Radio Preppers

General Category => Digital Modes => Topic started by: gil on September 09, 2012, 01:19:29 PM

Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on September 09, 2012, 01:19:29 PM
I used to think that CW was the only practical data mode for preppers. I still think it is the most important one. There might be a place however for data modes in emergency situations. I am thinking of news bulletins and passing messages. ConfederateColonel got me thinking about this.. Some modes like Olivia can decode a message buried deep in the noise. You can't even hear anything but static, but the data comes through. These modes are amazing in that regard. With the abundance of sub-$300 laptops and the simplicity of connecting them to your radio via the earphone/microphone jacks, why not give it a try? A news bulletin can be typed, then cut-and-pasted into a program like fldigi. Some software will allow you to set your radio as a beacon and transmit the message at regular intervals. Even at QRP power, it will eventually go through... The biggest issue with digital modes is to agree on a standard. After reading about practically all of them, my vote goes to Olivia. I have yet to experiment though, so let's discuss possible modes and setups to achieve a practical solution.

Radio Preppers I hope will eventually end-up on the air. We won't call it that of course, it will just be another friendly net.. We could then practice voice, CW, and one data mode for our purpose. The main band will probably be 40m because some of it is accessible by all license levels and propagation works even in low solar activity. NVIS is possible as well for local contacts. 40m is the most versatile band in my opinion. The General exam is fairly easy..

For prepping purposes, I don't think it is a good thing to spread out to many bands and modes (except on receive). Having just a few "watering holes" would make it easier to find "like-minded" individuals, people who read this forum. Note that the goal here is not to form some kind of militia group. It is to exchange information on developing events between somewhat trusted individuals with whom we may have had prior contact and maybe even developed a friendship with.

So, do we need digital modes?

Gil.

Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: Jonas Parker on September 11, 2012, 12:09:31 PM
Probably 1 or 2.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: Mitch on September 17, 2012, 02:00:01 PM
I think when the use of digital modes can be matured to the use of a smartphone and a transceiver with just a bluetooth (or other wireless) connection between them they will be perfect for preppers. There will be no shortage of smartphones post disaster and they are easier to recharge with solar power.

It would also take less room in my pack!
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: Mitch on October 05, 2012, 11:10:37 AM
This is similar to what step one would look like!

http://www.yo3ggx.ro/bt8x7/FT8x7_DIY_Bluetootth_CAT_interface_v1.pdf (http://www.yo3ggx.ro/bt8x7/FT8x7_DIY_Bluetootth_CAT_interface_v1.pdf)

It's an interesting read if nothing else at the moment!

I still don't have a good idea how to wirelessly get audio from the phone to the radio without having the radio hooked up to a computer. Maybe one of those microminiature computers on a board could be a compromise. I don't think the Rasberry Pi has onboard sound... I'll have to go look again.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: Paul on October 06, 2012, 09:50:16 AM
The problem with using digital modes in this sort of situation is the complexity of doing so, the required equipment for producing the particular mode.  If you can produce that digital mode, and if the other recipient can decode that mode, then it could certainly be of benefit.  I think you can see where that could become a problem though, right?  It depends on the resources available.
The 'KISS' principal is a nice way of doing things.  The 'simpler' it is the more likely it will be possible to do in adverse conditions for a greater number of people.  ('Smoke signals' would work, IF you can start a fire.  That sort of thingy.)
 - Paul
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: KC9TNH on October 09, 2012, 03:30:17 PM
Given the original question some thought over past few days as I investigate a couple things in this area. I was originally with gil, in that if someone said digital mode to me I'd have asked "paddle or straight key?"

Most of us don't have unlimited time or resources. When I think of preparation I have to think of "as a contingency to...what?" So some prioritization of effort has to take place. The reason I have decided to investigate digital modes, in particular being able to link into email using HF, is because there may come a time when I might want to do that, for a variety of reasons.

It could be a Divine/natural event, e.g., the mother of all winter storms that hovers in place, or EMP a la Hollywood. (George Clooney will be in it for sure.)
It  could be a man-made event, e.g., the proverbial blue-helmets are rolling down the interstate and have crossed the state border and Big Sis is controlling the media story.
It could be a combination of both, to wit: The Cubs win the World Series. ("It might be, it could be...")

Either way it could be that I need to convey some larger amount of information to an outside entity, even OCONUS, who may not have radio skills, but whose influence I need to bring to bear to effect some outcome in my favor.
I might want to get some ground-truth out to a non-operator about conditions as a result of this natural event.
I might want to get some ground-truth out to a sympathetic country who may exert or rally political influence against a domestic oppressor OR to an off-shore floating broadcast station who can get the real story out.

Not being able to define every possible calamity that might occur is OK in my book. We just need to be reasonable and put our learning efforts where they're most likely to do the most good. For me preparation without knowing specifically what the influence is means I take a multi-faceted approach to things. The fact is I might not bugout (or be able to), although I could.  I might not have to haul a bunch of stuff; although it's quite possible, at least 50:50,  I'll have to power all or some of it myself. I could still haul it if needed; there's a proper size Pelican case down in the basement as well as a modest backpack that would do the trick. But staying at the base location is not to be dismissed either.

Hence, I'm at least going to explore a digital mode to learn about it & make part of the toolkit. Judgement is reserved, I'm not championing anything. It really doesn't cost much I've discovered since the software is free and the physical interface needed is ~$110. The investment is my time to learn it really.

So more to follow. But, as to the thread's original question, it's worth exploring for me.
My $.02 adjusted for the Drachma
 :)
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: Sunflower on October 10, 2012, 01:13:19 AM
This question is a bit off topic, but here it is...

For prepping purposes, do HAM operators concern themselves with faraday cages and protection from EMP or other shocks to their equipment? How vulnerable is cw/paddels? Thanks.

The idea of digital modes made me think hi-tech, hence more risk to the equipt getting hurt real bad.
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on October 10, 2012, 03:53:17 AM
I like the question Sunflower - had the same thought about a faraday box...seems like a filing cabinet would work just fine (but what do I know)...

I know where to get some metal carrying cases that could be adapted to use as faraday cages!?
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on October 10, 2012, 10:26:09 AM
Hello,

An EMP for me is a major concern, just because it can occur naturally, and it has (big one in 1859). Anything that has transistors or integrated circuits in it would fry. That means pretty much every electronic device in use today, including computers. So, there isn't just radios to be protected. Having one of those cheap laptops ($300) in a Faraday bag/box would be a good idea. Make sure all the software you might need is on it. I don't have a spare, but I did pack-up a solar powered scientific calculator. Regular electric devices like say a simple toaster, soldering iron, vacuum cleaner, etc. and yes, paddles, would not be affected. Tube radios actually might be fine.

Digital modes since they require a computer, are more complex and might not be practical in an all-out catastrophe. Another problem is their number. There are just too many. If there was a national consensus among preppers to adopt a certain mode, then maybe, but I don't see that happening (no harm in trying though). I would favor Olivia for it's ability to work with weak signals. CW, SSB and FM would be the main modes to use for sure, and of course, I want to promote CW. Most CW radios have message memories so that you can record one and have it transmitted every-so-often, automatically. With headphones, they can be operated silently... Blah blah blah, I could go on...

