us realize that as mature as it was, we needed to improve how we kept track of it. We worked on that for a while, and we now have clocks that are so accurate a pair can show the time dilation caused by lifting one a foot or two higher than the other. This meant we could start using constants based on time to measure other things, like distance -- the meter was not a mature standard until relatively recently despite having been a unit of measurement for a very, very long time.

If the analogy isn't obvious, people who explore the limits of mature standards often realize if we push our exploitation of it we wind up with a new tool for accomplishing a new goal. I cannot emphasize how much of the progress of mankind was achieved through mistakes, tangential research, tinkering, or boredom with a set standard driving people to challenge themselves to make it interesting again.

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Building ham networks with this stuff is new... for hams. And that's great. But there's plenty of other "new" stuff out there that isn't digital.
This is patently untrue. Networks of repeaters built off their digitized I/O carried over various protocols are not new. This is just untrue.

There is nothing stopping you from enjoying non-digital new stuff along side the new digital stuff. I advocate playing with everything new.

On my desk is an Avid Eleven Rack tube amp emulator. Under my desk is a Mesa/Boogie .50 Caliber + tube amp. At no point have I felt that I should try to convince people having both is somehow worse than only having one.

When you go bar hopping do you approach all the new people you'll meet with the attitude that it is impossible to enjoy the full breadth of social interaction since pluralism of thought is somehow discordant to your worldview?
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  #97 (permalink)  
Old 10-23-2017, 2:38 AM
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Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
Amateur radio operators have been building networks of analog repeaters for years. Some use point-to-point radio links and some use the Internet.

Building ham networks with D-STAR, DMR, or System Fusion may be "new", but building networks, in the generic sense, is certainly not new.
Yes, and I was specifically referring to building of digital ham networks as being relatively new.
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Old 10-23-2017, 3:09 AM
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The innovation behind the mechanically encoded television never improved very much at all, however it fueled a race to offer a better product which resulted in the electronic based CRT television that defined an era.
Yes, and with that, I think you missed the point of my reply.

You stated "Basically if you aren't excited for Digital, even if only to have new things to fiddle with, you are probably old".

Well, I'm old, I guess, and I'm not really excited about digital but age or attitude really has nothing to do with it.

Example: I'm in the public safety radio business, and have gone through several iterations of transition from analog to digital. In the microwave world, that was easy. It really was a big improvement. In the LMR side of things, well... What to say to all those customers who are complaining about crappy audio quality? P25 audio sounds bad to a lot of people. It's hard to get excited over it.

I know of ham radio repeaters where one of the design goals is to have superb audio quality. A great deal of attention is paid to levels and frequency response and noise, and when you can switch from the input to the output of a repeater and not be able to tell the difference in quality of the signal, that's an accomplishment. Especially when you can do it across a few spans in a linked system.

You can't do that on digital. It starts off sounding mechanical, and it stays that way.

So, for some of us, it's not going to be a priority. Commercial LMR is going digital, not because it sounds better, but because of the need to squeeze more channels into less space.

Ham radio doesn't have that immediate need, so the driving force is something else. Usually, the motivator is "it's different, it's new".

That's fine, if that's one of the design goals. But if the design goal is actual audio quality, well, you're gonna have to try something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
This is a strawman argument. With the ability of digital radio to distribute occupied bandwidth, you cannot compare it to analogue radio bandwidth.
No. Take Nyquists law... The sample rate must be twice the highest frequency to be sampled in order to get a reasonably correct digital sample of an analog wave form. In telephony, that was a 4 KHz audio channel, sampled 8 thousand times a second. Converted to an 8 bit word, that becomes a 64 kb serial data stream. Much harder to transport than a simple 4 KHz wide audio channel, in terms of spectrum occupancy.

P25 is about a 3 KHz bw sampled and compressed to a 4800 bps, so what you end up with is a mathematical reproduction of what was once the original wave form. The benefit is a 4.8 kb rate, not almost 64kb. The cost is poor reproduction of the waveform.

This excites some people.

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Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
people who explore the limits of mature standards often realize if we push our exploitation of it we wind up with a new tool for accomplishing a new goal. I cannot emphasize how much of the progress of mankind was achieved through mistakes, tangential research, tinkering, or boredom with a set standard driving people to challenge themselves to make it interesting again.
I absolutely agree with you. And some guys want to push that envelope. But other guys might want to push a different envelope, just not the digital envelope. That doesn't automatically make them dinosaurs. There are guys tinkering and building radios that work at 47 GHz and higher, and in the next room is their all tube vintage station including ex-broadcast AM transmitter running a handful of 833 tubes. Those guys are innovative, and have little interest in digital.

Until the first batch of guys finishes it, and ends up with natural sounding audio in a 4 KHz time slot, guys like me will still be running analog on the systems specifically designed to have natural sounding audio - because that's the damned design goal!

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Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
This is patently untrue. Networks of repeaters built off their digitized I/O carried over various protocols are not new. This is just untrue.
Amateur networks have been around for 100 years. Digital networks made with DMR and NXDN and P25 radios are a relatively new phenomenon.

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Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
There is nothing stopping you from enjoying non-digital new stuff along side the new digital stuff. I advocate playing with everything new.
I would only modify that to say I advocate playing with everything new that interests you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
On my desk is an Avid Eleven Rack tube amp emulator. Under my desk is a Mesa/Boogie .50 Caliber + tube amp. At no point have I felt that I should try to convince people having both is somehow worse than only having one.
I'm no stranger to the tube vs solid state arguments with audio gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasphetamine View Post
When you go bar hopping...
You lost me. I don't.

Interesting discussion! I've enjoyed it, but spent entirely too much time on it.

Last edited by zz0468; 10-23-2017 at 3:19 AM..
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