MAY 11, 2021: Additional information concerning ports and port checks was added to the website. More detail about each port’s function and what each port check does is added. 
May 6, 2021 1633hrs EDT: As of about 4PM EDT the Yard Dogs room is up and running and appears stable. You may return to normal operations. Thanks to N4EXO for being there on standby all the time. For an explanation, go the the page.
May 6 2021: The issue with the Yard Dogs room has been traced to a non-functioning port. It DOES NOT appear to be related to anything that Yaesu has done. Whether the issue is systemic to the administrator’s system, or localized to just the Yard Dogs computer/HRI-200, is unknown. This is the next area to focus upon.
     As per our emergency backup plan, use #43619 – STATELINE in the meantime.
 May 5, 2021: Tonight’s net subject(presented by W5SLG) concerned SWR. The net of course, was held in our emergency backup room #43619 – STATELINE. 
Cinco de Mayo: Tonight’s Yard Dogs Net IS being held in our emergency backup room as we note each week. Apparently the list server in Japan has blocked the ability of some rooms being reached. Because of this situation, the net has moved to 43619 as per our emergency plan.
     This is a condition that is not resolvable by the system administrator. We have seen this before, presumably when Yaesu is performing needed maintenance. All other factors here would allow connections, but as we all know, parts of the system are out of our control. I hope you will join us in Room 43619.
April 28, 2021: Tonight’s program, presented by K1KC was “An Introduction To ‘M’C4FM”. 
April 22, 2021: Our program of technical subjects continued last night with an offering from W5SLG entitled “It’s Not your Microphone, It’s You”. We thank Elmer for handling the net. Remember, volunteers are always welcome. 
April 15, 2021: Normally we would have to have paid out Federal taxes by today, but we have an additional 32 days to pay this year, so why not? And why not tune in each week for some techno-babble on the Yard Dogs net?  This week’s babble was entitled “Is Your IQ Good Enough To Remember Beethoven’s Quadrature Symphony?”
     It turned out that the babble had nothing to do with Beethoven, symphonies or Intelligence Quotient. It DID have something to do with two signals, 90° apart. Who would have thought that a whole tech talk could be made about that? It also turns out that is how Software Defined Radios work. 
April 9, 2021: Happy Upcoming Anniversary! In the next several weeks, The Yard Dogs will celebrate their 4th anniversary. Yes, it’s been almost four years since the group was formed by WC4FM, W4DEL and K1KC. I believe we already had a few learning sessions by then. WC4FM and K1KC went to meet W4DEL with the intention of suggesting that we form a ‘digital learning group’ of some kind. Unbeknownst to them, W4DEL was coming to meet them with the intention of suggesting we form some sort of a ‘digital learning group’! At that point, the only discussion was: What sort of structure should it have?
     The decision was made to keep it loose and simple: no officers, no charter, no treasury, no dues. It would be left up to the individuals participating to keep the idea going. Now, after nearly four years, it IS still going. You might say our pillars are the weekly net, the email reflector and the website. They are constants. The net has logged 133 straight weeks without interruption.
     Originally, our focus was more widespread than it is now, but it could widen again. You see, we started out more heavily involved in EMCOMM and practiced our weekly net using a mode from the Fldigi suite. Of course, we also used Winlink, VHF and HF packet, D-Rats, APRS and other modes. We experimented and learned many of the ICS forms and got certified on many courses. We met at many places to practice and learn.
     Eventually, after perhaps a year and-a-half, a System Fusion/WiRES-X net was started. WC4FM had suggested this for some time before it became a reality. About the only night available for a net was the same night we were doing our EMCOMM net. Since the number of regularly participating stations had dropped to 3, it was decided to move on with the Fusion net and discontinue the EMCOMM net. Come September 2021, The Yard Dogs will celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the net. But for now, we are coming up on the 4th anniversary of the forming of the Yard Dogs, otherwise known as The Yellow River Digital Group.
    Obviously the main focus of the Yard Dogs is System Fusion and WiRES-X. It says so on the front page of our website. If our focus ever changes, we’ll change our subheader! It helps to have a narrower focus as you can dig deeper and have a better understanding this way. And yes, we have learned much. During each net, we’d like to present something that is directly related to WiRES-X or System Fusion, but this is not possible. However, it is always ham radio related. I’m speaking of our ‘tech talk’, a 10-12 minute technical briefing done after check-ins are taken each week.
     The numbers indicate that the Yard Dogs room climbs into the top ten worldwide during the net. While that makes us happy, it is not our goal to be the biggest or the most well known. Rather, our goal is to present a quality product that is both enjoyable and informative.
     So, sometime in late spring (exact date unknown AND unimportant), eat a piece of cake for us. To heck with the diet!
April 8, 2021: “Radio-Free America” was the title of last night’s tech talk. Now we all know what we CAN’T do with our radios. 
March 31, 2021: Going back in time we discovered that switch-mode power supplies are nothing new. Our topic tonight was “Powering Your Mobile Rig Through The Decades”. It seems that what is old is new again.
March 25, 2021: The number of connected stations climbed nicely this week as did the number of stations actually checking in. Thanks to all who took last night’s excursion on The Yard Dogs Express train. Our subject was “A Bit Of Yaesu History” and we covered the founding, the other brands Yaesu has been sold under and some System Fusion history. It was a fun ride. 
March 17, 2021: Thanks to all the stations who connected to the Yard Dogs System tonight! We love to see and hear from you each week. Our subject was number ‘Chapter 5’, but was actually the 6th installment of our series on Receiver Specifications. Tonight’s subject? “Phase Noise and RMDR”. You might see it labeled LO Noise in some places. 
March 11, 2021: I failed to report on the hamfest of the 27th.  It was great to be at a ‘good ole hamfest’ again. If you want to know about the masks, about 40% of people did not wear one at all, about 40% DID wear one, and about 20% of folks had one hanging from one ear. Nothing was said and no masks were required. The statewide ‘health emergency’ had expired without renewal by then.
     How about the weather? Actually the weather was quite good, especially for that time of year. A light jacket was all that was needed and you certainly did not need a jacket inside the buildings! Now, what about the parking lot? Well, it’s a tradition at that hamfest (Dalton) for the parking area to be mush, and the tradition was upheld…boy was it upheld! In fact, they eventually began routing traffic into the boneyard instead. I assume they could not find hard enough ground to park on. I barely made it out.
     Well, what about the deals? There was no shortage of vendors. Cars were pouring in an hour after opening time. I would say the hamfest was a big success. But the deals? You know hams are cheap and I didn’t find much that I needed. I think too much used equipment (and new for that matter) is overpriced. You might have a different opinion.
     Hamfests are social events as much as anything and it’s that way for me too. It was just good to get out of the house and act like a normal human being (if you call hams normal human beings!).
March 10, 2021: It has been an interesting day, all radio related, but I won’t bore you with the details. Tonight’s net brought Chapter 4 in our series on Receiver Specs. It was entitled “Noise Floor And MDS”.
March 3, 2021: Part B of Chapter 3 – Receiver Specs, was the subject of interest tonight. That finishes Selectivity and next week we move on to another facet of receiver specs.
     We had a good turnout with some new attendees. We welcome them!
February 25, 2021: Part A of Chapter 3 – Receiver Specs, went well last night. It dealt with Selectivity. Part B of the same subject comes next week.
     Our first hamfest in a year will be this weekend. I know many of us are starved for a good, old hamfest and it appears this will actually happen. Let us hope it is for real. 
February 17, 2021: Tune in tonight for Chapter 2 of our ‘Receiver Specs’ series. Tonight’s topic? Sensitivity.
February 13, 2021: Chapter Two of our series of talks about Receiver Specifications is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17th, 2021 and the subject is currently slated to be ‘Sensitivity’.
February 11, 2021: It is official: Yaesu is discontinuing the FTM-7250 (as well as the FTdx3000 in case you are interested). What will happen next? The FTdx20? I don’t know. Time will tell.
     Tonight’s Tech Talk was Chapter One of a series we are doing on Receiver Specifications. The title was Dynamic Range, IP3 And Receiver Passband. Listen for Chapter Two next week.  
February 3, 2021: Tonight we discussed Ufer Grounds And Conductive Concrete. It explained ways of finding good earth grounds where none normally exists.
January 27, 2021: What was tonight’s subject? When Did The Last Analog TV Station (In The USA) Go Off The Air? Turns out that it hasn’t happened yet. You could potentially still watch an analog show on your old NTSC TV set. Awesome!
January 21, 2021: Tonight’s tech talk was entitled “Is FM Allowed On The HF Bands?” 
January 15, 2021: Our feeble attempt at an HF net is struggling along. Actually, it is not so much a ‘net’ as it is a ’roundtable’. Roundtables present more opportunities for each station to speak since in a regulated net, the net controller does most of the talking. Well, right now it’s not a problem since we have so few attendees, but that’s okay.
     It seems quite possible that many of the folks who populate the WiRES-X room are not able to have HF antennas up, although obviously some do. For me it’s a welcome change from Internet communications and an opportunity to exercise my HF equipment.  
January 13, 2021: The subject of tonight’s net (#121) was “666”. It referred to WiFi 6, WiFi 6E and 6GHz. We welcomed the hookup of the Atlanta Airport repeater tonight. 
January 7, 2021: First net of 2021 and the subject was “WiRES-XL”. Of course, I made up that name to describe an improved WiRES-X that fits my vision.
December 30, 2020: Last net of 2020! The subject was: Where Did I Lose My Signal At Eddy? It Must Be Around Here Somewhere. Great turnout for tonight’s net. Thanks everyone! Happy New Year.
December 28, 2020: I just got an FTM-300 and as you might imagine, the firmware was NOT current. So off I went onto a journey to learn to flash a different radio. The 300 is quite different from the others, to say the least. Eventually I got it all done as all is well…until the next update. Maybe now I can enjoy the radio.
December 27, 2020: MAIN firmware updates were issued for all the mobiles (FTM-100, FTM-400DR and FTM-400XDR), except the FTM-300 which had an update issued earlier this month. Each version of the FTM-400 has its own update. They are not swappable.
     All my mobiles and all my repeaters are now up to date. That has been six updates so far. Hope I am done for a while!
December 23, 2020: NEW FIRMWARE UPDATE FOR THE FTM-400XDR. This is NOT for the older ‘DR’ version…just the ‘XDR’. The MAIN firmware version has changed from 4.40 to 4.50.
     Tonight’s talk was entitled: “The Unsung Hams..Are They Heroes?” We talked about the massive amount of volunteerism taking place in amateur radio..from Elmers to EMCOMM to repeater operators.  

