Hack Chat Transcript, Part 1

A event log for The Digital Ham Hack Chat

Hams were digital before digital was cool

dan-maloneyDan Maloney 07/13/2022 at 20:081 Comment

Rosy Schechter joined  the room.12:00 PM

Rosy Schechter12:00 PM

Dan Maloney12:00 PM
Hi folks, welcome to the Hack Chat! I'm Dan (N7DPM), and I'll be modding today along with Dusan as we welcome Rosy Schechter and John Hays from ARDC to talk about digital modes for ham radio, and what the ARDC is all about.

SD joined  the room.12:00 PM

Dan Maloney12:00 PM
Hi Rosy, welcome aboard!

Rosy Schechter12:01 PM
Hey thanks @Dan Maloney :)

John Hays12:01 PM
Hello All -- I am K7VE and the Outreach Manager for ARDC.

Dan Maloney12:01 PM
Rosy is KJ7RYV and John is K7VE, BTW

Dan Maloney12:01 PM
Hi John, welcome to the Hack Chat!

Rosy Schechter12:01 PM
Yep! I'm the Executive Director of ARDC

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Dusan Petrovic12:02 PM
Welcome everyone!

Dan Maloney12:03 PM
So can we start off with maybe a little about yourselves, and how your ham radio journey got you to ARDC? And maybe a bit about ARDC too?

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Rosy Schechter12:03 PM
Sure! @John Hays do you want to go first?

Rosy Schechter12:03 PM
Well, I can start about ARDC

Kaushlesh Chandel joined  the room.12:04 PM

John Hays12:04 PM
I had an interest in ham radio from a very early age, my cousins had stations. I was licensed in 1973 and progressed through all 5 license classes to Extra.

Kaushlesh Chandel12:06 PM
Hi! This is KD9VFU. glad to be here on chat. I got my ham license very recently. I haven't even made my first contact. Maybe I am just radio shy :)

John Hays12:06 PM
I was an early adopter of digital amateur radio. I first got on packet radio in the late 1970s and became involved with AMPRnet shortly after it was created. AMPRnet was assigned a Class A IPv4 network (16 million addresses 44.x.x.x) and I became an address coordinator in multiple states as I moved around with work.

Rosy Schechter12:07 PM
ARDC's story started in 1981 when Hank Magnuski, KA6M, requested a block of IP addresses for use by licensed amateur radio operators worldwide. Magnuski had the foresight to see that internet-style networking would be the future and wanted the emerging amateur radio packet network to be able to participate. In answer to that request, Magnuski was assigned the class A 44/8 netblock of 16.7 million IP addresses.

A group of volunteers informally administered this block of addresses, which was called AMPRNet, then later 44Net. ARDC was founded in October 2011 by the volunteers at the time, notably Brian Kantor, as a California nonprofit. The organization formally took over ownership and management of the address space.

In mid-2019, ARDC sold the block of addresses, which includes about four million contiguous addresses. With the proceeds, ARDC established the endowment that we use to fund our grants program. In 2020, ARDC went from being a public charity to a private foundation.

John Hays12:07 PM
@Kaushlesh Chandel - Just do it! We have all been there.

Rosy Schechter12:07 PM
@Kaushlesh Chandel totally get it. I've been radio shy too. Have only made contacts with a friend helping.

Dan Maloney12:08 PM
That was thinking amazingly far ahead for 1981!

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John Hays12:08 PM
I joined ARDC as a volunteer, and joined staff in August of 2020 after a long career in the computer industry.

Rosy Schechter12:09 PM
My journey into amateur radio actually started with ARDC. My background is in nonprofit management / design / curriculum development. When Brian Kantor died suddenly in late 2019, a board member that I had worked with before reached out to see if I could help. I've been with ARDC since July 2020.

Jan Weber joined  the room.12:10 PM

Rosy Schechter12:10 PM
@Dan Maloney it really was.

Rosy Schechter12:10 PM
Hank is still on our Grants Advisory Committee :)

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John Hays12:11 PM
As the Outreach Manager, I coordinate our participation in various ham venues (hamfests and such) and do presentations for groups and podcasts. And now Hackchat!

Rosy Schechter12:11 PM
hi @steve.stroh+hackchat :)

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John Hays12:13 PM
I also participate on our Grants Advisory Committee (as non-voting member). @steve.stroh+hackchat is on that committee as is Hank and 8 other very experienced amateur operators. (A license is not required to volunteer, but it turns out everyone is!)

Rosy Schechter12:14 PM
Yep. We're always looking for cool projects to fund. I'm curious what folks on this thread are working on and / or what kinds of projects they'd like to see in the Ham Radio Universe.

fetch87212:15 PM
Thanks to everyone at ARSC for all the hard work that's been goin on to help keep the future of ham radio alive!