I will personally try digital modes, get a Signalink box and play with it a bit. Then I'll probably put the interface in a Faraday box with an El-cheapo laptop and forget about it. Anyway, there is such a thing as too much gear. You want backups, but when things start to pile-up, it's time to stop buying more crap. There are other areas of prepping to be considered, and radio, while close to the top, is not number one. For me, digital modes are an "extra." Meaning that if I'm bugging out, the stuff stays behind...

Gil.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: KC9TNH on October 10, 2012, 02:18:48 PM
A Carrington-magnitude event would be notable, no question. I have to prioritize, again reverting to character. When doing a risk assessment I have to look at both severity as well as likelihood. Unlimited re$ource$? The world's your oyster. Not here.

In terms of a hostile-induced event, from a nation-state that actually had the capability & willingness to do that, there would be no notice. So my solution would need to be a completely sealed on-shelf mirror of my basic requirements, untouched. Then something else for in-service use & training. At that point it's also more likely that I have other priorities beyond radio. Such a redundant setup, however, would absolutely include solar for the (never used, just rotated) gel-cells because such an event will draw down fuel supplies very quickly and then the generators go quiet.

A presidential (and DoD budget funded) commission chartered back in 2001 has produced 2 (two) reports, one in 2004, another in 2008.
http://www.empcommission.org/reports.php
(The big one is just a high-res dupe of the '08 report)
I think they may now be partially funded by DHS dollars as well, who now has their hand in the critical infrastructure pie. This does make for some lucrative niche markets. The Big Bear during the Cold War made for the same thing.

Don't get me wrong, not dismissing the severity at all. Just not in a position to subvert finite resources from other things.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: cockpitbob on October 10, 2012, 03:49:41 PM
Email with digital modes?

What's available?  Is there one very commonly used mode and software, or is there so little standardization that it isn't very useful?  In a moderate SHTF situation that only covers a reigon, like the North East USA, being able to send messages "directly" to people outside the affected area with emails would be a great way to communicate.

Don't the MARS people use something like email?
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: deanathpc on October 10, 2012, 04:07:54 PM
I still run a bulletin board system (BBS). The ones before the internet was around.  I know the tnc's have that capability built in but I'm current looking at a software package that not only does the traditional telnet / web stuff but can also be hooked up for hams to connect to.  I'm seriously considering this but my problem is not only the tnc but that radio for such.

Digital mode can be expensive even if you go the eBay route etc.  I would love to experiment with this side of the hobby but unless you already have the equip. It's expensive just to play.

I would take suggestions though on how to do it fairly inexpensively.

Dean
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on October 10, 2012, 04:55:08 PM
I don't think you need more than a $120 interface...

Gil.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: KC9TNH on October 10, 2012, 09:16:37 PM
Email with digital modes?

What's available?  Is there one very commonly used mode and software, or is there so little standardization that it isn't very useful?  In a moderate SHTF situation that only covers a reigon, like the North East USA, being able to send messages "directly" to people outside the affected area with emails would be a great way to communicate.

Don't the MARS people use something like email?
Last first, yes. (MARS freqs aren't within the amateur bands.)

As to the rest, my initial checking had me interested when I discovered that it really doesn't take much.
Alot of ships & other marine entities apparently use a 2nd or 3rd generation service called PACTOR, which is spendy. However, there's a similar service for amateurs (but not quite as robust) is WINMOR (WINlink Message Over Radio). For amateurs BY amateurs. The software (most seem to use RMSExpress) is free. The following link will go to the Winlink.org page and display their messaging gateway HF stations that are active:

http://www.winlink.org/RMSHFPositions

You can see there are more than a few. The menu across the top also has some info about WINMOR software. Several free basic tutorials/overviews on WINMOR and RMSExpress are on the searchable on the net.

Propagation from where you are will sorta dictate band and distance to make the best connection. So the s/w is free, the interface box isn't much, and the case of the Signalink USB is pretty compatible to almost any computer & radio & comes with the cables necessary. (Mine should be here next week.) I'll reserve judgment yet on how it performs.

One thing: While an internet connection isn't necessarily required, the s/w will use it to run current propagation to help the software if you have it. Otherwise, there are provisions to put in some best estimates about propagation.

Given that my old radio based (versus some type of high-speed fixed link) "email" was typing on a TTY to produce a paper tape with holes in it, then getting it read in to be sent over an HF link, this is likely to be better. You can also just do key pounding with someone if you want, been there done that a long time ago. But the concept of an HF-based email-like substance is intriguing to me.

Judgment is in hold mode pending validation of the mission I have in mind. I think there are a few on here (at least two) who can certainly speak to this with a heck-uva lot more authority than me. We'll see; more to follow. Intrigued anyway, glass half-full.
 :)
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: cockpitbob on October 10, 2012, 11:16:26 PM
KC9THN, thanks for the great reply.  Right now I'm adding CW and QRP to my ham repertoire, but I think digital modes will be right after that.  Perhaps if it's a long nasty winter.  I'm really intreigued by the idea of email over HF for moderate SHTF where only my reigon's systems are down.  Even if it is only one-way, outbound from me.  At least I would be able to tell my family that we are doing OK, the food, water and booze are holding out but the hookers are getting tired. ;D   
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: deanathpc on October 11, 2012, 06:15:48 AM
HF seems to be the only thing used for digital mode.  What about VHF or UHF?  Yes I know shorter range.  But for those of us who can't afford an HF rig and / or o.ly have a tech license we are limited as to what we can play around with.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: Mitch on October 11, 2012, 08:27:10 AM
Everything VHF/UHF that allows voice transmitions allows data also.

You won't hear it as often just because the pool you are swimming in is primarily dominated by repeater users and data modes bouncing off repeaters is generally frowned upon. (Unless it's something like a Dstar repeater- then voice is frowned upon!)

It's there though... Especially in a populated area like Houston. There's no harm in going to a traditionally simplex channel and calling CQ to see who answers. I wouldn't use the national simplex calling frequencies (146.52 and 446 MHz). For any who don't know the "generally accepted use" for different frequencies in the bandplan here is one source:

http://www.arrl.org/band-plan-1 (http://www.arrl.org/band-plan-1)

I also imagine a large portion of those "repeater only crowd" may be newer  HAMs with handhelds who haven't dreamed of trying to hook them up to a computer yet.

Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on October 11, 2012, 11:06:39 AM
Quote
those of us who can't afford an HF rig

It is common belief that HF radios are more expensive than VHF. Many are, because of the features they offer, different modes and more power. It is however not always true. There are HF radios available from $30 in kit form to $300, SSB factory-built single-banders. Ebay is also full of HF radios for around $300 that still work perfectly fine.

I could set-up a digital mode station for $670, including Radio, interface and computer, all brand spanking new... (MFJ-94xx, Signalink USB & cheap laptop). You don't even need the Signalink box. The Fldigi manual has a schematic for a TX interface that costs only a few bucks.

HF on a budget is possible, you won't have as much choice, but it will work as well.

