Summer 2009 Issue


New Amateur Digital Video (ADV) and Revolutionary HSMM-MESH® at Ham-Com

By John Champa, K8OCL


Photo A. My favorite personal pick for a new HSMM radio antenna this year is the ICOM Tri-Bander. In this photo the antenna is shown mounted in the vertical-polarization configuration. I recommend that it be reconfigured to horizontal polarization for the purpose of HSMM radio. (Photo courtesy of L-Com Global Connectivity, <>)

Ham-Com is the largest amateur radio convention in Texas. Given the size of this state, that is certainly saying something. It is successfully organized every year by a fine team of individuals led by John Beadles, N5OOM, of Richardson, Texas (see <> and <http://>).

This year was special for HSMM (High-Speed Multimedia) radio experimenters. Glenn Currie, KD5MFW, Alexandre Castellane, F5SFU, and I got two full hours during prime-time Saturday afternoon to demo all the new firmware and hardware developments. It was a standing-room-only audience and we all had a great time.

I was the first presenter, explaining the usual differences between WiFi (FCC Part 15) and HSMM (FCC Part 97) radios operating using spread-spectrum modulation. We discussed the three main reasons why HSMM radio experimentation was started by Paul Renaldo, W4RI, ARRL CTO (Chief Technology Officer):

1. Amateur radio, particularly EmComm (this was just after 9/11), needed some means of data transmission significantly faster than conventional packet radio. HSMM radio can send the entire ARRL Handbook in under one minute, so it certainly fits that requirement.

2. Our service definitely needs to better utilize the big VHF and UHF frequency allocations we have been granted. Even bands considered “busy” are largely limited to commuting rush-hour activities, contest weekends, weekly nets, or occasional band-opening phenomena.

3. All of our EmComm served agencies are extensive users of wireless technology, while radio amateurs, “the communications experts,” know everything about radios except those which are the most popular in the world—WLAN transceivers and CDMA HTs! My beautiful wife Karen calls this a “time warp…. Hams use post WW II technology (AM, FM, SSB, RTTY, etc.), but seldom have any knowledge whatsoever regarding how the most common radios in the world operate!” Please don’t misunderstand me. All the legacy modes are great fun to operate. I have used them all, and I still do everyday. However, let’s not deceive ourselves about them being cutting-edge technology, nor the most popular two-way radio, nor certainly making us competition-grade communications experts.

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