Time for amateur radio to catch up



Yaesu FT2DR

This is one of my favorite handhelds. I am partial to Yaesu, because it was also my first handheld. When I was originally licensed 17 years ago, I got an FT50. Since then I have owned a VX-6, and this.

The FT2D is Yaesu’s handheld foray into the world of digital modes. This handheld uses C4FM. It can connect directly to other handhelds, nodes, and repeaters using digital modes. It can transmit voice and data simultaneously. The people you are communicating with can know who they are talking to, where the person is, and even see what is going on (camera mic attachment).

As neat as all this is, I hope this radio is just a proof of concept. Here are the must have changes that need to happen in the next iteration of this radio.


Use a capacitive eInk touch screen that is the full size of the front face (minus the speaker). Get rid of all buttons on the front of the radio. Raise the resolution of the screen (800 x 450 minimum). That is a 16 x 9 ratio, yielding a 2 x 3.2 inch screen size. With capacitive touch, you can be wearing gloves and it will still respond. There are color eInk screens that refresh fast enough to show video. Use one.


Time to add 1.2 GHz. Why? Data speeds. This radio must be able to handle 256kbps data speeds to other radios, repeaters, and nodes. This can be done using C4FM and 128K baud transmission. Using this speed a 12 MP jpeg (average 5 MB) could move from one device to another in 20 to 30 seconds.


Add the computer to the handheld and make a SmartHT™. Use Android so that people can use the mountain of already available Android software. They can edit/resize photos, create/edit documents, log, track satellites… This would become the most common radio in the field during emergency exercises.

Get rid of everything on the right side of the radio and make it flat.


Starting at the bottom, the EXT DC IN must go. The USB 3.1 standard allows for 9 watts of power and data to use the same connector. Stop requiring connectors to do a single job. If it MUST be on the radio, make it do as much work as possible. Combine the data and DC power connector into a single connector, and put it on the bottom in the right corner.

Next one up, the MIC/SP connector. GET RID OF THIS. Have you NOT heard of bluetooth? Why are you requiring the use of cables in 2017? Make a MIC/Camera handheld device that is bluetooth based. Make the Mic rechargeable by having a micro USB connector on the bottom. This way it can use any phone charger, connect to a computer, connect to the port on the bottom right, etc. And while we’re talking about a camera, 12 MP. Period.

We’ve already talked about the Data connector.

Now we are down (up) to the microSD card slot. This is unnecessary. If the radio can connect through USB (which we’ve already addressed), make it so that the storage inside the radio is read like a drive on the computer that is connected. Then backup files, logs, and configurations can all be accessed directly. The software for configuring the device can read and write directly to the onboard memory. Since there is going to be a camera and applications, a minimum of 32GB of onboard storage is a must.

With all that gone we can now make the side flat so that someone can set the radio on its side and use it as a monitor (connecting a bluetooth keyboard). The power cable will not knock the radio over when connected. This makes the configuration field expedient and functional.

Drop in

The drop in charger should make contact with both power AND data. Keep the removable battery. We MUST be able to swap in the field. All in all this radio is a good first step. We need to catch up with tech to make the next handheld everything it can be. This recipe will not put amateur radio back out in front like it used to be, but it will make it so that we are in striking distance of cutting edge again.

AnyTone D868UV


img_0019I picked up an AnyTone D868UV dual-band transceiver to replace my single-band Tytera MD-390. I am happy with the purchase. I have decided to update the codeplug for this radio weekly. When I do that I will post the new codeplug, along with an explanation of what changed. I will update the user database every Friday morning. Feel free to come by, download, and update.

Keep in mind that my codeplug will be based in Colorado. If you find errors or omissions please leave a comment. I was planning to make videos about programming this device. It looks like WoodburyMan beat me to it:

  1. How to do a firmware update to your radio.
  2. How to do a user database import for your radio.
  3. How to do an initial setup on your radio.
  4. How to do your own codeplug setup on your radio.

You and they don’t represent me…



There has been much said regarding what happened in Charlottesville. Some, say that it was a group of people that filed a permit to peaceably assemble to protest a statue coming down. Others, say a group of people standing up for minorities fought against a tyranny.

And both of these positions are wrong.

What happened in Charlottesville was a group of people, that represent what should be a dead ideology, used the pretense of filing for a permit to peaceably assemble, to draw out a group they knew would show up, to be physically combative. I am against the unnecessary use of violence. If this had been a rally for speech purposes only, I would have defended it.

The group that showed up to respond to the “peaceful protesters,” represent what should be a dead ideology, used the pretense of representing minorities, as an excuse to be physically combative. If this had been a rally for speech purposes only, I would have defended it.

When the two groups got what they wanted (a fight), someone died, and many were injured.