Gil.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: deanathpc on October 11, 2012, 11:31:52 AM
Hmm interesting Gil.  The only HF I really know about are what I dealt with in the Marine Corps.  So I do understand HF also.

It's just the ham versions I don't know.  So much marketing hype. Bells and whistles are plentiful.  Plus I'm limited having my tech license.  Just can't absorb the gen class material.

Dean
KC2MVB
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on October 11, 2012, 11:45:01 AM
Hello Dean,

Look at these then (your license allows you 10m voice ops from 28.3 to 28.5):

http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-9410X (http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-9410X)
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=HTX-10+transceiver&_sacat=0&_from=R40 (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=HTX-10+transceiver&_sacat=0&_from=R40)

You can also operate CW on many HF bands with a Tech. license.

Gil.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: deanathpc on October 11, 2012, 11:55:22 AM
Thanks Gil I shall look closer at these
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: KC9TNH on October 13, 2012, 10:11:45 AM
HF on a budget is possible, you won't have as much choice, but it will work as well.

Gil.
Dean, good advice from gil.

One source (many really) often overlooked when folks look at the cost of HF is buying used. If you peruse the 2 most common forum classifieds, as well as QTH.com, you will get a feel for who's a "solid" presence there. Hams of many years will often swapout gear like changing clothes. Some new 'thing' comes out & they gotta have it, or they get a bigger base because they get tired of drilling thru sub-menus, or their eyes are going & they want a bigger display... any number of reasons.

A good time to peruse is over the winter while you define pretty much what your focus areas are gonna be - which will help define what equipment might meet your needs. Spring is a good time to buy because of sales of new models, hamfests & people getting tax refunds to help them get the latest/greatest. They might unload a perfectly good tried/proven HF base rig with most stuff you need in order to subsidize their next purchase (or recoup what they already spent to insure "domestic tranquility" with the household Chief Financial Officer).

Maybe figure out primary & secondary goals and go window-shopping without letting new sticker shock be your limiting factor. Working that out will help narrow down your 'list' because you'll be able to evaluate whether something would be worthwhile based on what else you might have to bring to the table.
 :)
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on November 23, 2012, 09:59:51 AM
Are digital modes practical for prepping?  More and more often, the answer is proving to be "YOU BETCHA!"

Almost two months ago, KC9TNH was musing about the following possibilities:



The reason I have decided to investigate digital modes, in particular being able to link into email using HF, is because there may come a time when I might want to do that, for a variety of reasons.

It  could be a man-made event, e.g., the proverbial blue-helmets are rolling down the interstate and have crossed the state border and Big Sis is controlling the media story.

Either way it could be that I need to convey some larger amount of information to an outside entity, even OCONUS, who may not have radio skills, but whose influence I need to bring to bear to effect some outcome in my favor.

I might want to get some ground-truth out to a non-operator about conditions as a result of this natural event.

I might want to get some ground-truth out to a sympathetic country who may exert or rally political influence against a domestic oppressor OR to an off-shore floating broadcast station who can get the real story out.

Some of these things, well I've seen them occur in the past.  e.g. the ARC used radio amateurs to disseminate a list of survivors from within a disaster zone.  Sure made it a lot easier than trying to deal with health and welfare requests by the bajillions on an incoming basis.

Some of Wes's suggested scenarios are even more far-reaching.  But they can in fact have a solution within the ham radio digital modes.

Consider his last scenario.  Frightening, yes?  But in my testing of Winmor systems in the past couple of daze, I've discovered that there are international Winmor stations located all over the planet, which are up and running 24/7 and ready to disseminate the information that YOU deem to be true.

Let's go all paranoid and conspiratorial here for a moment.  The blue helmets have in fact taken the streets, taken down any semblance of internet connectivity,  kept everybody in their homes and/or compounds, and -- oh yah -- the electrical grid went bi-bi some weeks back.

Winmor allows "group" addresses, so if I have a requirement to  generate correct (as opposed to media specified) information to the world (literally), I can do that.  Thus, the fact that martial law has been implemented can be transmitted to 20 international outlets in pretty quick order.  Many other scenarios can be planned for in advance.  The truth gets out, far and wide.

I also noticed that of  the NBEMS modes, some can be coerced into doing "multicast" transmissions, coupled with error-correction.  This means that you can transmit your emergency bulletin to numerous stations simultaneously, with the expectation that the receiving stations will query your system for any "fills" or gaps in data which were not received correctly.

This is certainly a fine time to be a radio amateur. 

I'm looking now for others here who would like to participate in related preparations with Winmor.  We need to stress the systems with overloads of test messages to each other, so as to determine how badly, if at all, our systems will be affected when the S hits the F.  Any takers?

Best 73 de WA4STO
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on November 23, 2012, 04:46:26 PM
This scenario is more realistic than anyone knows...after Thanksgiving dinner (my favorite holiday, due to its lack of commercialization)...a friend of the family, with libertarian passions related a story: he has plastered his vehicle with quotes from the founding fathers, Von Mises, etc., he went to fill-up his tank (a new Friday, habit), and a retired fellow walked up to him and started a conversation. This gentleman identified himself a former special forces. He mentioned that there were many folks in this country who seem to dismiss the idea that our soldiers would raise arms against their own people. Seems there is already a plan in place to address this - the Blue Hats will be here, but they will be battle tested forces from Germany, Serbia, Croatia, etc., - and they will have no compunction whatsoever about raising a weapon to put down any civil unrest/implement martial law. Each of these forces have seen America do the same in their own respective countries for many years doing just the same thing...which apparently has bred in them a get-even-ism...so, there's that...

...I was also informed that a very large Chinese military base exists 50 miles south of the Mexican border...

The "trouble" areas (where an authoritarian type government might encounter trouble), are well known to TPTB, and it, appears they've taken careful consideration of these issues.

It's time we made plans accordingly - it's why My next prepp - is to get off grid...quick,

...you know what's really interesting, in this very large country it's very near.y impossible to find a spot in a rural area that doesn't have a military base/fort!?

but that won't be the main focus - the cities will be the main focus.

Digital modes are calling...but not for the sake of a hobby....
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: KC9TNH on November 23, 2012, 05:22:39 PM
I'm looking now for others here who would like to participate in related preparations with Winmor.  We need to stress the systems with overloads of test messages to each other, so as to determine how badly, if at all, our systems will be affected when the S hits the F.  Any takers?

Best 73 de WA4STO
[/color]
I'm up for documenting some things, ways to do stuff, and different things to have in the bag. I'd personally recommend against attempting to stress the system (certainly espoused publicly) as it is still prop dependent, and a capability that is actually used, while being somewhat "dormant" from a prepper perspective. But, I think regular testing is a good thing. These access points are out there in place & supported by other operators and, like a repeater, the last thing I'd want them to think is that their efforts are for nought and they'll tear it down & re-purpose the equipment.

It's also difficult to determine who else keeps it as a tool in the bag when "the event" nips internet content in the bud. (That is why many, in normal use, advocate exchanging email that's NON-emergent using the Telnet capability, saving HF bandwidth for true EMCOMMs.) In one of the scenarios I mentioned above, it might be worthwhile to have some contact info for OCONUS folks receptive to the ground-truth before it becomes impossible to look up their "online" info. Nothing really to do with ham radio, but such a list could be a good thing to have if the indicators go that way.

