[aprssig] OT: Yaesu to release digital amateur radio gear

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Thu Dec 29 14:04:54 EST 2011

On 12/29/2011 1:44 PM, Eric Hansen wrote:
> Well the data it transmits over the air has to be an open,
> unencrypted, stream. Otherwise it would run afoul of a basic tenet of
> Amateur Radio. I don't think you could be prosecuted for building a
> device or writing software that decodes data sent out OTA. But, IANAL.
> --
> Eric Hansen

It's not encrypted, but data can be in a vendor-specific proprietary format 
that the originator can demand licensing fees to decode (or refuse to license 
at all) .

Consider the case of PACTOR.   It's a well-known documented format for data 
comms on HF, but the only legal way you can use it is to buy a SCS Pactor TNC 
-- SCS refuses to license the Pactor II and III protocols to anyone else, 
although the original PACTOR I does appear in KAMs, PK-232s and other data 

Another case is "G-TOR" that is only available in Kantronics "KAM" all-mode 
data controllers.   It's legal on the air, but only Kantronics has it, and as 
far as I know, they have never licensed it to anyone else to implement either 
in hardware or as a sound card app.   Disclaimer:  There IS a G-TOR plugin of 
unknown provenance for the MixW multimode soundcard app but it's legality is 

Or DRM (no that DRM -- copy protection on digital media; i.e. Digital Rights 
Management).  I'm referring to Digital Radio Mondiale <http://www.drm.org> 
the evolving standard for digital audio broadcasting on shortwave.    It's a 
defined and documented standard, but you have to pay a royalty fee to use their 
codec in each radio manufactured. Even if you homebrew a DRM decoder to attach 
to an HF receiver (and many hams and SWLs have), you are liable for the license 
fee on the codec software you must run on your soundcard.


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