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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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Old 11-26-2017, 1:03 PM
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Default Why is ham radio not P-25?

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.
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Old 11-26-2017, 1:16 PM
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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 the primary reasons is P25 is still expensive.
It's an old technology, APCO started working on it over 20 years ago.
It doesn't do anything that the other formats can't do.



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Originally Posted by stantorres View Post
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.
Since amateur radio operators cannot legally transmit on the Part 90 frequencies used by public safety, there's no need for hams to be running the same emissions. In fact, amateurs running simpler/more robust modes makes much more sense. Lower cost radios in the hands of more people makes more sense than adapting an aging and overpriced format.

Amateurs don't gain anything by running P25, other than bragging rights. While some are doing it with repurpose commercial equipment, it does lock out hams with lower budgets. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not the way to get more people involved.

Analog is still king.
The lower cost digital emissions make more sense for a hobby radio service.
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Old 11-26-2017, 1:30 PM
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Everything mmckenna said plus the fact that DMR repeaters are a lot simpler to network than P25 systems. DMR has really taken hold in the commercial world because of the benefits over analog coupled with how economical they are compared to P25.

That being said, I enjoy P25 and DMR but also good ol' analog still. I'm involved with my state's Dept. of Emergency Management as a volunteer amateur radio operator and we have some digital voice capabilities but 99.9% of what we do is still analog, completely on amateur frequencies (we let the state use state radio systems).
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Old 11-26-2017, 1:36 PM
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Huh
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Originally Posted by stantorres View Post
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.
Hams "mission" isn't to replace public safety communications. The "mission" is to augment communication. And the most valuable thing ham radio offers is that it's NOT structured like a public safety system.

In a disaster, a diverse selection of resources is what's needed, not more of the same.
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Old 11-26-2017, 1:36 PM
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Only whackers consider themselves as public safety "partners" and want to use the same equipment and do everyting the same as their local public safety agencies.
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Old 11-26-2017, 1:38 PM
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Only whackers consider themselves as public safety "partners" and want to use the same equipment and do everyting the same as their local public safety agencies.
Well, yeah, and there's that...
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Old 11-26-2017, 1:42 PM
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Originally Posted by nd5y View Post
Only whackers consider themselves as public safety "partners" and want to use the same equipment and do everyting the same as their local public safety agencies.
Amen.

Some hams seem to think of themselves as "partners" to public safety. The public safety people think of hams not as partners, but as an available resource that may or may not actually be needed.
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Old 11-26-2017, 2:18 PM
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Originally Posted by zz0468 View Post
Some hams seem to think of themselves as "partners" to public safety. The public safety people think of hams not as partners, but as an available resource that may or may not actually be needed.
As a retired LEO and a ham, I have to agree. Before I retired, one of my functions was to operate a mobile command center. It's a 45' bus with lots of communications equipment (ham, UHF, VHF, marine, air, etc.) and other stuff. Fortunately, we've never had such a catastrophic situation locally that we needed ham assistance but virtually every training exercise put on by the state also incorporated amateur operators.
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Old 11-26-2017, 2:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stantorres View Post



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.

I get so tired of the whole concept that amateur radio is for "emergency communications". That's not the sole purpose of the hobby. It's a radio hobby fist and foremost. Can it be used during a disaster? Yes, but it's primary "mission" is for folks to play around with radios. Period.

That being said, there are folks who use P25 on amateur radio currently. Like others have said, the equipment is expensive, and not wide spread among most hobby radio users.

Last edited by W9BU; 11-26-2017 at 3:38 PM.. Reason: fixed quoting
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Old 11-26-2017, 2:23 PM
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We have three P25 repeaters locally here in VE4 land One is on 900 Mhz and the other two are on 145 Mhz.

https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeate...=CA03&type=P25

They were never intended for public service interoperability.
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Old 11-26-2017, 2:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stantorres View Post
.....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.
Or not. Hams offer more modes and methods than than PS can afford, and can stand them up very fast.

