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General Scanning Discussion For general questions not specific to a model of scanner or general discussion of use of a scanner. Location specific posts should be directed to the regional forums listed below.

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  #81 (permalink)  
Old 06-20-2014, 9:08 PM
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Originally Posted by com501 View Post
By that reasoning, the fact that broadcasters went digital and I had to buy a new TV set means they owe me some money!
Well actually the government had that set top converter box program for anyone who requested them. So when TV went digital, you could have gotten a free converter box.

But the same could have been said for the new Yaesu digital and icoms D-Star systems. You do have to buy a new radio if ya want to talk on those systems.
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  #82 (permalink)  
Old 06-22-2014, 1:36 PM
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The last time I read the F.C.C. rules and regs pertaining to ham radio.... any digital use on the ham bands is legal as long as the protocols are public knowledge and can be used by anyone. Encryption and codes are illegal but digital signalling, voice, etc., are legal. People fear what they don't understand, or in the amateur radio world it's what they can't hear/demodulate. In our area, we still have people that "fear" the use of PL tones on the local repeaters because they believe it's use is to keep users off them and make them private. They don't understand the use of PL tones to keep the repeater from being tripped/keyed inadvertently by distant signals/noise.
  #83 (permalink)  
Old 06-23-2014, 5:58 AM
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Originally Posted by firefighter479 View Post
Encryption and codes are illegal

Incorrect.

Encryption CAN be used on ham bands, provided that the key is made public, and an open/public algorithm is used. DES and AES, for example, are OK, whereas ADP is not, as it's a proprietary, non-published specification.
  #84 (permalink)  
Old 06-23-2014, 6:32 AM
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Originally Posted by jparks29 View Post
Incorrect.

Encryption CAN be used on ham bands, provided that the key is made public, and an open/public algorithm is used. DES and AES, for example, are OK, whereas ADP is not, as it's a proprietary, non-published specification.
How is ADP any different by that standard if the key is published? If someone wants to play and they have the proper equipment, they can enter in the ADP key like any other algorithm.
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Old 06-23-2014, 9:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jparks29 View Post
Incorrect.

Encryption CAN be used on ham bands, provided that the key is made public, and an open/public algorithm is used. DES and AES, for example, are OK, whereas ADP is not, as it's a proprietary, non-published specification.
This has been discussed at length on this and other forums. Any type of voice encryption is NOT allowed on the amateur bands in the US. It doesn't matter if the key is published, encryption is not allowed.
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  #86 (permalink)  
Old 06-23-2014, 1:21 PM
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Do you have a rule section citation for this or ruling? I know it is legal in Canada on the ham bands.
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  #87 (permalink)  
Old 06-23-2014, 3:39 PM
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Originally Posted by com501 View Post
Do you have a rule section citation for this or ruling? I know it is legal in Canada on the ham bands.
There was a decision last year by the FCC about encryption. The FCC rejected a proposal to allow encryption in amateur radio. FCC Dismisses

Here's a snippet from the news story, which states that encryption is not allowed:

Quote:
“[W]e conclude that the record does not support Mr Rolph’s assertion that the prohibition on encrypted amateur communications is impairing the ability of the Amateur Radio community to provide effective support to public safety agencies during emergencies,” the FCC said.
But to answer your question, here's a few examples:

Quote:
97.113 Prohibited transmissions.

4) ... messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning, except as otherwise provided herein; ...
Encryption = encoded and obscuring. Now it was said "if the key is provided publicly." Where is this info provided? If you tune to a random frequency and there's an encrypted conversation going on, how does one know where to look for the "publicly provided" key? A website? A particular person? Just putting it on a website doesn't make it "public", if the public doesn't know where to look.

This then means that the station would also be in violation of:

Quote:
97.119 Station identification

(b) The call sign must be transmitted with an emission authorized for the transmitting channel in one of the following ways:

(1) By a CW emission. When keyed by an automatic device used only for identification, the speed must not exceed 20 words per minute;

(2) By a phone emission in the English language. Use of a phonetic alphabet as an aid for correct station identification is encouraged;

(3) By a RTTY emission using a specified digital code when all or part of the communications are transmitted by a RTTY or data emission;

(4) By an image emission conforming to the applicable transmission standards, either color or monochrome, of 73.682(a) of the FCC Rules when all or part of the communications are transmitted in the same image emission
Now you may say, "Wait a minute, what about other digital modes like D-STAR?" Other digital modes are "in the clear" meaning anyone the can decode the digital signal can hear the stations using the frequency, and can also hear the call signs of the stations using the frequency. When encrypted, there's no way to hear the legal ID of the stations using the frequency unless they have the encryption key. That's where we go back to my first point, how would another ham (or the FCC) know where to look for the encryption key?

