[aprssig] OT: DV Dongle a D-Star codec on USB.

Ronny Julian k4rjj at bellsouth.net
Tue Jul 8 17:22:21 EDT 2008

Harumph!!  (SP)

Seems like we are on the same page Scott.  I look forward to using my 
new Argent dual band mobile!  (Not kidding)
Ronny K4RJJ

Scott Miller wrote:
> That's still missing the point.  There is a LEGAL restriction here on 
> the technology, not a technical restriction.  It's not about parts, it's 
> about on-air data formats and interoperability.
> This is a major problem for things like software defined radio.  DVSI 
> will NOT license a PC-based version of the CODEC, presumably because it 
> would be too easy for someone to reverse engineer.  If you want to build 
> a D-STAR compatible SDR, you'll have to buy the hardware and physically 
> install an AMBE2000 chip for each voice channel you want to decode, even 
> if your SDR hardware happens to have enough processing power to decode a 
> hundred channels at once.
> With the possible exception of Pactor III (which has never pretended to 
> be an open standard) I know of no other area in amateur radio where 
> you'd find this sort of intellectual property lock-in.
> Consider this unlikely scenario for a moment:  If DVSI decided they 
> didn't want to allow use of AMBE on amateur bands, they would be 
> completely within their legal rights to stop licensing it that way. 
> There would be no technical workaround, no substituting parts, no making 
> due with some compatible solution.  No matter what technical means you 
> used to produce an AMBE data stream, it would infringe on their IP and 
> they could sue your pants off.
> Where else in the long history of amateur radio do you find that sort of 
> absolute dependence on the IP of a single vendor?
> I realize that to a lot of people there's a whole lot of magic in modern 
> radio equipment.  Much of that RF stuff is still magic to me, but I've 
> made the effort to learn about the digital side, and much of the analog 
> stuff.  It's all out there in the textbooks, you can take classes on it, 
> and you can build and experiment on your own.  You can spend years 
> learning it all, but it can be learned and understood, and more 
> importantly applied, adapted, and improved.
> AX.25, HDLC, and Bell 202 hold no mystery for me anymore.  I learned 
> what I could from others, and then built my own devices from the ground 
> up, with my own components and methodology.  Given enough time, I know I 
> could do the same with an FM transceiver.  I think this is a critical 
> aspect of amateur radio.  But when you throw in something like the AMBE 
> codec, you're leaving one inviolable block of magic in it.  And it's not 
> something minor that you can build around - it's an absolutely critical 
> piece of the system.
> To commit to the use of AMBE in amateur systems is to admit that we no 
> longer care about understanding how our equipment works.  It's the 
> surest sign I can think of that we've resigned ourselves to being 
> appliance operators and consumers rather than experimenters and innovators.
> Scott
> N1VG
> John Habbinga wrote:
>> You can build a D-STAR radio yourself.  Yes you have to buy a chip
>> from a specific company, but that's not unusual in electronics.  There
>> are all kinds of processors and integrated circuits that are patented
>> and only available from one source.  Sometimes they'll stop making an
>> IC and you have to redesign or discontinue your product.  I'm sure
>> that's never happened to you.
>> If you want to homebrew a D-STAR radio, you should check out
>> http://www.moetronix.com/dstar/
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