Date   
Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

WA7SKG <wa7skg@...>
 

Sarah,
Thanks for your comments. My concern with mesh networks is the heavy reliance on infrastructure. As I understand mesh networks, you have a bunch of tiny cells making a network. Without those cells, you have no coverage. The beauty of ham radio is generally its lack of infrastructure. Generic radios talking to generic radios. Sure, there are repeaters on VHF/UHF, but emergency systems cannot totally rely on them. And, they can easily be replaced with basic radios. Mesh networks take a lot of specialized equipment and still only cover a relatively small area per radio. In a major disaster environment, you have to be able to make up networks with "Run What You Brung" equipment. Lose a repeater and you can cobble one together with a couple mobile radios and some junk box parts to get back on the air with county wide coverage. How many mesh nodes does it take to give county wide coverage and how many hams would be able to use it?

Don't get me wrong, I love playing with mesh stuff, although I haven't had much opportunities in my rural area. I encourage everyone to play in whatever aspect of ham radio they enjoy. But don't look at exotic systems like mesh networks to be viable in SHTF situations.

With NBEMS systems, one can take pretty much any generic ham radio and laptop computer and communicate over a wide area to pass traffic, files, and images. I just saw it tonight on the ORCA network. Great fun with basic equipment.

Good luck with your mesh network. In a highly populated area like L.A. with thousands of people per square mile, it might have moderate success for day-to-day operations. In areas like mine with dozens of square miles per ham, not so much.

73,
Michael WA7SKG


Sarah wrote on 09/18/2018 07:39 PM:

Hello Michael:
Simple answer first: Although I can't speak for Los Angeles Co., CA as a whole the groups I work with use MT63-2000L.  There are regular nets out here on 2m and 220.
WinLink:  The ARES organization in LA County is split up in to sections because the county is so large.  I understand one of the sections regularly alternates their weekly digital net between NBEMS and WinLink. I haven't work with WinLink but I take your point about station-to-station versus station-to-everyone in comparing WinLink to NBEMS.  There must be other people working WinLink in my county but I'm just not tuned into it.
Standardization between digital modes:  That would be nice.  Sadly I don't even think LA County is "standardized" much less Southern Calif. or the entire state. But I'm a low on the totem pole and willing to be corrected.
What we ought to be doing:  Based on discussions with my Elmer and others I think hams in LA County who have the interest and can obtain the equipment need to focus on building a Mesh Radio network.  It's great that folks know and use NBEMS and WinLink but my understanding is that Mesh Radio is really the future.  There are active Mesh Radio groups running in Ventura (the county west/northwest of LA) and Orange Counties (to the south/southwest).  It would just be a darn shame for LA County _not_ to be connected to them.
73, Sarah, N6OPE

Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

Steve Bellner
 

Here in Toledo Ohio we are using MT63 2000L for repeater and simplex use (Short distance communication). Participants are encouraged to use audio coupling if they do not have an interface.

For HF we use Olivia 8/500 or Olivia 32/1000 depending on band conditions on 40/80 meters or MFSK64 and MT63 1000L also depending on band conditions.

We have also found that a great use for Slow Scan TV is for damage assessment or as we all say "a picture is worth a thousand words" I encourage you to try SSTV if you have not done so. It can run at the same time FLdigi does so it is always at the ready. You can download it at this web page: http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php

It also works well on HF.

Winlink is also a tool we try to employ as using hf to send out e-mail to awaiting servers outside of our "disaster zone" who THEN put it reliably and accurately onto the internet to be sent to anyplace in the world... even relayed to a more distant HF station.

 We have been participating in what we call "Winlink Wednesday" where as we send a Winlink e-mail to one person who reply's to our return receipt. We simply send in the message CALL, NAME, CITY, COUNTY, STATE, MODE i.e. (TELNET or HF, or VHF) If you like, send a winlink e-mail to K8EAF@...  In the e-mail simply state CALL, NAME, CITY, COUNTY, STATE, MODE

It is good to versed in as many modes a you can. We do not have a MESH network here in the flat part of Ohio however we are being prodded to look at setting mesh networks up around hospitals. If communications are that bad... Likely the internet will be down too so it will all have to go HF to get out of the "Disaster Zone" anyway.

Remember, when there is a disaster you may have to adapt and overcome.... sometimes you need a 16 ounce hammer and sometimes you need a pick ax.

73,

Steve, W8TER

On 9/19/2018 12:16 AM, WA7SKG via Groups.Io wrote:
Sarah,
Thanks for your comments. My concern with mesh networks is the heavy reliance on infrastructure. As  I understand mesh networks, you have a bunch of tiny cells making a network. Without those cells, you have no coverage. The beauty of ham radio is generally its lack of infrastructure. Generic radios talking to generic radios. Sure, there are repeaters on VHF/UHF, but emergency systems cannot totally rely on them. And, they can easily be replaced with basic radios. Mesh networks take a lot of specialized equipment and still only cover a relatively small area per radio. In a major disaster environment, you have to be able to make up networks with "Run What You Brung" equipment. Lose a repeater and you can cobble one together with a couple mobile radios and some junk box parts to get back on the air with county wide coverage. How many mesh nodes does it take to give county wide coverage and how many hams would be able to use it?

Don't get me wrong, I love playing with mesh stuff, although I haven't had much opportunities in my rural area. I encourage everyone to play in whatever aspect of ham radio they enjoy. But don't look at exotic systems like mesh networks to be viable in SHTF situations.

With NBEMS systems, one can take pretty much any generic ham radio and laptop computer and communicate over a wide area to pass traffic, files, and images. I just saw it tonight on the ORCA network. Great fun with basic equipment.

Good luck with your mesh network. In a highly populated area like L.A. with thousands of people per square mile, it might have moderate success for day-to-day operations. In areas like mine with dozens of square miles per ham, not so much.

