AMRAD Project Ideas

“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” - anon.

  • Microcontroller Applications Microcontroller Applications References,resources, project ideas, and progress reports for AMRAD member projects using the Arduino, Rasperberry Pi, BASIC Stamp and others.
  • Low Frequency Operation LF: Low Frequency Operation LF stands for Low Frequency, that portion of the RF spectrum extending from 30 through 300 kHz. In Europe, where there are numerous broadcast transmitters between 150 and 250 kHz, it is often called ``Long Wave''. Under ideal conditions in mid-winter the high power European broadcast transmitters can be heard on the U.S. East coast.
  • 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.
  • 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 allocated.
  • 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.
  • 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 us.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Design some tech toys. This could be a project having no other goal than having fun.