Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Communications Hardware Hacking Iphone Apple Build Technology

iPhone Interface For Ham Radio Mates Old With New 51

Posted by timothy
from the wait-a-second-for-it-to-get-back-from-space dept.
jjp9999 writes "By using the same technology found in older modems, Thomas Tumino, vice president of the Hall of Science Amateur Radio Club, has invented an iPhone interface for ham radios. He told The Epoch Times, 'Today there are iPhone apps where you can use the systems in the phone — and its sound card, which is being used as a modem ... And then you connect that into your radio with an interface like this, that just isolates the telephone from the radio, and then you can do all sorts of things.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

iPhone Interface For Ham Radio Mates Old With New

Comments Filter:
  • Cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by santax (1541065) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @05:57AM (#41863479)
    Maybe now they will have a signal good enough to make a call.
  • This is one huge step for locally based information networks finally becoming accessible. We've grown used to the world wide web, but what are the implications of sharing a net that only covers a small local or regional area?
    • "We've grown used to the world wide web, but what are the implications of sharing a net that only covers a small local or regional area?"

      If you can get an "honest" implementation that sidesteps all the very real privacy issues, Location Based Services really are useful. Dating apps, restaurant reviews, traffic and police-hotspot info, disaster updates, and all the rest are types of info that mean mostly nothing to anyone outside a certain distance radius. The problem the "ordinary citizens" are wrestling wi

  • iLawsuit (Score:5, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @06:22AM (#41863537)
    I don't know what this story is about, but there is a lawsuit in there somewhere.
  • If you want real info, with pics and video, just Google, iphone ham radio interface.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And then Google, how to, use punctuation,.

    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      Warning... The pics are a little scary....

      Despite being a huge Apple fan, things like this really piss me off. It is such a wasted opportunity that there is no small-scale developer interface with the serial communications systems of the iPhone. Why the hell use the iPhone as an analog modem via the headphone jack to create a serial interface for something else, when you should be able to do it directly from the dock...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The whole thing is trivial with an Android phone.
        https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10748

      • by NF6X (725054) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @09:31AM (#41864281) Homepage

        In this application, the serial interface on the dock connector would not be sufficient. It's common to use a PC to implement ham radio modems via the PC's sound card. The radios rarely have built-in modems, and there are a lot of different digital modem protocols used on the ham bands for data, images, etc. New protocols pop up fairly often, and these days it's unusual to use dedicated modem hardware for this application instead of implementing the modem in software. Interface to the radio is via its analog microphone input and speaker output, or often via a line-level analog interface connector provided for connecting external modems.

        Many radios have a serial port for controlling radio functions like tuning, and the dock serial interface would be useful for that. The actual data path would still need to go through analog I/O such as the headphone jack or line-level signals on the dock connector.

        I would still be happy to see the sort of interface you describe for other applications, but this is complicated by Apple keeping the full dock connector interface specification under wraps, and only releasing it under NDA to companies that Apple deems worthy. Thus, companies like Belkin can crank out mountains of low-quality crap for the iPhone, yet an entrepreneur is effectively barred from marketing innovative hardware accessories for iPhones.

  • This is new? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ozoner (1406169) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @06:50AM (#41863619)

    It's good to see people doing stuff, but this article is a decade or two out of date.

    Hams have been hooking computers to radios for a long, long time.

    There are hundreds of pages on digital radio and sound card interfacing:
      try
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSK31 [wikipedia.org]
    http://hfradio.org.uk/html/digital_modes.html [hfradio.org.uk]
    http://www.tapr.org/packetradio.html [tapr.org]
    http://www.dxzone.com/catalog/Technical_Reference/Sound_Card_Radio_Interfacing/ [dxzone.com]

    • Re:This is new? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JustOK (667959) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @07:13AM (#41863693) Journal

      yah, i remember stories from a decade or two ago about hooking Ham radios up to an iphone. Can't find any articles, 'tho.

      • by kenh (9056)

        He didn't say decade old iPhone stories, he said computer - and using an iPhone as a computer terminal isn't really revolutionary. Many hams used the HP pocket dos computers [tigertronics.com] at least 15 years ago.

      • by Ozoner (1406169)

        And the iPhone is different just how?

        There are well documented hacks and interfaces for the iPhone USB, Audio and Serial ports.

        Pretty much like any other computer.

