Re: VARA HF digital on BitX

Joe Puma


I had some time to look at VARA last night, I wasn’t able to connect to their listed gateways but I might try again. Propagation was great last 2 Days then it rained last night in NY and everything went silent on 80 meters.  

It setup pretty easily. I already have the necessary cables and have a solution for the laptop I use with a USB soundcard that I use for digital radio purposes. The program worked with a USB to serial dongle I have that controls the PTT and the program was set to output to the USB sound card. For receiving the signal to decode I am using my panadapter and HDSDR. It’s my first time trying this method but HDSDR connects to my radio via tcpip and a SDR dongle hosted on a Raspberry Pi 3. HDSDR’s audio is routed to a Virtual Audio Cable and picked up by VARA. 

I use my system this way because my radio is across the room from where my laptop is, near the couch on the coffee table. Heck I even have an ethernet cable extending my microphone so I can have it next to me. Oh the CAT to radio is Bluetooth also. Jus trying to minimize wires running across the bedroom, I probably have the most awkward shack ever lol. Just wanted to give you a little background on why my system is set up that way. 

I noticed you have to pay for VARA. WinLink already has an option to use Winmor link and has some nice propagation support and good list of gateways you can connect to. It works pretty smoothly too so I’m not sure how VARA would measure up to that to do some Winlink unless the user really had a need or interest to use it. I would still like to see it connect to an available gateway. I’ll try again today. 


On Feb 24, 2018, at 8:39 PM, Joe Puma <kd2nfc@...> wrote:

If you want to try another method, I had success with a raspberry pi running Dire Wolf a software TNC and I am able to control a uhv/vhf Radio with and I used a ft-840 with success for winlink on HF.  I ran the RMS express from a Windows PC and connect to the Rpi/direwolf via tcpip and used the Winmore mode with ease on HF.  

I had a Bitx40 on a raspberry pi already with wsjtx and can do ptt with a com port but now that ubitx has CAT control it makes it even easier.  

On Feb 24, 2018, at 8:29 PM, KC9SGV <kc9sgv@...> wrote:

Hi All,
Have a look at VARA.
It is a new Milspec digital mode adjusted for the U.S. HF (or VHF) ham bands.
Meaning it satisfies all the current FCC legal requirements for HF digital.
< 300 baud, < 2.4 KHz bandwidth.
52 Carriers in orthogonally spaced subcarriers.
Multiple OS platforms.
Thruput speeds comparable with P3.....

Full Winlink functionality using the Winlink Express radio email client in Telnet mode.

"VARA is a High Performance HF modem based on OFDM modulation. VARA Modem, brings state of the art Military grade technology to new and existing HF data.

Introduces a new standard of technology available for Amateur and Commercial use. Designed for operation within a SSB Bandwidth of 2400 Hz."
(Scroll down)

Who would be the first to run VARA on a BitX radio ?
Please post the results (with pictures) here.

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