2022-02-18 - US Amateur Radio Data Network
Hey - thanks for the mention. I'm caught up! I thought I'd mention something that I've been thinking about lately. It was an article in the most recent Technology Quarterly published in the Economist, talking about defence technology (or defense, as you call it on the other side of the fense from Canada). The subtitle is "Is is possible to survive on a battlefield where every weapon has the sensors of a smartphone and they all talk to each other?".
"A $1,000 phone comes not just with a panoply of cameras pointed in various directions and working at various wavelengths but also with one or more photometers, barometers, accelerometers, hygrometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes and microphones. It also boasts radio antennae that pick up signals from navigation satellites, nearby Bluetooth accessories, payment terminals, Wi-Fi networks and even, now and then, mobile phone towers."
These systems have fast, distributed, secure (I hope) and reliable wireless data communications, providing situational awareness in real time from all assets, especially drones. These technologies are filtering into public safety. I hope we're still not relying on AX.25 when that process is complete.
We ain't seen nothing yet. Looking forward to your next edition.
I tried to comment using the link in Zero Retries 0033 only to be taken to Zero Retries 0016 but I found I could alter the URL to get here. You suggested using VARA-FM and Raspberry Pi's but VARA-FM only works on Windows, so cannot be used - yet - on a Raspberry Pi. You did suggest using Pi's for routers and Nodes but what is a Node?
I have a Pi working using the great Build-a-Pi package which includes PAT for Winlink, and YAAC for APRS. This package makes it easy to get Winlink and APRS working using DireWolf and AX.25 on 2M, and also includes FLdigi and more.
I have a Yaesu FT-8900 which includes FM 10M and 6M in addition to 2M and 440, and a flat audio interface. I believe there is a clone of this radio available, TYT TH-9800D, so that could be another choice for 6M FM. I also have an Icom IC-7100 which provides a flat audio interface so I assume it would also work on 6M, so there are several possible radios.
Thanks for producing Zero Retries. I have really enjoyed reading it and thinking about the many possibilities you present.
"Eventually there will be an open source equivalent of VARA FM that provides equivalent functionality."
Unlicensed (no cost) VARA FM offers throughput multiple times faster than 1200bps packet (or realistic 9600bps packet, for that matter), and does so even under marginal conditions, where packet is unusable. The technical "chops" to implement a radio modem technology on par with VARA FM, running on readily availably general-purpose computer hardware/OS, is a rare and valuable commodity.
Also, you suggest that 6 meters might offer some significant advantages for extending the amateur radio data network... depending on propagation circumstances, the coding and modulation schemes used in VARA HF might be better suited for taking advantage of this band for data communications.
Implementing a radio modem system for optimal data-communications in both the HF and VHF/UHF regimes is an even more daunting prospect. What makes you think someone will ever develop an open source alternative to VARA HF / VARA FM?