Interesting stuff in "Advanced" Amateur Radio

Anything that doesn't seem to fit elsewhere
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 128
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:59 am

Interesting stuff in "Advanced" Amateur Radio

Post by kb9mwr » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:42 pm

I used to read Steve's columns in CQ-VHF.

He seems to have recently revived his blog that was long time dormant: ... ed-v2.html

Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:43 pm

Re: Interesting stuff in "Advanced" Amateur Radio

Post by KC9YGK » Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:48 am

I'd like to play with 1.25 - but as mentions, it's underutilized. That being said, I think it could make an interesting data mode. I believe it isn't as limited in speed (as per regs) as 2m. I don't know if anyone else is doing anything with it in the area. If there were other stations utilizing it I'd get a radio. I know at one time it was used for links with WAPR - when that was a thing. The other things I've been following (that was mentioned in the link was TARPN : It looks like their setups use 2 radios per station, which would be a bit much - but still looks like an interesting project if you got enough people interested.

User avatar
Posts: 128
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:59 am

Re: Interesting stuff in "Advanced" Amateur Radio

Post by kb9mwr » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:28 pm

Steve, N8GNJ also has some stuff at ... aders.html

When I read of his latest there reminded me of why I like reading what he'd write. Simple put; He thinks like me.
Amateur Radio exists to provide a portion of spectrum for personal, hands-on experimentation with radio technology and systems, as well as training for operation of radio systems and radio-based networks.

One major criticism I have with the ARRL is that despite their ostensible mission to promote and grow Amateur Radio in the US, almost all of their content is sequestered behind a paywall. You must be a (paid) ARRL member to access their archives. In 2021, that stance makes no sense, and the ARRL is diminished by persisting with that paid membership requirement instead of making their content publicly accessible for the overall good of Amateur Radio.
While I am no ARRL fan boy, I don't agree with him 100 % on this one. While I don't like paywalls either, I do feel there is adequate info that they "put in the clear." If they gave everything away, then there'd be no business model to compel membership.

And for what it's worth, I just bought the 2020 QST periodicals CD and reviewed what I was missing by not being a member. Summary: nothing. I"m not even sure I'll buy their periodicals CD next year.

If anyone is interested in having or borrowing the CD let me know.

There is better content on hackaday, repeaterbuilder, and other sites than you'll find in the ARRL rags. Even QEX sucked.

User avatar
Posts: 128
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:59 am

Re: Interesting stuff in "Advanced" Amateur Radio

Post by kb9mwr » Tue Dec 05, 2023 1:07 pm

Posting an email swap I had with N8GNJ:

Very, very, very tersely:

Amateur Packet Radio was invented by some hams in Montreal, QC. They created some kits, or something to get some activity going. They realized they were onto a good thing and some of the hams created DataRadio which sold exclusively to commercial customers.

Inspired by the Montreal activity, some hams in Vancouver, BC (Vancouver Amateur Digital Communications Group) created the first (I think) Amateur Radio TNC kit - the VADGC TNC.

Inspired by the VADCG TNC, TAPR formed in Tucson and created the TAPR TNC (later renamed the TNC-1). This shared some lineage with the VADCG TNC (such as using a 6809).

Inspired by the success of the TNC-1, TAPR created the TNC-2 using a Z-80 and an entirely new protocol, AX.25 (which the ARRL helped bring into existence).

The TNC-2 was so successful (and well-advertised) that the day TAPR began to take phone calls to sell them, supposedly all of the incoming calls, for a while, overloaded the telephone switch in Tucson.

TAPR offered licenses to build TNC-2 clones at reasonable prices (I never knew what the actual terms were - something like $10 or $25 per unit). Just from shuffling stuff around in my shop, AEA, PacComm, and another of other Amateur Radio manufacturers simply produced their versions of the TNC-2 (it was expedient - TAPR provided Gerber files of the PCBs, BOM, firmware, etc.). The manufacturers owed license fees for like a year after starting production and then they didn’t need to pay. As I’ve heard it, TAPR’s terms were very reasonable.

I think Kantronics very briefly offered a TNC-2 clone but quickly began to develop their own (unencumbered) firmware and chose to use the Motorola processors. That worked as they’ve been in business making the same products for decades now.

PacComm and Kantronics and others quickly found commercial customers for their products and they quickly began developing products specifically for commercial customers. PacComm once told me that one of their best customers were railroads as they had lots of VHF channels that they could use for data.


Steve, N8GNJ

On Dec 4, 2023 at 15:06:41, Steve, kb9mwr wrote:
The TAPR webpage has some information but I'd really like to see a
more comprehensive history written somewhere. I'd be willing to
donate to the cause because that case history can be a good lesson for
how to go about other projects, be that M17 or really anything.

What I'd be specifically interested in is how long and what behind the
scenes work got the TNC into commercial production? When I think
TNC's today, Kantronics and Spirit come to mind, I know AEA and others
also produced them. I assume these companies were already creating
related products for scada and other telemetry used outside of the ham
market? I never really paid much attention to commercial magazines
like RF design and Mobile Radio Technology in the 90's to get an idea
if any of the various amateur radio kits (from TAPR or other places)
were making those publications and thus able to garner the attention
of the commercial market ?

I think the dynamics of manufacturing within the US are different now,
as there is far less, but still I think a detailed history of how the
TNC came into commercial production would be valuable thing to
document. It doesn't have to be written, it could even be done by one
of the ham video podcasters, AVRN, HamRadio Live etc.

If you know of someone who might be interested and have the time to
take on a task, I'd encourage you to pass this idea along.

Steve, KB9MWR

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests