doc kd4e at VERIZON.NET
Sun May 28 15:44:19 EDT 2006

> Now the latest craze out there seems to be towards
> "digital audio" modes.  This will advance the art ONLY if it takes up
> less space, uses less power, and does not interfere with present voice modes.
> The BIG disadvantage is that it takes much more sophisticated electronics
> to do what our brains used to do with AM and SSB.

Ham radio has always been about experimentation and
challenging the technology for creative new applications.

I prefer the sound of a strong and well modulated AM
signal, but then I came to Ham radio due to listening
to AM on a tabletop SW radio.

This does not prevent me from making a pragmatic
assessment of the relative technological strengths
of differing modes for differing apps.

> Aeronautical radio STILL uses "AM" in the VHF and UHF spectrum!

Air traffic control used (hopefully not still) ancient
tube-type equipment and inadequate computer systems not
because there were not superior alternatives but because
corrupt and/or incompetent people made a mess of the
procurement process.

There are 100 good reasons why AM is a poor choice for
mission-critical apps.  It would be interesting to know
if keeping AM is the result of a careful study of the
alternatives or merely more evidence of bureaucratic

> Aeronautical radio still uses Morse CW identification of non directional
> radiobeacons, and VOR navigation stations.

That makes technical sense.

> Aeronautical radio KEEPS what has proven: simplest, most reliable, and 
> what works.

Lots of things would work.  One needs to know the why of a particular
observation before extrapolating meaning.

> GPS still hasn't replaced the VOR network worldwide...
> yet!  Someday, it might, unless one day the GPS system, for some unknown
> reason, might fail or be restricted to only those receivers that able to
> unscramble the "military only" codes required to make use of the system.

The reason we need to maintain alternatives to GPS is the
same reason we need to abandon AM for aeronautics -- safety.

100% dependence on GPS means 100% dependence on satellites.

Using AM for communications means less efficient gear, greater
vulnerability to jamming, less efficient use of spectrum, and
easy access for enemies to monitor communications.

Post-911 and the ongoing threat of the hyper-militarization
of totalitarian and imperialist China must change how we
look at everything, whether comfortable to our longing for
the comfortable past or not.


Thanks! & 73, doc kd4e
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