Monday, April 5, 2010

Wisconsin Amateur Packet Radio (WAPR)

I was starting to miss the Wisconsin Packeteer columns that Andy Nemec, KB9ALN wrote for several years.

So I revived the old website.

It's interesting to look back and see how excited hams were about this new mode, and how quickly it grew.

Then there is the downside. There was plenty of drum beating to look to the future, especially in the last 10 years.

Well known Buck Rogers, K4ABT even wrote an article 10 years ago promoting spread spectrum for higher speed networks. (link)

Andy's conclusion was right on:

We have steadily lost the digital speed race to the wired network. This means there is little to retain experienced operators, not much to entice newcomers.

All of this points to the need for drastic action to be taken by the ham community, specifically the Amateur Packet Radio community. As I mentioned before, the ability to carry digital audio could gain the interest of the general ham radio public in addition to we who spend a lot of time with packet radio.

So where are we now?

Just last month the spread spectrum rules were proposed to be relaxed once again.

But will that change anything?

Probably not.

The funny part is with all the increased band threats you'd think interference resilient spread spectrum modes would be heavily promoted.

Just think all those amateur operations affected by Pave Paws, might not have been if using spread spectrum.

I'd like to see spread spectrum come to the 70 centimeter ham band. I think there is plenty of room there (unused ATV chunks), and point to point uses similar to D-Star's high-speed Digital-Data (DD) mode could prove useful.

The problem is how does spread spectrum fit into the existing ham band plans? Will your coordinator even acknowledge a request? If these are not made clear, you will likely never see a commercial solution made specifically for hams.

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