MerrChristmas  !

December 17, 2020: Last night’s net was handled by VK5JP and was titled “What Is C4FM And How Does It Compare To D-Star?”. Thanks to Pete for helping out!
December 14, 2020: Both DR-2X’s at the K1KC repeater site have been updated to the latest firmware. The biggest problem was getting them far enough out of the rack to get to the ‘Program’ button. We’ll see how they perform now. I have some idea the ‘unintended ‘lockup’ problem was addressed this time. I sure hope so!
December 10, 2020: “You Can’t Do It Right With The System You Love” was last night’s tech talk title. It was sort of a follow-on to the talk of the preceding week. Now I will give it a rest.
     The HF net is off to a slow start, but that’s okay. We are meeting on weekdays at 1900UTC on 3943kHz. It’s hit or miss as to who will show up. WC4FM has been acting as net control.
     If you have a DR-2X or FTM-300, take note that there are firmware updates that were released for them both in November (DR-2X) and December (FTM-300). 
December 3, 2020: Last night we asked the question: Is Your Transmitter Happy? Turnout was very good. Today we held an HF net on 75m that is not too formal. Whoever shows up is whoever shows up…know what I mean Vern?
November 26, 2020: Today is Turkey Day…hope you enjoy it. Last night’s net was entitled: Building Our Own Backup Network…Is There Any Point In It?. Well, I for one think there is. Do you?
November 19, 2020: Happy Thanksgiving to all! Our subject last night was: What’s The REAL Difference Between ‘DN’ and ‘VW’? Lots of stations logged into the net this week. Welcome if this is your first time. 
November 12, 2020: Since yesterday (net day) was also Veteran’s Day, we salute all of our nation’s veterans. Of course, some years ago this day was called Armistice Day, and I still have a habit of calling it that. In any case, we thank our brave men and women for putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the rest of us.
     Last night’s net was entitled What Happens When You Press Your Fusion Radio Keypad And, What Layer Are You In?
November 4, 2020: The title of last night’s net: The New Technologies…A Critical Look. Thanks to everyone for logging in. What is happening is Fusion and WiRES-X? We are all waiting to see if any more new releases (other than the FTdx10) are coming. I’m sure many of us are hoping for some holiday discounts. That might just be the thing to cause us to fork over some cash. 
October 28, 2020: Tonight’s subject: Socket Timeout Errors. We have been delving deeply into the digital side of things so that we can provide a quality product and enjoy our hobby. 
October 22, 2020: Another great turnout tonight. The subject? “The Yagi Antenna”. Lots of folks checked in for the first time….WELCOME! The net was carried on some additional repeaters in Australia. They are really building a superb network in the Adelaide and South Australia area.
October 15, 2020:  The subject of net #108 was “WiRES-X Packets Explained”. There was an excellent turnout again. The subject matter was deep but helps us understand what is happening in our systems.
October 8, 2020:  Net #107 surmised why Yaesu chose Windows software for use with WiRES-X.
October 1, 2020: Last night began year number three of the Yard Dogs Net. Hopefully we will enjoy each other’s company for this next year…and many more.
     The title of tonight’s net was “Barriers? What Barriers?” Turnout for the net was excellent tonight. Thanks to everyone who chimed in.
September 23, 2020: Well, this was it…our second anniversary. Second anniversary of the Yard Dogs net that is. For two solid years now we have had a net every single week without a break. Congratulations to us! Our subject tonight concerned the features of System Fusion and WiRES-X that we do NOT use. Turnout for the net was very good.
September 17, 2020: Only one week left until our second anniversary arrives! That is: the 2nd anniversary of the Yard Dogs net. Hope to hear your there.
     Tonight’s net discussed the differences (and similarities) between Yaesu C4FM, APCO P25 Phase I and the NXDN protocols.  
September 10, 2020: It’s only two weeks until the second anniversary of the Yard Dogs net. Tonight’s net took us back to some WiRES-X basics when we talked about how buffering and latency affect our digital communications. 
Yard Dogs get-together report: If you weren’t there, well, you missed it. We had an enjoyable lunch at La Bamba, then headed over to Vines Park where we saw a beautiful fox scampering across the field. There was plenty of shade cool drinks and watermelon. Several of us took in the scenic vistas the park has to offer. Vines is a very nice park.
NOTICE !  NOTICE !  NOTICE !  Restaurant location has been changed from Journey’s End to La Bamba, in the same shopping center. Leonard advised me just a few minutes ago that Journey’s End is closed for the holiday, so we will move to the other end of the shopping center at 4325 Atlanta Highway (Hwy. 78).
     La Bamba is a Mexican restaurant (go figure) at the left (eastern) end of the Loganville Town Center shopping center as you face it from Hwy. 78. Lunch is still at 12 noon.
September 2, 2020: Just as a reminder, the Yard Dogs get-together is Monday, September 7th, beginning at noon at Journey’s End restaurant. The festivities will continue at Vines Park immediately after lunch. See our “Meetings” page for details.
August 31, 2020: On September 23, 2020, the Yard Dogs will celebrate two years of continuous nets. There has been no break, not even for holidays or for personal reasons. We take pride in offering this service to the System Fusion and WiRES-X community. Thanks for taking part.
August 26, 2020: Tonight’s net was entitled: Sidebands and Guardbands . Don’t forget the upcoming get-together on Labor Day. We will do lunch at Journey’s End and then hang out at Vines Park, just down the street. This will more or less also be a celebration of two years of continuous Yard Dogs nets. Bring your coolers and chairs to the park.
August 20,2020: Please note that the WA4ASI 146.925 machine has been disconnected from the Yard Dogs System for the time being. The reason is that it was not functioning in the desired manner. A re-engineering project is underway to hopefully rejoin us. We are all looking forward to that happening if it is at all possible. 
August 19, 2020: The subject of tonight’s tech talk was “The Capacitance Hat”.
August 12, 2020: Tonight’s topic was “Velocity Of Propagation Through A Cable”. 
August 9, 2020: For those of you who were aware there was a network failure late on August 5th, everything has returned to normal service. Thank you for using the designated backup room in the meantime. 
August 5, 2020: The subject of tonight’s net was Galvanic Reaction. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a great deal of Internet difficulty and many stations were hard to copy. Sorry…wish there was something I could do about it. Better luck next week.
July 29, 2020: Tonight’s subject was Grounding, Earthing and Bonding. By the way, this week I ran across some more incorrect information concerning System Fusion radios. At least you should be aware that sometimes folks get it wrong, including me. If you have questions, verify your question with the best sources you can.
July 25, 2020: Just today I found a website that had very different error codes or log box messages from what I was used to seeing. In addition, the version of the WiRES-X PC software listed was very different than what we are using. This caused a great deal of confusion on my part so I resolved to figure out what was happening.
     The short answer is that those ‘funny’ codes and messages are for WiRES-II, not WiRES-X, although it specifically says “WiRES-X”. As you know, support for WiRES-II was officially ended nearly three years ago. If you see something like this that does not look right, check it out.
