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RE: Going Digital... Ham Radio?



> Packet Radio Affectionados,
> 
>    We have had packet radio for 22 years and yet we are 
> seeing a decline
> of digital operations on HAM radio (with some exceptions) at 
> the same time
> that we are seeing an Explosion of Wireless digital 
> applications in the
> consumer market.

It is the same story here.  Terrestrial packet radio has declined down here.
Most likely causes are due to performance (lack of) and the proliferation of
the Internet.  I suspect many people interested in data comms have gone off
to places like APANA (Australian Public Access Network Association), which
is like a "networking club" that provides infrastructure for non profit
experimentation with Internet connectivity.  Sort of an online equivalent to
ham radio.

> We are not doing a good job of promoting nor explaining what digital
> is all about.  The following message I received says it all...
> (The PUNCH LINE is the second paragraph!...)

I think we need to look in two directions:

1.  Illustrate what packet radio can do _today_.  I believe APRS is one
aspect that shows promise, even on today's low speed networks.  

2.  Develop high speed terrestrial networks.  This is the area that could
potentially attract Linux devotees and people from places like APANA into
ham radio.

3.  Find innovative new uses for our existinf resources (i.e. what can we do
that's ideally suited to amateur satellites and difficult or impossible to
do using other means?).

> If HAMS at Microsoft are not familiar with Packet Radio, then 
> it is easy
> to see why we are where we are today with amateur packet 
> radio...  With 
> all the world going digital and Now that Kenwood and ALinco are making
> off-the-shelf integrated 1200/9600 baud systems, AMATEUR 
> PACKET RADIO IS
> ONLY BEGINNING!
> Lets reach out....

The commercial manufacturers have made an important start, but it's up to us
to advance the art of data communications.  Where are all those people
tinkering with the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz wireless LAN stuff?  They're there,
doing just that, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of amateurs among these
new experimenters. :-(  These things may be low power, and may be outside
our bands in some cases, but I'm sure amateurs are clever enough to overcome
these issues. 

Just in Australia, there are a few groups with a web presence who are
playing with these devices and setting up links.

Not a lot of satellite stuff in this post, but I had to say something. :)
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