Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reverse Beacon Network: Amazing!

I've often peeked at http://www.reversebeacon.net/, the Reverse Beacon network that uses a network of observers equipped with CWSkimmer to list the heard stations that are calling CQ on CW. If you can find an observer near you, it gives a pretty interesting view of propagation.

During the IntDX competition this past weekend, I thought I might have been picked up, but as a QRP station, I didn't do any CQ'ing during this contest; consequently, I didn't get added to the mix.

So this morning I tested the network: I made a single CQ on a pretty dead 15m, by hand. Sure enough, I was picked up by the K4TD skimmer!

This is nifty in two ways. First, I think the RBN shows how CW continues to have strengths as a mode. It is digital enough that current computing technology can parse it (and, of course, create it); but it is a digital mode that was created for human production and decoding, so we don't have to have a computer in the middle to play with it. Second, and more practically, this is a beacon network that encourages you to make QSOs. You're only going to be picked up if you call CQ!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reaction to Codec2 Video

The QSO with Paul, ZL3IN, has garnered quite a bit of attention, with very positive reviews of the state of Codec2 and the spirit of David's project in general.

Amateur Radio Newsline gave Paul and me some of their airtime.

The ÖVSV (Austrian Amateur Radio League) reported on us, as did Southgate ARC's excellent site. Report #4 of 2011 of the BB-Amateurfunkmagazins put us at the top of their issue, in a piece entitled "Video zeigt quelloffenen Sprachcodec in der Praxis".

The Interessengemeinschaft Amateurfunk Osnabrück notes that "Das Beispiel zeigt jedoch, was heute möglich ist und dass man trotz äußerst geringer Bandbreite akzeptabel Sprache übertragen kann."

And finally, KC4BQK says, "This is what I think Amateur radio is all about."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Python oneliner For Kenwood Kiss Mode

I'm tiring of using a terminal to put my Kenwood radios' TNCs into kiss mode. Here's a oneliner in python that will do the same thing. Why Python? My experience with Ruby and the satpack code was that its serial library was hard to get going on windows. This should be more portable, and get the job done:

python -c 'import serial;ser=serial.Serial("/dev/ttyUSB0", 9600, timeout=1);ser.write("kiss on\r\n");print ser.readlines();ser.write("restart\r\n");print ser.readlines();'

It should reply something like this:

['kiss on\r\n', 'KISS was OFF\r\n', 'cmd:']

Friday, January 21, 2011

ZL3IN Conversation Video

Here's the video of the ZL3IN c2qso.sh contact. Remember, this is just raw UDP packets over the internet, with no error correction, and you're hearing the Codec2 audio just as it was transmitted in the conversation.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Codec2 QSO With ZL3IN

Over the weekend I had a half-hour conversation with Paul, ZL3IN, using Codec2. Paul corrected an error in the script I've published, and we were thus able to hear each other.

His side of the conversation encoded in Codec2 is available here; you can get my side here. I've also mixed the two into a wav file.

Details and a video will follow.

Codec2 Call Testing Service

If I haven't been using Skype for a while, I check that everything is working properly using their 'Call Testing Service'. This service tells you to record a message, then plays it back.

Thinking that this would be great for testing a codec2-over-udp setup, I’ve been playing with a similar service, using this script:

ncat –udp -l \$LOCAL_HOST \$LOCAL_PORT –sh-exec ‘netstat -nu | grep
\$LOCAL_HOST:\$LOCAL_PORT | head -1 | cut -c 45-57 > /tmp/out.ip ;
timelimit -t10 -T1 cat > /tmp/out.c2 ; cat /tmp/morig.c2 /tmp/out.c2 >
/tmp/out2.c2 ; ncat –udp \`cat /tmp/out.ip\` \$LOCAL_PORT < /tmp/out2.c2'

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Codec2 One-way Contact

Simon took me up on my offer in the last post, and after a bit of fiddling, I could hear his codec2-encoded voice reach across the Internet from Crowsnet Pass in Alberta to the Bay of Fundy. Great fun!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CQ Codec2, Calling CQ Codec2

Over the holidays, I developed a bash script that allows to computers to communicate with codec2-encoded audio using UDP packets.

The script, called c2qso.sh, doesn't do any of the firewall-punching magic that Skype etc. perform. But it should be useful in testing lightweight linux contexts, especially those without a GUI, since it comprises pipelines built from pretty standard Unix tools.

Who'd like to arrange a QSO?