[OT] Re: On the air easy thanks to the Magic of Direwolf

Bob Nielsen n7xy at n7xy.net
Tue Apr 17 15:10:18 PDT 2018

IMHO, Windows 10 has become more difficult to use than MacOS or most 
forms of Linux.  I hadn't really used Windows much in recent years but 
since most (non-Chirp) programming software is only available for 
Windows I picked up a recent laptop for that use.  I have now reached an 
age where forgetfulness is becoming a regular thing and I don't expect 
to recall everything that I have learned since I started using computers 
53 years ago (actually I punched a bunch of data cards 61 years ago).  
Still, it is taking me a lot longer than I would have expected to come 
up to speed on a number of points.  A few minutes ago I was attempting 
to download a codeplug for my latest DMR radio and in the midst of 
typing in the URL in Edge, suddenly I was on some Bing web page and had 
to start over.  Whatever happened to good old CLI where I always felt 
that I was in control of the process?

Pardon my ranting.

Bob, N7XY

On 4/16/18 2:07 PM, Scott Currie wrote:
> Thanks Steve!
> For the cool kidz who want to play with this stuff outside of the 
> EMCOMM environment, I'm fine with that, have fun, pledge allegiance to 
> the penguin and trash Windows all you want (I've done plenty of that 
> myself) For the life of me, I can't figure out why any cool kidz would 
> actually want to do /_anything_/ with such slow data rates, but I 
> present my test results here for you to ponder (or laugh at).
> Like it or not, the typical EMCOMM volunteer these days is a Tech with 
> an HT, runs a Windows laptop, and can barely unzip a file (and won't 
> know what to do with it after that). God bless them, they /_do_/ 
> volunteer, take the ICS classes, come to the training sessions, the 
> public service events, and the drills, and will probably be there when 
> disaster strikes. I can (maybe) teach them to get Winlink Express 
> running with their radios and send some useful digital comms. No way I 
> will get them functional on Linux, or even a Mac. We got another bunch 
> sending 1200b packets at the workshop this weekend, and a handful 
> might even play at faster speeds somewhere down the road.
> Winlink Express is by no means state of the art, but it does work, is 
> easy to learn, and will be useful in a disaster. If y'all come up with 
> something better, I'll test it, and even adopt it if I think I can 
> train the masses on it.
> -Scott
> On Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 1:34 PM, Steve Stroh <steve.stroh at gmail.com 
> <mailto:steve.stroh at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     I had a small epiphany (actually many, but only one I'll address
>     below) at Communications Academy 2018 this past weekend.
>     Apologies, Scott, for my past participation as one of the "cool kidz".
>     In defense of Scott... and even though I'm guilty of the same thing
>     the same thing I'm going to address below...
>     If you're serious about promoting the use of Amateur Radio for
>     Emergency Communications, I think we should drop the "Windows only"
>     purity test, that if a particular system is "Windows only" it's not
>     worthy of consideration in consideration of higher data rates in
>     Amateur Radio VHF/UHF.
>     The reality is Windows is THE platform for many / most average users
>     at the moment, until someone is successful in developing an
>     "appliance" that is as "easy" (yeah, I know that's a loaded term) to
>     use as a TNC and can be widely / easily supported, including peer to
>     peer training.
>     The primary driver for Windows usage in Amateur Radio, other than the
>     fact that everyone... literally everyone... knows how to use it (yes,
>     even you Linux / BSD and Mac folks - you can muddle through it if you
>     have* to), is that Winlink is a dominant force in Amateur Radio
>     Emergency Communications. For a LOT of formal Emergency
>     Communications, it is THE environment. Closely coupled with that is
>     that the most polished, best supported, best available training, to
>     ACCESS Winlink is Winlink Express... which is Windows only.
>     (There could be comparable software to Winlink Express for other
>     platforms... there just isnt
>     Scott is doing an amazing job evangelizing "better than 1200" data
>     rates. He did an exhausting set of presentations this weekend at Comm
>     Academy. He (and others) can only do that because he's using Windows -
>     a platform that nearly everyone is comfortable with and doesn't have
>     to teach a whole new platform before he even gets the new paradigm of
>     a software modem. It's hard enough to get the idea across that the TNC
>     needs to be abandoned (after 30 years). The Windows-only UZ7HO
>     software is reasonably well polished. Given the dominance of Windows
>     in general, and Winlink Express in particular, the fact that UZ7HO is
>     Windows-only is a non-issue.
>     But trying to evangelize "faster than 1200, don't use a TNC" AND
>     debating "the cool kidz who don't like Windows" is asking too much.
>     * Scott convinced me that if you are one of those who hate Windows...
>     get over it, and get in the game, by buying a reasonably-priced
>     Windows appliance like this:
>     https://amzn.to/2ER3rRS (Amazon Associates link that would credit me
>     if you buy from that link)
>     Buy a Windows appliance. Firewall it if you need to and never let its
>     Internet bits transit your home network. Take it to the library or
>     Starbucks when it needs to periodically update itself. Install
>     software from a USB flash drive. Etc. Point being, it's a MANAGEABLE
>     issue to treat it like a dedicated appliance.
>     I'll reserve judgement on the merits of Dire Wolf vs UZ7HO overall - I
>     just haven't used both enough to have a qualified opinion. Yes, kudos
>     to Dire Wolf for being open source and thus port-able to other
>     platforms (like the above fantasized "appliance"). But equal kudos to
>     UZ7HO for making software modems polished enough to the point where
>     people like Scott can consider bearing the pain and effort to
>     evangelize the concept of advancing beyond the TNC to our fellow
>     Amateur Radio operators who don't live and breathe packet radio,
>     Linux, Raspberry Pi, etc.
>     Also, if you're a REAL cool kidz, you can use UZ7HO on a Windows
>     appliance with your "more pure" platform. The various bits of UZ7HO
>     are modularized, coupled together using IP addresses and sockets. By
>     default, they're set to, but if you're really cool, you can
>     change that to let the UZ7HO software operate as a modem, and the
>     higher levels of the stack can be on your favorite platform.
>     Thanks,
>     Steve N8GNJ
>     On Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 12:46 PM, Bill Vodall <wa7nwp at gmail.com
>     <mailto:wa7nwp at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     >> OK, next test.
>     >
>     >> This is running VARA FM, the HF modem optimized for VHF FM links.
>     >
>     > Windows only?
>     >
>     >> First test, running the radios in "1200" mode on 145.030MHz.
>     Ideal path,
>     >> radios are 15' apart. VARA FM stayed in 3rd gear, but still
>     very good
>     >> *** Sent 1 message.  Bytes: 30800,  Time: 01:19,  bytes/minute:
>     23174
>     >
>     >> Next with the radios set to "9600" mode. VARA FM shifted all
>     the way up to
>     >> 5th gear (top gear). This comes very close to 9600 packet!
>     >> *** Sent 1 message.  Bytes: 30828,  Time: 00:47,  bytes/minute:
>     38905
>     >
>     > 9600 was less than double the 1200 mode...  I sure wish they'd
>     > standardize on CPS..
>     >
>     > Was this with Discriminator flat audio or 'real' audio?
>     >
>     > Is there a middle mode that would work with radios that don't have
>     > flat audio?  To get something (3600?  4800?) better than 1200.
>     >
>     >>
>     >
>     > Bill, WA7NWP
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>     -- 
>     Steve Stroh (personal / general): stevestroh at gmail.com
>     <mailto:stevestroh at gmail.com>
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> -- 
> */-Scott/*
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