[FOSDEM] contacts for organisational issues

Kristoff kristoff at skypro.be
Sun Aug 9 21:08:37 CEST 2015


(inline comments)

On 09-08-15 20:06, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> On 09/08/15 19:47, Kristoff wrote:
>> Daniel,
>> The ham-radio info booth of 2015 was the result of the devroom
>> gnuradio/software defined radio of 2014 where we had a number of people
>> saying "concidering the audience for this devroom, why not try to
>> promote ham-radio a little bit while we are there".
>> So that is why we where in the building where that devroom was held.
> If I understand correctly, the FOSDEM team want to put an emphasis on
> development (the D is FOSDEM) and it is good for any stand or devroom
> proposal to relate to this.
Actually, the FOSDEM team are not realy involved in this. They are just 
the nice people who provide us with a space for our booth and allow us 
to promote ham-radio :-)

The infobooth of FOSDEM 2015 came from a discussion in the mailing-list 
of gnuradio where we noticed that there where a number of hams on the list.

In FOSDEM 2014, we had a small get-together and one of the things that 
emerged to many hams nowdays are just "operator" and to few people 
actually developing things. For FOSDEM 2015, there was somebody who had 
a spot for a infobooth in the building where the SDR devroom was held 
who proposed to use part of his space to promote ham-radio. With 
agreement of the FOSDEM staff, we used that place.

But, actually, when one of the speakers of a 2015 talk in the SDR 
devroom asked the audience how many had already heared about ham-radio, 
it turned out that almost half of the audience where licensed hams! So 
it looks like there may be more people involved in software development 
that are also ham-radio operators then we think. :-)

> Personally, I feel that amateur radio is a development activity because
> you basically have to pass an engineering exam in order to become
> licensed.  As you correctly point out, in modern radio, development
> spans hardware and software.  You will want to emphasize the software
> development aspects in your proposal.
My point has always been to show that ham-radio is not just some old 
guys talking on the radio of a old HF set or doing morse-code. Nowdays, 
it is now a hobby that is connections to a lot of other hobbies.

In fact, I have already given a talk on "digital voice over radio" 
(dealing with how voice is encoded, with how to deal with errors in 
real-time communications, ....) during the software-freedom day in HSB 
(hackerspace Brussels); so to an audience of techical savy (but not 
necessairy radio-minded) people.
Our local radio-club in Ostend Belgium has had a cooperation with the 
local astronomy club on meteor-detection via reflection of radio-signals 
and n two weeks, we will be giving a small info-session on ham-radio 
during a "star-party" (astronomy observation events) near Iepers.
On the other side, I also give a small course on programming and arduino 
in our radio-club.

One of the things I show is that techniques used in one hobby are also 
used in other fields.
One example: it turns out that the techniques used in digital 
key-board-to-keyboard communication (like olivia, JT65, ...) and WSPR 
("weak signal propogation") to extracte a radio-signal up to 20 db BELOW 
the noice-floor are actually the same as used by the people doing 
astrophotograhy to take pictured of very weak objects.

As explained, you can probably match it to quite a number of different 
fields covered by FOSDEM.
The fact is has been located near to the SDR devroom is simply historical.

>> But, of course, as ham-radio is all about communication,
>> signal-processing and with some homebrew electronics thrown in, you
>> could probably link it to multiple devrooms at FOSDEM.
>> But feel free to make a little bit of publicity for our infobooth /
>> demonstrations in your corner of FOSDEM :-)
> Given the nature of communication technology, it may well be relevant to
> have more than one presence so people can communicate between them.
> There has also been some discussion about creating a URI scheme for
> callsigns
>    http://danielpocock.com/a-uri-prefix-for-radio-callsigns
> and it would be interesting to see that work with SIP or XMPP over
> amateur bands.
Well, we can perhaps discuss this offlist.

It might be usefull for backhaul connection (backbone) between repeaters 
but for the radio (RF) side, my impression is to use protocols 
specialised for that. On RF, every additional bit you need to transport 
requires extra RF bandwidth, which results in extra noise, a lower 
signal-over-noice ratio and therefor affects the ability to demodulate 
the signal.

I will surely have a look at your website and your proposal.

> Regards,
> Daniel

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