    • by stox (131684)

      Hams were playing with Microcomputers before Bill Gates got involved. Some of the first articles on microcomputing appeared in 73 magazine in the early 1970's. Byte was effectively a spinoff of 73 in 1975. Hams were also hooking up their rigs to phones prior to that with Phone Patches.

    • I am a ham (KB3YUA) and I agree we have been hooking radios to modems via sound cards, but the box that converts iPhone commands to radio signals is different. iPhone does not support radio to much that's another reason for the hype.
  • iPhone Interface For Ham Radio Mates Old With New

    Who says Ham Radio is old? It started in 1909 [upenn.edu], six years after the electrical outlet was patented [google.com], which the iPhone already utilized. The iPhone is just catching up with latter-day interfaces.

    • Amateur radio is as old as radio - the early experimenters (Marconi, Hertz, etc) were amateur experimenters. Commercial radio only came years later.

      In any case, how many slashdotters do you think were alive before radio existed? For this crowd, the iPhone 3 is "old" and the original iPhone is "ancient".

  • Bad Reporting (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ganty (1223066) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @07:44AM (#41863807)

    The quality of reporting in this article really sucks. The printed circuit boards on top of the tins are not 'telegraph keys', they're the transmitters and the white box is the iPhone interface. Quite where the 'sodium clouds' come in I have no idea because in thirty years of ham radio operation I've never seen one, heard of one or used one to make a contact with a fellow ham.

    Ganty

    • by ve3id (601924)

      The quality of reporting in this article really sucks. The printed circuit boards on top of the tins are not 'telegraph keys', they're the transmitters and the white box is the iPhone interface. Quite where the 'sodium clouds' come in I have no idea because in thirty years of ham radio operation I've never seen one, heard of one or used one to make a contact with a fellow ham.

      Ganty

      I agree about the bad reporting. I am left with more questions than answers from this article. Is it the RF side that is interfaced? Are the apps on the iPhone communicating with an OSI level 1 and 2 interface that is the ham radio, or is the ham radio being controlled, as in CIV, through the iPhone with communications going through the air. Or are they just using the iPhone as a microphone and speaker for the ham radio? It is nice to see a "good bit of publicity for us operators" *, but this article

    • by caseih (160668)

      I tried to point out that this article is confusing and says very little, but got modded down. Thanks for speaking clearly what I was thinking. Definitely breathy and superficial reporting that seems to be the norm these days. And I still don't know what the white box is all about or why it is novel. I think the guy has implemented some software (not hardware) that encodes packets as audio, and that is passed to a conventional radio. What the box does that a simple pass-through audio cable wouldn't do

  • SDR (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @08:01AM (#41863873) Homepage Journal

    I went to a Maker Faire a few months back and started talking to some HAM radio operators. They told me that far from a dead activity, they have actually gone digital, incorporating the Internet to connect to transceivers for when they aren't able to have an antenna in thir back yard. One other technology mentioned was SDR, otherwise known as software defined radio. SDR means that the necessary hardware is simpler, with the majority of the signal processing now in software. There is an SDR app for the iPhone, but you need a piece of hardware that plugs ino the antenna and also plugs into the headphone jack of the phone. I haven't looked at Android, but I imagine you could use some form of GnuRadio.

    • by stevew (4845)

      Let me be a little more specific for you - ghpsdr3-alex is what you are looking for. This is really two apps. The first is the processing software that hooks up to very simple hardware the implements the Software Defined Radio, all the signal processing, etc. Then there This is usually run on a PC. This software is capable of registering itself so it can be found through the internet. Then there is a graphical piece of software with clients for PC, Android and Iphone that let you see the Pan Adapter dis

      • Let me be a little more specific for you - ghpsdr3-alex is what you are looking for. This is really two apps. The first is the processing software that hooks up to very simple hardware the implements the Software Defined Radio, all the signal processing, etc. Then there This is usually run on a PC. This software is capable of registering itself so it can be found through the internet. Then there is a graphical piece of software with clients for PC, Android and Iphone that let you see the Pan Adapter display of a chunk of spectrum and play back the audio for whatever you've tuned in. This is the control head for the processing software (Think client-server).

        Cool. If I could find the right guys, one project I have mind is something akin to a RaspberryPi coupled with SDR hardware. That way you get all the work done in the device and then stream the resultant signal to the main computer. This too could be networkable.

        • by stevew (4845)

          It has already been done, but the RP doesn't have enough horse power by itself, it takes two! Look up ghpsdr & John Melton (the original author) He has some blog entries about getting this going.

