Digital radio issues

Robert Stratton bob at stratton.NET
Tue Apr 1 14:45:30 CDT 2008

On Apr 1, 2008, at 3:01 PM, Michael Chisena wrote:

> Firefighters'_distrust_of_digital_radio_system_grows   All, This is  
> not new. Many of the digital trunked systems have issues, and had  
> them for years. Now it's killing people. Someones good idea no  
> doubt.   Mike

I hate to think like a Luddite, and I often am amused by the kneejerk  
resistance to new technology amongst many fellow pilots I know, but I  
have similar misgivings with the contemplated move from AM aviation  
radio to whatever the new digital mode is likely be. Choosing to use  
AM for aircraft communications, so that people could sort out channel  
contention was a  very wise and low cost move. It doesn't solve  
hidden transmitters, but it works in practical use most of the time,  
given a little discipline on the part of the operators.

One could make a case that the binary go/no go nature of most common  
digital RF links is, from a human factors perspective, not unlike the  
FM capture effect. There could be things going on, but one might well  
be unaware of them without some manual means of monitoring the channel.

I can just imagine someone building in some DSP to watch channels and  
make an LED flicker as if "squelch" were being broken, even if one  
couldn't hear anything.

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