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?