Read comment here.
Certainly there is an ad-hoc opportunity at hand and the tools are available. I'm getting a pulse check at Twitter and posted this question at FriendFeed, "What would you say to the League about the future of ham radio?"
Likewise, we can video conference at Ustream as a town hall meeting for interested ham radio operators to discuss relevant topics. Then present a summary of our conversation based on Twitter, FriendFeed, and Ustream conversations. All of which are free and representative of today's cutting edge social network.
I believe, coordinating this grass rooted effort is worthwhile, and a good first step toward raising the bar of conversation on the future of ham radio. I agree, "Let's get our act together."
73 from the shack.
Read comment here.
I agree that decoding Morse code requires a human operator as tradition. CW Skimmer, from one who has not operated this technology, may not subtract anything from traditional operating. In effect, CW Skimmer might enhance one's operating experience through visualization (e.g. waterfall) without the expense of a band scope.
Yes. CW Skimmer decodes the signal into visual form but I must hear the signal to confirm the validity of the call sign and/or the entire communicated message. That's just my preference however will technology like CW Skimmer diminish the skill of an operator?
I do not believe so because listening is a vital sensory experience just like the waterfall engages the visual. What Skimmer has accomplished, at least for me, is a new level of input while stimulating my curiosity to learn more. Additionally, Skimmer and similar software developments to follow is not unlike gaming technology. That is, the engagement of three sensory channels; sight, sound, and touch.
Will this technology reduce the excitement of making a contact? I'm learning this may not be the case, instead, we might benefit in the long term from this infant technology. Open source coding undoubtedly will improve on the first generation of CW Skimmer like software.
Thanks Julian for your comment and 73 from the shack.
Radio Dawg meets Le Doggie Chic last Sunday during Art in the Park. It goes without barking that Radio Dawg was interested in the sample dog bones. She dined on some type of organic version and we bought a small bag of doggie delights. On the other hand, Art in the Park, features over 90 local artists and craftsman through November. And we had a lot of fun strolling through the park meeting different artists. Check out Le Doggie Chic -- "A Gourmet Pet Bakery" only in California. 73 from the shackadelic.
I can only say RadioSport keeps getting better. And if you missed NAQP last weekend? Well do not miss one again. I'm having a lot of ham radio fun and the volume of activity pumped up into the red zone of cool. Who could explain the wild 15 and 10 Meter opening through the day? Perhaps we were all taken by surprise.
I thought about NAQP all through the morning while turning a wrench or two before taking off for W6TK's QTH in Nipomo. I did not bust a knuckle but focusing on nuts and bolts was painstaking. And patience with NAQP revving up in a few hours? Dudes!
The bands roared to life. Yet, admittedly, I'm still a rookie and have an ARRL manual worth of learning to accomplish. Perhaps RadioSport is a lifetime task? That is cool with me. However I pursued every QSO with due diligence. I asked for 'repeats' more than once if there was any question about the exchange. Eventually I want to copy code like the Contest Machine himself and that takes more contesting.
I'm learning about band propagation and Dick, W6TK guided me through the evening. He suggested moving to 20 Meters for needed VE multipliers. And sure enough we scored a few for the K1MM log.
Additionally, understanding when to shift gears when the run fades on the rate meter is important as well. I want to develop that contester's intuition.
Total Score: 111,600 points
The North American QSO Party CW 2008 was our first multi-single effort from W6TK. And I had a stellar experience learning from one of RadioSport's accomplished contesters.
A few photographs of our multi-single (M/S) effort at Dick, W6TK's station in Nipomo. We had a lot of fun especially when it came time to ring our rusty, trusty multiplier bell. I worked fellow blogger Keith, W4KAZ on two bands and nice signal on 10 Meters as well! I'll follow-up with more detail either today or tomorrow. Contest on.
Toby, EA4/DH1TW is one who is researching and developing software defined radio (SDR). His presentation at Friedrichshafen was a watershed event for ham radio. The popularity of the event energized him. Because of demand Toby posted his presentation for download. I viewed and read Software Defined Radio & Contesting: A New Technology and Its Possibilities with a keen interest on low-power, low-profile contesting.
Perhaps SDR is the most important technology to arrive on the ham radio scene since single sideband (SSB). For me, SDR holds out unlimited possibilities for low-power, low-profile contesters, and may change the landscape of contesting. Moreso, I'm convinced that SDR is the outreach technology that Millennials can identify with and understand.