John Hays12:15 PM
The grants program provides funding to non-profit projects with a requirement for Open Source/Open Access to developed technology. Our mission is to advance amateur radio and certain digital communications through support of Amateur Radio, Education, and R&D.

fetch87212:15 PM
Oops. ARDC

Rosy Schechter12:15 PM
happy to do it @fetch872

Dan Maloney12:15 PM
@Kaushlesh Chandel - I'm not too comfortable on the mic either, so I stick mainly to digital modes

Zdenek Hladik12:16 PM
And what about CW?

Jan Weber12:18 PM
Hi there! I’m about to get my license in October this year. I can’t wait to experiment with WSPR and to build a FT8 transmitter/beacon like the one outlined by Dan… in his great $50 ham series

John Hays12:18 PM
We also are very interested in improving the demographics of Amateur Radio, with aspirations to increase the number of youth, women, and underrepresented groups in the hobby and have taken an active role in supporting such initiatives to grow those numbers.

fetch87212:18 PM
@Rosy Schechter in full disclosure, I'm part of one of the cool projects ARDC has helped.

Dan Maloney12:18 PM
What sort of projects have been grantees? Anything we might recognize?

Rosy Schechter12:19 PM
oh cool @fetch872! We love M17

John Hays12:20 PM
@Jan Weber - Good luck on your test. Our Communications manager, Dan KB6NU publishes study guides including a PDF of his Technician study guide.

Rosy Schechter12:21 PM
oh man, we've funded so many things! Let me see....

Steve Stroh N8GNJ12:22 PM
My personal favorite ARDC grant was this small project :-)

Kaushlesh Chandel12:22 PM
@John Hays I agree on increasing the youth on ham radio. My teenager son was watching Stranger Things show on Netflix. Kids in that show use a radio to talk to each other. And I had to explain to him what radio is and how it works. Made me realize schools/ science dont talk about Ham radio at all to kids.

Rosy Schechter12:23 PM
@steve.stroh+hackchat that's a great project

Rosy Schechter12:23 PM
we've also supported GNU Radio

K2LCT12:23 PM
Is ARDC supporting VARA and Winlink ? Our RedCross here in Phoenix are using it for emergency communications.

KC1AWV12:24 PM
@steve.stroh+hackchat I see that radome every time I travel to Cambridge!

Jan Weber12:24 PM
@John Hays : thanks!

Dan Maloney12:24 PM
Oh, right -- saving the radome! I think I wrote about that...

John Hays12:24 PM
@fetch872 I met with the lead M17 developer last month in Germany -- we hope to see more great developments in the future --

edneely12:25 PM
Is Emcomm a focus for ARDC? There is a lot of momentum in using Winlink when no internet is available. Do you provide grants for those types of projects?

jrork12:25 PM
M17 seems like an answer to one of my outstanding questions. What does the path to adoption look like?


John Hays12:25 PM
@k2lct -- unfortunately VARA is closed source -- we would love to see an open source project that provided it's capabilities.

Rosy Schechter12:25 PM
We've also funded AMSAT:

Jan Weber12:25 PM
@Dan Maloney : As a big fan of your $ 50 ham series, let me ask: will there be more installments to come?

KC1AWV12:26 PM
@jrork M17's adoption is in the hands of the Amateur Radio community. We are looking for both hardware and software implementations, and there are several viable options today.

John Hays12:26 PM
@edneely - EMCOMM is not a primary focus, but we have funded a number of projects that support emcomm.

Guys let me to know best source to learning hacking

If you know anywhere

Rosy Schechter12:27 PM
Not sure if folks have heard of SF Wireless Emergency Mesh, but we've funded them too:

Dan Maloney12:27 PM
@Jan Weber - Thanks! And quite likely, although not when the weather is as nice as it is now. Ham stuff for me tends to be a cool weather pursuit.

Dan Maloney12:28 PM
@ANONYKING - Wrong kind of hacking.

KC1AWV12:28 PM
Are there any improvements planned for AMPRnet? Is there still only one router advertising 44.?

edneely12:28 PM
An open source VARA-like or Pactor-like solution would be great. Is anyone working on that?

hspil12:28 PM
Is there any specific future goal for ARDC or is it more just being an enabler of lots of projects doing new and interesting things?

@Dan Maloney what's is on your mind dude

John Hays12:28 PM
We would love to fund more projects like M17 and would welcome a proposal to develop a VARA compatible open source implementation.

fetch87212:29 PM
@John Hays , Woj sends his regards

Steve Stroh N8GNJ12:29 PM
@KC1AWV I'll be writing about my take on M17's "adoption is in the hands of the Amateur Radio community." in this week's issue of Zero Retries -

John Hays12:30 PM
@Steve Miller - The 44 space has several subnets which BGP advertise directly to the Internet.

