Topic: Thoughts and Musings About This Virtual Radio (2 replies)
#1 Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:19 pm
Join Date: Sep 2006
Subject: Thoughts and Musings About This Virtual Radio
I like that the author's goal to simulate amateur radio using internet VOIP.
In making the GUI look and feel like a radio, I think he has done a great job.
Restricting the use of this service to licensed amateurs is also a good idea, in that it prevents just anyone from laying down a few dollars and "QRM'ing" others. By only having licensed hams allowed on the servers the author can better enforce the spirit of this system. The license can be trace back to a real person, country, city, and address! Whereas if this were an open VOIP system, well, you know what would soon happen ;-)
I love the idea that it is a simplex VOIP. The author could have chosen duplex but that would distroy the feel of being a radio.
Because of these above points, this virtual radio has much potential if the users and the author allow it to be steered in certain directions.
I can see this being a great option for those who, like the author said, live in restricted antenna locations or apartments, but want to still play "radio" with other hams.
I can also see where this program would make a great training tool for new hams. They can learn about band plans, where to use CW or voice, how to call CQ or answer a CQ. How to use proper voice procedures etc.
The GUI, could use a few "tweaks." It would be nice to have a seperate CW / Voice button so that one doesn't need to cycle through all the button's function to get to the mode one desires.
A direct frequency entry would be nice too.
I think a SCAN button could be implemented. What would be nice about having a scan feature is that someone could set the lower and upper frequency scan points then it will can and stop on a busy channel. Or you can have it stop for a minute, the continue etc. etc....
Anyhow, this project is excellent and has so much potential...
The people I have met on this program are really nice. We all share a love of the hobby and we seem to understand the various facets of the hobby. I am glad I decided to insist on the license requirement.
I have another program called CQPhone that is full duplex with web cam video, picture sharing, buddy list, typing. I decided QsoNet should be close to real radio and avoid all the extra bells and whistles. There is no way I can compete with MSN messenger, Yahoo Messenger and the others. I am glad you and the other ops understand my intent.
At this stage, I am not sure what twists and turns this technology will take. It remains to be seen what clever uses can be made. It was fun dreaming up this program and its exciting for me to see it actually being accepted and used.
Today, someone suggested a special Boy Scout version that is a special CW only band for registered Boy Scouts. Quite an idea!
We are already thinking about a SWL version and a 40 channel CB version. Of course the CB version would come with a virtual linear amplifier *hi*
We even had one idea where the current propagation conditions would be dynamically encoded into our virtual ionosphere. I wonder about the use of QsoNet in contesting.
Perhaps QsoNet could be somehow combined with http://hrd.ham-radio.ch/ or http://flex-radio.com it would be possible to have a band switch to toggle between the real ionosphere and the virtual one.
The use for operator training is interesting. Already QsoNet has improved my operating technique. I have been strictly a CW operator and suffered from mic fright. My brain would go blank when the mic came on. Before QsoNet, I had made only 5 or 6 awkward voice contacts mostly on 10 meters. In the past 3 weeks I have made many voice contacts on QsoNet and now I am becoming quite comfortable, confident and competent with voice operating on either ionosphere.
Lots of ideas. That's for sure.
Tom, thanks for the suggestions on the GUI tweaks. A few others have made these same suggestions.
I too am "mic shy" preferring CW and digital modes. Just this afternoon, myself and another CW op, that I often work on the SKCC (Straight Key Century Club) frequencies, bumped into each other on CQ100's 14.058MHz frequency/channel (I'm not sure at times how far to carry the radio metaphors hi hi).
What we were doing was using MixW to generate sound card audio tones such as RTTY and Hellscheiber over CQ100. At the other end we attempted to decode using MixW. We had mediocre results. I think due in part to me forgetting that I had my computer microphone open and it was also picking up the audio being generated so we had a double signal with a slight phase difference. Not very good for decoding.
I have since readjusted my mixer to only convey the audio being generated by MixW and I'm hoping to test this again.
Speaking of streaming audio from MixW, what is your policy on streaming audio from an HF rig. That is to say, if I were to stream W1AW's code practice or have one of our real radio nets streamed over on CQ100's VOIP.
This is another area that could really work with real radio in that it would allow a net to be conducted both over the real "air" and the virtual "air" for those out of range.
There are many possibilities here. As for retransmitting the VOIP over the air, that would be at the discretion of the controlling operator, who would need to know the origine of the VOIP station and any 3rd party agreements with that country.
As far as streaming the audio, I can't see that being a problem with Industry Canada's regulations. But I'll re-check my RIC's to be sure. I know it is illegal to rebroadcast signals over the air, but there is nothing specifically mentioned about rebroadcasting via VOIP. I need to check that for clarification.
Anyhow, great program. Ran "right out of the box" and didn't have to adjust a thing with my firewall or levels or any of that usual nonsense.
Tom - VA3TY
PS: Grew up in Thunder Bay as VE3KRE - went to Selkirk High and got my license thanks to Dave Kimpton VE3AVS my electronics teacher.