An example of my starting efforts (read "baby steps") in this are along the lines of what is my exposure time for payload 'x' and that includes attachments, going both ways, creating the inbound traffic from my regular email account.

One other thing I noted today was another reason I like the lower power requirements. If the band is shifting in the middle of a transmission one can get into that constant ack-nack cycle and the repetitive attempts can get a bit heated, especially for a solid-state unit in what is basically long bursts of "key down." Not needing alot of output power is a big plus and keeps the finals happy.

 :)
Title: Duty cycle of digital modes
Post by: WA4STO on November 25, 2012, 12:26:32 PM

One other thing I noted today was another reason I like the lower power requirements. If the band is shifting in the middle of a transmission one can get into that constant ack-nack cycle and the repetitive attempts can get a bit heated, especially for a solid-state unit in what is basically long bursts of "key down." Not needing alot of output power is a big plus and keeps the finals happy.

 :)

Yes, indeedee.  In the distant past, when using Ten-Tec rigs, I never had to be concerned with the 100% duty cycle of digital transmissions, which back then, was RTTY only.  Ten-Tec had a 100% duty cycle on their finals so "full" power was fine.

After that, I never really ran into such wonderful specs, meaning that I always kept the power down to a little under half.  In the case of my Icom IC-7000 today, I typically run 40 watts.

But that's MORE than enough, partly because Winmor systems frequently scan all the HF bands.  So if 40 meters (my mainstay, apparently) doesn't let me in, 80 or 20 likely will.  Life in the RF fast lane is good.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: KC9TNH on December 03, 2012, 12:47:05 PM
After getting back from #1's flooded basement late last night (sorry gil, too pooped for a QSO) I went to transmit my last WINMOR test I had queued up to do that day (best laid plans of mice, etc....) and couldn't raise anyone, including the somewhat local-to-me stations on 80m, who presented themselves to me suddenly in the top 1/3 of my list. Then I noticed the aurora had dipped down below Hudson Bay, which is a sure sign that some signals are squashed, probably mine too.  So, as the infantry likes to say, "the enemy gets a vote."  Well, so does Mother Nature.  Sometimes, stuff just happens.

(And, yes, if I'd had a "gotta make" sked with someone, my backup window would've been CW, in an appropriate part of the plan.)
WINMOR remains a very good tool, like a shovel. Even so, sometimes the ground freezes.
 8)
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: cockpitbob on December 08, 2012, 09:45:05 PM
OK, I'm in.  I just ordered my Christmas present.  A Signalink USB with cable for my FT-857. 

I'm really itching to play with Winmore.  My 14 year old son has his General but hasn't done much.  I think digital modes will be enough like texting and emailing that it could get him back into the hobby.  Also, on my bucket list is EME and most people seem to be using digital modes because of their ability to work incredibly weak signals.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: madball13 on December 10, 2012, 07:55:38 AM
OK, I'm in.  I just ordered my Christmas present.  A Signalink USB with cable for my FT-857. 

I'm really itching to play with Winmore.  My 14 year old son has his General but hasn't done much.  I think digital modes will be enough like texting and emailing that it could get him back into the hobby.  Also, on my bucket list is EME and most people seem to be using digital modes because of their ability to work incredibly weak signals.

Just got my 817 hooked up to the computer for PSK. After lots of frustration i was able to figure it out. Recently during an EMCOM meeting at my club the president showcased the possibilities of using digital modes over the repeater. There are a lots of digital modes and they all seem to have there benefit based on data you want to transmit. PSK125 (???) for example uses a higher bandwidth but can get a lot of data transmitted in a short amount of time. My club supports lots of local activities like races and think it would be possible to digitize a list of racers and send it by PSK versus calling all the names out individually.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on December 10, 2012, 11:16:26 AM
think it would be possible to digitize a list of racers and send it by PSK versus calling all the names out individually.

Heh, back in 1979, I did just that.  It was the first year for the hams to support the 24 hour horse riding and human running race through the mountains of Shenandoah, Page, and Frederick counties in Virginia.

Was it digital back then?  You bet.  RTTY. 

The ride/run officials were delighted to have a hard copy of who was where but man-oh-man, those Model 28 Teletypes were a stinker to heft up into the Jeep and unload at a horse barn in Front Royal.  After the race, do it all over again, in reverse.

(http://www.hurderconsulting.net/radiostuff/m28.jpg)

The one thing we couldn't guarantee back then was accuracy of transmission.  Today, with Winmor and certain of the NBEMS modes, we can do that.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: KC9TNH on December 10, 2012, 11:40:36 AM
The ride/run officials were delighted to have a hard copy of who was where but man-oh-man, those Model 28 Teletypes were a stinker to heft up into the Jeep and unload at a horse barn in Front Royal.  After the race, do it all over again, in reverse.

(http://www.hurderconsulting.net/radiostuff/m28.jpg)

73 de Luck, WA4STO
[/color]
[HGWells]Oh my. Those things may have been regarded as the apex of TTY design, but they were a complete pain to actually use. From someone who used to jam up the 100wpm gears on a Kleinschmidt, the keys on those 28's were shaped like obnoxious push-buttons, nothing really tactile about them. How these empowered ladies of the period managed that with the fingernails of the day is beyond me.[/exiting Rod Taylor's time machine]

Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: RadioRay on December 10, 2012, 12:33:05 PM
THAT picture is a blast from the past!  I actually used to copy Morse code on a teletype, whether ASR or KSR I cannot recall, but it was a model 28 - Kleinschmidt without the re-perf.  The keys were indeed pushbuttons with all the tactile response of the push button on a 1960 car door. Add to that the fact that you had SHIFT and UNSHIFT buttons to press to switch between letters and numbers/punctuation and you get the picture of what it was like to copy fast, mixed letter/number cipher traffic send by some Siberian conscript, high on Russian Partizanka cigarrettes and chai and or vodka, depending upon how long it has been since his last pay/booze allowance. They were'nt paid much, so they were known to drink MUCH to make-up the difference. Some of their transmitters were drift-o-maits, so I'd have to copy with one hand, while the other hand was on the knob of my beloved R-390A, tracking them as they chirpped and drifted.

>>>  THIS is why I am so jazzed about Direct Digital Synthesis - always on freq, no chirp or drift and palmtop computers that hold entire DEPARTMENTS full o of teletype capabilities ON STEROIDS!  Being able to park a radio on a WINMOR freq and have 'mostly private' e-mail over radio non-real-time is a good thing.

Enough of the good old/bad old days.  The nurse is coming down the hall with my meds and she gets angry when I am caught using the staff computer to talk to those outside of the assylum. . .    :P


>de RadioRay ..._ ._

Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: madball13 on December 10, 2012, 01:20:02 PM
think it would be possible to digitize a list of racers and send it by PSK versus calling all the names out individually.

Heh, back in 1979, I did just that.  It was the first year for the hams to support the 24 hour horse riding and human running race through the mountains of Shenandoah, Page, and Frederick counties in Virginia.

Was it digital back then?  You bet.  RTTY. 