July 23, 2020: This Tuesday, two of our connected nodes were affected by lightning strikes. The WA4ASI repeater link was taken down as well as the WC4FM node. We are sorry to hear about this but hope they are able to recover quickly. It’s always a bad thing when someone takes a strike, and many of us have been through such an event, some of us multiple times. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of having electronic equipment and outdoor antennas. Best wishes for a speedy return to the system for those who were affected.
July 17, 2020: Wednesday’s night’s net was handled by KJ4GK. Thanks Thomas.
July 16, 2020: New firmware updates for the FTM-300 became available as of yesterday.
July 10, 2020: Many new explanations have been added to the ‘non-error’ message lists. Of course, we are always adding to the error message lists as well. If you find incomplete information and can add to the knowledge base, we’d love to hear from you.
     This Wednesday’s net was handled by WC4FM.
July 2, 2020: Last night we talked about how to handle a band opening with C4FM. Right now there’s lots of speculation about new radios and accessories coming out from Yaesu, but speculation is all that it is. 
June 25, 2020: Good net last night with a topic of ‘baluns’. We are all wondering what new radios Yaesu is about to come out with. System Fusion is growing every day. 
June 18, 2020: Check-in totals were way up last night with a total of 29, and with a total of 42 connected nodes during the net. The subject was “Near Vertical Incidence Skywave Propagation”. The net also lasted a bit longer than usual. 
June 10, 2020: Tonight’s subject was ‘Takeoff Angle’. As always, our talks are meant more as food for thought than as a definitive course on any subject. Now the FTM-300 is in the hands of several amateurs. I hope they enjoy them.
June 4, 2020: Last night we suggested a method for Yaesu to sell huge numbers of radios. DO you think they will send me a gift for doing so? No, I didn’t think so either. By the way, at least one purchaser is expecting his FTM-300 to arrive within the next two days. We’ll see.
May 28, 2020: There’s a lot going on right now. Several Fusion radios have been, or are rumored to be close to, discontinuation. See our email reflector for more information. The FTM-300 Advance and Operating manuals have been released and are available on the Yaesu website. And finally, we discussed the dangers of radios that know about you than you do. 
May 21, 2020: During the net tonight we pointed out the benefit of putting more time, money, effort or thought into your antenna and feedline since it has a greater effect on your signals than most other activities. 
 May 16, 2020: Yaesu released on May 12, 2020 a new version of the “MAIN” firmware for the FT-991A. Note: For the ‘A’ model only! The new version is 2.04 (02 04).
May 13, 2020: What is ranging? What is its benefit, if any? Do you really need ranging? All these things were discussed tonight.
May 6, 2020:  Our subject tonight covered the latest DOCSIS (or Data over Cable Service Interface Specification). There have been major advancements.
April 30, 2020: What did we talk about tonight? We talked about the difference between the laws of physics and the marketing hype we all run into. It was interesting!
April 23, 2020: A move away from the more philosophical viewpoint and towards the technical was the order of the day. The subject of last night’s talk was: Digital Resolution – A Balancing Act. In the ‘no news to report’ section, no release of the FTM-300 has occurred just yet. Many folks are eagerly awaiting its debut.
April 16, 2020: The art of communicating was essentially the subject of the evening, although we started out with something a little different. By the way, the bands have been open through at least 10m at times. Hope you are ‘communicating’.
April 9, 2020: Last night we discussed what to do when a ham passes away. Perhaps not the most desirable subject, but very topical at the moment. Many participants had great ideas about how to deal with that situation. Thanks guys and gals for sharing those ideas.
April 1, 2020: Thank you again W4DEL for assuming logging duties. Volunteerism makes The Yard Dogs work! The topic of this evening’s talk was “Where Are We (System Fusion, WiRES-X and its users) Going?” It was another lively discussion and we had a great turnout. Exact figures appear on the ‘Net Log ‘n Blog’ page. 
March 25, 2020: I’d like to thank W4DEL and KJ4GK for assisting with logging tonight. Thanks guys! Staying on the track of System Fusion and WiRES-X, tonight’s topic (translated from Deutsch) was: ‘If I could wish for something’. Those wishes were all about WiRES-X. Following that, we had a secondary topic of multi-mode repeaters. A lively discussion followed tonight’s tech talk.
March 18, 2020: Tonight we talked about the possibility of replacing Windows with other operating systems. Turnout again was very good and we are being carried by at least three repeaters in Australia.
March 11, 2020: Tonight’s diatribe was entitled “Who needs the old guy anyway?” In case you were wondering, I AM an old guy. Turnout for the Yard Dogs net remains strong and consistent. Averages may actually be creeping up. 
March 4, 2020: There was a discussion about tuners and autotuners during tonight’s ‘tech talk’. Many new folks are checking into the Yard Dogs net and we are glad to have them. Welcome to System Fusion and WiRES-X!
February 26, 2020: Tonight WC4FM took over for K1KC and talked about the new FTM-300. That radio seems to come as a surprise (at least in its form factor) to most of us.
February 19, 2020: This week’s subject was Bluetooth. There was so much more we wanted to cover, but could not in a single session. It’s a difficult subject! Tonight we were joined by a fine group of blokes from Australia as well as several newcomers to the Yard Dogs net. We thank them all for taking time out to join us and we hope they will all come again.
     Near record levels were reached tonight with 41 connecting nodes and 26 check-ins and 89 minutes of length.
February 13, 2020: Last night we finished up our five chapter series on the history of amateur radio callsigns and frequency allotments through 1991. It was fun to hear what ham radio has been through. In many ways I am glad some of the restrictions are gone. In other ways, not so much.  But the trip through time was enjoyable.
February 9, 2020: The buzz now is all about the new dual band mobile we expect Yaesu to announce. We know it as the FTM-300 and that it comes with a detachable control head (or perhaps it cannot be attached). We know it has wideband receive (a common feature) and that it runs on 12VDC.
     It has been my expectation for some time that the next new System Fusion product after the FT-3 would be an update to the FTM-400. The FTM-400 has been around since 2013 and has received one upgrade, but was probably due for another or even a replacement.
     Now, I cannot unequivocally say this is the ‘son of 400’, but I think it is. Just as the FT-3 is the ‘son of FT-2’, I think we will see an improved version of the FTM-400. But, I could be wrong. We shall see. 
February 6, 2020: WC4FM took over the controls during last night’s net. Thanks Leonard. 
FEBRUARY 5, 2020: The error codes page continues to grow with over 30 entries so far. They are now listed alphabetically as well in an effort to make them easier to search. If you have additional information, please feel free to submit it.
February 3, 2020: FT-3 prices (on the used market) are dropping a bit. I saw one for $280 tonight. That’s tempting, but not tempting enough!
January 29, 2020: Net totals remain about the same tonight. Good net with Chapter Four of The History of Amateur Radio Callsigns and Frequency Allotments.