KC1AWV12:30 PM
@steve.stroh+hackchat Excellent, I look forward to reading it.

Jan Weber12:30 PM
@Dan Maloney : Not necessarily so. Antenna building is nicer in summer :)

Kaushlesh Chandel12:30 PM
@John Hays You mean VARA Link?

Steve Stroh N8GNJ12:31 PM
@Dan Maloney Count me as a big fan of your Cheap Ham series. You do a great job of making Amateur Radio approachable and relevent to the the Hackaday crowd.

Rosy Schechter12:31 PM
Agree with John that the focus is not EMCOMM, but it's such a big part of so many clubs, that we do end up supporting quite a few of those projects. We've also supported some repeater projects that are used for emergency communications. It's important that grant applicants show that they will use equipment on a regular basis, not only in the event of an emergency.

Dan Maloney12:31 PM
@ANONYKING - We don't do that kind of hacking here, and the Hack Chat is now being used to talk about ham radio digital modes. Please respect our guests and stick to the topic at hand.

John Hays12:31 PM
Our Technical Advisory Committee is actively looking at the infrastructure and policies for the future of the address space.

Dan Maloney12:32 PM
@Jan Weber - That's true. I've actually got an EFHW that came down in a windstorm last year that I need to put back up.

jrork12:32 PM
Where can we find more info on the $50 ham series?

Dan Maloney12:33 PM
@jrork -

Rosy Schechter12:33 PM
@hspil that's a great question. Right now it really is about seeing what cool projects come across our door, and doing what we can to keep amateur radio alive

Rosy Schechter12:33 PM
and thriving!

Jan Weber12:33 PM

Jan Weber12:34 PM
Ah, too slow

John Hays12:34 PM
As Rosy said, we want to see projects that are active, we aren't interested in stockpiling "just in case" of an emergency.

We also want open access, so if we fund a repeater for example, it needs to be open to the general amateur population (you can invite membership/donations but it can't be a 'pay to play' system).

Kaushlesh Chandel12:36 PM
I have two thoughts... might be silly/stupid

1. Make it easier for kids to get their ham license

2. Build a digital module/device that links with a mobile phone, making it easy to use digital modes to chat or drop audio messages.

Its hard to imagine new gen taking all that pain to make ham radio and digital modes work.

John Hays12:36 PM
We are relatively young grant making foundation and we are learning a lot as we go. We put refinements in our instructions and guides for grant applications as we go and are also improving our processes as the requests get more competitive.

@Dan Maloney ok sir

fid12:37 PM
@ANONYKING I would suggest getting a handheld radio and seeing if you can introduce a microcontroller onto the motherboard to remotely control it or add some automation. Perhaps even doing this onto a QRP Pixie transceiver.

John Hays12:37 PM
Our grant making is currently about $6 million a year, but we have more opportunities than that so we have to rank proposals to fund the better ones.

Rosy Schechter12:38 PM
@Kaushlesh Chandel not stupid at all. I definitely think that there is an opportunity that relates to using a mobile phone. Kids need on ramps, and they love their phones and devices.

Steve Stroh N8GNJ12:39 PM
@Kaushlesh Chandel This device does as you suggest - Like almost all small manufacturers, this one has been impacted by the electronic components shortage, but it's a "TNC" that can easily be cabled to a portable radio, and linked to a mobile phone (Apple iDevice at the moment).

KJ7CLT12:39 PM
@Kaushlesh Chandel tnc with Bluetooth to mobile device songs possible.

fetch87212:40 PM
@Steve Stroh N8GNJ the TNC3 again lol . Gonna set up a chat with you and @KC1AWV and myself


Rod Fritz wrote 07/13/2022 at 20:37 point

I enjoyed the discussion and intended to chime in, but was too late. I want to offer a couple of project ideas. Let me know if any of these exist or are being worked on.

1. Use cell phones as ham radio I/O devices and/or modulators/demodulators. Create a free/open source app so phones can function as peer-to-peer HTs on 2.4 and 5.8 GHz ham bands, without using the Internet. Consider bidirectional amps and external antennas for more power.

2. Design and build open source RF translators to use existing devices (like phones and mesh nodes) on other ham frequencies and ham bands like 10 GHz and up. We need to utilize available interference-free spectrum and not be jammed into tight, noisy spaces where communication is difficult. We need the ability to effectively use spectrum space we have.

Keep up the good work,

Rod Fritz WB9KMO

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