    • by Dan East (318230)

      He's not using an iPhone as an SDR. He's created yet another audio interface between a computing device (PC soundcard, iPhone, Android, whatever) and a typical radio. I go into more detail several comments down from here. This lets TNC / APRS software on the iPhone (already available in the app store by multiple developers) communicate digitally over radio using audio transmission modes (usually FM). The smartphone acts as a software modem and controller (aka a TNC).

      • by fyngyrz (762201)

        He's not using an iPhone as an SDR

        But you can [digitalconfections.com]

        • He's not using an iPhone as an SDR

          But you can [digitalconfections.com]

          Do you know a good place to get the necessary hardware? I don't feel like having to cobble it together myself.

          • by fyngyrz (762201)

            There's all kinds of hardware. And all kinds of software. I wrote this (SdrDx) [flickr.com], for instance, starting from a really basic program called CuteSDR; primarily, it uses the RSPACE SDR-IQ for HF and below, and the FunCube dongle for 50 mhz and above. There's a new one, just beginning to ship, the funcube dongle pro plus, that does 150 khz to above a ghz. Haven't used it yet, but it sounds good. Google around, you'll find all kinds of stuff.

  • http://blog.red-bean.com/sussman/?p=604

  • The author apparently thinks he writes for Wired magazine. He can write sentence after sentence without saying anything. What a waste of an article. I still have no idea what this person did or why it is special. He says is that it's a white box that connects to an iPhone and and a Ham radio, and it takes him almost an entire article of babbling to say that. The inventor made it without plans and seems pretty jazzed that it's connected to an iPhone. Good for him. Perhaps it has something to do with c

  • The Reporter (Score:3, Informative)

    by JoshJPhilipp (2720639) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:32AM (#41864639)
    I was the guy who wrote this article. I have to say, I've had a few stories posted to Slashdot and it's always useful for feedback :) Just to clarify a few points though, in the picture, those little tin cans, Tumino actually did say they were telegraph keys. He had them on display next to an old antique one to show they're not hard to build. I guess the article was a bit babbly. It was written under a new column I started, basically just about people doing cool things with technology. I thought the ham radio guys were pretty cool, and I know that during the Arab Spring, when people were having their Internet shut down by governments, part of the care package released by Anonymous Operations taught people how to access the Internet over radio. So I thought this had some added relevance, since radio still does have some interesting uses when it comes to digital freedom, and you can do some pretty cool stuff with it. Also, sodium clouds do exist. They're pretty cool, actually: http://deep-red.sr.unh.edu/model/io/cloudescr.html [unh.edu]
  • by Dan East (318230) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @11:23AM (#41865009) Homepage Journal

    Amateurs have been doing this for a long, long time now (IE over a decade). This is not a SDR (software defined radio), but using a computer's audio card to encode and decode packet / APRS audio, which is essentially your old school modem. To be concise, the computer (or smartphone) acts as the TNC (Terminal Node Controller), which is connected to a radio via an interface that takes audio to and from the computer to the radio, with some method of telling the radio when to transmit (typically via an audio level threshold, but there are interfaces that allow the computer to explicitly control when the radio transmits). I own an AEA PK-232 Pakratt, which is a discrete, stand-alone TNC that goes between a computer and radio. Originally the computer was just the terminal, which connected to the TNC via a serial port. Now you can simply have the computer directly process / generate the audio using a sound card without requiring an actual TNC peripheral.

    The "inventor" even states that there are multiple apps for iPhone available to do this - you just need a way to hook the audio up to a radio. Basically he created yet another custom hardware audio interface, and the writer of this story got all excited about it because it was news to him.

    Look online, and you'll find dozens of designs for this exact thing. Here's a list of at least a dozen kits and pre-assembled interfaces for standard PC sound cards. Most of these should work with any smartphone with the proper 4 conductor 1/8" audio jack that cell phones use for both earphone and mic combined (whereas computer sound cards have those as two separate 1/8" connectors).
    http://www.soundcardpacket.org/1cablekit.htm [soundcardpacket.org]

    That site is dedicated to the entire "computer as a TNC" concept, which is simply what is being down now with smartphones as well.

  • Dont these people know that Hams have been doing packet radio for decades? This was long before cell phones even existed in the first place and most people didnt know a computer from a hole in the wall.

    Acting like this is some sort of revolutionary concept is an insult to all the hard work that was done before.

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

Working...