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Digital Voice for Amateur Use - Discuss use of digital voice technologies on the amateur radio bands. This is to include technologies such as VoIP, P25, DMR/TRBO, NXDN, D-STAR, etc.

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2017, 11:58 PM
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To address the original question...In my opinion, HAM radio operators can help in situations where some communications systems go down or are overwhelmed. It is for that reason that the "old school" analog way of communicating should not be abandoned or replaced. Not that I'm suggesting this is what the OP is recommending. If the "new age" systems go down, and the majority of hams are on it, they will go down also.
I remember when the attack on Sept. 11, 2001 occurred. I couldn't contact my brother on the cell phone (who was in DC at the time), but we made contact on the local 2 meter repeater, and eventually on simplex.

I agree that amateur radio is not there to replace local public safety communications. But when the new state-of-the-art system fails, nothing else will be more dependable than the 2 meter or 70cm local operators.

I think post #4 of this thread nailed it.
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Old 11-27-2017, 8:25 AM
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Originally Posted by stantorres View Post
With public safety mostly adopting P-25 and the US military moving toward having P-25 capable equipment, why has ham radio not done the same? DMR seems to be the most popular, with D-star, fusion and some other scattered technologies here and there.

One of our missions in ham radio is to be the backup communications in times of national disaster, seems like we should be on P-25 like our public safety partners.
Technologically, ham radio is supposed to lead, not follow.
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Old 11-27-2017, 8:33 AM
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A local repeater is analog and P25 mix mode and there are another 3 in the area so I would argue that P25 is used in amateur radio. Though not common it is still used.
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:43 AM
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Absent a requirement incorporated into rules, lower cost communications solutions seem to be the most widely adopted ones in amateur radio. This is what I think is driving the use of DMR over the other digital alternatives available to operators who have decided to try digital voice.

I decided to buy a radio that was D Star capable because I think it's feature set is a better match for the hobby, even though it comes at a higher cost and isn't as widely deployed in my area.
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
Technologically, ham radio is supposed to lead, not follow.
From the beginning, people have been adapting commercial equipment for ham radio use. What did people use before Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu, Drake, & Collins. They built their own, or bought used commercial equipment. People are still continuing to use commercial radios on the ham bands because it is superior.
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Old 11-27-2017, 1:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baybum View Post
I agree that amateur radio is not there to replace local public safety communications. But when the new state-of-the-art system fails, nothing else will be more dependable than the 2 meter or 70cm local operators.
What in Part 97 would allow that sort of operation? Logistically, how do you handle the details... Do you licence every cop, firefighter, and EMT, or do you recruit a bunch of two-meter hams to do ride-alongs? Really?

No. Not no, but HELL No.

If the new state-of-the-art system fails, they're on their own, Jack. They should have adequate backup plans. Ham radio doesn't do 911 dispatch type operation, even in an emergency.

Ham radio is at the evacuation centers, out watching for funnel clouds, at the EOCs, helping the S&R guys locate folks who need help, and link isolated areas back to the outside world. It's there to augment public safety systems, NOT replace them.

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Originally Posted by baybum View Post
I think post #4 of this thread nailed it.
Thank you. I get to see the problem from both sides, ham and public safety. What's needed isn't a ham radio supplied backup, what is needed is additional resources just to deal with the increased logistical load a disaster creates.

Last edited by zz0468; 11-27-2017 at 1:56 PM..
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Old 11-27-2017, 8:35 PM
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P25 took off in my area about 10-12 years ago when it was that or Dstar. The hams with money for the hobby bought astro spectras and XTS's. We had a few P25 repeaters (quantars) on 2m and 440. It was fun to play with if you had the money.

Today, it's like playing with an original Nintendo. It's licensing is a rip off. More so today, with such an antiquated technology.
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Old 11-28-2017, 8:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zz0468 View Post
...Ham radio doesn't do 911 dispatch type operation, even in an emergency.

Ham radio is at the evacuation centers, out watching for funnel clouds, at the EOCs, helping the S&R guys locate folks who need help, and link isolated areas back to the outside world. It's there to augment public safety systems, NOT replace them.
We're talking about a disaster or major comms failure, not day-to-day dispatch operations.

A public safety disaster plan should include a way to deal with such events. Ham radio can be incorporated into such a plan if the plan is designed properly. And RACES or other duly activated ham radio groups are allowed to do whatever task is assigned if there is no other way to accomplish it, including dispatching 9-1-1 calls.

Many jurisdictions man the local fire stations and police stations in the event of a central dispatch failure. You don't need a ham in every vehicle, just one at every key station and some at the dispatch center. Calls for service would relayed by the hams to the appropriate stations, and the responders would return to said stations between calls to get the next one. It is slow, but it is how services were provided back when public safety first got started. Obviously, only the highest priority calls would be relayed.