On the other hand, I'm also pondering this question as well, "What will become of multi-multi contesting in the future?" Given today's economic, social, and energy pressures. Will multi-multi stations survive into ham radio's tomorrow? If so, what type of technology will occupy the space of today's transceivers? Because the spirit of competition will drive the top tier to the best technology.
How did you [Toby] become interested in software defined radio (SDR)?
Last year my good friend Joerg, DL8WPX mentioned in a long discussion the experiences he made with software defined radio. The list of huge advantages caught my attention and encouraged me to inform myself more about SDRs.
Describe the basic functions of SDR?
SDRs move the computer closer to the antenna. HF Signals are converted in the digital domain. All filtering, modulation and demodulation is performed in the digital domain, i.e. on your computer. This provides a never seen flexibility regarding the implementation of new modes, filters and applications but also regarding the optimization of classic designs.
If one understands how to operate a computer and its software then transitioning to SDR is transparent. Is this true?
Better would be "if one understand the theory of complex mathematics then transitioning to SDR is transparent". When one really wants to understand how SDRs work, then there is no way around the mathematical principals. But we don't have to worry. There are also a lot of people who drive cars without knowing how they really work ;-)
Human machine interface? What about that?
Over the last 50 years the layout of the contest station changed constantly. Remember for example the 90s. During this decade, computers became popular. They came as a "as it is box" on the operating table to take over jobs like logging contacts. Later interfaces with radios like cw keying and transceivers controls were added. However the PC and the radio(s) were always considered as separate systems with defined interfaces.
Today SDR technology offers the next step. A fully integrated solution. A smooth integration "melts" the formerly separated radio and computer into one new communication system with the benefits of both worlds. This transition also implies changes in the user interface, the so called human machine interface (HMI). Over the last fifty years we just accepted the user interfaces as they came with the transceiver (a lot of buttons and knobs) and the computer (mainly keyboard and mouse). With the introduction of SDRs we have to free our minds. The old restrictions of "out of the box user interfaces" have disappeared. Now we can design the HMI of a contest station for optimum ergonomic aspects in order to optimize efficiency and to reduce fatigue of the operator.
A good example of revolutionary HMI in the consuming industry is Nintendo's Wii console. Who says that a game console does always need a controls with almost a hundred buttons? Nintendo made it. Motion sensors and a few smartly configured amount of buttons placed them at the top edge in the market against all other competitors. Todays microelectronic and interfaces like USB or bluetooth provide a new world of possibilities.
Now the user interfaces of radios and computers have to be critically assessed and brought into a "Contesters next generation user interface".
Do you see SDR as defining a new era in RadioSport?
Absolutely. SDR will give contesters a whole new world of powerful tools. The mentioned possibilities of a perfect station / user interface layout is just one example. Another example is the (for what reason again?!) controversy discussed CW skimmer. I'm sure that more revolutionary software / hardware will follow soon. For several years the only way to improve your score was to erect new antennas and buy bigger amplifiers. This ended up in an arms race of a few stations which had enough space, money and manpower.
With the introduction of SDR into RadioSports, little pistols have the chance to boost their score with a smart station layout and the usage of new technologies (i.e. CW Skimmer). We are living in a dynamic world which changes rapidly. Contest rules must be adapted to technology and not counterwise! RadioSport has to promote new technologies and must not encumber it.
What advantages might one anticipate using an SDR in relationship to contesting productivity and efficiency?
A very nice feature of SDRs are the ability to "display" whole bands in a waterfall diagram. The traditional way was to search for new station or a free frequency on the band, with an SDR you will "look" for them. This will reduce the time spent searching but will maximize your score due to not missing stations and multipliers.
How important is open source coding to the success of SDR?
Open Source is a very important element of our non profit hobby in order to promote the understanding and evolution of new technologies. However we also have seen that there are also a couple of "closed source" freeware/shareware/payware software projects like VE3NEAs Rocky, I2PHDs Winrad or F5MZN Wintest which are very well written and include frequently requested features.
At this stage the promotion and the support of the major Amateur Radio societies is much more important. The ARRL already made a huge step in this direction with the introduction of "Technology" as the 5th pillar of its association. In this early stage of SDR we need to define standards which reflect our needs. We must not wait until companies start to define their own standards and force us again to adapt to them. Have you recently wondered why there are only D-STAR radios available from ICOM?
The definition of standards is the task of our major organisations. Only national / international organisations with several ten thousand members are are strong enough to promote them and force equipment suppliers to adapt their products to them.
73, Toby EA4/DH1TW
Posted by Scot Morrison at 9:22:00 AM