January 22, 2020: Net totals are up a little again, but the averages haven’t changed much. They will if this trend continues. The KJ4LY node has changed frequency to 145.525. 
January 21, 2020: Updated information about the FT-3 firmware versions has been posted to the website. See ‘Software Updates’. Tomorrow night we will present Chapter 3 of The History of Amateur Radio Callsigns and Frequency Allotments.
January 18, 2020: The big news of the day is the success of our first ever Tech Fest appearance. It really went well and The Yard Dogs turned out in force to represent System Fusion and WiRES-X. 
January 15, 2020: Tonight Chapter Two covered 1927-1947. Participation was up again tonight and we enjoyed the new company. Tech Fest is only 3 days away now.
January 8, 2020: Our ‘tech talk’ series began tonight with Chapter One covering 1912-1927. What did we cover? The History of Amateur Callsigns and Frequency Allotments, that’s what!
January 6, 2019: All Yard Dogs badges have been distributed and received. Now there are Doggers all over the country! Awesome! New information has been posted about Yaesu servers on the email reflector and in the ‘Beginner’s Corner’ page under ‘Misconceptions’. 
January 2, 2020: A ‘Yard Dogs Luncheon’ was held today and some fine BBQ was consumed. We all met a new member (although there is really no such thing as a ‘member’. Maybe we should say ‘participant’). All of the badges have been distributed, by mail or by hand. Also we received a few more donations to help offset operating costs. Finally, we made a ‘house call’. True, it was a rainy day in Georgia, but we enjoyed every minute of it!
December 29, 2019: The badges that Yard Dogs folks ordered arrived and are ready for distribution. I will be mailing some to our distant friends, but hope to see everyone else at a luncheon this week to pass them out.
     Also, don’t forget: We WILL be having a New Year’s night (not Eve) net. In other words: January 1st.
December 25, 2019: Numbers were down slightly for our Christmas net, but that is to be expected. We appreciate all the folks who took time out to join the net. Tonight we talked about the Radio Horizon.
December 18, 2019: There’s nothing like a Windows Update to really screw up your day. Ask me, I know. I am struggling with one right now.
     In other news, the badges have been ordered but I don’t think I will see them for a week to a week and-a-half. I will let you know when they are here.
December 11, 2019: Check the errors page for new listings. Badges are in the process of being ordered. Suggestions for Tech Fest are welcome. Our webpage has now been quoted overseas! (Also on other US webpages). We must be doing something right!
December 2, 2019: The current plan for Christmas night and New Year’s night is for the net to proceed as usual.
November 27, 2019: There’s a big sale on Fusion gear right now, just as we expected there would be for the holidays. If you want it cheap, this is a good time!
November 25, 2019: The K1KC 444.55 repeater has joined the Yard Dogs network fully now. For a while it was a standalone repeater, but now it is on the network. There is still antenna and duplexer work to be accomplished though.
November 20, 2019: Yaesu had some planned outages that jacked some folks up recently. No advance warning was given. Of course, there is no perfect way of giving advance warning. Just expect that once in a blue moon, the system will not be at 100%. ‘Nuff said.
November 13, 2019: We are thinking about getting some special Yellow River Digital Group callsign badges, mainly for demos and such.
November 2, 2019: Hamfest went well with plenty of folks coming by and wanting to talk about WiRES-X and System Fusion. We handed out flyers that let folks know about the website and the email reflector. Thanks to NX1Q for setting up a PDN connected to the room while we were at the hamfest. That was pretty cool.
October 30, 2019: Hamfest this Saturday. Contact us on 145.5625 in DN mode. We should have a node set up at the hamfest.
October 27, 2019: The Yaesu FT-3DR appeared for sale under $400 for the first time yesterday.
October 18, 2019: Check out the 2-day sale concurrent with Pacificon 2019 on Fusion radios. Repeater included!
October 9, 2019: There’s a bit of a price drop on Fusion radios at the moment. You can get $20 off the latest price on the FT-3 and $5-10 off most of the other Fusion radios. Check it out!
October 3, 2019: Plans are for the Yard Dogs to gather at the Stone Mountain hamfest and set up a small informational booth outside in the boneyard. We should have a PDN active while we are there. The PDN frequency will be announced. If you have something to sell, you might want to bring it and set up on our tables. Bring your own chairs and coolers. We do need at least one more station to park in the boneyard.
September 27, 2019: A very short price reduction on Yaesu HT’s, mobiles, base HF radios and on the DR-2X. It lasts through tomorrow. Get your DR-2X through John Kruk. Get the rest through HRO only.
September 23, 2019: Note changes and updates to the Yard Dogs repeater/node list. Please forward any corrections or omissions to webmaster.
September 18, 2019: Next Wednesday will bring the 1st anniversary of the Yellow River Digital Group’s weekly net. Yes, we have conducted this net every week for one year now and we hope it has been useful to someone.
September 11, 2019: What an excellent net! Lots of folks checked in for the first time and we welcome them all. The numbers climbed a bit and raised our averages ever so slightly.
September 10, 2019: The first anniversary of the Yard Dogs net is fast approaching. Net number 53 (one year from our start) will occur on September 25th, 2019. We hope you will join us.
     The plan is to dispense with the usual format and have a good time, so expect things to be a little different that night.
August 28, 2019: Happy Birthday WC4FM! He’s 29 years young…again! Don’t forget the get-together Friday. Check the ‘Meetings’ page for times, addresses, phone numbers and coordinates. Bring an acoustic musical instrument if you play one. See you there.
August 21, 2019: How can I get a really good repeater antenna?
     You may think it impossible, but it’s not. True, it IS difficult, just not impossible. We talked about that tonight.
     By the way, several of us enjoyed some nice BBQ today at a mini-meeting. Hope to see you at the next one.
August 7, 2019: Nope, no difference!
     I’m speaking about how an FT-3 sounds coming across a Fusion network…just like any other Fusion radio: Mighty Fine! We got a good dose a few days ago. Got yours yet?
August 4, 2019: They’re here!
     Yes, the FT-3 is now in the hands of some users and on the air. I’ve not talked to anyone with one but I’m sure they won’t sound any different…just maybe more fun to use!
August 1, 2019: Anticipation
     We are all sitting on pins and needles awaiting the first FT-3’s to be shipped. A couple of accessories for them are now in stores so we feel like they will ship soon. Too bad I won’t be getting one!
July 27, 2019: Time For An Update!
     Yaesu has announced an update to its WiRES-X PC software from V. 1.510 to V 1.530. All HRI-based nodes as well as all PDN’s should update their software as soon as possible.
     In other news: Manuals for the FT-3D are now available (officially I might add) online on the Yaesu website. 
July 25, 2019: Worldwide PDN Usage?
     Maybe if a plan to put up satellites that regular cellphones can transceive through goes into effect! Anyway, that was the subject of this week’s net.
July 19, 2019: Unofficial Yaesu FT-3DR Manual
     Check out our email reflector for an unofficial look at the FT-3DR Operating Manual. Supposedly this is from an FCC website, but this is not confirmed either. Do not make any assumptions concerning this document and use it for entertainment purposes only.