73,
Michael WA7SKG


Sarah wrote on 09/18/2018 07:39 PM:
Hello Michael:

Simple answer first: Although I can't speak for Los Angeles Co., CA as a whole the groups I work with use MT63-2000L.  There are regular nets out here on 2m and 220.

WinLink:  The ARES organization in LA County is split up in to sections because the county is so large.  I understand one of the sections regularly alternates their weekly digital net between NBEMS and WinLink. I haven't work with WinLink but I take your point about station-to-station versus station-to-everyone in comparing WinLink to NBEMS.  There must be other people working WinLink in my county but I'm just not tuned into it.

Standardization between digital modes:  That would be nice. Sadly I don't even think LA County is "standardized" much less Southern Calif. or the entire state. But I'm a low on the totem pole and willing to be corrected.

What we ought to be doing:  Based on discussions with my Elmer and others I think hams in LA County who have the interest and can obtain the equipment need to focus on building a Mesh Radio network.  It's great that folks know and use NBEMS and WinLink but my understanding is that Mesh Radio is really the future. There are active Mesh Radio groups running in Ventura (the county west/northwest of LA) and Orange Counties (to the south/southwest).  It would just be a darn shame for LA County _not_ to be connected to them.

73, Sarah, N6OPE

Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

Ryan Tourge, N2YQT
 

Good question and I guess it's something we take for granted. Usually at least net control is running TXID so the software picks up what mode provided you have RXID enabled.


On Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 6:42 AM Steve Bellner <stevebellner@...> wrote:
Here in Toledo Ohio we are using MT63 2000L for repeater and simplex use
(Short distance communication). Participants are encouraged to use audio
coupling if they do not have an interface.

For HF we use Olivia 8/500 or Olivia 32/1000 depending on band
conditions on 40/80 meters or MFSK64 and MT63 1000L also depending on
band conditions.

We have also found that a great use for Slow Scan TV is for damage
assessment or as we all say "a picture is worth a thousand words" I
encourage you to try SSTV if you have not done so. It can run at the
same time FLdigi does so it is always at the ready. You can download it
at this web page: http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php

It also works well on HF.

Winlink is also a tool we try to employ as using hf to send out e-mail
to awaiting servers outside of our "disaster zone" who THEN put it
reliably and accurately onto the internet to be sent to anyplace in the
world... even relayed to a more distant HF station.

  We have been participating in what we call "Winlink Wednesday" where
as we send a Winlink e-mail to one person who reply's to our return
receipt. We simply send in the message CALL, NAME, CITY, COUNTY, STATE,
MODE i.e. (TELNET or HF, or VHF) If you like, send a winlink e-mail to
K8EAF@...  In the e-mail simply state CALL, NAME, CITY, COUNTY,
STATE, MODE

It is good to versed in as many modes a you can. We do not have a MESH
network here in the flat part of Ohio however we are being prodded to
look at setting mesh networks up around hospitals. If communications are
that bad... Likely the internet will be down too so it will all have to
go HF to get out of the "Disaster Zone" anyway.

Remember, when there is a disaster you may have to adapt and
overcome.... sometimes you need a 16 ounce hammer and sometimes you need
a pick ax.

73,

Steve, W8TER


On 9/19/2018 12:16 AM, WA7SKG via Groups.Io wrote:
> Sarah,
> Thanks for your comments. My concern with mesh networks is the heavy
> reliance on infrastructure. As  I understand mesh networks, you have a
> bunch of tiny cells making a network. Without those cells, you have no
> coverage. The beauty of ham radio is generally its lack of
> infrastructure. Generic radios talking to generic radios. Sure, there
> are repeaters on VHF/UHF, but emergency systems cannot totally rely on
> them. And, they can easily be replaced with basic radios. Mesh
> networks take a lot of specialized equipment and still only cover a
> relatively small area per radio. In a major disaster environment, you
> have to be able to make up networks with "Run What You Brung"
> equipment. Lose a repeater and you can cobble one together with a
> couple mobile radios and some junk box parts to get back on the air
> with county wide coverage. How many mesh nodes does it take to give
> county wide coverage and how many hams would be able to use it?
>
> Don't get me wrong, I love playing with mesh stuff, although I haven't
> had much opportunities in my rural area. I encourage everyone to play
> in whatever aspect of ham radio they enjoy. But don't look at exotic
> systems like mesh networks to be viable in SHTF situations.
>
> With NBEMS systems, one can take pretty much any generic ham radio and
> laptop computer and communicate over a wide area to pass traffic,
> files, and images. I just saw it tonight on the ORCA network. Great
> fun with basic equipment.
>
> Good luck with your mesh network. In a highly populated area like L.A.
> with thousands of people per square mile, it might have moderate
> success for day-to-day operations. In areas like mine with dozens of
> square miles per ham, not so much.
>
> 73,
> Michael WA7SKG
>
>
> Sarah wrote on 09/18/2018 07:39 PM:
>> Hello Michael:
>>
>> Simple answer first: Although I can't speak for Los Angeles Co., CA
>> as a whole the groups I work with use MT63-2000L.  There are regular
>> nets out here on 2m and 220.
>>
>> WinLink:  The ARES organization in LA County is split up in to
>> sections because the county is so large.  I understand one of the
>> sections regularly alternates their weekly digital net between NBEMS
>> and WinLink. I haven't work with WinLink but I take your point about
>> station-to-station versus station-to-everyone in comparing WinLink to
>> NBEMS.  There must be other people working WinLink in my county but
>> I'm just not tuned into it.
>>
>> Standardization between digital modes:  That would be nice. Sadly I
>> don't even think LA County is "standardized" much less Southern
>> Calif. or the entire state. But I'm a low on the totem pole and
>> willing to be corrected.
>>
>> What we ought to be doing:  Based on discussions with my Elmer and
>> others I think hams in LA County who have the interest and can obtain
>> the equipment need to focus on building a Mesh Radio network.  It's
>> great that folks know and use NBEMS and WinLink but my understanding
>> is that Mesh Radio is really the future. There are active Mesh Radio
>> groups running in Ventura (the county west/northwest of LA) and
>> Orange Counties (to the south/southwest).  It would just be a darn
>> shame for LA County _not_ to be connected to them.
>>
>> 73, Sarah, N6OPE
>>
>
>
>




Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

Steve Hansen
 

We don't have a high density of digital operators in Maine but our
primary digital comms are with NBEMS and Winlink.