The ride/run officials were delighted to have a hard copy of who was where but man-oh-man, those Model 28 Teletypes were a stinker to heft up into the Jeep and unload at a horse barn in Front Royal.  After the race, do it all over again, in reverse.

(http://www.hurderconsulting.net/radiostuff/m28.jpg)

The one thing we couldn't guarantee back then was accuracy of transmission.  Today, with Winmor and certain of the NBEMS modes, we can do that.

73 de Luck, WA4STO


You just dated yourself. Were you able to run that mobile?  ;D
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on December 10, 2012, 02:08:15 PM
THAT picture is a blast from the past!  I actually used to copy Morse code on a teletype,

I remember a Model 28 - related "fun" time I had in the late 70s:

1.  With the help of two strong friends, we hefted a 28ASR up to a dorm room at the U. of VA on Valentine's day.  A bunch of the students (some hams) had a booth set up (lots of red hearts displayed around it) and accepted radiograms in the dining hall.

They'd run back to the dorm room with NTS radiogram forms in hand.

For some strange reason, I've always been an extremely fast typist.  So I had them read each radiogram to me, and I "poked" 'em all into the 28, made 5-level paper tapes of them, and later spit them out on 80 meter RTTY to the waiting NTS troops.

I learned one important thing about young people and radiograms:  They just LOVE to say "Happy VD" to all their friends.  Or maybe it was ex-friends, dunno.

73 de Luck, WA4STO


Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on December 10, 2012, 02:28:35 PM
what it was like to copy fast, mixed letter/number cipher traffic send by some Siberian conscript, high on Russian Partizanka cigarrettes and chai and or vodka, depending upon how long it has been since his last pay/booze allowance. They were'nt paid much, so they were known to drink MUCH to make-up the difference. Some of their transmitters were drift-o-maits, so I'd have to copy with one hand, while the other hand was on the knob of my beloved R-390A, tracking them as they chirpped and drifted.

dih DAR dit THAT! 

I couldn't imagine using a TTY machine to copy Cyrillic cipher text; I mean whaddya do about those "extra" characters?  what happens when "dih dah di dar" comes across your cans?

In Morse incercept school (Pensacola), we had a bunch of R390s at the end of the schooling to practice tuning, but the copy was only on typewriters, specially modified to let you nail those extra characters.  Oh, and they were sturdy enough to allow for young Marine teens, right out of boot camp (wanting to kill, kill, kill, but stuck in Morse training?  Geez!) to throw them at the Chief CT running the class. 

Then at the super-secret Naval Security Group base outside of D.C. (so secret that it didn't have any guards at the gate) we also used  Cyrillic mills.

Fun times.  right.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: KC9TNH on December 10, 2012, 03:08:17 PM
...drift-o-maits...
>de RadioRay ..._ ._
;D  They're still out there; on 40m, as heard in the middle of the night over the weekend, SKCC sprint? (Someone should take that circuit off the internet and donate their 6V6 tubes to a guy who refurbishes old Fender Princeton amps.)

And while Ray's getting his meds & chasing the nurse, oh-dark-thirty over the weekend I found a reliable enough relay to become the 10th to put in my RMS Express favorites. And reflected that the worst I've seen thus far in terms of drift is a relatively microscopic Sixteen Point Seven Hertz. On 40m this effort has been awhile coming along because of the diff between our band plan and my friends just to the north, who have a wonderful time on LSB SSB in what we think of as "our" CW & digital area. But at least, from my location, I have some relays near & far, 80-17, and if they don't work, the bandS be broke.

Did manage to get some reading done while listening on a couple of QRP areas. Murphy was still around, because as gil knows, our band plan ain't their band plan (whoever they is), and there seemed to be alot of +20 DX signals coming in from the other side of the fence, Bulgaria was one, can't remember the other but they all make distilled beverages out of potatoes.
 8)

Need to get through the holidays so I can reset my body clock.  Arggh.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: cockpitbob on December 29, 2012, 09:56:01 PM
OK, I'm in.  I just ordered my Christmas present.  A Signalink USB with cable for my FT-857. 

I'm really itching to play with Winmore.  My 14 year old son has his General but hasn't done much.  I think digital modes will be enough like texting and emailing that it could get him back into the hobby.  Also, on my bucket list is EME and most people seem to be using digital modes because of their ability to work incredibly weak signals.

Just got my 817 hooked up to the computer for PSK. After lots of frustration i was able to figure it out. Recently during an EMCOM meeting at my club the president showcased the possibilities of using digital modes over the repeater. There are a lots of digital modes and they all seem to have there benefit based on data you want to transmit. PSK125 ( ??? ) for example uses a higher bandwidth but can get a lot of data transmitted in a short amount of time. My club supports lots of local activities like races and think it would be possible to digitize a list of racers and send it by PSK versus calling all the names out individually.


So, now that all the relatives have gone I can start playing with my new SignaLink USB.  For Winmor it looks like RMSexpress is what I should set-up.  What communication SW do most people use for the PSK modes?
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on December 30, 2012, 10:50:44 AM
For PSK (and just about everything else, aside from JT65 and WINMOR) the majority of us dweebs seem to float to the top with FLDIGI.

You can grok it at: 

http://www.w1hkj.com/download.html (http://www.w1hkj.com/download.html) <-- look closely for the help file over on the right.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Stuck in the cornfields of Nebraska
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: cockpitbob on January 01, 2013, 01:13:46 PM
For PSK (and just about everything else, aside from JT65 and WINMOR) the majority of us dweebs seem to float to the top with FLDIGI.

You can grok it at: 

http://www.w1hkj.com/download.html (http://www.w1hkj.com/download.html) <-- look closely for the help file over on the right.

73 de Luck, WA4STO
Stuck in the cornfields of Nebraska
Luck, thanks.  FLdigi rings a strong bell, so it must be popular enough to have stuck in my leaky brain.  I'll go with that.

Been working my ass off around the house since all the relatives left.  As of now I'm "off duty".  I have the rig re-located to the living room, in front of the TV and close to the fridge, with an Rx only antenna strung around the room and over the Christmas tree.  By tonight I plan on receiving PSK.  Once Rx works I'll relocate to the shack for some Tx and hopefully my 1st digital QSO.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on January 01, 2013, 03:14:29 PM
Luck, thanks.  FLdigi rings a strong bell, so it must be popular enough to have stuck in my leaky brain.  I'll go with that.

W1HKJ has been absolutely fabulous in his support of FLDIGI. 

I'm gonna guess that you'll get a great deal of mileage from the user group at

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/linuxham/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/linuxham/)

If you're like me at all, you'll find that the various flavors of PSK, MSK, JT65, Olivia, Thor and Feld hell are great for the "fun" aspects of ham radio.  But for prepping purposes, you'll want to begin exploring WINMOR and (within FLDIGI) the NBEMS suite.  look on w1hkj.com for references to his FLAMP, FLMSG, and FLWRAP thingies.

FLAMP seems to be his newest foray into the notion of allowing for squishing, error-correcting and -- tadah! -- multicasting. 

Dunno if you remember the early 90s ham radio satellites that would broadcast pictures of the earth.  The way they did it was fabulous; they'd transmit the photo to "all" and when it was done, the stations back on terra firma would automatically ask for "fills" until the whole thing was filled up with the appropriate pixels.  Multicasting.