July15, 2019: Beginner’s Corner

     After some time of hem-hawing around and get started, but never finished, a beginner’s page is now on the site. The idea is that this can be a useful reference for beginners mainly. Persons new to C4FM, System Fusion and WiRES-X have many questions. Hopefully a good number of those questions will be answered here.

     We have done our best to present factual information that is descriptive, but not too profound. Sometimes that task is difficult in a technical venture, but we have tried. We have included what we think is necessary for you to get a good basic understanding of these subjects.

July 11, 2019: Upcoming get-together

     Don’t forget the late August Yard Dogs get-together on Friday August 30th, 2019, time and location TBA. Suggestions are accepted!

July 7, 2019: Updates to Updates!

     Software and firmware updates that is. Our software and firmware update page has been revamped and includes more information that it did previously. 

June 27, 2019: New frequency for the Stockbridge GA node

     Please take note that the Stockbridge node is now using 145.5625 as its operating frequency. The Yard Dogs net had a great turnout tonight and I’d like to thank everyone who participated.

     We had an unanticipated test of our abilities tonight as Net Control was temporarily off the air and one of our assistants had to take over. Thanks NX1Q!

     Tonight we covered the second part of DG-ID codes and also of subcodes. We understand a little more than we did last week!

June 26, 2019: WiRES-X Error Codes

     Many ops have been asking for a master list of error codes to assist them in troubleshooting difficulties with their WiRES-X systems. No such list has been forthcoming that I know of, so therefore I will provide a forum for folks to submit what they have found. Perhaps this will be of use to other ops.

     No guaranties are made concerning this information. Use at your own risk. This information is NOT official…it is supplied by users FOR users.

June 25, 2019: New frequency for the Between, GA. node

     As of June 25, 2019, the new frequency for the WC4FM node will be 145.5625. 

June 23, 2019: New Yard Dogs Server

     Last night I took the old Windows 7 server down and decommissioned it for good. It would have to say it ‘served’ (no pun intended) us well for the time it was in place. However, support for most Windows 7 users is ending in January and the time was approaching that it was necessary to move on.  

The newer, faster and hopefully more reliable Windows 10 server has been online for the last 10 hours or so and seems to be functioning fine. All nodes that were connected prior to system shutdown received notification that shutdown was imminent. Of course, you have to re-connect manually if your settings do not provide for a ‘return-to-room’ automatically. I do send out messages that indicate when the server is back online, but if you did not  automatically re-connect, you will not receive that message.

     I regret having to shut the system down at all but it is absolutely necessary to do so at times. There are updates that usually require a restart which causes WiRES-X to go down for a while. If you got disconnected overnight, for instance, check your WIRES-X chatbox for a message about any planned outages. 

June 19, 2019: DG-ID

Tonight we covered the DG-ID function but excluded how it affects repeaters. We also did not yet include the subcode function. These will be covered later.

June 12, 2019: Group Monitor

     Does this refer to Big Brother monitoring us as a group? I hope not…he’d be extremely bored in short order. Rather, this means the Group Monitor function of our radios.  

     It seemed to many of us that the GM mode might be best suited to fixed operators and Emcomm situations, however I am sure there are good mobile uses as well. For me, being within repeater range almost always, I found little local use for it. Your mileage may vary. 