There are also other sections in Part 97 which address specific allowed emission types. You can view the entire, up to date Part 97 rules here:
eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations
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  #88 (permalink)  
Old 06-23-2014, 4:33 PM
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Do you have a rule section citation for this or ruling? I know it is legal in Canada on the ham bands.
Who says it's legal in Canada? I'd like to see that in writing.
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  #89 (permalink)  
Old 06-23-2014, 5:45 PM
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Originally Posted by WB4CS View Post
There was a decision last year by the FCC about encryption. The FCC rejected a proposal to allow encryption in amateur radio. FCC Dismisses

Here's a snippet from the news story, which states that encryption is not allowed:



But to answer your question, here's a few examples:



Encryption = encoded and obscuring. Now it was said "if the key is provided publicly." Where is this info provided? If you tune to a random frequency and there's an encrypted conversation going on, how does one know where to look for the "publicly provided" key? A website? A particular person? Just putting it on a website doesn't make it "public", if the public doesn't know where to look.

This then means that the station would also be in violation of:



Now you may say, "Wait a minute, what about other digital modes like D-STAR?" Other digital modes are "in the clear" meaning anyone the can decode the digital signal can hear the stations using the frequency, and can also hear the call signs of the stations using the frequency. When encrypted, there's no way to hear the legal ID of the stations using the frequency unless they have the encryption key. That's where we go back to my first point, how would another ham (or the FCC) know where to look for the encryption key?

There are also other sections in Part 97 which address specific allowed emission types. You can view the entire, up to date Part 97 rules here:
eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations
I call BS on this.

If I decide to run DES-OFB on a P25 ham repeater that I own just for the sake of using that mode (not to obscure), and I post the DES-OFB key on the website that lists all of the repeater information, it becomes just another digital mode. Anyone that wants to buy the radios with the appropriate hardware and a keyloader can do so and join in the action. That is no different than DMR, D-STAR, or any other digital mode. I can't just take a DMR radio and program it for one of the DMR-MARC machines and expect it to work, I need to refer to their website for the talkgroups, color codes, etc.

We have a D-STAR repeater here. I don't have anything that I can listen to D-STAR on, so is it encrypted? No... but it may as well be to me since I don't have the equipment to listen to it. If I really wanted to I could buy a D-STAR radio and be in business, but I choose not to. If I tune my scanner to the D-STAR repeater will I hear the callsigns of every user? Nope... not unless I buy a radio.

The bottom line is that if someone wants to run whatever encryption algorithm on whatever frequency and provides the key to the public, it is no different than someone running any other digital mode. The failure of any one ham to invest in the appropriate equipment to listen or their failure to properly program the equipment is not my problem and I can tell them to pound sand.

The next point will be if I provide all this information on the website and someone wants to buy a radio, will I be required to program it for them, or keyload it if they refuse to invest in a keyloader? No again. If you want to play, you can buy the equipment and are welcome to join in. To be quite honest, if someone is technical enough to do all that, they belong there anyway.
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Old 06-24-2014, 8:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ATF1224 View Post
I call BS on this.
You can call BS on it all you want. The FCC said in it's statement last year that encryption on the ham bands is prohibited. (See the news article I linked to in my previous comment.)

From that news article:
Quote:
“[W]e conclude that the record does not support Mr Rolph’s assertion that the prohibition on encrypted amateur communications is impairing the ability of the Amateur Radio community to provide effective support to public safety agencies during emergencies,” the FCC said.
Just because you don't like it or don't understand it, that doesn't mean it's "BS." Facts are facts.

I also wanted to address this that you said in your post:
Quote:
The bottom line is that if someone wants to run whatever encryption algorithm on whatever frequency and provides the key to the public, it is no different than someone running any other digital mode. The failure of any one ham to invest in the appropriate equipment to listen or their failure to properly program the equipment is not my problem and I can tell them to pound sand.
It's not just other hams that need to be able to listen in, the FCC must be able to monitor amateur communications. In your example of using your own repeater and publishing the key on your repeater website, how does that make it public? If I travel to a new town I have no idea who the repeater owners are or what their websites are.

Quote:
...is not my problem and I can tell them to pound sand.
What a horrible attitude to have. Whatever happened to friendly, courteous ham radio operators?