My county, and a couple of neighboring counties, primarily use NBEMS
with VHF (repeater or simplex) and the primary mode is PSK250RC5. This
also works quite well with the statewide linked repeater system which
tends to be a bit noisy at times. When we do use HF, it's Olivia 8/500
for net ops with THOR 50x1 for files. 

With regard to the county I'm in (Knox), we have the EOC plus several
fixed town stations and our hospital that are all equipped with Kenwood
D710s. The computers have NBEMS and Winlink Express. For in-county comms
we use voice and NBEMS if there are operators at both ends or we need
one to many. Winlink Express supports the local packet network as well
as connections to the two Winlink gateways that we have. This provides a
lot of flexibility.

As an example, a portable station might send a flmsg file to a town
station with NBEMS. The town station can attach the flmsg file to a
Winlink Express message and then send it to the county EOC by packet or
to anywhere else via Winlink.

We did an exercise in the spring simulating a tanker-cruise ship
collision. This had a variety of USCG and private fishing vessels
bringing survivors ashore to 5 different harbors. Depending upon
condition, each survivor had to be moved to one of 4 locations (2
hospitals, one resort and a high school). Each harbor station got a list
of survivors (lists varied in quality) and they prepared spreadsheets
that were then sent by fldigi/flmsg. Each of the receiving locations had
to prepare spreadsheets based on what they were supposed to get and the
EOC station consolidated everything and compared the received data with
the ship's manifest. All comms, including inter-county, was simplex VHF.
Finally, the summary spreadsheet was sent to another station by Winlink.
Somehow we managed to account for all 161 passengers in an exercise that
lasted just over an hour.

With regard to mesh networking, we have mesh telephony devices (the
Village Telco MESH Potatoes). These are basically a router with an
analog telephone adapter with mesh firmware. Several counties have these
and we use them where there are base camps. It's Part 15 and everyone
knows how to use a telephone so anyone can use them and the learning
curve is zero. There is a fixed  pair of these for comms between a
warming shelter and a town EOC. 

73, Steve KB1TCE

Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

Oliver K6OLI
 

ARES LAX Northeast district uses NBEMS and Winlink quite extensively. We have written couple of Quick Setup Guides and we provide regular workshops as well as a weekly NBEMS/Winlink net on VHF. Our NBEMS/Winlink nets are all simplex because our basic assumption no infrastructure survives in a disaster and any that does is a bonus we are happy to employ. Simplex nets also have the advantage that they train operators to relay smartly, identify and address any station issues quickly and they are a lot of fun! 
Other groups like LACDCS practice NBEMS on repeaters so there is a variety of approaches for operators to choose from and practice with.

Our NBEMS net usually has an experimental portion, where operators can try whatever is on their mind, and an exercise portion, where we send mission specific traffic. We usually operate MT63-2KL on 2m FM and at times on 2m SSB for the practice nets.    

With respect to forms we use two approaches: for ICS forms we use the excellent built-in forms in Flmsg. For the forms required by L.A. County, i.e. Hospital Status Assessments, Resource Requests and Mass Casualty Incident Polls, we use CSV files. We did experiment with HTML forms for the latter but it turned out that CSV are easier to use, fill out and adapt when needed.

It is all part of our concept of Operational Flexibility where the operator deployed at a hospital makes the decision what the most efficient way of transmitting traffic is. We focus on bandwidth, so we would expect operators to choose AREDN MESH first, then VHF/UHF and then HF, if amateur radio is the only option.



73,
Oliver K6OLI


Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

Oliver K6OLI
 

Hi Sarah,

Actually, things have changed dramatically in the last few months with respect to AREDN MESH accessibility in Los Angeles County.  There are now nodes covering most of the county south of the San Gabriel Mountains. Moreover, we are connected to the Orange County MESH (and have been for a while) and Ventura has been connected to Los Angeles lately, too.  The gap in the SoCal Backbone was in the Pasadena area and that has been closed.

Michael's concerns about infrastructure are well taken, however, I think we need to make a distinction here. Just like with VHF/UHF repeaters, it is nice to have infrastructure to get people talking, interested and practicing.  But we do not rely on infrastructure to make MESH work, quite the opposite. The true power of amateur radio is the ability to create ad hoc networks in a disaster and we can do that on HF, VHF/UHF and with MESH, all on simplex. Quite a few of our nodes easily cover 40+ miles in spite of drawing only 200mA and deliver speeds of 30Mbps. A whole network of them placed on rooftops can leverage and sustain amateur radio traffic for quite a long time. We practice ad hoc field deployment now regularly at races and events.

We amateur radio enthusiasts offer our served agencies a cross-platform, multimode approach that can run independently of infrastructure at a moment's notice. Moreover, we are already a distributed neural network that can adjust to pretty much any situation. MESH simply extends our already impressive capabilities in VHF/UHF and HF. 

As Training Coordinator of the ARES LAX Northeast District I am occasionally asked whether hams should learn NBEMS or Winlink and I always tell people "yes".  Our task is to get the message through and we will employ whichever tool works. 
NBEMS: great for broadcasting, distributing forms, coordinating across multiple platforms (Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android), very transparent, BUT not MESH compatible
Winlink: great for P2P connections, excellent for distribution when gateways are available, MESH compatible and very easy for agency staff to understand and use ("email"), BUT more challenging to use and train people in.

