Re: No 2m but still an APRS igate?

Joshua Mesilane <josh@...>
 

Hi John,

Thanks for the quick reply.

To avoid this getting too big I'll snip out the bits I'd like to add further comment/clarification to.

The reality is that every modern piece of equipment has some proprietary intellectual property, and when someone manufacturers a product there is always a trade-off between cost and delivery.  It is often less expensive to buy parts than to make them, and when you buy parts you have to live within the terms of the purchase/license.  For example, to support many Digital Voice protocols you must use a proprietary Vocoder (this isn't just a D-STAR requirement, it applies to all current major Digital Voice protocols).  NWDR will offer a daughter card with a chip that does that, but can't reverse engineer and provide open source for intellectual property they do not own.

Sometimes you have to sign  restrictive agreements just to buy parts from some manufacturers.  This will be a barrier to sharing some low level details.

Competely understand. I deploy and manage servers that exist predominantly in an open-source environment, however I know that some aspects of the various systems employed do need to interconnect with other proprietary systems which often also means proprietary licensing. I guess the open source and open hardware was more targeted at the design, build etc of the device as much as you can without breaching any existing proprietary licensing arrangements.

If however this is going to be a truly 100% proprietary hardware build (where none or little of the hardware design details are released), then that does take some of the excitement out of the product for me. That's not to say that the product is not without merit (And also not that I won't buy one) but the concept of an open-hardware platform (or even semi-open) as well as software to suit one's needs I think is really exciting. If this is only an open software platform then it does take a little of the excitement out of it. To me, that's kind of like saying "Here, we have this fantastic new radio bolted to a Linux PC - you're allowed to design software to run on the PC, but you're locked in to our API to the radio, and you're not allowed to play with the physical hardware". I know that my description is greatly simplified but isn't playing with hardware what HAMs do? Isn't it what we've been doing for years? Why should the open-ness stop at the software? I will re-iterate however that does not mean that I don't like the product, and also does not mean that i wouldn't buy one.
 

I won't comment on specific product plans (there are identified product concepts which will be worked on after the initial UDR is ready), but if this product sells well, that will motivate and help fund future products.  The basic design is such that the engineering to place the UDR is pretty straight forward for a few VHF/UHF bands.

So essentially at this stage, no. The RF side of the unit will be proprietary and closed, and we're locked in to when expansions are released by/for UDR however you may be suggesting that you're not entirely locking yourself in to 70cm, and that we should watch this space.
 
 
> Is there any hope for an RS-232 port?

The design for the UDR56K4 is 1 Ethernet and 4 USB ports. 

So that's an outright no?
 

I have experienced this in other projects.  This is usually due to ingress via RF on cables.  Using good shielding, quality cables with ferrite chokes on both ends, and good grounding will often mitigate the problem.

But this isn't also entirely unique to RF on cables. Things like Ignition spikes on the DC from the power supply in a car are inevitable and can be for the most part mitigated but do still exist. One can try to mitigate the noise/RF as much as possible however it's going to be a inevitability. I really think that not adding an RS-232 port is somewhat limiting the potential marker for the product. You really do have a wide market outside of HAM radio (and potentially a much wider market than HAM operators) if you can get your RF board certified, but the addition of an RS-232 port would be a requirement.
 


Cables can be minimized or eliminated using certain form factors for the device,  another option is Bluetooth. (E.g. a bluetooth GPS or Audio device with a micro-adapter (no cable).

I think you may have misunderstood what i was suggesting. It was more in relation to USB being unstable in mobile environments and resetting. Something that happens on USB and even moreso on bluetooth (even in stable environments). What I'm perhaps suggesting is that in a mobile environment what happenes if your aprs daemon loses connectivity to the gps? Will your daemon just hang or will it close and re-open the serial port. What happens if the USB device resets and creates a new serial port on the machine? I know these are more software issues, but they all essentially come down to the absense of a serial port.

Perhaps I'm harping on about RS232, but the thing is it's a reliable proven technology, and with so many HAMs out there already having RS232 gear, I think it's a HUGE omission. Particular considering that so many Auto Tuners, TNCs, and even other radios that you might interface with this radio often have inbuilt RS232 (Or TTL, which can be boosted with a MAX232) and to then have to rely on an unknown quantity - an USB - Serial adaptor (FWIW - I had a good quality known USB Serial adaptor blow up and take the Level converter in my TNC for my IGate about three weeks ago, so it DOES happen) when the addition of a RS232 port on the device would seem to make the device more flexible, and marketable.

Interesting to hear your thoughts. As I said, I do think that this in a fantastic product, and keep in mind this is only my opinion - nothing more.

Cheers,
Josh

--
VK3XJM
0416039082
josh@...
http://www.zindello.com.au/

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