• VARA Modem

    From InfectedBootSector@VERT/EXOPLNT to All on Sat Feb 19 21:35:00 2022
    Hi all...

    Anyone out there using VARA Modem for Packet BBS use? If so, do you feel comfortable replacing your hardware with it? I'm tempted to downsize my considerable PK232 collection but haven't put much time on VARA yet...

    de WQ3Y

    ... Great minds think alike; small minds run together

    --- Mystic BBS v1.12 A48 2022/02/11 (Raspberry Pi/32)
    * Origin: -=[ExoplanetBBS.net]=-
  • From echicken@VERT/ECBBS to InfectedBootSector on Sun Feb 20 04:44:33 2022
    Re: VARA Modem
    By: InfectedBootSector to All on Sat Feb 19 2022 21:35:00

    Anyone out there using VARA Modem for Packet BBS use? If so, do you feel comfortable replacing your hardware with it? I'm tempted to downsize my considerable PK232 collection but haven't put much time on VARA yet...

    I'd like to know more about it. I'm not familiar with the VARA modem and a quick search turns up ... bits of information scattered all over the place, in keeping with frustrating amateur tradition.

    Will this modem be compatible with remote stations that currently connect to your PK232(s)?

    Have you tried it? Anything making you feel wary of using it more?

    Ideally we'd all be able to use software modems and soundcard interfaces, of which there are many, rather than needing to plug some box from the 1980s into our radios and computers. That makes it far more accessible to all. Couple that with something better than AX.25 and maybe it could be useful.

    ---
    echicken
    electronic chicken bbs - bbs.electronicchicken.com
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  • From Vk3jed@VERT/FREEWAY to echicken on Mon Feb 21 15:28:00 2022
    On 02-20-22 04:44, echicken wrote to InfectedBootSector <=-

    Anyone out there using VARA Modem for Packet BBS use? If so, do you feel comfortable replacing your hardware with it? I'm tempted to downsize my considerable PK232 collection but haven't put much time on VARA yet...

    I'd like to know more about it. I'm not familiar with the VARA modem
    and a quick search turns up ... bits of information scattered all over
    the place, in keeping with frustrating amateur tradition.

    Apparently it works quite well, but it is proprietary, so you're stuck with the available implementations (I believe Windows only currently), kinda like the AMBE nastiness in many DV modes, where you have to have a chip to (legally) process the audio.

    Will this modem be compatible with remote stations that currently
    connect to your PK232(s)?

    Highly unlikely, from what I understand, it's a very different mode.

    Have you tried it? Anything making you feel wary of using it more?

    Ideally we'd all be able to use software modems and soundcard
    interfaces, of which there are many, rather than needing to plug some
    box from the 1980s into our radios and computers. That makes it far
    more accessible to all. Couple that with something better than AX.25
    and maybe it could be useful.

    You can always use Direwolf if you want a software modem/TNC that's compatibile with legacy systems - software implementation with better performance than hardware - there's a writeup somewhere on how Direwolf achieves its high performance.

    Performance wise, VARA looks very interesting, but its proprietary nature is a bit off putting for some situations.


    ... If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid.
    --- MultiMail/Win v0.52
    Synchronet Freeway BBS, Bendigo Australia. freeway.apana.org.au
  • From echicken@VERT/ECBBS to Vk3jed on Mon Feb 21 06:05:57 2022
    Re: Re: VARA Modem
    By: Vk3jed to echicken on Mon Feb 21 2022 15:28:00

    Apparently it works quite well, but it is proprietary, so you're stuck

    Yuck. I remember seeing some other data mode like this recently, though I believe its creator stated some intent to share the details later on. Seems like a sure way to prevent adoption of your mode.

    kinda like the AMBE nastiness in many DV modes, where you have to have a chip to (legally) process the audio.

    Yep, and most DV modes have not seen very wide adoption, except DMR in the past decade thanks to cheap HTs with said codec on board.

    Will this modem be compatible with remote stations that
    currently connect to your PK232(s)?

    Highly unlikely, from what I understand, it's a very different mode.

    I suppose it could still be a replacement, but one would have to coordinate with every other station that normally connects to theirs. That seems ... unlikely.

    You can always use Direwolf if you want a software modem/TNC that's

    I've used it briefly and have heard great things, but I have no real need for it at the moment.

    compatibile with legacy systems - software implementation with better performance than hardware - there's a writeup somewhere on how Direwolf

    Performance as in being able to decode weaker signals? I'll have to look for some info on that.

    ---
    echicken
    electronic chicken bbs - bbs.electronicchicken.com
    ---
    Synchronet electronic chicken bbs - bbs.electronicchicken.com
  • From Vk3jed@VERT/FREEWAY to echicken on Wed Feb 23 12:49:00 2022
    On 02-21-22 06:05, echicken wrote to Vk3jed <=-

    Apparently it works quite well, but it is proprietary, so you're stuck

    Yuck. I remember seeing some other data mode like this recently, though
    I believe its creator stated some intent to share the details later on. Seems like a sure way to prevent adoption of your mode.

    Yeah, one wonders. Open source not only allows multiple implementations to flourish, but it also can attract a community of developers, testers, users and others interested in the project. The M17 project is a perfect example of a community that's arisen from open source in ham radio.

    kinda like the AMBE nastiness in many DV modes, where you have to have a chip to (legally) process the audio.

    Yep, and most DV modes have not seen very wide adoption, except DMR in
    the past decade thanks to cheap HTs with said codec on board.

    DMR and to a lesser extent, Fusion (the FT-70 is reasonably priced too). Will be interesting to see what happens with M17, once suitable radios become available. M17 is a 100% open source DV mode. It uses the Codec2 vocoder for its speech compression.

    I suppose it could still be a replacement, but one would have to coordinate with every other station that normally connects to theirs.
    That seems ... unlikely.

    Unloess you can run multimode somehow.

    You can always use Direwolf if you want a software modem/TNC that's

    I've used it briefly and have heard great things, but I have no real
    need for it at the moment.

    Direwolf is excellent.

    compatibile with legacy systems - software implementation with better performance than hardware - there's a writeup somewhere on how Direwolf

    Performance as in being able to decode weaker signals? I'll have to
    look for some info on that.

    Direwold is more tolerant of maladjusted radios. It actually uses multiple modems in parallel on receive to process signals with different levels of twist between the two tomes and takes the best decoded output. Direwold also has an extension to the AX.25 protocol that allows lower BER (and more decoded frams) at low SNR. This extension is backwards compatible with standard AX.25, and the extra error correction is ignored by standard TNCs. This is because the extension is a wrapper around the standard frame that contains the extra FEC, and a standard TNC simply sees the standard frame within.

    The more I learn about Direwolf, the more I like it.


    ... DOS never says EXCELLENT command or filename...
    --- MultiMail/Win v0.52
    Synchronet Freeway BBS, Bendigo Australia. freeway.apana.org.au
  • From echicken@VERT/ECBBS to Vk3jed on Wed Feb 23 03:06:34 2022
    Re: Re: VARA Modem
    By: Vk3jed to echicken on Wed Feb 23 2022 12:49:00

    DMR and to a lesser extent, Fusion (the FT-70 is reasonably priced too).

    Yeah, $240 CAD for the FT-70 is not bad, but more than I'm willing to spend right now to check out yet another DV mode. Tempting though, since a local friend is a fan of it and says there's decent activity here. Perhaps I'll see a used one in a flea market soon.

    become available. M17 is a 100% open source DV mode. It uses the Codec2

    I like the idea of M17, but I haven't kept up with it. Do you have any direct experience with it?

    I'll happily get on board with M17 when I can buy a built rig (or one requiring minimal assembly) and have some other people to talk to on it.

    Direwold is more tolerant of maladjusted radios. It actually uses multiple modems in parallel on receive to process signals with different levels of twist between the two tomes and takes the best decoded output. Direwold

    Well, that's pretty cool. Thanks for the overview.

    also has an extension to the AX.25 protocol that allows lower BER (and more decoded frams) at low SNR. This extension is backwards compatible with standard AX.25, and the extra error correction is ignored by standard TNCs. This is because the extension is a wrapper around the standard frame that contains the extra FEC, and a standard TNC simply sees the standard frame within.

    Sounds like (and presumably is) FX.25. A nice idea, but unfortunately it comes with all the baggage that is AX.25. I understand why, but I just can't get excited about it. Not that I'm well qualified to have an opinion on the subject, but I just find AX.25 and its various bolted on improvements (and documentation) to be a bit of a mess.

    ---
    echicken
    electronic chicken bbs - bbs.electronicchicken.com
    ---
    Synchronet electronic chicken bbs - bbs.electronicchicken.com
  • From Vk3jed@VERT/FREEWAY to echicken on Wed Feb 23 16:26:00 2022
    On 02-23-22 03:06, echicken wrote to Vk3jed <=-

    DMR and to a lesser extent, Fusion (the FT-70 is reasonably priced too).

    Yeah, $240 CAD for the FT-70 is not bad, but more than I'm willing to spend right now to check out yet another DV mode. Tempting though,
    since a local friend is a fan of it and says there's decent activity
    here. Perhaps I'll see a used one in a flea market soon.

    It's not a bad little radio, and if you combine it with a Pi-Star and make use of the YSF2DMR and YSF2P25 gateways, you can get a lot of bang for the buck.

    become available. M17 is a 100% open source DV mode. It uses the Codec2

    I like the idea of M17, but I haven't kept up with it. Do you have any direct experience with it?

    Yeah I do. Even done a couple of demos of M17. I use a MMDVM running M17Client with a FT-818 in 9600 packet mode. I like M17 because it's fun playing with a new mode, bug hunting and the community that's sprung up.

    I'll happily get on board with M17 when I can buy a built rig (or one requiring minimal assembly) and have some other people to talk to on
    it.

    You're in a better position than me, as there's a weekly net at 1500 UTC (I'm asleep then). There's also a number of cross links to other modes, I run 3 such systems, 2 of which are very active. :)

    Direwold is more tolerant of maladjusted radios. It actually uses multiple modems in parallel on receive to process signals with different levels of twist between the two tomes and takes the best decoded output. Direwold

    Well, that's pretty cool. Thanks for the overview.

    No dramas. :)

    Sounds like (and presumably is) FX.25. A nice idea, but unfortunately

    That would be the one.

    it comes with all the baggage that is AX.25. I understand why, but I
    just can't get excited about it. Not that I'm well qualified to have an opinion on the subject, but I just find AX.25 and its various bolted on improvements (and documentation) to be a bit of a mess.

    AX.25 is ancient (like 40 years old), but it's still everywhere.


    ... Don't hit me, Mr. Moderator... I'll go back on topic... I swear!
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    Synchronet Freeway BBS, Bendigo Australia. freeway.apana.org.au
  • From Andre Robitaille@VERT/RDOMENTR to echicken on Wed Feb 23 03:25:01 2022
    Re: Re: VARA Modem
    By: echicken to Vk3jed on Wed Feb 23 2022 03:06 am

    Yeah, $240 CAD for the FT-70 is not bad, but more than I'm willing to spend right now to check out yet another DV mode. Tempting though, since a local friend is a fan of it and says there's decent activity here. Perhaps

    I've got too many HTs and a couple pi-stars. The problem with these digital modes isn't the level of activity (there's not a ton, but there's enough). The problem is the quality of the activity. Well that, and that on most of them everyone's voice quality is so bad that I can't distinguish my 70yo friends from my own 14yo son.

    It's *exactly* like being on a local repeater. Banal talk about nothing. Where they're driving to, what the weather/driving/traffic conditions are like, some appointment they're going to, often medical-related. The usual fake laugh at their whatever they just said while they keydown for three minutes straight and talk about nothing.

    I like ham radio. It takes up a pretty large part of my time. But there is an inverse relationship between people that like to ragchew and people that are interesting.


    - Andre, WT9X

    ---
    Synchronet Radio Mentor BBS - bbs.radiomentor.org
  • From echicken@VERT/ECBBS to Andre Robitaille on Wed Feb 23 13:47:09 2022
    Re: Re: VARA Modem
    By: Andre Robitaille to echicken on Wed Feb 23 2022 03:25:01

    I like ham radio. It takes up a pretty large part of my time. But there is an inverse relationship between people that like to ragchew and people that are interesting.

    I suppose if they spend all of their time talking about nothing, they're not creating new somethings to talk about. Meanwhile, if they're busy doing interesting things, they're not around to talk about it.

    Some of the best spontaneous discussions I've had have come out of somebody going on the air to ask a technical question, and people jumping in with answers. The conversation can go anywhere from there, but it's a good entry point. I'm not one to key down just to talk about the weather, my prostate, or somebody else's prostate.

    VE3XEC

    ---
    echicken
    electronic chicken bbs - bbs.electronicchicken.com
    ---
    Synchronet electronic chicken bbs - bbs.electronicchicken.com
  • From Xerxes@VERT/KN6Q to echicken on Wed Feb 23 09:45:00 2022
    Re: VARA Modem
    By: echicken to InfectedBootSector on Sun Feb 20 2022 04:44 am

    Re: VARA Modem
    By: InfectedBootSector to All on Sat Feb 19 2022 21:35:00

    Anyone out there using VARA Modem for Packet BBS use? If so, do you feel comfortable replacing your hardware with it? I'm tempted to downsize my considerable PK232 collection but haven't put much time on VARA yet...

    I'd like to know more about it. I'm not familiar with the VARA modem and a quick search turns up ... bits of information scattered all over the place, in keeping with frustrating amateur tradition.

    Will this modem be compatible with remote stations that currently connect to your PK232(s)?

    Have you tried it? Anything making you feel wary of using it more?

    I use VARA Modem for my Winlink station. It's pretty speedy particularly in WIDE mode if you have a radio/gear that can support it. It's not traditional packet and a PK232 or other TNC is won't work with it.

    The only BBS software that I know that uses it and supports it is BPQ32 which is Ham Radio focused. For the uninitiated BPQ32 has a pretty steep learning curve.

    73,

    Tom KN6Q


    ________________________________________________________________
    Sysop of Desert Rats Sanctuary --- https://bbs.kn6q.org

    ---
    Synchronet Desert Rats Sanctuary --- https://bbs.kn6q.org