 Now the same thing is going on via messages (text, binaries, whatever) within FLAMP.

Me, I haven't gotten into those things yet.  I can sometimes manage one thing at a time at my age.  At present, I'm delighting in the networking aspects of WINMOR which encompasses the all-important ideas of error-correction and compression (which also translates VERY nicely into OPSEC...)

73 de Luck,WA4STO
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on February 08, 2013, 05:16:16 AM
Luck, you continue to astound me with the wealth of information you distribute!

Concerning these modes - do you still recommend FLDIGI to curious types...or would you think something like FLAMP offers more convenience for novices like me?
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: madball13 on February 08, 2013, 10:06:04 AM
Luck, you continue to astound me with the wealth of information you distribute!

Concerning these modes - do you still recommend FLDIGI to curious types...or would you think something like FLAMP offers more convenience for novices like me?

As a psk novice myself I have found fldigi to work extremely well, my contact to Kenya was with fldigi. I downloaded HRD and still haven't been able to get that to work correctly.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on February 08, 2013, 12:59:21 PM
Luck, you continue to astound me with the wealth of information you distribute!

Concerning these modes - do you still recommend FLDIGI to curious types...or would you think something like FLAMP offers more convenience for novices like me?

For the FUN parts of amateur radio, yes, I still admire what W1HKJ has done with FLDIGI:

http://www.w1hkj.com/ (http://www.w1hkj.com/)

If I want to make contact with far-away stations all over the planet, FLDIGI is my software of choice.

And -- guess what -- FLAMP is done by the same clever fella.

FLAMP is interesting in that it allows for a "multicast" sort of Prepper file transfer.  It transmits your data to a number of folks all at once, and then those folks who miss bits and pieces can get whatever "fills" they need.  Nice spectrum efficiency.

Having said that, I've not used FLDIGI in quite some time.  I'm presently focused on providing preparedness data transfer via WINMOR network nodes.  As you might guess, we've been exchanging weather-related preparedness bulletins with/for the guys up in New England the past couple of days.  Gonna be a lot more of that this weekend, methinks...

73 de WA4STO

(http://www.hurderconsulting.net/radiostuff/hilevel.jpg)
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on February 08, 2013, 03:46:35 PM
Hello,

I just got a laptop with Windows on it and installed RMS Express. I don't have the Winklink box yet but will get one soon and set-up a radio email address!

Gil.
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on February 08, 2013, 11:57:58 PM
Hello,

I just got a laptop with Windows on it and installed RMS Express. I don't have the Winklink box yet but will get one soon and set-up a radio email address!

Gil.

I have a laptop...can download RMS Express, but what is a WINLINK box?
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on February 09, 2013, 12:01:31 AM
I meant "Signalink" sorry.

Gil.
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on February 09, 2013, 12:47:06 AM
I meant "Signalink" sorry.

Gil.

Ah yes...I should have realized that!

Still not sure if I can get one to work with my Omni D!?

I'm thinking I'm going to need a more recent model...like an Omni VI...just not sure how stout that model is (and I'll never give up my Omni D).
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on February 09, 2013, 01:44:30 AM
Doesn't matter.. As long as you have a phone out and mike in you're good to go..

Gil.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on February 09, 2013, 10:42:44 AM
Doesn't matter.. As long as you have a phone out and mike in you're good to go..

Gil.

Tim's Ten-Tec actually has a couple of 'gozintas and gozoutas'.  The one I always used to use was the microphone jack itself. 

But he's got "phone patch" RCA jacks on the back which should work, with the possible exception of the fact that the Signalink relies on the audio signals to 'key' the radio, and I'm not sure if the phone patch lines will accomplish that. 

Tim, I'd suggest that you use the microphone jack, with the only unfortunate issue being that you'd have to pull it and insert your microphone connector whenever you wanted to go back to voice.  Or you could build up a little switch box to let both be in line simultaneously.

'Course, you could always just give up on that nasty VOICE stuff entirely!!  ROFL.  c o u l d n t   r e s i s t !!

73 de WA4STO

(http://www.hurderconsulting.net/radiostuff/lovehell.jpg)
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: KC9TNH on February 09, 2013, 01:19:36 PM
Hello,

I just got a laptop with Windows on it and installed RMS Express. I don't have the Winklink box yet but will get one soon and set-up a radio email address!

Gil.
Did you find one with XP on it, or did it come with Win7?  :)
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on February 09, 2013, 05:29:06 PM
Quote
Did you find one with XP on it, or did it come with Win7?

I did not see a single one with XP. I certainly did not want Windows 8! So, I got a Lenovo E430 with the i5 processor and Windows 7 Pro. I left it on but installed Linux Mint 13 also and use that 99% of the time.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834312087 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834312087)

Gil.
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on February 09, 2013, 05:48:31 PM
Doesn't matter.. As long as you have a phone out and mike in you're good to go..

Gil.

Tim's Ten-Tec actually has a couple of 'gozintas and gozoutas'.  The one I always used to use was the microphone jack itself. 

But he's got "phone patch" RCA jacks on the back which should work, with the possible exception of the fact that the Signalink relies on the audio signals to 'key' the radio, and I'm not sure if the phone patch lines will accomplish that. 

Tim, I'd suggest that you use the microphone jack, with the only unfortunate issue being that you'd have to pull it and insert your microphone connector whenever you wanted to go back to voice.  Or you could build up a little switch box to let both be in line simultaneously.
I wouldn't mind pulling the mic - at least until building another gozinta box...but I'd like to bounce that around a bit...and the bigger issue is: I don't remember what solution we arrived regarding the cables between the Ten Tec and Signalink?
'Course, you could always just give up on that nasty VOICE stuff entirely!!  ROFL.  c o u l d n t   r e s i s t !!
Hah! You KNOW that will NEVER happen! I love my SSB (ok, I get the sound/noise issue and the ringing in my ears when I go a little long on cycle time......but still like talking with someone else).

I love my Ten Tec , and Im looking forward to reconfiguring my fan dipole to allow me to dedicate my 80m for NVIS. I DO love the versatility the Signalink/Digital modes offer for OPSEC...especially during SHTF. Just not sure How to pull it off.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on February 09, 2013, 06:16:36 PM
I don't remember what solution we arrived regarding the cables between the Ten Tec and Signalink?

alas, I can't remember IF we did...

However, I'd want to stick with the earlier suggestion (above) which involved running the audio OUT from the SL to the audio IN of the mic plug.  And the audio IN from the SL to the audio OUT of the mic plug.

If there's a 'ground' on the SL cable, then connect that to the 'ground' of the mic plug.  and then the PTT (which the SL might NOT have; it might just use the 'VOX' feature of the TenTec, not sure...) would go to the PTT of the mic plug.

My recollection is that we struck out when trying to find a commercially available cable for the two.

But since then, I've successfully asked for, ordered, and received a cable from my old (very old) Kantronics KAM (similar purpose to the SL) to the data jack of my IC7000.  You can inquire about the needed SL --> Ten-Tec Omni cable by emailing:

randy dot fha at gmail dot com

He's a known, reliable guy.

