2022-11-04 - US Army Needs New Tactical Radios, Starlink Emergency Neighborhood Area Network, QRP Labs QDX Digital Transceiver
I look forward to your impressions of the QDX!
I'm certainly a fan of the QDX, and share WB6CXC's enthusiasm for it. As I'll write about in a near-future issue of Zero Retries, I'm juggling too many interesting projects and I'm going to have to prioritize on a few to get a few of them completed.
This article rally describes a very similar path that FlexRadio took with the USAF. The USAF was looking to make the same kinds of modernization upgrades that the Army is and they held an Industry Day where they explained their needs. FlexRadio went with a partner (Raytheon at the time) who was really required because FlexRadio is small enough that it would be difficult to meet all the USG FAR contracting needs and everything the USAF needed on the contract. We competed against numerous other vendors, won a contract to supply the Air Force with a modernized radio and designed the radio base on the FLEX-6000.
The thing I found interesting about your article is that we did just what you're suggesting. While we were tasked with basically putting a FLEX-6600 into an airborne chassis, making it work with aerospace environmental and adding modernized waveforms, we looked at the radio we were replacing (a Collins radio known as the ARC-190) and noticed that it had been produced for 40 years. Knowing whatever we build might need to last that long, we put a tremendous amount of CPU horsepower into the unit, expansion slots, modular design, additional receiver, etc. to allow for growth over time.
The Air Force ran a competition between us (Raytheon/FlexRadio) and L3Harris and, due in part to our design which didn't just "meet the minimums," but provided tremendous capability for the future, we won the competition over L3Harris. In short, a radio designed by a US Amateur Radio company with <50 employees was selected over one designed by L3Harris with 30dB more employees.
nice read tonight, quick idea for a charging station: Grab a deep cycle marine battery or other equivalent, grab a battery box for the battery, a size up would be really nice but one the size of works as well. Hop over to amazon and search 'usb panel mount charger' and grab (almost) any that strike your fancy. Some are better than others, most of them throw off some amount of RFI. You could grab one or two cigarette adapters to mount as well. I would grab switches as well so you can turn them off when not in use. install everything in the lid of the battery box, might want a set of power poles as well and a bunch of fuses. once its all back together you can trickle charge the battery with a battery tender and then charge upto x devices at once! (for a more pro look grab some wood and make a stand that phones can stand in that you can put on a table to make sure the phones don't drop on the floor or anything.
I like the idea of providing neighbors with a connection in an outage. I did that, ad hoc, many years ago when I had my DSL connection on a ridiculously oversized UPS during a long power outage after an ice storm (cellular was intermittent). Something like the long range ubiquiti APs do actually have some directionality, and that may useful so that you can cover some extra distance in a particular direction -such as down a road, as people may be sitting in their cars to use it. I also like the idea of creating an "emergency" SSID and VLAN with bandwidth restrictions. Such a thing could even stay up, with a major bandwidth restriction, to let people try it ahead of time.
Some measurements on my just-built QDX (on my blog): http://wb6cxc.com/?p=244