June 5, 2019: We had a slight delay….

     and an interesting start to tonight’s net. Turns out that one piece of my equipment was interfering with the whole net. Eventually we got that cleared up. There’s nothing like looking in the mirror and seeing a monkey!

June 1, 2019: Note that the WC4FM node has changed frequencies from 147.585 to 147.565 as of late May, 2019.

May 29, 2019: Yard Dogs going strong.

     Using our radios to stay in touch is fun, but it’s also great to actually get together and shake hands, and that’s just what we did last Saturday. WC4FM arranged for us all to meet at a local buffet, then retire to a nice park for a leisurely afternoon. It sure made radio better!

     Our net count is up to #36 with an average of 15 connected nodes and 12 stations actually checking in. Average net length is 55 minutes. We are enjoying System Fusion and WiRES-X and the company of each other. Thank you to all who make it happen!

May 01, 2019: WiFi 6, 7, 8, 9, 10……

     The new WiFi nomenclature was discussed tonight. We had a great turnout and I certainly enjoyed talking to everyone.

April 24, 2019: Return Loss

     Yes, that was tonight’s subject. It is very closely related to VSWR, reflection coefficient and certain S-parameters. 

April 17, 2019: Interactive net?

     Well yeah, that’s what we attempted tonight. Basically we asked everyone to tell us about their digital experiences. It was fun and informative.

April 14, 2019:  COMPUTERS UPDATED

     Last night we updated the Yard Dogs main computer with around 300MB of updates. Since the computer would need to be restarted anyway, it was a good time to pull it out of the rack an install the new shelves. This was done.                           Windows 7 will lose (free) updates next year so we are working towards moving to a newer system. I will keep posting about those efforts.

April 8, 2019: Frequency change for Between, GA. node=

     Please note that the Between, Ga, (WC4FM) node has mode up 5kHz to 147.585MHz.


     Since the Yard Dogs concept has grown, it has become necessary to institute some controls to the system. Specifically, it is counter-productive to the system to attempt to manipulate the Yard Dogs node. That is, please do not connect to the node and change it to any other node or room. You may reach the Yard Dogs system via the 2m 146.61- repeater, via any of the RF nodes listed on our website or via WiRES-X room 40383. The Yard Dogs room is a 24/7 meeting place for an increasing number of users and should remain in place. Our 2m repeater users will lose their access to the Yard Dogs room if you make any changes.

     Secondly, please do not bridge any other systems (such as YSF or FCS reflectors) the the Yard Dogs room. All connections should be made directly to room 40383 in WIRES-X. Bridging can cause problems for both ends. Thank you for your understanding. 

April 3, 2019: WC4FM will be net control tonight.

April 2, 2019: Node Frequency Change

     Please note the change of the Between, Georgia (WC4FM) node frequency from 147.555 to 147.58.  Thank you. 

March 30, 2019: Please Don’t Talk To The Lifeguard

     And please do not attempt to change rooms or nodes on the Yard Dogs system. The Yard Dogs has become a hub and supports a room 24 hours a day where people can connect. Any attempt to change that will disconnect the repeater and/or the room.

     If you need help understanding how WIRES-X works, please ask someone instead of making changes to this node. There are other places where node/room changes are welcome.

     Thank you.

March 6, 2019: Excellent Turnout.

     The Yard Dogs C4FM/ WiRES-X/ System Fusion net is doing just fine but we do accept volunteers! Contact K1KC if you can help out a little bit. TNX

February 27, 2019: Adding to the numbers…

     I suppose the big news of the last couple of weeks is really the number of people coming online with their Portable Digital Nodes and the number of newcomers to WiRES-X and System Fusion. It’s truly astounding and it makes me happy. No, I do not own a piece of Yaesu, it’s just my hobby, but now I’ll have more folks to talk to and the future of these systems is that much brighter.

     Take time to welcome the newcomers and give them technical assistance if you will. The purpose of The Yard Dogs, this website, our forum page and our weekly net is to do just that: help out where we can. Spread the word about and 73 de K1KC

February 21, 2019: PDN’s in the field.

     This Saturday, Feb. 23rd, we will be enjoying a few ‘PDN’s in the field’. That is, some of us are going to be on the road for 1-2 hours and we will be operating PDN’s the whole time. Of course, this should allow us to stay in touch the whole time without having to rely on repeaters. This is a neat proposition, but likely we will have the capability of talking on repeaters at the same time. Most likely we will be operating FT-2’s as the PDN radios and whatever else we have as the regular radios. We’ll see how it goes.

February 12, 2019: What’s next for System Fusion and WiRES-X ?

To be honest, I cannot tell you what Yaesu is planning although ‘connectivity’ seems to be the buzzword there. That suits me fine! What I want to know is: How can I get on WiRES-X from ANYWHERE ? Let’s examine the status quo first:

As of now, you can get onto WiRES-X three ways. First, if you can reach a node or repeater via RF, you are in. Secondly, if you have access to WiFi, you are in. Thirdly, if you have cellular access, you are in. I suppose satellite access is possible but I’ve not seen a demonstration of that yet.

     Now, imagine you are in the boonies and need or want to get on W-X. In just about every case you are going to look for the highest spot you can get to and go from there. Your WiFi, your cell signal and your VHF+ signal are all going to need that high spot (remember, we are in the boonies).

     What about HF? To begin with, your digital C4FM signal will be restricted to 10M or above. The only current radio with that capability is the FT-991 series. At the receiving end, you’ll need another FT-991, but they are not node radios. True, they can be connected to an HRI-200 and function, but not the way we would like. To me, it would then appear that without a repeater, node, WiFi signal or cell signal, you would be forced to try for a satellite Internet connection that could be ported to your PDN computer (or computer/HRI-200 combo). Too bad I don’t have a satphone.

November 4, 2018: Stone Mountain Hamfest

Several folks from the Yard Dogs system met up with folks we had been hearing on the system, but whom we had never met. We all met for lunch after leaving the hamfest. Then, following that, we came together for a programming and familiarization session. Some folks were already familiar with C4FM/System Fusion, but some had just gotten their first C4FM radio, so we did some programming and made some notes. This helps make radio fun for everybody.

October 31, 2018: A Digital Reality (and it ain’t pretty!)

I finally understand the digital world. It is simply a series of switches. Each switch represents a decision. You could call it yes/no, left/right, up/down, on/off or whatever you like, but is nothing more than a decision, or perhaps, a routing. Your signal or your programming go whichever way you have routed it. These days much of what we do in the radio world is software defined, or at least software controlled. My C4FM and WiRES-X setup is a perfect example.

I listen to the technical discussions and make an attempt to learn as much as I can, especially since I am hosting a technical net myself. It only makes sense for me to be informed. Well, what a fool I am! The situation is fast becoming unmanageable by mere humans. What I mean is: the eventual outcome is hardly predictable anymore. During these technical nets people ask: Why did such-and-such occur? Even the really smart folks are having a tough time answering these questions now. Why? Because, as switches are added, the outcome possibilities becomes exponentially higher. Humans can be pretty sharp but you can count cards into only so many decks.