These “rallies” were not about right and wrong. They were about wrong in disguise of white robes and wrong in disguise of black robes doing wrong and someone died. That’s it. There were no good guys on the field. No one was there stopping this madness. No one was there saying “children, please, let’s use our words.”

So when you pretend that one side or the other was in the right, because a small part of what they represent agrees with a position that you hold you are ignoring the fact that people are being injured and killed and property is being destroyed because of temper tantrums. “Good” goes out the window when you are unnecessarily using violence to try and show that a position that has no evidence to support it is in the right. There is no excuse for the physical violence, and you are wrong.

I am on the side of stopping unnecessary violence. I am on the side of freedom of speech. I am on the side of there being no right to not be offended. I am on the side that I am no better or worse than anyone regardless of any demographic. I am on the side of the Constitution.

If you prefer to violently represent an ideology that is based on claims without evidence, I am better than you, and will stop you. I do not accept claims without evidence. I will not represent claims without evidence. I will interfere and intervene in your attempt to push claims that do not have evidence. I represent the “other.” I have been in the military. I cast my lot defending the Constitution of the United States. I swore to defend against all enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC.

I am not alone. If you (National Socialists and Anarcho Communists) continue down the road you are on, you will hit a stop sign.

And I (and those like me) will be holding it. You have been warned.

There are things I’m wrong about


Belief is the acceptance of a claim without evidence. Faith is the acceptance of a claim despite the evidence. A person experiences stress when belief and faith do not meet expectation. What I mean is, that when my expectation is based on a claim that has no evidence, or is based on a claim I choose to hold despite the evidence, I experience stress. The world does not care about my expectation, my choice to accept claims without evidence, or my choice to accept claims despite evidence.

It would be nice if everyones life was based on accepting claims that are based on evidence. Psychology provides tools to help people align their perspective of reality with what is, not what they want or assume reality to be. When your view of reality is different than reality you are referred to as deluded. A delusion is literally accepting and acting on a claim that has no evidence, or acting on a claim that is contrary to the evidence.

President Trump made a statement about “both sides.”

If only this issue were so simple. I have many angry friends that are making it very clear that what happened in Charlottesville was the fault of supremacists, of racism, of free speech. From what I understand a human was killed by another human. From what I understand, at least one of the humans accepted claims that were either not supported by the evidence, or contradicted the evidence.

My observation is that beliefs are not worth killing for. They are also not worth dying for. No claim without evidence is worth the taking of a life. No claim that is made despite the evidence, is worth the taking of a life. The tragedy… that’s not a strong enough word. “Tragedy” is thrown around without regard. It is not powerful enough. What I’m looking for is a word that defines the end of humanity. Not only as a race, but individually. I’m looking for a word that explains the inability to remember the person you are talking to is no less human than you.

I don’t agree with people about ideas. Matters of opinion, things not based on fact. Orange is my favorite color. That does not make blue worth any less. My wife is my favorite woman. That does not make the hundreds of women in my life worth any less. My children are my favorite kids, that does not make your son or daughter worth any less.

It also does not make these people worth any less TO ME. They (we) are human. Some day we may meet aliens. I doubt they will be impressed by the way we treat each other. I am not impressed that someone died, for an opinion. Worse, is that our concern, is how to place blame. Person that died, I never met you. I do not know who you are. You were someone’s mother or father, sister or bother, son or daughter. And I am sorry that your death has devolved into blame, anger, and violence.

I swore to uphold the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. I never believed in my lifetime I would be more concerned about domestic enemies of the Constitution, than I would be about the foreign ones. Please, if you disagree with me, do so loudly and vehemently. Exercise your right to freedom of speech. But do not think for a moment, that freedom of speech allows you to take the lives or liberty of others, based on your acceptance of claims that have no evidence, or claims that are contrary to the evidence.

I am human, I may be wrong. I give you permission to be wrong too.

Apple, a shift.


I was waiting to see what was going to be the “New iMac.” My laptop is getting old, and I wanted something to replace it. I use my iPad Pro as my portable system. It is compatible with the work I do, the college classes I take, and the media content I create. I no longer have a need for a laptop.

What the desktop would do for me is provide access to a larger monitor and MacOS software. That is all I need it for.

So when the Apple event happened at the beginning of November, I watched with anticipation. I wanted to see what my new future desktop was going to look like. I waited with anticipation through… the entire event. I waited to see what Apple had in store for the Mac.

Nothing. In fact, Apple made it very clear there would be no desktops in the future. Did Apple SAY, “today we have determined that desktops are obsolete?” No. Apple did say they were not producing monitors any more. This likely means no iMac’s (the monitor and computer are a single unit). The Mac Pro was not updated, and has not been for three years. The Mac mini saw no update.

If Apple were to come out and say, “we do not make enough money off the desktop world any longer,” people would get scared. Stock owners would sell. Rather than approach the public saying, “it’s time to move on from 40 year old equipment,” Apple just didn’t update. The server line is gone, the desktop line hasn’t been updated, and the updates to the laptop line, are unimpressive. This leaves the iOS line.

What Apple is counting on is moving more capability to the iOS line. When you are 90% served by the iOS line, there will be no reason for MacOS anymore. Most of the “Pros” will have migrated to another system. Linux has become powerful enough, with enough software, that is MacOS disappeared tomorrow, a migration could occur. Do you think it’s coincidence that Swift works on Linux?

What does computing look like now?

I don’t use my Mac Book Pro anymore. I’ve closed it up and put it away as an experiment. I use my iPad Pro and Xbox One S. I could sell my MBP and cover the cost of the XBox One AND pay off the iPad Pro. What, exactly, do I need a desktop or laptop for anymore? I have an Apple TV connected to both of my television sets. I can enjoy media/play games on them. I can throw what is on my iPad screen up on to the TV screen.

Apple needs to add some functionality. I need to be able to decide what is done with video. When I display on a monitor that is not my screen, use the correct ratio. Allow me to decide if I need the screen mirrored or not. Allow me to throw what is on my iOS device on to other iOS devices (one or more). Allow me to use split screen to determine what I see, and what others see (I can see my notes, while they see my pictures/video).

Make iOS devices replace MacOS computing. I don’t care if I do a task the same way, I just need to be able to do all the tasks. Then, how would I even know that MacOS devices no longer exist?

Commoditization of the Olympics?


Do you enjoy watching sports? Do you enjoy the thrill of watching one opponent defeat another, the excitement of the one point, the anguish of defeat in those you emotionally invest in? Do you follow every sport equally, or enjoy some more than others?

Twenty years ago you had to choose. What do I watch and what do I record? Then, technology changed things. We could record multiple sources and watch later. Timeshifting became a thing. If three games were on, and you wanted to see them all, you could record them while enjoying a night at the movies.

Once every four years we enjoy the Olympics. Well, not exactly. What we get to do is watch what we are provided. We don't get to see everything we want to, but what someone else wants us to watch. We are provided the part of the story that other people feel matters to us. We don't watch a story unfold, we observe the narrative we are provided.

Because ladies and gentlemen, we are idiots.

At least that is what the everyone involved in the Olympics wants us to believe.

Let us consider the right way to do the Olympics, and compare it to the mess that currently exists.

Imagine for a moment, that a funding site exists. Say, OlympicFund.com. This is a place where we, the public, get to fund being able to watch the Olympics. We can donate a dollar, or a million. It is designed to be a crowd funded platform.

When you donate, you get to vote. All votes are equal. You select the top five most important events to you. You also select the five least important events. Money for filming events is provided to the most most voted ones first, and works it way to the least voted.

Teams are selected to record events from most to least important. The team is required to record the entire event. Unedited footage is stored on servers as is. Apps are made to access the video stored on the servers. People get free apps in various app stores, but pay (event ticket) for each event they want to watch. All of this is ad free.

With this format, the largest number of people get what they want. An ad free method of watching what they feel is important in the Olympics. The television studios know what is important (the demographics are done for them). And people that can not afford to pay anything can watch the ad driven material from networks.

This method separates the time wasters from those that value their time. If TV is a way to fill hours you get to make money for networks. If instead this is an information source, you get the information with integrity. You follow something beginning to end without being duped by the opinion of others.

15,000 plus miles and then this happened


The first “real” snow of the season was exciting.  It turned out that Colorado went straight to blizzard.  A new Jeep Renegade, a foot of snow, and of course excitement at the prospect of getting to drive in snow.  Time to see what the TrailHawk can do.

The sun is still down in Aurora at 5 a.m. The commute ends at Ft. Carson at 9:30. This is normally a 60 min commute.

Southbound on E-470 to I-25 two cars needed to be pulled out of drifts. The drivers of the vehicles needed to be pulled back on to the road in a foot of snow. It is fun to be the stranger that gets to help.

The freeway southbound was stopped at exit 181.

It took 40 mins for a 100 car pile up to be cleared from I-25. Then it was time to pull a police cruiser out of a drift.

The road was plowed for a distance, then was snowed in. There were not a lot of vehicles, and the ones that were there, were mostly Jeeps and Subarus.  By now the cabin was warm, so it was time to turn off the heated seat and steering wheel. After all that, this was the failure of the morning.

So the next time some d@mn fool says a Renegade isn’t a “real” jeep…