Amateur radio digital voice rant

Status
Not open for further replies.

robertmac

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
2,222
I really have no problem with digital. I do see the advantages. The problem I have is none of them are compatible with each other. What does one have to do to talk to other hams, buy a dozen different digital mode radios? Over the years, I have wasted far to much hard earned cash buying things that become obsolete because of not being compatible. Beta versus VHS, 8 track versus cassette then CD, DVD, then MP3, Mac vs Microsoft, automatic vs stick shift, iPhone vs android. The list continues. Amateur radio has been relatively calm on this front. Yes there was CW then AM, FM and SSB, digital modes vary. But the vast majority use one mode and if not radios are basically all mode. I will wait for the dust to settle on voice digital modes for ham. Why amateur radio manufacturers want to market their own digital mode is a little beyond my understanding. In my area, D-Star is next to dead. Will Fusion be next? Or will it even get a foot hold? There is one Fusion repeater in my area, but again it is basically dead except for maybe once a week. Certainly, there is a lot of small pockets of interest when these digital modes come out, but nothing has really taken off to be the end all to digital in amateur radio. But it does give those that want private comms in amateur radio a little bit of their own little private communications until scanners are made to decode these modes. And all these different, incompatible digital modes make repeaters even more silent. And for those not aware, repeaterbook.com does list all the different digital modes in specific areas. May not tell how active they are, now that would be interesting to see. That is my rant for the day.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
13,799
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
So, let me ask this:
Why is it up to the manufacturers to all agree on one standard? That hasn't happened on the LMR side of things, although there is a bit more cooperation.

Amateur operators should band together (no pun intended) and come up with a standard. ARRL could be helping here, but I haven't seen they are. There are plenty of standards out there, one just needs to be chosen. Instead of waiting for the radio manufacturers to tell you what to do, amateurs should be taking the lead. It doesn't need to be an off the shelf standard, although that would make quite a bit of sense.
 

ko6jw_2

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
1,065
Location
Santa Ynez, CA
The problem is that most digital modes are proprietary. P25 is not, but it has not gained much traction in the amateur community. There are some P25 repeaters and surplus equipment is available. A friend of mine has just received a Yaesu Fusion repeater for beta testing. He had to sign a non-disclosure agreement and can't talk too much about it yet. I very interested in seeing how much acceptance it receives. I like it's dual mode potential.

If you were around in the 1950's and 1960's you would have heard the howls of protest about single sideband. FM was next. Then PL on repeaters. Digital will probably sort itself out too.

One of the problems is that the growth of digital is not really driven by the amateur market, but by commercial interests and specifically narrow banding. The goal is to give commercial users more capabilities in a 12.5Khz channel. Thus, the technology trickles down to the ham market, but each manufacturer is seeking to promote their own products. Don't look for an all mode digital scanner or transceiver in the near future.
 

Bill1957

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
95
Location
New Jersey
Digital rant

That is what amateur radio is all about.Experementing with different modes,embracing new technology furthering radio communications as a whole.Sure, some digital modes have not caught on such as P25. There are P25 repeaters out there. I have had some great qso's on P-25. Where do you live? D-Star is alive and well in the Northeast. DMR is also alive and well and growing really fast.NXDN is not growing as I thought it would, but there are more systems comming on line.I have equiptment for all modes and do use them all.Grab a Connect Systems CS700 or a CS701 and join the fun on DMR-It will set you back a whopping 185.00 bucks!
WA2WJC
 

Thunderknight

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
1,970
Location
Bletchley Park
The good thing about something like P25 or DMR is that there is a dual market (really triple) - commercial/public safety and ham. So both new equipment and used equipment are going to be more common (in both subscriber units AND repeaters made). DMR is widely available, especially thanks to radios like the Connect Systems, but even P25 can be had at a reasonable price on the used market thanks to P25 Phase 2 equipment replacing some earlier generation Phase 1 only equipment.

Something like DSTAR or Fusion is ham radio specific (as far as I know) and therefore a much smaller market.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
325
Location
Mile High, or more.
That is what amateur radio is all about.Experementing with different modes,embracing new technology furthering radio communications as a whole.....
WA2WJC
Nicely said! So easily forgotten it seems. Had those before us not embraced the real purpose, we'd all still be on spark gap.
 

N0IU

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2009
Messages
802
Location
Wentzville, Missouri
Why amateur radio manufacturers want to market their own digital mode is a little beyond my understanding.
Simple. Its called "marketing". Why would ICOM want other manufacturers to include D-STAR in their radios?