73 de WA4STO
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on February 09, 2013, 06:29:44 PM
Here is what  I got from Ron Wilhelm, the Elecraft guru:

Quote
You do not need a SignaLink box to use any data modes, including RMS
Express - just feed the audio in an out to the soundcard.
You may need a galvanic isolator (transformer) between the KX3 and the
soundcard to improve the signal to noise ratio and reduce "ground loops".
The audio level considerations are important.  Many laptop soundcards
have only mic level inputs and the KX3 headphone output level will
overdrive it without an attenuator.  Going the other way, the soundcard
Line out is at too high a level to directly drive the microphone input
of the KX3, so again an attenuator is required.

The advantage of using an interface device like the SignaLink (or
others) is that they do provide not only an external USB soundcard, but
also the galvanic isolation and the level conversion.
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on February 10, 2013, 01:52:13 AM
I don't remember what solution we arrived regarding the cables between the Ten Tec and Signalink?

alas, I can't remember IF we did...
That's right...I don't think we ever did...
However, I'd want to stick with the earlier suggestion (above) which involved running the audio OUT from the SL to the audio IN of the mic plug.  And the audio IN from the SL to the audio OUT of the mic plug.
This part sounds doable...
If there's a 'ground' on the SL cable, then connect that to the 'ground' of the mic plug.  and then the PTT (which the SL might NOT have; it might just use the 'VOX' feature of the TenTec, not sure...) would go to the PTT of the mic plug.
This party's starting to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher...
My recollection is that we struck out when trying to find a commercially available cable for the two.
it is all becoming clearer to me now...and you're correct...
But since then, I've successfully asked for, ordered, and received a cable from my old (very old) Kantronics KAM (similar purpose to the SL) to the data jack of my IC7000.  You can inquire about the needed SL --> Ten-Tec Omni cable by emailing:

randy dot fha at gmail dot com

He's a known, reliable guy.

73 de WA4STO
Thank you my friend, I appreciate you trying to get me an answer! I will contact him and see if this puzzle can't be solved!
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on February 10, 2013, 01:56:16 PM
Luck, that is very interesting, thank you for sharing it!

I learn a lot from osmosis - show me what you're doing and it might help me figure out what you're doing...doesn't ALWAYS happen, but more often than not it lends something to "breaking the code"...

I'm slowly starting to get me head around it.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on February 10, 2013, 02:43:11 PM
Here's some more info on how hams are using the digital modes.  Note the use of FLAMP in this case.  FLAMP can be grocked at:

http://w1hkj.com (http://w1hkj.com)

-------------
As many of you know, we have been trying the 20M Transcontinental NBEMS Net as part of a 90 day trial.  Many tweaks have been tried and suggested as 20M has not been in good shape and slow digital modes with relays provide many challenges to the concept of transcontinental traffic handling via a live net.  Since the start of the experiment, Flamp has been added to the tool box.  We also formally began a after-net move to 40M for regional follow-up to the transcontinental communications..

The events of today proved interesting.  The net was called on 20M and again fair to poor conditions were experienced.  We also has a Winmor station passing traffic on the usual net frequency. We move down the band, RSID works well for net members when NCS is off the usual frequency.  Traffic for the net has been infrequent of late and I, as NCS, , forgot to ask for stations with traffic.  After a few check-ins AD5XJ broke in with traffic that we took immediately.  AD5XJ recognized the conditions and chose MFSK32 to send FLAMP traffic .  FLAMP's abuilty to send just a missing block or two proved invaluable for the weak signals and QSB. 

After closing the 20M net, as announced last week, I moved to 7072.5, made sure the frequency was not in use, then re-sent the Tornado Watch traffic that AD5XJ had sent.  Two regional stations in NY and PA responded .  One with a 100% report and one requesting fills.  I asked the PA station to send the traffic and not only did the NY station acknowledged 100% copy but a "new" station, one in Virginia, responded with a 100% report.


So, it seems to me that we have a good process here, for transcontinental to regional traffic passing.  It is not rocket science , other nets like NTS do the same.  What I am beginning  to think is different though, is perhaps not always running the net the traditional way, where we take up time asking for check-ins.  When I moved to 40M, I did not call a net.  I just announced my presence and then sent the Flamp traffic. 

More to think about, but I will add one more thing.  The NBEMS folks have a winner in Flamp, and a winner in the sense that 14065 and 7072.5 have become de facto frequencies for NBEMS communications.

Andy K3UK


-------------

73 de WA4STO
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on February 10, 2013, 04:01:07 PM
Hi all,

I would like to emphasize again that one doesn't have to learn Morse code to use CW. Fldigi decodes Morse very well and allows sending via the keyboard, just like any other digital mode. The advantage of CW is that it can also be decoded by the human brain. That is of course my primary tool for decoding, but yours can be your computer. I actually do use Fldigi at home as a backup, when my brain decides to use it's resources for other background tasks and I lose decode capability for a short while  :o

So, what's the advantage? Well, first of all, obviously, you can reach more stations with this digital mode, since Hams without a computer can copy you. In a major SHTF situation, I suspect most digital stations will be down quickly, for lack of power to recharge batteries. Only the best prepared stations will continue to operate, and for how long? Second, as an example, I plan on a one week camping trip in a few weeks. The site I am thinking about is nine miles from the road. That means pulling a small cart with five gallons of water, food for a week and my camping gear. There is no way in hell I will add the weight of a laptop, bigger battery and solar panel. A small CW rig is not only a must but the only option in such a case. Something like an FT-817ND would work, but then we get into battery capacity problems again. CW is where it's at when it comes to leaving the house with communication capabilities.

My KX3 has RTTY and PSK31 built-in, allowing to send using the Morse paddles. It's great, but honestly, it doesn't do anything more than CW... Sure, Morse might be a bit slower than another keyboard-input mode, but it works just the same.

So, even if you don't want to learn Morse, you can still use it as a computer-controlled digital mode and reach more people than you would other wise do.  Given that most digital QSOs are just the RST73 type, which for me I think is a waste of my time, Morse offers more rag-chewing opportunities.

Gil.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: RadioRay on February 10, 2013, 04:25:46 PM
For Emergency communications, in my opinion WINMOR and PACTOR are simply amazing!  The ability to send REAL e-mail, with full error correction when all local commercial infrastructure is down - well, that's simply amazing.  Besides doing this to 'normal' e-mail addresses, there is also the ability to operate ham-to-ham e-mail transfers non-real-time, just like e-mail, but again, not requiring internet or commercial infrastructure. I've used this for a very long time, back when I had that capability. Buddies and I would check-in with each other as the timing was good for us, and when prop was good between stations.  Ths makes managing a large group's communications easy, because WINMOR/WINLINK stations can SCAN many bands/frequencies listening for stations trying to connect with them and those modes works well below the noise level (like Morse).

I love Morse and rely upon it because of its amazing efficiency, being light, effective, small and not requiring a computer.  If a comuter IS in the loop - WINMOR is amazing.


>Ray
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on February 10, 2013, 05:38:22 PM
Quote
If a comuter IS in the loop - WINMOR is amazing.