Best of luck to you, Sir.
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Last edited by WB4CS; 06-24-2014 at 8:33 AM..
  #91 (permalink)  
Old 06-24-2014, 9:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ATF1224 View Post
We have a D-STAR repeater here. I don't have anything that I can listen to D-STAR on, so is it encrypted? No... but it may as well be to me since I don't have the equipment to listen to it.
This is no different than not being able to know the call sign of a station transmitting RTTY, when you are listening without any means to decode. The transmission is not encrypted, and is using an "in the clear" standard.

DMR is an odd beast, as someone thought that the color codes was a good idea. (Which it is not, imho.)

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  #92 (permalink)  
Old 06-24-2014, 9:39 AM
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Originally Posted by WB4CS View Post
You can call BS on it all you want. The FCC said in it's statement last year that encryption on the ham bands is prohibited. (See the news article I linked to in my previous comment.)

From that news article:


Just because you don't like it or don't understand it, that doesn't mean it's "BS." Facts are facts.

I also wanted to address this that you said in your post:


It's not just other hams that need to be able to listen in, the FCC must be able to monitor amateur communications. In your example of using your own repeater and publishing the key on your repeater website, how does that make it public? If I travel to a new town I have no idea who the repeater owners are or what their websites are.



What a horrible attitude to have. Whatever happened to friendly, courteous ham radio operators?

Best of luck to you, Sir.
Clearly we have a difference of opinion and that is fine, I understand your argument and it in no way affects what I am doing or what you are doing. That being said, I am not trying to be rude, I am pointing out simple facts here...

I am asking you to apply some common sense here, and tell me exactly how running an encryption algorithm on an analog or digital repeater and publishing the key is ANY different than a DMR repeater.

Let's say I drive to a city, we will call it anytown... and I am tuning through the 2-meter ham band and I come across two repeaters on 146.760 and 147.345, both running an unknown format.

The 146.760 repeater is running DMR (which we know is 100% legit now) and can't be decoded with a scanner or even my VHF DMR radio without additional information. I go on google and search for Anytown 146.760 repeater, which brings me to the listing for that repeater that shows the talkgroups in use, the color codes, etc. I can now program the radio, and good to go.

The 147.345 repeater is running P25 with DES-OFB, and once again can't be decoded other than the NAC. I google search Anytown 147.345 repeater, and it brings up the web page showing the NAC, DES-OFB key, and all other information needed to program and keyload my radio. Again, good to go now.

There is NO difference at all here, it's the same concept. The issue of clear and secure voice is completely negated when the key is published. Will the use of DES-OFB keep some people off the repeater? Yes, of course it will. It's no different than using D-STAR or DMR or whatever mode you want to bring up. If someone doesn't have a radio that will do the format in question, then obviously they will be unable to use the repeater until they get the proper equipment.

I don't wish to argue the point any further since there are people that simply do not or refuse to understand, but this is a simple common sense application of facts here.
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  #93 (permalink)  
Old 06-24-2014, 11:44 AM
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The difference is, one is legal and one is not.

The FCC has stated that encrypted transmissions are not legal. It doesn't matter what argument you use to try and equate it to DMR, the "law of the land" is what matters.

In my personal opinion, I can see your point in comparing the two. I understand where you're coming from, and I get what you're trying to say. I also have to admit that I don't have enough knowledge of how DMR works to really compare it to encryption.

But it doesn't matter what my opinion is. All that matters is what is and is not defined as legal within the Amateur Service. Since encryption is not allowed, it doesn't matter how it compares to other modes of operation. Common sense also doesn't apply. Regardless of what we think is common sense does not matter when the FCC has said "no encryption."

I'll not go into it further, simply because we're very off topic (MDC 1200) on a very old thread. I'd suggest searching the forums here, there was once a very long thread about encryption in the ham bands that had both sides of the argument spelled out very well. It was during the time that the FCC was taking opinions on the subject of allowing encryption. In the end, the FCC decided to not allow it, and that particular thread died out pretty quick. You'll find a wealth of information on that thread that spells out why it's not legal, the differences between encryption and digital modes, and a whole bunch of whining and crying from both sides. It's a pretty informative and entertaining thread.

EDIT: I found the forum posts I mentioned.

Here's the first one, when the petition was on the docket. FCC Opens Rulemaking to Allow Encryption in Amateur Radio Service

Here's the one that was created after the FCC said "NO" to encryption: FCC says NO to petition to permit ENC
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Last edited by WB4CS; 06-24-2014 at 11:53 AM..
  #94 (permalink)  
Old 06-24-2014, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by WB4CS View Post
You can call BS on it all you want. The FCC said in it's statement last year that encryption on the ham bands is prohibited. (See the news article I linked to in my previous comment.)

