# AMRAD Projects
- Single-Board Computer Applications
- LF: Low Frequency Operation
- Mainstreaming spread
spectrum. In 1998, ARRL petitioned the
FCC to liberalize the code sequences and include automatic power
control for powers above 1 watt. This petition may prove to be
controversial, as TAPR and other groups want to lower the SS
operating frequencies below 420 MHz--some as low as HF--yet
others feel SS should be banned. Bob Buaas and his group on the West
Coast continue to with their STA, which allows SS at 50 MHz and
higher. AMRAD members could join the STA and put some systems
on the air.
- Interference testing Part 15 SS devices. At a
TAPR meeting, there was some concern expressed about the
compatibility of Part 15 devices with Amateur Radio systems,
particularly at, but not limited to, 2390-2400 MHz. Part 15
proponents, on the other hand, are apprehensive about sharing the
band with amateurs. In this band and in 2401-2417 MHz, amateurs
are primary and Part 15 users can use the bands on a non-
interference basis. Nevertheless, it may be possible to
demonstrate that there is no problem or find ways of mitigating
any interference through a test program. I have been in contact
with Jim Lovette of Apple to run some tests and we talked about
the desirability of test groups on both the East and West
Coasts. There is willingness on both sides but nothing specific
has been done to date.
- Higher speed digital systems. This is one of
Terry's favorite saws. Where are the high speed packet modems and
radios? Dave Sumner questions why US hams are not doing more with
higher speeds; he cites S53MV's article in CQ ZRS on his 1.2288
Mbit/s 13-cm system.
- Utilization of microwave
bands. Because of
line-of-sight propagation in these bands, their popularization
requires an infrastructure or backbone. Otherwise, microwave and
millimetric frequencies will be used only for isolated short-range
links. There was a remark that AMRAD may not be in a good
position to develop microwaves. That may be true and there are
several microwave clubs that may be better able to do
it. Nevertheless, there may be a role for AMRAD. We could lose
these bands unless we come up with 24-hour uses over wide
geographic areas occupying large portions of the bandwidth
- Multimedia systems, possibly a repeater in the
Washington area. At a recent PVRC meeting, I was talking with a
PVRC member who was pushing this concept. Sandy points out that
Metrovision has done mixed media for years. Nonetheless, theirs is
an analog system; some work could be done on a digital multimedia
system, possibly in cooperation with Metrovision.
- Developing an amateur beacon system capable of
contributing propagation data to the ITU. Amateurs have
an extensive array of beacons from HF through
microwaves. Unfortunately,their transmissions are received only on
a real-time basis and there is no attempt to automatically
receive, reduce and report the data to any scientific group such
as ITU-R Study Group 3 or URSI. IARU President Dick Baldwin has
recently reinstructed the IARU beacon working group to reorient
the beacon network into one that includes automatic reception and
reporting. The ITU has a transmit format that permits machine
reception. AMRAD could study that and recommend its adoption by
amateur beacons or come up with one that might be more suitable
for amateur use. We could also design any hardware and software
hams would need. Dick Barth showed interest in this project and
has asked me to supply him with the ITU documents so he can
prepare an article on the subject.
- Amateur systems for worldwide noise-measuring
campaign. ITU-R Study Group 1 wants to establish a
worldwide network for collecting noise level measurements. The
contention is that noise levels are rising (and limiting the use
of radio) but no one has definitive data. Hams could participate
in one way or another if someone like AMRAD figures out how.
- Participate in Mars Global Surveyor Relay
Experiment. See January 1996 QST, page 45 for an outline
of the need.
- Designing DSP/software
radios. The time is right
to do this. There are several guys at COMSAT Labs who are
interested in this project and should be willing to cooperate with
- Application of wireless chip sets to amateur
systems. There are three generations of chip sets (5, 3
and now 1-volt) developed for cellular and other so-called
wireless applications. It could be a worthwhile project to gather
the specs, study them and decide how we could apply them to
Amateur Radio designs.
- Experimenting with digital voice such as APCO
Project 25. TIA did a lot of work picking the most effective
digital voice technique for new public safety radios. The one they
selected may or may not be best for Amateur Radio. The FCC rules
already permit digital voice, even on the HF bands.
- Develop very small satellites.
Mark Kanawati has ideas along these lines.
- Experiment with automatic link establishment
(ALE). There is now a Federal Standard. QST and QEX have
carried articles on this subject. We could either push for
adoption of this standard or develop our own.
- Develop path simulation software. This was only
for the deep pockets in years past but DSP and fast PCs make it
possible for hams to do path simulation. At the 1995 ARRL Digital
Communications Conference, there was a talk on what has been done
to date. We might want to get involved.
- Design some tech toys. This could be a project
having no other goal than having fun.