How many of you are Amateur Radio operators?


#1

I saw a handful of hams self-identify on the introductions thread, and since this is a radio thingy it should naturally attract radio amateurs, like myself. I thought it might be a cool idea to see how many of us are hams.

I backed a pair to investigate how Gotenna can help inspire our hobby become more digitally modernized, because seriously our claim to fame is APRS - a 20 year old system of sending UI AX.25 packets at 1200 bits per second for tracking locations of things, and sending messages via repeaters and the internet. see http://aprs.fi for a map.

But yea…1200 bits per second AX.25 packet is abhorrently slow. It’s a struggle even when 10 people are in the same area, and you can’t send voice, pictures, or anything longer than about 45 characters. Plus the cheapest all-in-one handheld radio integrated with APRS costs $600. Other than that, one must plug an android phone with APRSDroid into any handheld, but functionality is limiting.

The biggest benefit is that this is sent over a standard FM voice frequency, so theoretically works with every single FM transceiver with on the market, and that’s what’s mainly kept it at the forefront of amateur radio tech. There are a few ongoing attempts to create a faster standard, but everyone’s competing BluRay vs HDDVD style (DSTAR, Yaesu System Fusion, DMR, LoRAham, FaradayRF, Codec2…etc)

Ham radio’s been playing with mesh for a while, typically consisting of off-the-shelf Ubiquiti/Mikrotek nodes, like HamWAN and Broadband Hamnet and the EU HamNet… All cool stuff, but still behind the curve so to speak.

I think Gotenna could help push modern ideas like chirp spread spectrum modulation, decentralized meshing handheld & mobile radios, and other palm-of-your-hand digital radio solutions at a lower cost and complexity for hobbyists like myself.

If you’re not a ham, would you consider getting your license and getting involved in the hobby, or does GoTenna mesh meet all your needs and interests for radio communication?


#2

I’m the only hardware hacker I know who doesn’t have a ham license but this sort of answers that need for me. It also means I can use it with all my less technically-adept family members & friends. I plan to use the Mesh SDK when it comes out to build my own applications on top of the goTenna Mesh hardware & mesh protocol.


#3

It’s nice to see other hams getting involved here. I was a ham prior to working for goTenna and I had the same view on the device and the impact it will have on our hobby. The ability to bring in users without the need for them to take an FCC exam really opens doors for many new users. I would love to hear more about your plans on using goTenna Mesh.

Thanks,
Noah
goTenna Support


#4

Been an Amateur Radio operator for 25 years (hard to believe it’s been that long! I"m not that old!!)

I totally agree about APRS. Just picked up a Kenwood TH-D74A for DSTAR support but the price to get into radios that support DSTAR is quite a significant barrier to adoption.

goTenna Mesh is a very exciting solution to me. Looking forward to leveraging it however I can.

73s!

-Travis
KB5UGD


#5

I’ve also been a ham for 20+ years. KJ5ZP.

I’ve been dealing with DMR?P25 digital protocols in the amateur and commercial fields. Using it to track officers locations and various other data including security and quality of service. I usually support all these new tech devices and am looking forward to looking at the hardware and mod ability. The sonnet unit has me really excited for a more technical device, but for simplicity, the goTenna seems to be the top dog. I’ve been testing out four Bearclaw units, and the U/I is so bad that it will cause issues with the unit growing in popularity.


#6

VA6DRJ here - been into ham for about 5 years now. I agree about the APRS side - this appears to fill a niche that could be very interesting (license free!). I am excited to see where things go with all of this. Still definitely learning! Will be following this product and threads…

Jared
VA6DRJ


#7

Hello fellow hams! I am George (KF7OCD) and I just wanted to say hi and 73’s!

I am working on a project that is going to seriously juice up GoTenna Mesh! Check it out here, feedback is welcome!

http://meshcommunity.gotenna.com/t/project-moan-mother-of-all-nodes/275

-George
KF7OCD (Extra/VE)



#8

73s George! That’s an exciting project and one I’d love to replicate at some point. Keep us posted!


#9

Here is tonight’s progress! My other parts just need to hurry up and get here!!! @mivyx 73’s brother!


#10

WG8B. I agree about APRS. I once suggested that we shift APRS operations to another frequency when we support events to avoid jamming all around (can’t upset other hams spewing packets on their way to the supermarket), and fellow hams looked at me weird. In any case, I bought a bunch of these to see what I can do. I really want to figure out how to get an external antenna on these like the other project I’ve seen here. Also, with the SDK coming out, I want to see if I can do ICS forms and what not and hook this into a PC. After all, this gives me encryption capabilities.


#11

@jbowman90 I am totally with you on the external antenna thing and will let you know ASAP!


#12

For something WAY more easy to build I think this would be great HOWEVER: The external battery I have is WAY to big and WILL block RF. A smaller USB external battery is needed inside this size, I got the perfect one! (see link below the pics)…


#13

Progress has been made! The antenna, solar panel and some other parts came in today!


#14

AG6KA here. Glad to see the amateur radio community continuing in the spirit of experimenting, which is the original term for hams - experimenters. Mesh has been renamed broadband and has progressed passed the Linksys WRT hacks. I am looking to get to know how your experience is with Gotenna. I just received mine just a few days ago and haven’t really started getting into them. So far I’ve only updated their software and look forward to looking for you all.

73! de AG6KA
Noel Encarnacion


#15

This project is now up and running! :slight_smile:


#16

HAM operator 12 years.KR6TFD So far I only operate VHF/UHF even though licensed general.
I am also struggling with APRS $.
Strangely enough HAM radio is not allowed on federal disaster response teams; out of concern for communications security. But boy are we missing the local intel that HAM radio could provide


#17

Great idea! And I think I have one around here somewhere. Will be using it this week. Thank you


#18

I am a ham and am using my ham skills to get mesh going because it’s easy for everyone to use (unlike ham that is hard for some people to learn). Still Love my 2M and HF tho!


#19

It’s interesting…when the first goTennas came out, I asked some other hams what they thought of it. It was met mostly with skepticism in the form of: We can do this already with 4 different devices: A GPS, an APRS node, a ham radio, and a computer.

I currently hold a general license. At some point I’m hoping to resume studying for my amatuer extra.


#20

I am just an extra class/VE and after teaching classes for the health department found out (quickly): “Holy !@#$ this radio stuff is hard for most people!”.