But it does give those that want private comms in amateur radio a little bit of their own little private communications until scanners are made to decode these modes.
That is not the intention of digital voice modes. "Private communications" are illegal in amateur radio.
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
0
Location
Virginia
DMR

That is what amateur radio is all about.Experementing with different modes,embracing new technology furthering radio communications as a whole.Sure, some digital modes have not caught on such as P25. There are P25 repeaters out there. I have had some great qso's on P-25. Where do you live? D-Star is alive and well in the Northeast. DMR is also alive and well and growing really fast.NXDN is not growing as I thought it would, but there are more systems comming on line.I have equiptment for all modes and do use them all.Grab a Connect Systems CS700 or a CS701 and join the fun on DMR-It will set you back a whopping 185.00 bucks!
WA2WJC
Show us all where to get that DMR radio for $185,its well over 200.
CS 700 UHF Analog Digital 4 Watt DMR Portable Radio with LCD Display and Keypad | eBay

Another mode that nobody uses probably,I had Dstar,it was dead most of the time.Fusion,will it take off?Not if nobody buys it.
 

kayn1n32008

ØÆS, I put that shØt on everything.
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,170
Location
Sector 001
Show us all where to get that DMR radio for $185,its well over 200.
CS 700 UHF Analog Digital 4 Watt DMR Portable Radio with LCD Display and Keypad | eBay

Another mode that nobody uses probably,I had Dstar,it was dead most of the time.Fusion,will it take off?Not if nobody buys it.

Uhhhh yea... Seems when I turn on my DMR radio, I hear people on North America TG, WW-English TG, TAC-310 TG. It IS used, and if you think different, that it is dead well, do not bother to buy a DMR radio.




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

n9upc

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2003
Messages
201
Location
Land of mixed mode digital comms
Thunderknight beat me but I was going to say the same thing as the person selling it on eBay has inflated the price greatly.

As stated in the discussion post earlier Amateur Radio has always and will always be about experimentation and the ability to test new things and try different things. I see that for some people it can be confusing and frustrating that a large amount of digital modes have started to creep up in the last few years. But, I ask you to take a look at the HF bands...

How many different modes of communication take place on the HF Bands??? Packet, Pactor, Amtor, PSK31, etc... These modes at first required you to have a TNC and some of them were plain all out expensive but technology increased the cost went down and the modes increased. While yes Packet was somewhat of the unofficial standard because of people just saying "hey use packet" I cannot recall the ARRL saying something is a specific standard. Once again a lot of organizations have pushed it and the ARRL has supported the decision but nothing every saying this is the way and the only way!!!

This is very true right now with digital voice and for many of the reasons that have already been stated here. Was D-Star a sort of defacto standard??? Yes, because at the time no one else had a digital mode out there that could do what D-Star did. P25 had been out there for the same or even a bit longer but it had traction issues because no amateur equipment was made for it. Some people just do not like non-amateur equipment. D-Star had traction issues also because only Icom was aboard and no one else.

One thing that has hurt D-Star is the infrastructure being all digital and no backwards compatibility. As more and more digital modes come on the issue of backwards compatibility has died and all can do analog and digital modes ( it is even my understanding that with Fusion you can go in digital and come out analog and vice a versa).

Is one digital mode going to win over all other digital modes? The answer is No and I hope it remains the way that it is and that no one steps in to say "hey use this mode and nothing else." That is not what amateur radio is about in any way, shape, or form. I myself have been looking at digital modes for awhile now and plan to start using DMR and putting up a DMR repeater. I was looking at P25 but cost of equipment (even used) and support are not there for P25 like DMR.

Not to turn this into a format war but the reason DMR is because of the abilities that it provides for new technician amateurs to talk around the world without HF privileges. Also the technology factor is a great one also in that two different groups of people can use one repeater and have two different conversations going on all at once.

This is just my choice and may not be the best choice for any other amateur out there. Once again this is the hobby and it is a great one that will let me do that at anytime that I want to be able to do it.
 

kayn1n32008

ØÆS, I put that shØt on everything.
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,170
Location
Sector 001
One thing that has hurt D-Star is the infrastructure being all digital and no backwards compatibility. As more and more digital modes come on the issue of backwards compatibility has died and all can do analog and digital modes ( it is even my understanding that with Fusion you can go in digital and come out analog and vice a versa).

I just do not see the point of a mixed mode repeater... Why put up a digital machine, and run mixed mode? I Understand if it is the only machine around, but when there are something like 15+ analogue machines(like where I live) if one is digital only what the f*ck is the point of having number 16 being mixed???