And what do I mean by ‘outcomes’? Well, maybe an example is the best way to demonstrate this. Suppose you are operating a digital handheld radio and you are transceiving to and from your digital node. That digital node is connected to the Internet where it connects with other digital nodes and other digital radios. Your digital node is likely connected to a computer and some sort of modem. Each device in that stream not only has hundreds of choices to be made, but each device likely has several layers of operation. Ever seen a digital audio mixing board? You have to know what LAYER you are in at any given moment. You know…it’s like playing three-dimensional chess.

The people who come up with this stuff are brilliant, but things happen that they don’t expect, and furthermore, that they cannot predict. That is because of the number of switches, and thus, the number of possible outcomes, are mind-boggling. We are nearing a point where a new paradigm might be necessary. For the most part, things work like we expect them to, but not always. I have determined that it will not be possible for me to know anywhere close to the amount I want to know, even about my one little corner of the digital radio world.

In an effort to understand the small network we are running, we have been conducting experiments to figure a few things out that simply are not in any manual. Just when we think we have an answer, we don’t. And WHY is everything not in the manual? For the exact reason I gave above: We have reached a stage where all the outcomes and all the possibilities are not documentable. Besides, even if it were possible, it would be outside the realm of what the creators set out to do to start with! Add to that fact the fact that the users have now become the beta testers. Sure, there may be official beta testers, but if you buy one of their radios, you are now a beta tester whether you like it or not. I used to think this was a sorry way to run a business, but I am beginning to think they don’t have any choice! It does scare me to think where this all leads to. We are in for some very interesting changes in the near future.

If you believe that games that pay money (think slot machines, lotto, etc.) are not rigged, then consider this analogy: You are playing Pachinko. The ball drops. Each pin on the way down is a switch. The ball can go left or right. That’s a decision or a route and it leads to an outcome. In Pachinko it’s where the ball ends up at the bottom of the board. In radio, maybe it’s where your signal ends up at and in what form. Decisions, decisions! Increase the number of pins and the number of places the ball could go increases exponentially. On average, maybe the ball ends up in a certain area. That’s like saying, on average, your radio works like you think it should. But what if the ball ends up elsewhere? Why? What changed? What was the variable that caused it? Is it even possible to say? The same is beginning to apply to our digital radio world. Each new feature, each new software change, each new firmware update and each new radio increases the number of pins in the Pachinko machine and thus exponentially increases the potential number of outcomes.

I don’t mean for this all to sound so cryptic, but we mess with this every day and we are wondering why so-and-so heard me, but so-and-so did not, even though I was trying to reach him. On top of that, my GUI said I WAS connected to so-and-so, but that’s not who I got connected to! I want to be able to answer these questions but I’d have to ask SO many questions, piece together all the variables and hash out an answer. Well, that simply is not possible any more. There are too many switches!

Yes, I am grateful that for the most part, the system works as well as it does. I have a great time with it, but I am not fooling myself that I will be able to answer each question that comes along. I don’t think anybody could.

August 15, 2018: Adopt an ARDOP

Well, just give it a try first. It stands for : Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol and is expected to eventually replace Winmor. You can download it now and use it as I did earlier. Hey, just trying to keep up with the times! Type ardop into your search engine and go to those pages that are from

January 26, 2018: Bonus:

Sending regular email via Winlink VHF packet was successful too. Now I will attempt to do so from an APRS-equipped radio.

January 24, 2018: Nothing Succeeds Like Failing A Bunch Of Times First:

Yeah, gotta hand it to failure: It really makes you appreciate success. What I am saying is that I tried Winlink VHF Packet several times before I got it to work. That’s the good news. The bad new is that I do not know why it worked. What did I do differently? Nothing. Perhaps propagation was a little better. Perhaps the digital gods looked favorably upon my feeble effort for entertainment value. I don’t know, but I sure was glad it did work.

Anyway, the goal here is to reduce reliance on wireline services and increase reliance on RF methods. That goal was achieved.

January 20, 2018: Your Gracious Hosts

Hi Folks. Won’t you take a few seconds of your time to thank your gracious hosts? That is, won’t you send an email, key a microphone or make a phone call to tell your local repeater operators, digipeater owners, iGate owners, packet node ops, Winlink gateway ops, software developers and so forth, ‘thank you’? Would you bring a cool drink, make a sandwich or even provide moral support for your local tower climber? Would you tell the owner of the tower or building your club antenna is located on that you appreciate their kindness?

Most of these folks ask for nothing in return, but a kind word goes a long way. Would you send a dollar or two to someone who developed some software you make use of regularly? A small donation is not just money. It represents your thanks for the hard work someone has gone to, then made available to the amateur community for free.

I am no great benefactor, but I’ve done my part of providing free services, and I donate to others as well. I make use of their offerings and I want them to know that I DO appreciate it. I can tell you positively that a pat on the back goes a long, long way.

January 20, 2018: The Dream Gets Dreamier

In previous blog posts I have laid out my ideas for the future of amateur communications. Now I want more. I want a radio in my car which I can use to plot my position and report it, show me a map of anyone else’s position, allow me to interface with the Internet, allow me to contact any other VHF+ FM radio that wishes to log onto such a system and more. I want these radios to be really useful. I want them to do what the cellular system does.

Well then you ask: Why not simply use the cellular system instead? My answer is multi-fold: I want to be one of the builders and operators of that system. I want to add features that would be useful to myself and others. I don’t want to pay somebody else to use their system. I want my system to work when theirs won’t.

I don’t at all mind combining the cellular system or the Internet when all is well, but I do want our system to stay up when theirs goes down. We all have this idea that we will be the great communicators in a disaster. Yeah, me too, but I really don’t want to see that happen just to glorify myself. I’ll be happy just to know I could have helped if I had been needed. That’s good enough.

Recently I mentioned to someone the dream that I had about a database which could build ad hoc bridges between operating systems and would allow us to selcall anyone who wishes to be called. He thought we might be about 5 years from reaching that goal. I sure hope he is right. We need connectivity, not fracturing. Some awesome folks with wonderful hearts and lots of talent having been doing these things in some fashion already, but I’m dreaming big. I want all hams to be included if they so desire. There isn’t a reason in the world I shouldn’t be able to pick up the mic in my car, punch in your ESN, or callsign, and reach you if you are reachable, no matter where you are. That goal is attainable and we are SO close, yet so far. I might not be talented enough to pull it off, but I can dream it, I can help to finance it in my own small way, and I can help host such a system. Now I need some of you ‘smart fellers’ out there to put it on paper.

December 8, 2017  I Have Another Dream

And no, it’s not the dream about the beautiful maiden falling in love with the crabby old man again. That’s a good dream but it doesn’t belong on this website! No, this is another radio dream. As Gary Numan said: “I dream of wires”.

