GAREC 2007

I’m just back from the 2007 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference (GAREC 2007). Where I presented some initial results from the GAISS project (previous entry here). I was also attending on behalf of AREN and the IRTS (who also partially paid for my attendance the conference).

Listening to the presentations from the Amateur Radio operators that worked (some for months) in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Rita to provide communications in and out of the disaster area was most humbling.

The presentations were excellent overall, I learned quite a lot from other participants, and had a great reaction to my own presentation. Which surprised me a bit. I met a fantastic bunch of people, that I will hopefully be able to keep in contact with as time goes on.

What was most interesting to me is the holistic approach taken to Amateur Radio in countries that have experienced disaster, everyone is competent in all areas whether it be Contesting, VHF, Digital modes, whereas in Europe, people tend to have a more polarised view (i.e. some folk specialise in VHF, some in Digital etc). I have much to learn.

Here are some pictures taken before, during and after, GAREC.

All in all it was a fantastic experience (and I got a mention in the ARRL blog, thanks to Khrystyne, K1SFA).

Mobile IPv6 on the N770

Following up from my earlier post. To save someone the trouble of building MIPL for Linux for the N770, you can find a Linux kernel here and mip6d here.

I’ve been trying the kernel out using the following command to upload the kernel:

flasher -l -b -k zImage-su-18-200730

And powering on the device, the mip6 kernel gets loaded (until the next reboot). Once it boots, its possible to copy mip6d onto the n770, as it appears as a USB storage device. Install X-Term, write a mip6d configure script, and off you go (I’ve not tested with IPsec yet though)!

I remain unconvinced about the usefulness of the n770/n800 type devices. They may be usefule for some remote control applications, although I’m not sure, more testing (using IPv6) is needed ;).


TM-D710 Announced.

Kenwood announces 144/430 (440)MHz FM dual bander TM-D710 series,
equipped with “APRS®” data communication system capable of exchanging positional information, messages and operating frequency, enabling multi communication with all amateur radio operators around the world. More here.

Stephen H. Smith has had a quick run through the control program and has the following observations (posted to the aprssig mailing list).

After installing the required Microsoft Dot-Net 2.0 sludgeware on a PC, I have installed the control program. The program uses the Office 2003 look with sculpted 3D looking tool bar and the reduced-legibility pastel XP-style toolbar icons. Browsing though the various menus, I have noted the following changes/additions to the configuration menus.

  1. COM port settings in the program now support up to COM20 and port speeds from 9600 to 57,600 baud.
  2. The much hyped “Echolink / VOIP” support is merely 10 memories for DTMF sequences that can be labeled and the recognition that the 6-pin MiniDIN connector can be used for voice audio as well as external TNCs, sound cards, etc. These 10 memory slots are apparently separate from another set of “DTMF” memories.
  3. External data port (6-pin MiniDin connector audio I/O) can now be locked to either A or B band; i.e. it doesn’t follow the selected band for mic as it does on the D700 .
  4. The unit apparently includes a DVR (digital voice recorder) perhaps as an option. An “AUDIO” configuration menu has several options for this device.
  5. A block of 10 memory channels is dedicated to NOAA weather radio freqs already filled in but changeable.
  6. Cross band repeater mode has ID that can be selected in either morse or voice
  7. Four PF keys on the mic and two PF keys on the front panel can be programmed to any of about 10 functions each.
  8. New “Band Mask” menu allows you to skip unwanted bands as you step up or down between bands. Especially welcome is the ability to skip non-ham 200, 300 and 800 MHz ranges.
  9. “APRS/Navitra” menu (I thought Navitra, the Japanese forerunner to APRS and the original design target of the D700 was now history, but apparently it still lives.) has 6 sub-menus.

Among the APRS options and features:

  1. Waypoint output on GPS port supports both NMEA and MAGELLAN formats.
  2. GPS port now supports Peet Bros and Davis weather stations as an alternative to GPS.
  3. You can filter out (or pass) Weather, Mobile, DIGIpeater, or Object packets and filter by range in 10 mile increments up to 2500 miles. [That would be one hell of a band opening on 2M!)
  4. Proportional pathing selectable, as is manual beaconing with a decaying algorithm.
  5. “New-N Paradigm” selectable as such from pull down menu! Default setting is WIDE1-1, WIDE2-1
  6. Voice Alert recognized and selectable
  7. WX station transmit interval selectable 5/10/30 mins
  8. UIdigi aliases supported in digipeater
  9. UIFLOOD and UITRACE options selectable with definable aliases.
  10. Canned autoreply message user-definable.
  11. Units can be displayed multiple formats:MPH, km/h or knots, Grid Format in either Maidenhead or “SAR Grid” [is this UTM??]
  12. Position displayed as either DD or DD MM SS

No SmartBeaconing is a dissapointing omission. Assuming that Stephen’s observations are correct, I for one won’t be ‘upgrading’. The addition of SmartBeaconing, would have persuaded me that the Radio is worth buying, without it, I see no reason to. C’mon Kenwood, can we have SmartBeaconing please?