Possibly the most common question asked by all new hams is “What radio should I get”. The major brand names are typically the most refined but you can’t discount the less expensive brands. Often the lower cost radios will get you by but they can also be problematic and slow your growth as a ham radio operator.
With that in mind, the bigger question becomes “What are your interests?” If you’re interest is talking all over the world the obvious first answer given is “You should go HF”. Being a die hard HF fanatic, I can tell you that this the answer I often give. However, new hams are more tech savvy these day’s and the digital modes are here to stay. The problem is there are more than 75 available modes so how do you decide?
The majority of the digital modes are hacks of commercial radio modes and others are home grown. They all have their popular followings and levels of difficulty so it’s a tough decision to grapple with. I studied this for over a year and ended up deciding which ones were best based on one factor; how easy was it to achieve a QSO. Face it, it’s just not a lot of fun to key up on dead air.
What I have tried to do with the Nevada hub is bring the most popular, the least expensive and the easiest to use modes together. For example, if you decide you really like the Anytone 878 and your ham buddy really likes his Yaesu FTM 400 you’ll quickly find the only common ground you have is FM Analog. While they both use 4FSK/C4FM for their digital modes, the encoding is different so they can’t communicate digitally.
The Nevada Hub is a multi-mode hardware and software defined transcoding reflector/repeater system. There are 4 true digital modes, they are: Wires-X/Fusion, DMR, P25 and D-Star. We have two hybrid analog modes, Allstar and Echolink and we have one FM Analog repeater and one FM Analog Simplex access point.
All digital modes are transcoded using AMBE 3000 vocoder DSP’s which provide superior audio quality. Our Hybrid modes are brought in and bridged over to the digital modes with bridging software. Because Wires-X is difficult to bridge, we bridge it to analog and then send it to a FTM-400XDR via a URIxB usb radio. This allows us to retain superior audio quality. Because analog data does not carry identifiers like other DIgital modes, we use the FTM-400XDR to put it’s ID on the packet so that they become Wires-X compatable.
With the magic of transcoding each and every mode on the hub talks to each other. Now, you can key up on DMR and talk to your buddy with his Fusion radio and at the same time talk to David in Northern Ireland comming in on Echolink who’s talking to his buddy coming in on D-Star.
Enjoy the System, I built it for you not me..