The dream goes like this: What if the next generation of amateur radios was built with WiFi connectivity? If they were, imagine what we could then do. My initial use for such connectivity would be to pull up a repeater database, such as <>. Since the radio already has GPS, I could use the location services feature to download repeaters in my current area. If a WiFi hotspot were not nearby, I could certainly use my cellphone to fill that bill.

Now you may be asking, if I have a cellphone handy that could access the Internet, why do I need it in the radio? Here’s where the need becomes obvious. With the database wirelessly available to my radio, perhaps I could then, with the click of a button, download those nearby repeaters into my radio’s memories.

The thought here is mainly for mobile radios but it could apply to stationary radios as well. If you are traveling and want to stay in touch with your amateur radio, what better method could there be? Well, the only better method is the subject of another dream and that involves an amateur cellular system. You would automatically get handed from one machine to another as you travel. Since I do not foresee that happening, I am back to the WiFi-enabled ham radio.

Imagine that you are on a long distance trip, or even just a trip beyond the reach of the repeaters you already have programmed into your radio. You could use a handy method of entering new repeaters along the way. Given the necessary steps to program today’s radios, there is no safe way for you to drive and program. Even stopping and programming is not very desirable since the process might need to be repeated every 20-30 minutes.

Forgoing the idea of ‘handoffs’ and automatic programming, I’m focusing on something that could really happen today. You pull over, bring up your repeater database on radio/hotspot, and click ‘accept’ or ‘enter’ or something like that. Perhaps you have already set aside Channels AAA-CCC for this purpose. They get overwritten each time you load a new batch. Maybe alphanumeric tags with city names gets added. This would not be hard to do. This is also a task that a passenger could likely do while you continue to drive, eliminating the need for stopping. A license would not be required to program the radio.

The end result? A near-seamless list of available repeaters along your route, programmed into memory so you can actually use them. Some commercial radios I have seen have several lines of information available on their screens. So could yours. It might should the frequency, offset and tone, the city, the callsign and perhaps a note to the traveling amateur….YOU! Heck, what if the repeaters were WiFi-enabled and could store and forward SMS texts? You can send SMS messages via APRS already. How about a little synergy between repeaters and digipeaters? There’s getting to be a lot of digital repeaters out there. Even I have a couple.

The fact is: You can actually carry on worldwide conversations over digital repeaters now, but you have to be in range. My dream of ‘updating’ memories makes it a little easier to know when you are in range. We need to do better.

I Have A Dream:

As I mentioned, technology never rests. Recently I learned of ‘Pi-Star’, a digital voice medium that runs on a Raspberry Pi (imagine that!). Developed in England, it connects to Brandmeister of DMR+ networks. This is awesome that so much thought is going into the development of all these neat techniques and modes, but we are getting so scattered. Fortunately there are those who are bridging the gaps. But like the gaps of the old frontier, there are bridges only where someone finds it useful to build one. Silly me, I am looking for bridges that can be built on an ad hoc basis.

Huh? Ad hoc? Well, what if I need to talk to WXXX4KJIE and I don’t have the same equipment as him? What if I don’t even KNOW what equipment he/she has? How in the world would I contact that station? Would I just have to fugeddaboutit? Wow, given the sophistication of today’s technology, that would seem to be sacrilegious! No, there’s got to be a better way. I am pretty good at coming up with problems, but not so good at coming up with solutions. However, I am always willing to pay the person who DOES come up with the solution, so there!

What solution am I dreaming or? I am dreaming of a digital clearinghouse of callsigns. Just to be clear, this sort of thing does already exist, in some forms, but it surely is not universal. Not sure it ever will be either. But what an awesome network that would be! Imagine for a moment that every amateur who has their radio turned on, and who doesn’t mind that fact being known, gets registered temporarily in this database. If you desire to contact this person, you enter your desired entry method (C4FM, FCS, DMR, analog, etc) and a routing solution is computed for you. Better yet, the routing is completed for you! Yep, if I eat enough chocolate before I go to bed, I dream of stuff like this.

Obviously each station would have to enter at least one initial portal for the routing solutions to be determined, and those could be as dynamic as you wish them to be. Also, a numbering system a la CCS7 would be required for all participants. Maybe in the future radios could carry ESN’s (Electronic Serial Numbers), but this could lead to problems if a radio should change hands and not be updated in the tables. In the beginning, you’d likely have to make a manual input to the system to let it know you were there. Your other information could be pre-registered, such as your portal. However, it seems it would be rather easy for you to send a brief digital message that you are listening. Some of the required info would be contained in that message. In any case, callsigns would still be the main form of identification.

So here we go: I turn on the radio and register myself as being active in the system. I enter a request to contact WXXX4KJIE. The system at first searches for that callsign, then determines what routing would put me in contact with WXXX4KJIE, assuming that station is active at that moment. The receiving station could chose how they wish to be notified of an incoming call request. It could be a ringtone or simply a voice in the speaker saying his/her callsign. It could be data on a screen. It could even be stored and forwarded upon request. Yes, yes, we have some systems like that already in place, but no universal systems and no systems that link disparate digital platforms, especially in real time.

On the nights I eat a LOT of chocolate before bed, the dream expands to cover a ‘ham cellular’ system. In other words, you can do all this while mobile! Okay, if we involve the existing cellular system and the Internet, we can do many of these things. Honestly, I have been quite amazed by the resourceful hams driving down the road, talking to nodes in some distant place with very good quality. The main drawback is the one I first pointed out: Contacting ANY participating ham at will.

Sure, my dreaming was the easy part, but I am not completely worthless. I have done something to further the dream although not much. I have two separate networks here that bridge some very small gaps. One is  part of an Allstar Link Network that bridges three repeaters on three bands. No, they do not bridge platforms. They are all analog but this network makes use of microwave links as well as the Internet (the microwave link is amateur but not owned by me). Being Allstar Link though, you can reach those three analog repeaters (2m, 440 and 900) from darn near anywhere. That’s a start but nothing new and nowhere close to the dream.

The second network is, on my end, RF to Internet. It connects to the WiRES-X servers and to whatever in the world is connected to them. Fine individuals and clubs all over have expanded that program with cross-connections to any and every type of platform imaginable. Thank you guys and gals! I run two WiRES-X rooms and one is active 24/7. I monitor it most of the day. But what if YOU want to talk to ME and you don’t have WiRES-X or can’t reach one of my repeaters or don’t have Allstar Link? Unless you can get a message to me to go to a certain common place, that idea is pretty much shot in the rear end! This shows this need for the clearinghouse.

Now, I am planning on adding Allstar Link to the 24/7 WiRES-X room, but that only builds another tiny bridge. It doesn’t solve the overall problem of: Where is so-and-so and how can I contact them?

The Truth Comes Out:

Alright, I am not going to be the one who solves this problem, but we have to have dreamers, don’t we? No, not illegal immigrant dreamers. Dreamers who dream of wires, just like Gary Numan did. So I have dreamed the dream, and spread it out on this page to be laughed at or taken seriously…whatever. Who is up to the challenge? I’ll pay for my share.