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SDR Dominates the 2010 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference

09/27/2010

By Ward Silver, N0AX

The turnout was excellent for the ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference September 23-26 at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, Washington.

The three day conference included technical presentations on both Friday and Saturday, and an optional tutorial seminar on Sunday morning. Both Yaesu and ICOM attended as commercial vendors. Although not present at the conference, Kenwood contributed door prizes.

Software Defined Radio (SDR) was the dominant technical theme of the conference. Along with independent SDR developers, the Open SDR group gave a status update, George Heron, N2APB, introduced the SDR Cube project and the conference even featured an “introduction to SDR” forum. Another discussion that attracted a great deal of attention was a project to adapt analog radios to SDR at the IF.

Other conference highlights included a presentation by Rick Muething, KN6KB, on the status of WINMOR, the sound-card-based HF digital protocol recently incorporated into Winlink’s RMS Express software package. WINMOR promises performance that rivals PACTOR III at a tiny fraction of the cost. Rick also discussed development of this new V4 protocol for keyboard-to-keyboard communication and was at the podium again Sunday morning with his DSP tutorial.

One of the most anticipated talks was given by Bruce Perens, K6BP, on the new Codec2 digital voice codec. This is an open source project that makes significant advances beyond the AMBE vocoder family without any of the licensing and patent issues that have hindered development of Amateur Radio digital voice systems. Bruce stated that by this time next year, the codec should be ready for late-beta deployment on the HF bands.

The complete list of presenters and topics is available at the TAPR Web site.   

All photos by N0AX

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