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RE: Digital DX pileups

Phil Karn wrote:

What constitutes a "standard" radio? Years ago, TNCs were external boxes
plugged into "standard" radios. Now you'll find the TNC an integral
part of many of today's "standard" radios.

I don't think the features of today's "standard" radios should stop us
from designing new features in external boxes that will eventually be
incorporated into tomorrow's "standard" radios. Otherwise we'll never
get anywhere.

I wouldn't regard a TNC to be a "standard" component in ham radios.  Yes, a few radios are sold with built-in TNC's, but they account for a small portion of total ham radios sold, and an even smaller portion of ham radios currently in use.  It appears to me that TNC's are rapidly declining in popularity as sound card DSP applications replace TNC's.   We rapidly abandon expensive hardware when it can be replaced by software (for example, IF crystal/ceramic filters are being replaced by IF DSP).

Most market developments happen incrementally.  The first popular digital voice mode is likely to use existing radios and computer sound cards.  After low-bandwidth digital voice modes are "mainstream", many hams might evolve to higher-bandwidth modes (like CDMA) that require significantly different radio designs and/or external "digital boxes".  My opinion anyway...the masses usually walk for a while before they learn to run.

Wayne Estes W9AE
Mundelein, IL, USA

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