all this "Digital" Stuff??
Digital amateur radio operations have been around ever since
the advent of amateur radio! That's right, even good old CW aka Morse
Code is a form of digital communication.
Radio Teletype or RTTY was one of the first true "digital" modes,
utilizing heavy huge teletype machines producing frequency shift
keying, or FSK, which was a "mark" and "space" type of digital
communications that allowed text print to be sent and received over
With the advent of the terminal node controller, or TNC, amateur radio
began to expose itself to computers. These were the old Commodore and
Radio Shack TRS-80 type computers. Modes such as packet, amtor, g-tor,
pactor, and others started to become common place. This type of
communication allowed some simple pictures to be sent, and began what
we know as Audio Frequency Shift Keying, or AFSK.
Since the "modern" computer has become common place, many new mode of
operation, and some revamped older ones have become even easier (and
cheaper!) to implement in amateur radio. Here we will give you some
ideas and links to some of the more common modes and software so you to
can become a
DIGITAL MODE AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR!
First thing you need is a Windows based computer, preferable with
Windows 98SE or higher, and fast processor, say 500MHz or higher, and a
good amount of memory, say 256 MB or more. (NOTE: Some programs such as
EasyPAL will require Windows XP and a high speed, say 1.8GHZ processor
and preferably 1GB memory.)
Second, you need a soundcard interface. Now, you can search for one to
buy from MFJ, Rigblaster, and others, but why not build your own...it's
not hard, and here is a simple schematic you can use!
that's not too bad, right? That simple interface will open you up to a
whole new world of communications including text, files, and pictures
(in COLOR yet!). Below are links and
brief descriptions of digital software. Please use the links, and read
about the software, the mode it operates, and equipment requirements.
AGWPE =AGW Packet Engine, a soundcard TNC emulator, used for packet
modes such as packet and APRS.
APRS = Automatic Position Reporting System (more info at http://www.mcminnarc.com)
PACKET = been around for years, but most software was DOS...this one
below is WINDOWS based!
WinPack = http://www.winpack.org.uk/
(See our page on PACKET! Go to http://www.mcminnarc.com/packet/packet.html
PSK31 = a low power narrow bandwidth (31hz!) text keyboard to keyboard
mode for HF!
Digipan = http://www.digipan.net/
RTTY = wait, you said a teletype machine was need for this one...not
MMTTY = http://mmhamsoft.amateur-radio.ca/mmtty/
SSTV = Slow Scan TV...color pictures in seconds across HF radio!
MMSSTV = http://mmhamsoft.amateur-radio.ca/mmsstv/index.htm
Echolink = VHF & UHF communication around the globe via repeaters
linked via the internet!
Echolink = http://www.echolink.org/
MultiPSK = Does so many digital modes I can't even begin to name them
all. Freeware version does fine, but and expanded registration version
is available that does more! For the "advanced" digital user, a little
more of a learning curve, but is a good software for some of the newer
MultiPSK = http://members.aol.com/f6cte/index_anglais.htm
EasyPAL = Digital Slow Scan TV. This still uses your sound card, but
uses an advanced algorithm,
has a form of manual error correction, and allows you to send text and
other small files, usually in less than a minute and a half.
EasyPAL = http://www.kc1cs.com/digi.htm
(NOTE: You download the program by clicking the top picture.)
And new modes come out almost monthly! You don't have to try any of
them, but they are fun, and can open up your radio and your mind to
exacty what the usefullnes of amateur radio can be, as well as enhance