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  #21  
Old 07-13-2008, 03:20 PM
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Nathaniel, you laid out exactly why amateurs have pushed the envelope (ham radio telephony became cell phones, ham satellites paved the way for satellite long distance, radio and DBSTV, hams tinkered with solid state as soon as they could, pushing the market for cheaper, better, more reliable gear, hams tinkering with APRS 15 years ago showed how real time GPS navigation and position reporting could work). But there's no point, people's minds are made up before they even ask the question. Just like UB's tongue in cheek posts about geeks in tighty whiteys, that's the silly imagine people get in their heads.

People don't realize that the guts of what a lot of military and commercial users get is pretty much the same stuff hams use equipment wise, not to mention that ham radio is much more than just two-way FM or a fella pounding out Code on HF. It's a wide open and interesting hobby. A guy at work picked up this neat DSP demo board (being a working EE has it's privileges, if you are geeky) and has been tinkering with software-defined radios. His laptop can listen to about half of the repeater outputs in Denver and with a little voice training can pick which frequency someone is talking on by tone matching. It'll then alert him if someone he wants to talk to is on. The only reason it can only do half of the outputs is it wasn't a very expensive board and it's got pretty limited bandwidth. No need to have your radios constantly scanning and hoping to hear a familiar call. Your voice will be recognized. He's also messing with different protocols and algorithms to bandwidth optimize. What's he's doing is very much essentially exactly the same as the JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) that the military uses. Just one box that can be a UHF FM mobile, HF AM CW, VHF APRS packet machine or whatever else he wants it to be. A bunch of old timers pounding Code, my butt. His ham shack is head and shoulders more universally configurable than the stuff the cops and fire fighters are using. They often can't even talk to another municipality, remember the confusion at Columbine and the WTC? Denver Police could not talk to Jeffco Sheriffs who could not communicate to West Metro Fire.

Old technology. Hardly. Like you mentioned, in December of 1961, the OSCAR guys had a ham satellite in orbit just barely 4 years after the USSR launched Sputnik in October 1957 and less then 4 years after NASA launched Explorer in 1958. A bunch of volunteer hams trailed whole government backed space programs by only a couple of years. In fact, OSCAR beat large corporate sponsored SYNCOM satellites into orbit and were for all practical purposes the first true non-military (in that NASA was really formed as part of the Cold War space race, even if they were technically non-military) satellites into space. AT&T didn't even start tinkering with satellite communications until 1960 and COMSAT launched the first commercial satellites (EARLY BIRD) in 1965, 4 years after the hams had 2 satellites already in orbit and 2 more on the pad. In fact, at the end of 1965 OSCAR had 4 successful launches to the commercial world's one. Commercial satellite numbers didn't really overtake OSCAR until the early 1970s, which is why AMSAT was formed in 1969, to protect the amateur users from being pushed out by the market they'd shown was viable.

In total OSCAR and AMSAT have about 100 amateur built satellites or payloads on birds in orbit. Their success rate is every bit as good as Boeing, Loral, NASA, DoD and AFRL and for probably 1/1000th (or less) the cost per payload. A very recent and sophisticated AMSAT satellite (OSCAR 13) had just 235 pages of documentation and drawings total. We'll do that much paperwork for a single ASIC.

OSCAR and AMSAT:
http://www.amsat.org

APRS added GPS functionality in 1992, but was well established before that:
http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/aprs.html

Early cell phones, ham radiotelephony in the 1950s:
http://www.mercurians.org/april_2003/hams_wheels.html
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Last edited by DaveInDenver; 07-13-2008 at 09:30 PM.
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  #22  
Old 07-13-2008, 08:20 PM
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Default Not meant to be argumentative...

but rather more informative and enlightening.
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  #23  
Old 07-24-2008, 06:22 PM
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Default Interesting thing the Ozies doo

Just thought I would stir the pot a bit...

Here in the land down under I have yet to see 2m being used in a 4wd "bushy". The norm here is combo radios which are CB AND UHF. Same remote faces like out ham rigs but 40 channels CB and then of course UHF. That seem like a great choice for our applications! Flame on....
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  #24  
Old 07-25-2008, 06:16 AM
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Default Another example where we feel we get screwed by gobment regulations...

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Originally Posted by Uncle Ben View Post
Just thought I would stir the pot a bit...

Here in the land down under I have yet to see 2m being used in a 4wd "bushy". The norm here is combo radios which are CB AND UHF. Same remote faces like out ham rigs but 40 channels CB and then of course UHF. That seem like a great choice for our applications! Flame on....
Different regs on differet types of equipment in different countries. My rig (Yaesu FT-857D) can do all that using the same radio, but the FCC says our radios aren't supposed to come from the factory to do so. Without modding my radio, I can listen to all you goofs on CB, just can't transmit. Same with cell phones, 'cept I can't even listen. That portion of the UHF band is blocked. If I bought the same radio in Japan, I would have much more freedom to do those things, right from the factory.

We were going to try and use UHF on the GTR, because it would be more effective in the canyons and such for shorter distances. UHF gets around more things than VHF or HF for line of sight. Didn't get the chance because no two people had UHF antennas.

UB, you didn't mention seeing all of the HF antenns on the 4WD "bushy's". I remember you saying that you were not interested in that, but yet since we as a group idolize the auzzies for their stuff, I thought the sight of big HF antennas on BullBars might help change your mind...
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  #25  
Old 07-25-2008, 07:21 AM
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I think most of those big HF antennas you see down there are for RFDS, which uses a network of HF stations throughout the Outback and other remote parts of Australia. You get a license from the ACA specifically for that and this is not an amateur, general purpose license. It's rather a special use license and call sign to use only with the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) to call in help in the bush of Oz. They also can be contacted via satellite phone, so you got that going for you.

Australia's CB service spans two bands, 27MHz using AM (essentially just like here) and 477MHz FM. When you see Australian 4WD Monthly or otherwise mention UHF, it's often the 477MHz CB that they are talking about, not ham. Their 'UHF' is most similar to our GMRS service, but without provision for repeaters AFAIK.

They have hams down under, but I get the feeling that their CB service is better organized than the CB we are used to, so it's less offensive to off-bitumen travelers. Personally I think GMRS here in the USA would have made more sense to augment CB, but we don't have the RFDS and so our network of hams sorta serves the purpose of backcountry help.
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  #26  
Old 07-27-2008, 05:45 PM
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My post didn't make it I see. Nat. So far I've only seen two rigs here with HF monster antennas. There is a lot of houses with big antennas around but not vehicles. Hopefully the Patrol is still in the parking garage below us and I'll snap a pic of it this mornin'. More later....gotta go......
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