[EDIT] Obviously, if there is such a plan, then the key locations should be designated ahead of time and at least suitable antennas should be mounted. "Suitable" meaning able to reach the dispatch center reliably on simplex. No need to attach radios; the hams would bring their own.
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Old 11-28-2017, 4:59 PM
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A hundred thousand hams who have pre-25 equipment and manage to communicate extensively without it, might find no point to buying all new equipment at great personal cost. If the OP wants to get taxpayer funding to upgrade them...Good luck selling that to the taxpayers.

So, lacking any killer benefit to spending all that money on an upgrade that most hams would just be cut off by? That's a no-starter.

On "partners"...I seem to recall the ARRL, and by extension the ARRL/ARES program, is federally recognized as an NVOAD, and yes that makes the program and the members "partners". Especially in those areas (K4 including a number of them) where the EOCs count on the regular participation of ARES/RACES programs, which have done real work and been of recognized benefit in the last two hurricane seasons.

Or would the term "recognized and valued asset" make folks happier?
Or is there a hamsexy border to be crossed there?
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Old 11-29-2017, 6:21 AM
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The term "auxcomm" describes what amateur radio can bring to the table much better than the term "emcomm". As has been extensively discussed in this forum and others, amateur radio is not emergency communications. Our best role, I think, is to be an auxiliary communications service that can help when the professional emergency communications systems are overloaded or tasked with more pressing matters. For example, providing communications to an from a Red Cross shelter or a Salvation Army Point of Distribution (POD) is auxcomm and a role that amateur radio can fill. OTOH, riding around in police cars or fire trucks to provide on-scene tactical communications is a role that few amateur radio operator are qualified to do no matter how many go-boxes, orange vests, and FEMA course completion certificates they have.

That said, we, as amateur radio auxcomm volunteers, should concentrate our efforts on communications systems that are inexpensive, universally-available, and easy to deploy. In my opinion, digital voice, no matter what form it takes, does not provide a sufficient benefit in our auxcomm role to justify the expense or the barrier to entry. If hams want to play around with P25, more power to them. But, please don't suggest to me that I need a P25 radio in order to participate in our auxcomm role.
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Old 11-29-2017, 5:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stantorres View Post
With public safety mostly adopting P-25 and the US military moving toward having P-25 capable equipment, why has ham radio not done the same?
There are a lot of P-25 ham radio repeaters in the state of Florida. Probably because the integrated public safety system that covers the entire state is P-25, and a lot of hams there work on, or have access to, the public safety system.
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Old 11-29-2017, 5:31 PM
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Negative. Our statewide radio system, SLERS has been Edacs for years. They may be going to P25, but it's been Edacs for years.
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:17 AM
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Negative. Our statewide radio system, SLERS has been Edacs for years. They may be going to P25, but it's been Edacs for years.
SLERS is a hybird of EDACS and P25.
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Old 11-30-2017, 3:05 AM
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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that there is a sizable contingent in the ham community who have the attitude that 20K0F3E should be enough for anybody, and have the same disdain for all things digital that vinyl purist audiophiles have for CDs.
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Old 11-30-2017, 6:43 AM
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SLERS is a hybird of EDACS and P25.
I have never seen a FHP Trooper use a Motorola XTS, XTL, or APX radio. What they DO use will not work on a Quantar repeater which is what hams use for P25.
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Old 11-30-2017, 7:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N4KVE View Post
I have never seen a FHP Trooper use a Motorola XTS, XTL, or APX radio. What they DO use will not work on a Quantar repeater which is what hams use for P25.
Depends on location. Quantar's a prevalent in most areas but there are some hams with Icom, GE and Kenwood P25 repeaters that they've sourced second hand in surplus sales.
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Old 11-30-2017, 9:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bill4long View Post
There are a lot of P-25 ham radio repeaters in the state of Florida. Probably because the integrated public safety system that covers the entire state is P-25, and a lot of hams there work on, or have access to, the public safety system.
There are several P25 repeaters being used. Most are Quantars, while other brands are used too. But they have nothing to do with the Harris Slers system which is Edacs.
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Old 11-30-2017, 9:59 AM
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Originally Posted by N4KVE View Post
There are several P25 repeaters being used. Most are Quantars, while other brands are used too. But they have nothing to do with the Harris Slers system which is Edacs.
I didn't say the P25 ham repeaters in Florida "had anything to do" with ham radio. I said that a lot of the engineers who work on the Florida public safety system are hams, and that's why they prefer to use P25 for their own ham repeaters.
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
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I have never seen a FHP Trooper use a Motorola XTS, XTL, or APX radio. What they DO use will not work on a Quantar repeater which is what hams use for P25.
Harris Unity series.
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:32 AM
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Folks, back to P25 in amateur radio, please.
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