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Future of Analog in Amateur Radio

  1. Jan 24, 2017 #1
    I know that the trend in commercial radio is towards digital. Suppose we go to all digital radio. My question is specifically about amateur radio. Will it still be legally possible for HAMs to operate analog radio systems? Any indications at all from the FCC or similar bodies outside the USA on this topic?

    My reason for asking is that I wonder if HAMs will still be able to communicate via old analog sets in the coming years. Of course some people still like to build their own analog sets from scratch.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 24, 2017 #2

    Borek

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    You are asking us to predict governmental regulations? Sorry, my crystal ball felt off the table and is broken.
     
  4. Jan 24, 2017 #3
    Other than dwindling interest I can't see why not. Even if there were some regulation against it, I don't think there would be a high priority towards enforcing it.

    -Dave K
     
  5. Jan 24, 2017 #4

    Borek

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    A bit more seriously: as far as I knows regulations say which band can be used by whom, and for amateur bands they not state whether the signal has to be digital or analog. It is mostly a matter of keeping interference down.

    Calling @berkeman
     
  6. Jan 24, 2017 #5
    Was your crystal ball analog? I can't get a signal on mine anymore.
     
  7. Jan 24, 2017 #6

    berkeman

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    I think the main reasons for the trend toward digital are increased bandwidth efficiency, and ease of encryption. HAM radio already has a number of digital modes that are incorporated in the current band plans:

    http://www.arrl.org/searches/results

    But I'm no expert in all of that. One thing that I think will always be preserved is the use of CW (Morse code) on the HF bands for long-distance communication (around the world and high-angle bounce). CW is much easier to figure out when the noise level is high.

    The use of Arduino and other uCs in HAM radio is growing, so I'm sure folks are building their own digital HAM radios by now... :smile:

    @vk6kro may have more to add...
     
  8. Jan 24, 2017 #7
    FYI the regulations for Amateur Radio, Part 97 of the Code of Federal regulations is available here. http://www.arrl.org/part-97-amateur-radio.

    In general digital information is send similar to Morse Code i.e., signal/different signal or no signal sequences as I understand it. a mark and a space sequence.
    Radioteletype was the first digital code technique akin to what we think of as digital allowed before 1980.

    FWIIW my experience with Marine SSB (not HAM) radio 2 - 26 MHz as of about three years ago you could connect to the internet through certain land based stations. I could send at a maximum baud rate around 10kbps depending on frequency, distance and atmospheric conditions . Only text was allowed to minimize TX time.. The system used a computer connected to a special modem that controlled the radio. .

    See the American Radio Relay League Handbook, or the ARRL Operating Manual. for information on digital transmission techniques..

    Hams are allowed to experiment with different transmission techniques within the regulations.
     
  9. Jan 24, 2017 #8

    berkeman

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    Crap, the ARRL website is to amateurish for a copy/past to work. Whatever. Here is a different try...
     
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