What hurt DStar is that nobody else makes subscriber equipment and the stupid expensive Icom radios. I got my IC-92ad for 1/2 price including GPS mic(never even used GPS function yet but was included in the sale), battery, and rapid charger.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
325
Location
Mile High, or more.
Another mode that nobody uses probably,I had Dstar,it was dead most of the time.Fusion,will it take off?Not if nobody buys it.
Well, we can guess you're not using it.

Been in DSTAR over 5 years. It's on right now, and hasn't gone over 15 minutes without activity. I've enjoyed it immensely on the road.

I bought my first DMR rig 3 months ago. A bit less activity on the local talk groups, (visiting Colorado) but the state wide has chatter every hour or so, and the worldwide hasn't been quiet more than 5 or 6 minutes. There is no DMR in my home county in Florida, and I don't expect there to be for some time. 2 DSTAR machines, Of which one is very active, and a guy/club that claims he's putting up NXDN. Lot's of P25 in South Florida.
 

AK9R

Lead Wiki Manager
Super Moderator
Joined
Jul 18, 2004
Messages
6,474
Location
Central Indiana
...because of the abilities that it provides for new technician amateurs to talk around the world without HF privileges.
U.S. amateur radio operators with Technician class licenses could do this using their analog radios and IRLP or Echolink...before any of the current crop of digital voice modes came to amateur radio.

The overriding question in my mind when it comes to digital voice modes in amateur radio is what can DV do that we can't already do?
 

n9upc

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2003
Messages
201
Location
Land of mixed mode digital comms
The overriding question in my mind when it comes to digital voice modes in amateur radio is what can DV do that we can't already do?
The simple answer.....nothing more really....but with that thinking then why have so many different forms of HF data communications? Yes, we can do more such as private call, different signalling, text messaging, etc. Each little different variation has a different feature set to it which makes it different or unique to other modes.

I just do not see the point of a mixed mode repeater... Why put up a digital machine, and run mixed mode? I Understand if it is the only machine around, but when there are something like 15+ analogue machines(like where I live) if one is digital only what the f*ck is the point of having number 16 being mixed???
In a busy city or area I agree with you nothing....but in areas that want to use this and repeaters are about 20 - 30 miles away at best or are in a great location compared to others....well then mixed mode is needed. Another thing is that in some areas SOOOOO many paper repeaters exist that the only pair you can get needs to be mixed mode.

I think both of these quote's shows another important part of amateur radio which is: Not one model can fit every location and every amateur radio operator across the entire United States. Thank for your questions and opinions.
 

AK9R

Lead Wiki Manager
Super Moderator
Joined
Jul 18, 2004
Messages
6,474
Location
Central Indiana
...then why have so many different forms of HF data communications?
In some types of operation, public service, for example, amateur radio is just a tool that you use to pass a message. You should use the best tool available that will reliably pass the message.

Some HF data modes work better in poor band conditions. Some HF data modes have error checking or error correction. Some HF data modes are more easily adaptable to exchanging ICS 213s, ARRL Radiograms, or something that looks like an email.

I appreciate the experimentation aspect of these digital voice modes, as well as the data modes, and how they fit into one of amateur radio's purposes as stated by Part 97. But, I also look at them as a tool to accomplish a task. And that's when I have to question whether or not the experimentation is worth the cost to develop a tool.

So, since you brought up text messaging, which of these digital voice modes would allow a user to send a "text message" to another user using the same handheld device that they would use for voice? I believe DMR can, but I'm not an expert.
 

n9upc

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2003
Messages
201
Location
Land of mixed mode digital comms
So, since you brought up text messaging, which of these digital voice modes would allow a user to send a "text message" to another user using the same handheld device that they would use for voice? I believe DMR can, but I'm not an expert.
DMR radios can text message one another of the same make but cross compatibility between different manufacturers is not there. With that being said I have been told that the CSI models are compatible with Motorola. I am not sure that this means text messaging also or just voice compatibility.

Yes I agree that with no such standard it creates issues of compatibility but really no different than Icom (D-Star) and Yaesu (Fusion).
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
325
Location
Mile High, or more.
The overriding question in my mind when it comes to digital voice modes in amateur radio is what can DV do that we can't already do?
DMR? Provide 2 available channels (Talk Groups) simultaneously on a single repeater pair, with clear communication at a signal strength that would provide pure hash in analog.

DSTAR, still single channel, but half the bandwidth of analog.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top