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:']
['r']