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Sep 6, 2023Liked by Steve Stroh N8GNJ

If nothing else, reopening the symbol rate issue will drive all kinds of traffic to QRZ.com as the opposition organizes itself again. Fred, AA7BQ, will be smiling all the way to the bank.

The opposition will cite past efforts by the Winlink (a very poor choice of names that recalls the horrors of Winmodems and Winprinters and ties the system to MS Windows which is apt as apparently its users embrace anything proprietary no matter how encumbered) users and developers to support the abolition of the current HF symbol rate restrictions. I think the only way ARRL can support a new round of symbol rate debate is that the organization must without hesitation and without reservation disavow that it is working on behalf of Winlink in any form. This apparent relationship during the debate over RM-11708 drove (and still drives) as much anti-ARRL sentiment in the QRZ.com forums as it does anti-Winlink sentiment.

In my opinion a new proposal must declare that all protocols be entirely free of patents and restrictive licensing that effectively makes them proprietary. In the FCC's jurisdiction, at least, experimental licenses are available to those who wish to develop proprietary protocols for commercial applications. I see no place for them in amateur radio. Along with more capable SDR designs, protocol implementations must be capable of detecting other HF users, particularly analog users that are most disrupted by digital operations. As so-called AI implementations become more common it should be relatively easy for SDR based protocols to implement an AI interface for effective busy channel detection.

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Nate - Apologies for the slow reply - somehow I missed seeing your comment until now.

As I see the proprietary versus non-proprietary is that many proprietary systems generally work better for most people - at least that's the widespread perception. There's a profit motive for the manufacturers of such systems to make them friendlier to use, better performing, better documented, and better supported. The non-proprietary approaches are usually not as friendly to use, don't perform better (I haven't seen a better HF modem than PACTOR 4 (hardware) or VARA HF (software) - YET.

There's nothing preventing someone or some group from creating a modulation for HF that's better than PACTOR 4 or VARA HF that's in the public domain. The tools (DSP libraries, including OFDM) are available, the Software Defined Radio hardware is better than ever. And if it was free and easy to run on Linux... it would probably "win" in the marketplace of ideas. But, to date, that hasn't happened.

Perhaps those that feel as you do that proprietary / patented technology have no place in Amateur Radio should band together and form a coalition or more formal group and advocate that perspective; begin a marketing campaign to champion the non-proprietary / non-patented technologies already available such as FreeDV, FreeDATA, and M17.

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