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Aug 5, 2023Liked by Steve Stroh N8GNJ

What about convincing Elon Musk to join the Amateur Radio fraternity? Surely he could make this happen. -de NI0K

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John - I'm not an avid follower of Musk, but between Tesla and SpaceX and his other ventures, I suspect he's more than a bit saturated to indulge in a hobby like Amateur Radio. Not to mention that SpaceX, between commercial launches, development of the new Starship rocket, and completion of the Starlink constellation in Low Earth Orbit has that company pretty busy also.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good idea, just that my guess is that Musk simply wouldn't be receptive.

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Aug 5, 2023Liked by Steve Stroh N8GNJ

Bring back the code requirement for HF and suddenly we'll see satellites, repeater networks and data gain interest again (sarcasm).

However I think most hams are shepherded into HF by well meaning elmers. And the ARRL's focus on radiosport doesn't help the world above 50 MHz either. I understand, it appeals to our competitive nature to want a lot of log entries, and VHF doesn't fill up the book the same way a good weekend contest can.

Two things that would really help out would be a "network stack" approach to data modes and radios in general. Break out the low level stuff, modulation and applications. That way if someone comes up with a great modulator they don't need to worry about the rig control or application GUI. It would lend itself to network linking too, much like how web browsers don't care if they're pulling data from Ethernet, WiFi or Cellular... and the route to get from here to there might change from copper to coax to fiber and back again.

But someone needs to actually do it. So I'm volunteering. Let me know if you're interested in helping out. I'm on Mastodon @ReadyKilowatt@noagendasocial.com and on Discord as readykilowatt. Let's see where this goes.

K0JEG.

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Ready:

In commenting here, I'm way out of my comfort zone as I are not a programmer. What little I think I know I've picked up along the way and is probably not all that accurate.

The low-hanging fruit of a monolithic application that implements a specific radio is being done now, but that's monolithic "take over the radio" approach, not "play cooperatively with others". Not criticizing as that's the easiest way to get a working implementation.

I agree with you that there needs to be a "radio stack" like the 7 layer model as, you're right, it does get complex when you have to worry about managing the particulars of the radio. To date, I've been advocating for *practical* Software Defined Transceivers (ones that you can actually get on the air at reasonable transmit power) so that software development for them could see some real world testing.

I would think that there needs to be a reasonable set of APIs defined beyond what individual types and vendors of radios have done. The best one that I think I know about is FlexRadio (https://www.flexradio.com/api) but there's also VARA's not-quite-APIs (https://mega.nz/file/7aR2XRYJ#_F169wfpy92sHnxPzkpkW6_evm1usMnOZscy4Ko0sac and https://mega.nz/file/zXJxRADC#uQRPES6DzOD3acapV3AICJhqYCUgD6bsW72UKuRiSFc) (apologies for those nasty links).

I've added you on Mastodon (I'm @n8gnj@mastodon.radio), but apologies that I don't have the bandwidth to begin to keep up with anything Discord. Perhaps in the future when there is Zero Retries "staff"😀

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I'm not a programmer either, at least not since Atari Basic fell out of fashion. But a gigantic barrier to entry has come down thanks to ChatGPT. It can generate Python, C++/C#, Swift, Rust, and I'm sure many other languages. Like English, I find it fairly easy to read source code but very hard to write. Describing what I want to happen in specific plain language will at least get something into the IDE to try out, then tweak as necesary.

The other problem is the lack of cross-platform support for modulators. The two examples you list are pretty much off-limits to anyone not running Windows. Sure, I should just break down and put a cheap Windows NUC on my network, but why? I understand that the developers are running on shoestring budgets and likely just doing ham radio as a side hustle (even Flex gets most of their revenue from commerical and government customers), but crowdsourcing or partnering with people who would be willing to port to other platforms shouldn't be impossible, especially in a world where it's fairly easy to get potential customers to fund the project through Kickstarter.

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