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When ARES D1 refers to “digital communications,” it refers primarily to data messaging and telemetry. In certain contexts, it may refer to Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) or APCO (Associated Public Safety Communications Officials) P25 voice communications. However, the distinction between the often-used term, “digital,” and occasional use of the terms, “DMR” or "P25," is apparent during use of the descriptive terms.

It does not refer to the purchase or use of expensive radio equipment, nor the use of System Fusion, EchoLink, , D-Star, AX.25 Packet, Radioteletype (RTTY), Morse Code (CW), Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP), or similar technologies or modes.  

It does refer to the use of free or inexpensive computer software, standard computer hardware (Windows 7 or above, Mac, Linux or other computer and operating system that enables sending and receiving data over radio), soundcard or external peripheral device (Signalink, etc. Approx. $150 or less including interface cables, or RIGblaster, etc.) to pass data, including actual Email with attachments, Email/Text-like messaging, Imagery, Telemetry, and more.

The ARES D1 member interested in being digital communications capable voluntarily invests in either a 2-Meter VHF-FM, 70-Centimeter UHF-FM, and/or a HF radio with embedded soundcard or an external peripheral soundcard device; a laptop, tablet, or other appropriate computer with the proper interface cables between the radio and computer; and the appropriate software for the ARES D1 compatible digital modes desired.  

 

ARES D1 uses the following digital messaging modes, listed in order of preference of use:

  1. Winlink Express – Pactor 4 (or 3).

  2. Winlink Express – VARA (HF or FM).

  3. FlDigi - Olivia 8/2K (Speed adjusted faster or slower depending on Band conditions).

  4. FlDigi - MT-63-2K Long (Speed adjusted faster or slower depending on Band conditions).

  5. FlDigi - MFSK32 (Speed adjusted faster or slower depending on Band conditions).

  6. FlDigi -Thor (Speed adjusted faster or slower depending on Band conditions).

  7. FlDigi -Throb (Speed adjusted faster or slower depending on Band conditions).

  8. JS8Call.

ARES D1 also uses:

  • WEFAX (IOC 576) (Part of FlDigi).

  • Scottie 2 (Part of MMSTV).

  • APRS (Part of JS8Call and APRS capable Radios and Interfaces).

To stay abreast of technology, continue to experiment, learn, and have fun doing it, ARES D1 continues to test and practice with other communications modes, including newer modes, which may offer reliability and efficiency for successful message handling.

Modes such as RTTY, CW, and AX.25 are not routinely used by ARES D1 as they lack either reliability or efficiency, or both, but are not totally discounted, as they may be useful in limited situations. ARES D1’s number one priority beyond the safety and well-being of its personnel is to get the message through in an accurate and timely manner, no matter how it is accomplished.