Future of Analog in Amateur Radio

In summary, the trend in commercial radio is towards digital and it is expected that this will also apply to amateur radio. However, regulations do not specify whether signals must be digital or analog, so it is likely that HAMs will still be able to operate analog systems. Some digital modes are already incorporated in current band plans, and the use of Arduino and other uCs in HAM radio is growing. Additionally, HAMs are allowed to experiment with different transmission techniques within regulations. While digital modes may become more prevalent, traditional modes such as CW are likely to be preserved.
  • #1

Aufbauwerk 2045

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.
 
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  • #2
You are asking us to predict governmental regulations? Sorry, my crystal ball felt off the table and is broken.
 
  • #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
 
  • #4
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
 
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  • #5
Borek said:
You are asking us to predict governmental regulations? Sorry, my crystal ball felt off the table and is broken.

Was your crystal ball analog? I can't get a signal on mine anymore.
 
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  • #6
David Reeves said:
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.
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...
 
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  • #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.
 
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  • #8
berkeman said:
Crap, the ARRL website is to amateurish for a copy/past to work. Whatever. Here is a different try...
 
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1. What is the current state of analog technology in amateur radio?

Currently, analog technology is still widely used in amateur radio, particularly in the form of FM (frequency modulation) and SSB (single sideband) modes. Many amateur radio operators still prefer the reliability and simplicity of analog equipment.

2. Will analog technology continue to be relevant in the future of amateur radio?

While digital technology has been gaining popularity in recent years, analog technology will likely continue to have a place in amateur radio for the foreseeable future. Many operators still enjoy the traditional aspects and challenges of using analog equipment.

3. How does analog technology compare to digital technology in terms of performance?

In terms of voice communication, analog technology is generally considered to provide better audio quality and is more resistant to interference. However, digital technology allows for more efficient use of bandwidth and can offer additional features such as data transmission.

4. Are there any advancements being made in analog technology for amateur radio?

While digital technology is often the focus of new advancements, there are still developments being made in analog technology. For example, manufacturers are continuously improving the performance and features of analog radios, such as adding digital signal processing (DSP) capabilities.

5. What are some potential challenges facing the future of analog in amateur radio?

One challenge that analog technology may face in the future is the availability of components and parts. As more and more manufacturers shift their focus to digital equipment, it may become more difficult to find replacement parts for older analog equipment. Additionally, the limited bandwidth available for analog signals may become a limiting factor as the demand for more efficient use of spectrum increases.

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