MESH is great and great fun, but it is not the end-all be-all of amateur radio. If it works and is available, it should be the operator's go-to choice, if not then the choice is VHF/UHF NBEMS or Winlink, and then HF NBEMS of Winlink, whatever the situation dictates. If there is no line-of-sight then VHF/UHF and HF (NVIS) might be the better choice.
But MESH is now a core part of our deployment concept. You will find that our operators' go-kits usually consist of a VHF/UHF (+HF, if licensed) mobile rig, a Signalink, one or two MESH nodes, batteries and chargers and a portable computer.  At our recent NBEMS/Packet Winlink workshop you saw operators had set up their go kits and were exchanging messages on VHF as well as on MESH, it has simply become second nature to operate across bands and modes in our group.

MESH is also a great way of getting younger people involved in the hobby who naturally understand wireless networking.  From there they learn about Winlink and then NBEMS and then upgrade to do digital on HF.  At the South Pasadena Open House on Saturday we got a more questions about our MESH gear than about any other gear we exhibited. 

At the heart of it all is the training. Without learning, training regularly and providing feedback which goes back into the training, EMCOMM is just well-meaning intention, but not actionable skills. Our workshops cover the learning part and our nets and deployment exercises cover the training part.  We talk about challenges and exchange ideas for improvements and that goes back into our workshops. 
There is no perfect in EMCOMM, just works and doesn't work. So we encourage our operators to try, experiment and explore. Break it, learn from it, fix it, try to break it again.
It is also important to encourage people to ask questions, no matter how simple they may seem.  We are a learning organization and we want everyone to feel comfortable asking and commenting. Chances are if you have a question other people in the room have the same question.

I enjoy NBEMS, we use it and train with it regularly because it is reliable, flexible and easy to use. At the Statewide Medical Health Exercise last year one of our operators took his Android phone with AndFlmsg and a Baofeng UV5R handheld, went to an upper floor of the hospital he was assigned to and sent us an ICS-213 simplex. The point was to prove that we could do it if that were all we had and it worked. 

David W1HKJ has created an incredibly powerful tool for EMCOMM with NBEMS and we are forever in his debt.

73,
Oliver K6OLI

Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

WA7SKG <wa7skg@...>
 

I am excited to see this comment about AndFlmsg. This is the first I have heard of it. There is a readily available cable intended for APRS to connect the Baofeng to a Smartphone via the TRRS jack on the phone. It works great for SSTV also and should work with AndFlmsg.

My Galaxy Smartphone has an adapter from the Mini-USB to a USB-A connector allowing you to hook up to USB devices like printers, scanners, etc. Does anyone know if there is an app that will allow you to use this to connect to a soundcard equipped radio like the IC-7300 or IC-7100? This would be huge for emergency situations.

tnx es 73,
Michael WA7SKG


Oliver K6OLI wrote on 09/20/2018 04:12 PM:



I enjoy NBEMS, we use it and train with it regularly because it is reliable, flexible and easy to use. At the Statewide Medical Health Exercise last year one of our operators took his Android phone with AndFlmsg and a Baofeng UV5R handheld, went to an upper floor of the hospital he was assigned to and sent us an ICS-213 simplex. The point was to prove that we could do it if that were all we had and it worked.
David W1HKJ has created an incredibly powerful tool for EMCOMM with NBEMS and we are forever in his debt.
73,
Oliver K6OLI

Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

Richard E Neese
 

I would like to see the apps ported to ipad and iPhone .. there room to grow

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: WA7SKG via Groups.Io
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2018 12:03 AM
To: nbems@groups.io
Subject: Re: [nbems] Narrow Band Emergency Messages

 

I am excited to see this comment about AndFlmsg. This is the first I

have heard of it. There is a readily available cable intended for APRS

to connect the Baofeng to a Smartphone via the TRRS jack on the phone.

It works great for SSTV also and should work with AndFlmsg.

 

My Galaxy Smartphone has an adapter from the Mini-USB to a USB-A

connector allowing you to hook up to USB devices like printers,

scanners, etc. Does anyone know if there is an app that will allow you

to use this to connect to a soundcard equipped radio like the IC-7300 or

IC-7100? This would be huge for emergency situations.

 

tnx es 73,

Michael WA7SKG

 

 

Oliver K6OLI wrote on 09/20/2018 04:12 PM:

 

>

> I enjoy NBEMS, we use it and train with it regularly because it is

> reliable, flexible and easy to use. At the Statewide Medical Health

> Exercise last year one of our operators took his Android phone with

> AndFlmsg and a Baofeng UV5R handheld, went to an upper floor of the

> hospital he was assigned to and sent us an ICS-213 simplex. The point

> was to prove that we could do it if that were all we had and it worked.

>

> David W1HKJ has created an incredibly powerful tool for EMCOMM with

> NBEMS and we are forever in his debt.

>

> 73,

> Oliver K6OLI

 

 

 

Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

Dave
 

So would I.  Are you volunteering? ;-).

73, David, W1HKJ

On 09/22/2018 08:06 AM, Richard E Neese wrote:

I would like to see the apps ported to ipad and iPhone .. there room to grow

 


Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

Daniel Miranda
 

Hello, everyone!
Has anyone ever used FLDIGI with a Vertex VX-1700 radio from Yaesu? I am trying to help a friend with digital modes, and it would be really useful to hear from someone who has a working setup.
FLRIG does not directly support this model, testing several yaesu models yielded no results.
RigCat also does not support the model.
HAMLIB has alpha support, so we tried with several serial port options and all we get is a hamlib_init: IO error.
The configuration I thought ought to have worked was a Baud Rate of 4800, 2 stop bits, PTT via Hamlib command, no DTR, no RTS, no RTS/CTS flow control and no XON/XOFF flow control. A few variations were also tried.
Also two different after market cat cables were tried, I don't suspect a cable problem.
I feel like I am missing something basic. Any tips?