Exactly what I plan on doing.. Winlink from home, just in case, and CW portable..
I am glad I put Morse under my belt first, the rest is easy  ;D

Gil.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on February 10, 2013, 06:06:48 PM
For Emergency communications, in my opinion WINMOR and PACTOR are simply amazing!

I've been trying (struggling) to 'ignore' PACTOR.

Then I discovered today, almost by accident, that Pactor I (but not 2 thru 4) is being used by the National Traffic System on all levels from Section up through Area and Transcontinental.  Wouldn't surprise me one bit if the vast majority of formal message traffic is going through those nodes, rather than the traditional CW and SSB nets.

And, since the holy grail of amateur radio success is FLEXIBILITY, I've finally decided to add Pactor I to my stable of tools.  It didn't take a very large 2X6 up side the head to bring me to that conclusion, since I failed to step back a few steps and was immediately appointed as a Digital Relay Station for the Central Area of NTS.

Now I have no choice.  Got an old Kantronics KAM from a neighbor ham, found a guy to give me an EPROM update to the pathetically old chipset in the KAM, so now I should be able to get the old gal on Pactor I.  Coupled with the new full-wave loop on 80 and above at the new house in a couple of weeks, I should be rockin' if not rollin'

Ray, is Pactor error-free?  I would think so, since it's ARQ in nature, but it's such an old mode that I wonder.  I remember doing Amtor 25 years ago and I seem to recall some garbage getting through but that might not relate to PACTOR, dunno.

73 de WA4STO
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: RadioRay on February 10, 2013, 08:29:30 PM
PACTOR (any variant) is essentially error free.  Even old PACTOR 1 , the calculated odd of an error getting through was something like 1x 10 to the -17th. essentially the same odds of a politician telling the truth twice in a row! // NOT going to happen.  ha ha

WINMOR is FREEware and has largely taken the place of PACTOR 1 on the WINLINK system.  However, PACTOR 1 modems are inexpensive now and frankly they will ore your traffic for you.  However. WINMOR being free and hveing the ability to tie into the global WINLINK e-mail servers is really handy.

However, when in doubt -pound it out!

(http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTUIFYOy-R9xV863T4hjTFieaoxp5MIDxshJ7yindHT9kJYVFxWdg)

Yes Gil, your Morse skills are now 'owned.  You use them dailiy and have seen that if out camping, your flashlight used to find your rig in the dark, uses more electrical power than likely will be required to span the 800+ miles between us using your transceiver!  I've kept a laptop and military messaging devices alive in the field, transported them on my back and etc. - but always prefered Morse. I had one device lock-up because it was -22F and in the time that it took to remove it from my parka, hook-it up wait for sked time and hit the button - it locked-up.  I reverted to Morse to send my SITREP.  The manufacturer of the 'sexy' little messaging terminal later said that their chips were only good down to freezing and even then - no guarantees.  The Army did not think that WE should be able to stay home when it was below freezing, so why would our equipment have such considerations?  Soldiers always had fewer safeguards than pack mules (animal should be treated humanely) and electronics (delicate & 'sensitive') so this is why I was not surprised.


de RadioRay ..._ ._
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on February 10, 2013, 10:40:28 PM
Quote
Yes Gil, your Morse skills are now 'owned.

Not quite but it won't be much longer... Sure, I can have a 7wpm QSO (10wpm on a great day) copying in my head, but that doesn't qualify as 'owned' in my book. I have started using RufzXP to improve my speed. It is a great tool. That and of course our skeds  :D

Well, it's time for me to wipe out the Rock-Mite 40 and see if I can make contact using my magnetic loop... I tried the PAR but all I got was blasting Rock 'n Roll in my earphones  :o The mag loop filters it out...

Gil.
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: gil on February 11, 2013, 12:31:40 AM
1043 miles tonight with the 1.5W Rock-Mite into my magnetic loop. Ah the good old digital mode  ;)

Gil.
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on February 11, 2013, 01:09:13 AM

He's a known, reliable guy.

73 de WA4STO

Excellent advice, I contacted him, told him I knew you and briefly explained my radio, the modes I wanted to work on...he gave me a couple of options (do it myself with his help, or charge me to wire one up for him). I decided to buy the first one from him and see where how it goes. He even offered to make sure that if the cable needed a mode, he would do that too!

And you know some pretty interesting guys..the entire alphabet was after his name - this guy plays marbles with ball bearings!

Thanks again my friend!
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on February 11, 2013, 01:40:05 PM
I decided to buy the first one from him and see where how it goes. He even offered to make sure that if the cable needed a mode, he would do that too!


Aha, interesting.  Glad that's working out.

I wonder if you got any warm/fuzzies from him about the possibility of success with the Omni and the Signalink.  Did he seem to think that it might just work?

And, in the same topic, which method (mike jack or phone patch jacks on the back) was to be used, and who suggested that?  If it was him, that would tell us that the warm/fuzzies just might play out.

73 de WA4STO
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on February 11, 2013, 11:21:33 PM
I decided to buy the first one from him and see where how it goes. He even offered to make sure that if the cable needed a mode, he would do that too!


Aha, interesting.  Glad that's working out.

I wonder if you got any warm/fuzzies from him about the possibility of success with the Omni and the Signalink.  Did he seem to think that it might just work?

And, in the same topic, which method (mike jack or phone patch jacks on the back) was to be used, and who suggested that?  If it was him, that would tell us that the warm/fuzzies just might play out.

73 de WA4STO
Warm fuzzies were positively crackling in the ether...

Here is a quote from his email: 

"...a cleaner option would be a CAT-5 network cable with an RJ-45 on one end, and on the other 3 RCA plugs for the rear of the radio, RX (phone patch in), TX (phone patch out), and PTT jack.  The phone patch jacks parallel the mic and phone jacks on the front....My pref would be number 2 (the one outlined above) and would include the SignaLink internal jumper settings..."

I took it from this communication that he definitely seems to think it would work, and gave me the best/preferred option for best performance.

I'm busy scanning the eBay's for a SL!
Title: Re: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: WA4STO on February 12, 2013, 11:24:20 AM
Tim -- thanks for sending along the thread between you and Randy.

I was talking yesterday, via SKYPE, with a fellow from Jersey who keeps an equipment bank (mostly of TNCs that can still do PACTOR I) and we got talking about about cabling and such.  He had to outlets for cables.  One was Randy and the other was Buck Rogers, K4ABT.

I agree, Randy has his head on straight and understands -- from the experience of having built zillions of cables -- what needs to be done.

73 de WA4STO
Title: Are digital modes practical for prepping?
Post by: White Tiger on February 12, 2013, 02:29:35 PM
Tim -- thanks for sending along the thread between you and Randy.

I was talking yesterday, via SKYPE, with a fellow from Jersey who keeps an equipment bank (mostly of TNCs that can still do PACTOR I) and we got talking about about cabling and such.  He had to outlets for cables.  One was Randy and the other was Buck Rogers, K4ABT.

I agree, Randy has his head on straight and understands -- from the experience of having built zillions of cables -- what needs to be done.

73 de WA4STO
Again, thanks for thinking of me Luck!