4 Jan 2015

Digital systems and amateur radio?

At the moment there seem to be several competing digital modulation schemes First there was ICOM's D-star system, then C4FM from Yaesu, and of course DMR, which is gaining ground in the commercial PMR world.  There are even a few experimenting with TETRA, as used by the public services. Like Betamax and VHS, the best system may not win in the end.

At the moment, I am just not interested. I'll wait to see who wins in the end. My bet is DMR will win in the end as there will be a plentiful second hand market from PMR. This will never be so with any proprietary system. DMR is an open standard, so there will be plentiful radios around and at decent prices before too long.


Peter Marks said...

Roger, check out FreeDV at freedv.org, it's the only one that totally open and will soon be in hardware.

Roger G3XBM said...

Thank you Peter. Good for HF but I cannot see it winning the race.

Todd Dugdale said...

The problem with DMR is that all of the "intelligence" is in the *user radio*, and the repeater is a dumb terminal. The burden of programming is on the individual, and it's not easy.

We're trying to implement DMR here, but getting the radios programmed is a nightmare. It's extremely complex, especially since it's a new repeater and no codeplugs are available.

Here in Minneapolis, we have five competing digital modes. DMR is losing because nobody can get a radio on the air. C4FM is easy, though, and SF machines are springing up all over the metro.

DMR might be an open standard, but there isn't the support out there for the average ham to do anything with it. There needs to be codeplug-writing software. And the Motorola licensing for the programming software is a big barrier, too.