A little bit of context:
This is for a humanitarian project in the amazon forest. The frequencies used are licensed from the government (not HAM frequencies) around 80m, 40m and 30m and the whole setup is a bit dated. It would be an important improvement if we got basic keyboard to keyboard communication over HF, which can take place in much worse atmospheric conditions than voice.

Best,
Daniel

Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

Dave
 

Start with studying the CAT programming manual for the VX-1700:

https://www.psicompany.com/man-prod-info/vertex/VX-1700catopman.pdf

It looks like the command set is similar to some of the earlier Yaesu transceivers for the amateur market.  You might be able to modify one of the Yaesu transceiver xml files, such as FT-857.xml

VX-1700:


Do you have access to a VX-1700 to test?

73, David, W1HKJ

On 09/22/2018 05:14 PM, Daniel Miranda wrote:
Hello, everyone!
Has anyone ever used FLDIGI with a Vertex VX-1700 radio from Yaesu? I am trying to help a friend with digital modes, and it would be really useful to hear from someone who has a working setup.
FLRIG does not directly support this model, testing several yaesu models yielded no results.
RigCat also does not support the model.
HAMLIB has alpha support, so we tried with several serial port options and all we get is a hamlib_init: IO error.
The configuration I thought ought to have worked was a Baud Rate of 4800, 2 stop bits, PTT via Hamlib command, no DTR, no RTS, no RTS/CTS flow control and no XON/XOFF flow control. A few variations were also tried.
Also two different after market cat cables were tried, I don't suspect a cable problem.
I feel like I am missing something basic. Any tips?

A little bit of context:
This is for a humanitarian project in the amazon forest. The frequencies used are licensed from the government (not HAM frequencies) around 80m, 40m and 30m and the whole setup is a bit dated. It would be an important improvement if we got basic keyboard to keyboard communication over HF, which can take place in much worse atmospheric conditions than voice.

Best,
Daniel

Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

Daniel Miranda
 

The xml adaptation looks doable. I confess I was looking for a simple reply like "oh, you got your baud rate wrong"... I guess it will take a little more work.

I have indirect acess to a vx-1700 since my friend lives in another state. Every test iteraction should take between one and two days.

Thanks for the suggestion, Dave. I will give it a try. If anyone else has a working setup please share your solution.

--Daniel


Em sáb, 22 de set de 2018 20:24, Dave <w1hkj@...> escreveu:

Start with studying the CAT programming manual for the VX-1700:

https://www.psicompany.com/man-prod-info/vertex/VX-1700catopman.pdf

It looks like the command set is similar to some of the earlier Yaesu transceivers for the amateur market.  You might be able to modify one of the Yaesu transceiver xml files, such as FT-857.xml

VX-1700:


Do you have access to a VX-1700 to test?

73, David, W1HKJ

On 09/22/2018 05:14 PM, Daniel Miranda wrote:
Hello, everyone!
Has anyone ever used FLDIGI with a Vertex VX-1700 radio from Yaesu? I am trying to help a friend with digital modes, and it would be really useful to hear from someone who has a working setup.
FLRIG does not directly support this model, testing several yaesu models yielded no results.
RigCat also does not support the model.
HAMLIB has alpha support, so we tried with several serial port options and all we get is a hamlib_init: IO error.
The configuration I thought ought to have worked was a Baud Rate of 4800, 2 stop bits, PTT via Hamlib command, no DTR, no RTS, no RTS/CTS flow control and no XON/XOFF flow control. A few variations were also tried.
Also two different after market cat cables were tried, I don't suspect a cable problem.
I feel like I am missing something basic. Any tips?

A little bit of context:
This is for a humanitarian project in the amazon forest. The frequencies used are licensed from the government (not HAM frequencies) around 80m, 40m and 30m and the whole setup is a bit dated. It would be an important improvement if we got basic keyboard to keyboard communication over HF, which can take place in much worse atmospheric conditions than voice.

Best,
Daniel

Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

David Ranch
 


Hello Daniel,

Regardless of rig control, Fldigi should work just fine with that radio as it looks like a regular Yaesu radio from it's back side.  Connecting the the DATA jack to a sound card for audio IN/OUT and using a serial port's RTS pin through a three part transistor circuit should work fine.

--David
KI6ZHD

Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

Daniel Miranda
 

Hello, David! Thanks for the suggestion!

 If I have to give up rig control, I was thinking about configuring vox. I would need only one cable, no active components and everything would be simpler. Fldigi supports introducing a tone before the main transmission which would be ideal for that.

I feel a little awkward asking for help here because I have no ham experience and I don't even have a callsign (I don't legally need a license since I'm not the one operating the radios :-)). But I am trying to help a worthy cause, so thanks for your input and your patience.

--Daniel






Em sáb, 22 de set de 2018 22:38, David Ranch <linuxham-fld@...> escreveu:


Hello Daniel,

Regardless of rig control, Fldigi should work just fine with that radio as it looks like a regular Yaesu radio from it's back side.  Connecting the the DATA jack to a sound card for audio IN/OUT and using a serial port's RTS pin through a three part transistor circuit should work fine.

--David
KI6ZHD

Re: Narrow Band Emergency Messages

 

👍

Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

David Ranch
 

Hello Daniel,

Well, I would encourage you to make sure that running digital modes on those other frequencies is allowed from the local government(s) and for the operators there.  Assuming they are and you're just starting out, you can either easily build yourself a soundcard setup for cheap but if you lack the skills, time, patience, you could opt for a ready to go soundcard setup like this:

   $115 - https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-009906
   $5 - https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-011365


Regardless of the HW you setup, I *do* recommend to run a different sound card than whatever is built into your desired computer.  Too many issues come up with trying to reuse one sound device for all things.  Audio Levels get messed up, notification sounds go over RF by accident, etc.


