Tuesday, 3 April 2007
|1641 - The current toy|
Over the past few weeks, I've been getting a new set of radios together and running. I've become convinced that the D-Star system, developed by the Japan Amateur Radio League and built by Icom, is the future of ham radio, at least for those uses that VHF/UHF-FM currently fill. The ability to hold a conversation between systems linked across the Internet changes the game.
Here's what I've got so far. This is the repeater system itself, sitting in my attic:
The labels on the front are the frequencies it operates on. You can just see the 440 and 2 meter duplexers off to the right. The module on top is the controller; the callsign on it is temporary, and will be replaced, hopefully, on April 14 with K6ZC.
These are the radios on the desk in the office:
On top is a dual-band (2 meters and 440) radio, with a 2-meter radio just below it. The handheld is also dual-band. There'll be another radio in the stack in a week or so, this one a 1.2 GHz voice and high-speed data radio. I'll also put a new radio in the car.
I haven't gotten on the Internet link with it yet, because there's a class I need to take and pass online before I can. Hopefully, I'll get that done while I'm on my upcoming trip, so the CD will be waiting for me when I get home.
current mood: pleased
current music: The Cars - Bye Bye Love
The only problem I have with D-Star (and EchoLink, and IRLP, for that matter) is this: What happens in a REAL emergency when there is no power to run internet-connected stations?
Battery powered, and RF, is really the only 100% sure way to get a signal in the air, IMHO.
That being said, the systems sure are fun when it's hobby time. I just wouldn't count on them for emergency comms, which, after all, is why the Amateur service exists.
So.. what ya going to do with the old stuff? I know a truck driver who could use a radio for the house... ::grin::
In the two real emergencies I've tried to communicate through (9/11 and Tropical Storm Allison's flooding of Houston), the Internet has stayed up and provided better communication than landline phones. I agree that it's not going to serve for long-haul disaster communications for the longer term - say more than a couple of days - if a Katrina-scale disaster hits. OTOH, VHF/FM isn't going to help much there, either.
As for the old stuff: Well, I've got a Motorola Radius GM300 with DTMF mic and a Motorola R1225 repeater that have become surplus to requirements...
TRM: Are you coming to Penguicon?
I'm considering it, still.. Work's been... iffy lately, and I need to bank some cash. If it comes that I've got a well-paying load to do during Penguicon, I've got to take it. Otherwise, I ::should:: be there.