From that news article:


Just because you don't like it or don't understand it, that doesn't mean it's "BS." Facts are facts.

I also wanted to address this that you said in your post:


It's not just other hams that need to be able to listen in, the FCC must be able to monitor amateur communications. In your example of using your own repeater and publishing the key on your repeater website, how does that make it public? If I travel to a new town I have no idea who the repeater owners are or what their websites are.



What a horrible attitude to have. Whatever happened to friendly, courteous ham radio operators?

Best of luck to you, Sir.
I'll call BS on for the simple fact that you are choosing not to read the whole prohibition before applying it. The code states that encrypting messages FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBSCURING THEIR MEANING is a violation. I can create a key and publish it publicly on a free to access website and use it. The purpose of encryption is to speed the transmission of it over the air and NOT to obscure it's meaning as evidenced by the publicly accessible key. The boyscouts do this all the time and so does every digital radio user. The software encrypts the information into digital format to speed the transmission of data. It's freely accessible to anyone who wishes to download the open source software.

If anyone heard a transmission and wishes to know what it's meaning is, they can look up the operator on the FCC callsign database since I have been providing my callsign every 10 minutes. They can then either write or call or email the operator for access to the meaning. They may also submit a FOIA request if they choose to do so.

Bottom line: go back and read the code a make sure to read the entire excerpt. The wording "FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBSCURING ITS MEANING" has not been included for fun or levity. They included it for a reason.
  #95 (permalink)  
Old 06-24-2014, 3:54 PM
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Clearly we have a difference of opinion and that is fine, I understand your argument and it in no way affects what I am doing or what you are doing.
Well as it is said, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts. And it is, rightly or wrongly, a FACT that encrypted transmissions are not allowed Ham operators, at least in North America.
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Old 06-24-2014, 4:22 PM
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As I said previously said, I am not interested in debating it any further.

The "facts" that have been brought up are one interpretation of the rules that deal with a specific issue, not what I am talking about. While I believe that both of you are wrong and side-stepping the issue, that is my opinion and I respect yours and trust you will operate how you see fit.
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Old 06-25-2014, 5:17 AM
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As I said previously said, I am not interested in debating it any further.

The "facts" that have been brought up are one interpretation of the rules that deal with a specific issue, not what I am talking about. While I believe that both of you are wrong and side-stepping the issue, that is my opinion and I respect yours and trust you will operate how you see fit.
Operating the way the FCC says you may operate is not side-stepping. Any sort of ciphertext is not allowed on the ham bands, it is as simple as that. No debate.

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  #98 (permalink)  
Old 06-25-2014, 9:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ageranger361 View Post
I'll call BS on for the simple fact that you are choosing not to read the whole prohibition before applying it. The code states that encrypting messages FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBSCURING THEIR MEANING is a violation. I can create a key and publish it publicly on a free to access website and use it. The purpose of encryption is to speed the transmission of it over the air and NOT to obscure it's meaning as evidenced by the publicly accessible key. The boyscouts do this all the time and so does every digital radio user. The software encrypts the information into digital format to speed the transmission of data. It's freely accessible to anyone who wishes to download the open source software.

If anyone heard a transmission and wishes to know what it's meaning is, they can look up the operator on the FCC callsign database since I have been providing my callsign every 10 minutes. They can then either write or call or email the operator for access to the meaning. They may also submit a FOIA request if they choose to do so.

Bottom line: go back and read the code a make sure to read the entire excerpt. The wording "FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBSCURING ITS MEANING" has not been included for fun or levity. They included it for a reason.
I see this is your first post to the forum, so welcome to Radio Reference!

I would suggest that you study up on exactly what encryption is and how it works. The description you gave in your post is not encryption, at least in the context that is being used here. I believe you are confusing "codes" and "encryption." Codes, such as using "10-4" is not the same thing as encryption. Encryption is a means that makes a transmission completely unreadable unless you have the decryption key programmed into the radio.

In your post, you said that someone could look up your call sign and ask what the codes meant. This does not apply to signal encryption, since that unless you already have the encryption key, you're not going to hear anything except digital garble on the frequency. Therefore, no one can hear the call sign of the station using encryption.

Using "codes" is a whole different story, and is neither applicable to this conversation or the original post of this thread (which is about using MDC1200 on ham radio.)

Sorry for continuing this discussion way off topic, but I felt that this comment needed to be addressed and the poster of this comment needs to have a better understanding of encryption VS codes.
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  #99 (permalink)  
Old 06-25-2014, 8:31 PM
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Closed for being OT for GenScan, and doesn't need to be rehashed in the Ama forums.
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