You can see lower down in the following URL that most Yaesu radios are listed as supported:

   https://www.gigaparts.com/tigertronics-slusb6pm.html

I tried checking in the Yaesu / Vertex VX1700 manual that the pinouts are identical with say the Yaesu FT857 but the manuals there don't have any pinout details:

   https://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=71&encProdID=E81F6BFFD56DB8669D2F0951B0193785&DivisionID=64&isArchived=0



  - NOTE: I see that 9-pin serial connection is NOT labeled for CAT control, it's labeled for GPS for SELCALL support.  The URL that W1HKJ posted includes instructions that you have to open up the radio and flip two DIP switches to get CAT control to work.  Kinda a pain but at least it looks possible.



Anyway.. I'm quite sure this will work for you but if you're going to make all this pretty "fool proof", I recommend you get a test VX1700 radio, a soundcard like this, and a test computer to run Fldigi on.  Fldigi will work fine on anything from a Raspberry Pi, an X86-based tablet (not an ARM processor based one), or any laptop running Windows, Mac, or Linux.

Btw.. no need to us VOX.. the above Signalink unit will do the PTT for you but it doesn't include a serial port for rig control. 

--David


On 09/22/2018 07:27 PM, Daniel Miranda wrote:
Hello, David! Thanks for the suggestion!

 If I have to give up rig control, I was thinking about configuring vox. I would need only one cable, no active components and everything would be simpler. Fldigi supports introducing a tone before the main transmission which would be ideal for that.

I feel a little awkward asking for help here because I have no ham experience and I don't even have a callsign (I don't legally need a license since I'm not the one operating the radios :-)). But I am trying to help a worthy cause, so thanks for your input and your patience.

--Daniel






Em sáb, 22 de set de 2018 22:38, David Ranch <linuxham-fld@...> escreveu:

Hello Daniel,

Regardless of rig control, Fldigi should work just fine with that radio as it looks like a regular Yaesu radio from it's back side.  Connecting the the DATA jack to a sound card for audio IN/OUT and using a serial port's RTS pin through a three part transistor circuit should work fine.

--David
KI6ZHD

Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

Daniel Miranda
 

Hi, David! Thanks again for the tips!

1. I'm not absolutely positive digital modes would be allowed because I do not have the actual text of the spectrum licenses, and public documentation is scarce on bands outside the amateur ranges. That being said, I found no obvious legislation precluding digital modes and the frequencies are exclusive, so, from a purely technical standpoint, there would be no interference with other stations. I will look into that as it is obviously important.

2. About the sound card setup: I researched signalink before, and I think it is awesome hardware, but the project is cost sensitive. The notebooks themselves are under $300 with shipping. I build a setup at home with simple external USB sound cards (about $10 each) and did a cross connection between two notebooks just to make sure I got a grasp of the concepts involved. The sound cards can be bought in a larger quantity so as to be easily replaced in case of failure. Spurious sounds like notifications are disabled since the notebooks are shipping with a plain Ubuntu 18.04 installation that I control. They will have only fldigi and the bare basics for operation in the field. Also, I will ship an SD card with the entire installed OS and a field manual so that if something goes wrong, the operator just plugs in the sd card and boots into a fresh OS install.

3. About the pinouts, I read in the manual that VX 1700 supports the CT-62 cable, which connects to the mini-din 6 port labeled TUNE (I double checked that, since it sounds really odd), not to the GPS port that is on the CAT protocol documentation (the one that the other Dave - W1HKJ mentioned) . The pinout for that port (https://www.manualslib.com/manual/994156/Vertex-Standard-Vx-1700-Series.html?page=10) reveals that it supports the serial protocol, and it does not seem that it is necessary to flip any switches in the radio. 

This is my plan for the moment:
a. Look into the frequency licenses and make sure they allow digital mode operation (or CW at the very least).
b. Try to write an XML definition as Dave W1HKJ mentioned.
c. Failing that, try to hook up the official programming software to VX1700 to narrow down the problem. If it just works, the issue is with FLDIGI configuration, if it doesn't I need to try another computer or buy new cables. My friend got in touch with a supplier yesterday and he should have the software available sometime next week.
d. If the official programming software works, write a small program to try every possible serial port combination to try to get an answer from the radio.
e. Failing that, hook an oscilloscope to the CT-62 cable wires and listen to the VX1700 official programming software talk to the radio. In that case, I will have to get a plane ticket to visit my friend - which would be very nice but expensive.
f. Failing that, it's either your solution with the transistor or vox. I'm not prepared to invest in the signalinks yet, as after taxes and shipping they would be almost $200 each.

Thank you for the time you put in your answer. Also, I have to ask: is it ok to have technical discussions like this in this list? If it is inappropriate I will continue them privately.

Best,
Daniel


Em dom, 23 de set de 2018 02:31, David Ranch <linuxham-fld@...> escreveu:

Hello Daniel,

Well, I would encourage you to make sure that running digital modes on those other frequencies is allowed from the local government(s) and for the operators there.  Assuming they are and you're just starting out, you can either easily build yourself a soundcard setup for cheap but if you lack the skills, time, patience, you could opt for a ready to go soundcard setup like this:

   $115 - https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-009906
   $5 - https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-011365


Regardless of the HW you setup, I *do* recommend to run a different sound card than whatever is built into your desired computer.  Too many issues come up with trying to reuse one sound device for all things.  Audio Levels get messed up, notification sounds go over RF by accident, etc.


You can see lower down in the following URL that most Yaesu radios are listed as supported:

   https://www.gigaparts.com/tigertronics-slusb6pm.html

I tried checking in the Yaesu / Vertex VX1700 manual that the pinouts are identical with say the Yaesu FT857 but the manuals there don't have any pinout details:

   https://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=71&encProdID=E81F6BFFD56DB8669D2F0951B0193785&DivisionID=64&isArchived=0



  - NOTE: I see that 9-pin serial connection is NOT labeled for CAT control, it's labeled for GPS for SELCALL support.  The URL that W1HKJ posted includes instructions that you have to open up the radio and flip two DIP switches to get CAT control to work.  Kinda a pain but at least it looks possible.