The likelihood of the hardened public service P25,DMR,NXDN and EDACS systems going down is slim, and gets slimmer all the time. That's not to say it can't fail, but were it to, who are you going to talk to on P25, and with what?
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Old 11-26-2017, 2:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
One of the primary reasons is P25 is still expensive.
It's an old technology, APCO started working on it over 20 years ago.
It doesn't do anything that the other formats can't do.
Price is coming down but when the MD380 hit the market the sub-$100 P25 radios were vastly undercut. I keep acquiring used Astro 25 radios as they get pulled from service and replaced with APX sub but unlike many coming into the tech...those of us who work on it have the tools to repair, diagnose, program, etc so there is that side of the cost we tend not to worry about.

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Originally Posted by KG4INW View Post
Everything mmckenna said plus the fact that DMR repeaters are a lot simpler to network than P25 systems. DMR has really taken hold in the commercial world because of the benefits over analog coupled with how economical they are compared to P25.

.
Eh, P25 isn't difficult to network. Many manufacturers have IP capable repeaters that are as simple to network as DMR repeaters. You'll pay more for it because it is newer/under support. The older stuff (Quantars for example) aren't difficult to network either...you just have to have the hardware and know-how to do it (serial to IP encapsulation with multicasting) but it's not plug and play like the second generation digital infrastructure where IP is native.
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Old 11-26-2017, 3:26 PM
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Fair enough. My experience is limited to Quantars, which all of the few ham P25 repeaters around here are and it's all relative. So, mainly it seems to come down to cost.
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Old 11-26-2017, 3:45 PM
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This really isn't the place to debate whether or not "amateur radio is for 'emergency communications'". As a reminder, here is the first section of Part 97:

Quote:
ß97.1 Basis and purpose.
The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.

(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.
Let's keep this topic focused on why P25 isn't more common in amateur radio.
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Old 11-26-2017, 4:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
This really isn't the place to debate whether or not "amateur radio is for 'emergency communications'". As a reminder, here is the first section of Part 97:







Let's keep this topic focused on why P25 isn't more common in amateur radio.


The whole question the OP asked is in relation to "emergency communications" that's why we're discussing the role of emergency communications and amateur radio, I think it's entirely on topic.
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Old 11-26-2017, 5:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
This really isn't the place to debate whether or not "amateur radio is for 'emergency communications'". As a reminder, here is the first section of Part 97:

97.1 Basis and purpose.
The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.



Let's keep this topic focused on why P25 isn't more common in amateur radio.
I'm not sure when that portion was written but I doubt seriously that it anticipated P25 and, in fact, may not have even anticipated repeaters. At the onset of amateur radio, I think it was just base-to-base. That's not to say that either P25 or repeaters interferes with the "Basis and purpose," however.
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Old 11-26-2017, 8:43 PM
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Price is not a factor. While I do own some high end P25 radios, I do own several no display P25 radios, one that was only $40. Much easier than DMR to program, & not having to beg on social media for code plugs. Stable CPS, & FW that isn't being updated daily like the recent slew of Chinese dual band DMR radios. And since they are commercial radios, they are practically indestructible. When friends from up north come to Florida to spend the winter, I hand them one of my $50 P25 radios & tell them to make sure they give it back before they head up north for the summer. Oh, & plenty of local VHF, UHF, & 900 P25 repeaters.
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Old 11-26-2017, 9:01 PM
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Used, definitely, but not for brand new P25 equipment. Even top of the line DMR radios are significantly more affordable than P25 subscriber units. When DMR radios can be had new (quality issues not withstanding) for less than what amateur analog only HTs historically went for, it makes sense that they're enticing.
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Old 11-26-2017, 11:53 PM
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And most radios directed at amateur radio operations are front panel programmable, the increased flexibility at programming in other frequencies in the field when required is a bonus.
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Old 11-27-2017, 12:22 AM
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Default Why is ham radio not P-25?

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Used, definitely, but not for brand new P25 equipment. Even top of the line DMR radios are significantly more affordable than P25 subscriber units. When DMR radios can be had new (quality issues not withstanding) for less than what amateur analog only HTs historically went for, it makes sense that they're enticing.


Depending on what you are looking at, I can actually name several P25 SUs that are comparable in price to some higher end DMR SUs from Motorola, Icom, GME, and Simoco. Now of course, thatís comparing list pricing and itíll vary by dealer. They arenít full featured (no trunking, or nice bells and whistles) but they do include some features that would cost you optionwise with the higher end DMR radios (looking at list pricing).

Of course itís all relevant to build quality, software availability, confidence in programming, actual needed versus desired features, etc.


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