Anyway.. I'm quite sure this will work for you but if you're going to make all this pretty "fool proof", I recommend you get a test VX1700 radio, a soundcard like this, and a test computer to run Fldigi on.  Fldigi will work fine on anything from a Raspberry Pi, an X86-based tablet (not an ARM processor based one), or any laptop running Windows, Mac, or Linux.

Btw.. no need to us VOX.. the above Signalink unit will do the PTT for you but it doesn't include a serial port for rig control. 

--David


On 09/22/2018 07:27 PM, Daniel Miranda wrote:
Hello, David! Thanks for the suggestion!

 If I have to give up rig control, I was thinking about configuring vox. I would need only one cable, no active components and everything would be simpler. Fldigi supports introducing a tone before the main transmission which would be ideal for that.

I feel a little awkward asking for help here because I have no ham experience and I don't even have a callsign (I don't legally need a license since I'm not the one operating the radios :-)). But I am trying to help a worthy cause, so thanks for your input and your patience.

--Daniel






Em sáb, 22 de set de 2018 22:38, David Ranch <linuxham-fld@...> escreveu:

Hello Daniel,

Regardless of rig control, Fldigi should work just fine with that radio as it looks like a regular Yaesu radio from it's back side.  Connecting the the DATA jack to a sound card for audio IN/OUT and using a serial port's RTS pin through a three part transistor circuit should work fine.

--David
KI6ZHD

Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

David Ranch
 


Hello Daniel,

1. I'm not absolutely positive digital modes would be allowed because I do not have the actual text of the spectrum licenses, and public documentation is scarce on bands outside the amateur ranges. That being said, I found no obvious legislation precluding digital modes and the frequencies are exclusive, so, from a purely technical standpoint, there would be no interference with other stations. I will look into that as it is obviously important.

Ok.. please make sure everyone is doing the right thing here.


2. About the sound card setup: I researched signalink before, and I think it is awesome hardware, but the project is cost sensitive. The notebooks themselves are under $300 with shipping. I build a setup at home with simple external USB sound cards (about $10 each) and did a cross connection between two notebooks just to make sure I got a grasp of the concepts involved. The sound cards can be bought in a larger quantity so as to be easily replaced in case of failure. Spurious sounds like notifications are disabled since the notebooks are shipping with a plain Ubuntu 18.04 installation that I control. They will have only fldigi and the bare basics for operation in the field. Also, I will ship an SD card with the entire installed OS and a field manual so that if something goes wrong, the operator just plugs in the sd card and boots into a fresh OS install.

Ok.. if your comfortable with the cheap USB sound card approach, I'm sure it will work well.  Are you using Linux or Windows on those notebooks?   I ask because if you're using Linux with CM108 based soundcard and you're willing to open them up and solder on a wire, you can create a PTT signal right from the USB sound device.  From there, you'll need to assemble a simple transistor circuit to key up the radio.


3. About the pinouts, I read in the manual that VX 1700 supports the CT-62 cable, which connects to the mini-din 6 port labeled TUNE (I double checked that, since it sounds really odd), not to the GPS port that is on the CAT protocol documentation (the one that the other Dave - W1HKJ mentioned) . The pinout for that port (https://www.manualslib.com/manual/994156/Vertex-Standard-Vx-1700-Series.html?page=10) reveals that it supports the serial protocol, and it does not seem that it is necessary to flip any switches in the radio.

You do NOT want to use the TUNE port.  You want to use the DATA port.  That DATA port will be used to:
   - send audio out the computer and into the radio
   - send audio out the radio and into the computer
   - send the PTT signal into the radio


b. Try to write an XML definition as Dave W1HKJ mentioned.

I would recommend to make rig control the last step as you probably won't need it if your user's can tune the VFO themselves via a simple document


c. Failing that, try to hook up the official programming software to VX1700 to narrow down the problem. If it just works, the issue is with FLDIGI configuration, if it doesn't I need to try another computer or buy new cables. My friend got in touch with a supplier yesterday and he should have the software available sometime next week.

I don't think you'll need to program the radio's memories either.


f. Failing that, it's either your solution with the transistor or vox. I'm not prepared to invest in the signalinks yet, as after taxes and shipping they would be almost $200 each.

There are LOTS of options out there but if you give us some more details on the computer side, we can point you to some other options such as:
 
   $48 - complete setup : https://www.amazon.com/UniDigi-YAESU-Interface-Digital-Modes/dp/B0186MA89Q

   - a USB sound card ($10) and

     $25 w/o isolation: https://www.ebay.com/i/371936783212?rt=nc&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D20160908110712%26meid%3D651b14bd859a4824a682ad7a747adf77%26pid%3D100677%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D5%26sd%3D371790301125%26itm%3D371936783212

     $37 with isolation: https://www.ebay.com/i/371790301125?rt=nc&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D20160908110712%26meid%3Dc60ce3cba77f486b94095065ac5a2354%26pid%3D100677%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D371936783212%26itm%3D371790301125
     

There are many many many other examples out the on the web that I bet you can find for cheaper.   If you're willing to buy the parts and assemble the cables yourself, you can make them very inexpensive.


Thank you for the time you put in your answer. Also, I have to ask: is it ok to have technical discussions like this in this list? If it is inappropriate I will continue them privately.

Sure.. it's about Fldigi!

--David
KI6ZHD

Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

k4pwo <k4pwo@...>
 

You want the “DATA” jack which is a 6-pin mini-DIN connector.  The sound cards produce analog audio, not serial data.

You can get this cable…

https://packetradio.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=1128&zenid=hg04opbg5p7bfi1akctklfs5c6

…and cut it in half and make two cables by putting the necessary connectors on the cut ends you need for the sound devices (can’t really call external sound devices cards).

 

Perry K4PWO

 

From: nbems@groups.io <nbems@groups.io> On Behalf Of Daniel Miranda
Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2018 9:17 PM
To: nbems@groups.io Group Moderators <nbems@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [nbems] Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

 

Hi, David! Thanks again for the tips!

 

1. I'm not absolutely positive digital modes would be allowed because I do not have the actual text of the spectrum licenses, and public documentation is scarce on bands outside the amateur ranges. That being said, I found no obvious legislation precluding digital modes and the frequencies are exclusive, so, from a purely technical standpoint, there would be no interference with other stations. I will look into that as it is obviously important.

 

2. About the sound card setup: I researched signalink before, and I think it is awesome hardware, but the project is cost sensitive. The notebooks themselves are under $300 with shipping. I build a setup at home with simple external USB sound cards (about $10 each) and did a cross connection between two notebooks just to make sure I got a grasp of the concepts involved. The sound cards can be bought in a larger quantity so as to be easily replaced in case of failure. Spurious sounds like notifications are disabled since the notebooks are shipping with a plain Ubuntu 18.04 installation that I control. They will have only fldigi and the bare basics for operation in the field. Also, I will ship an SD card with the entire installed OS and a field manual so that if something goes wrong, the operator just plugs in the sd card and boots into a fresh OS install.

 

3. About the pinouts, I read in the manual that VX 1700 supports the CT-62 cable, which connects to the mini-din 6 port labeled TUNE (I double checked that, since it sounds really odd), not to the GPS port that is on the CAT protocol documentation (the one that the other Dave - W1HKJ mentioned) . The pinout for that port (https://www.manualslib.com/manual/994156/Vertex-Standard-Vx-1700-Series.html?page=10) reveals that it supports the serial protocol, and it does not seem that it is necessary to flip any switches in the radio. 

 

This is my plan for the moment:

a. Look into the frequency licenses and make sure they allow digital mode operation (or CW at the very least).

b. Try to write an XML definition as Dave W1HKJ mentioned.

c. Failing that, try to hook up the official programming software to VX1700 to narrow down the problem. If it just works, the issue is with FLDIGI configuration, if it doesn't I need to try another computer or buy new cables. My friend got in touch with a supplier yesterday and he should have the software available sometime next week.

d. If the official programming software works, write a small program to try every possible serial port combination to try to get an answer from the radio.

e. Failing that, hook an oscilloscope to the CT-62 cable wires and listen to the VX1700 official programming software talk to the radio. In that case, I will have to get a plane ticket to visit my friend - which would be very nice but expensive.

f. Failing that, it's either your solution with the transistor or vox. I'm not prepared to invest in the signalinks yet, as after taxes and shipping they would be almost $200 each.

 

Thank you for the time you put in your answer. Also, I have to ask: is it ok to have technical discussions like this in this list? If it is inappropriate I will continue them privately.

 

Best,

Daniel

 

Em dom, 23 de set de 2018 02:31, David Ranch <linuxham-fld@...> escreveu:

Hello Daniel,

Well, I would encourage you to make sure that running digital modes on those other frequencies is allowed from the local government(s) and for the operators there.  Assuming they are and you're just starting out, you can either easily build yourself a soundcard setup for cheap but if you lack the skills, time, patience, you could opt for a ready to go soundcard setup like this:

   $115 - https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-009906
   $5 - https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-011365


Regardless of the HW you setup, I *do* recommend to run a different sound card than whatever is built into your desired computer.  Too many issues come up with trying to reuse one sound device for all things.  Audio Levels get messed up, notification sounds go over RF by accident, etc.


You can see lower down in the following URL that most Yaesu radios are listed as supported:

   https://www.gigaparts.com/tigertronics-slusb6pm.html

I tried checking in the Yaesu / Vertex VX1700 manual that the pinouts are identical with say the Yaesu FT857 but the manuals there don't have any pinout details:

   https://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=71&encProdID=E81F6BFFD56DB8669D2F0951B0193785&DivisionID=64&isArchived=0



  - NOTE: I see that 9-pin serial connection is NOT labeled for CAT control, it's labeled for GPS for SELCALL support.  The URL that W1HKJ posted includes instructions that you have to open up the radio and flip two DIP switches to get CAT control to work.  Kinda a pain but at least it looks possible.



Anyway.. I'm quite sure this will work for you but if you're going to make all this pretty "fool proof", I recommend you get a test VX1700 radio, a soundcard like this, and a test computer to run Fldigi on.  Fldigi will work fine on anything from a Raspberry Pi, an X86-based tablet (not an ARM processor based one), or any laptop running Windows, Mac, or Linux.

Btw.. no need to us VOX.. the above Signalink unit will do the PTT for you but it doesn't include a serial port for rig control. 

--David

On 09/22/2018 07:27 PM, Daniel Miranda wrote:

Hello, David! Thanks for the suggestion!

 

 If I have to give up rig control, I was thinking about configuring vox. I would need only one cable, no active components and everything would be simpler. Fldigi supports introducing a tone before the main transmission which would be ideal for that.

 

I feel a little awkward asking for help here because I have no ham experience and I don't even have a callsign (I don't legally need a license since I'm not the one operating the radios :-)). But I am trying to help a worthy cause, so thanks for your input and your patience.

 

--Daniel

 

 

 

 

 

Em sáb, 22 de set de 2018 22:38, David Ranch <linuxham-fld@...> escreveu:


Hello Daniel,

Regardless of rig control, Fldigi should work just fine with that radio as it looks like a regular Yaesu radio from it's back side.  Connecting the the DATA jack to a sound card for audio IN/OUT and using a serial port's RTS pin through a three part transistor circuit should work fine.

--David
KI6ZHD

 

Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

Ed W3NR
 

Thank you for the time you put in your answer. Also, I have to ask: is it ok to have technical discussions like this in this list? If it is inappropriate I will continue them privately.

Best,
Daniel
This is the place for this subject. I think you would be amazed at the number of people that are interested. Plus it directly involves fldigi.

Ed W3NR

NBEMS moderator