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Old 08-04-2019, 05:17   #16
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

What's the problem with having to show your software?
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Old 08-04-2019, 05:45   #17
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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What's the problem with having to show your software?
The guy who developed VARA spent considerable time developing this mode. Some compensation for his work is reasonable. Showing the software would allow anyone to copy it, depriving him of the rewards for his work.

If it is a matter of being able to 'listen' to VARA communications, a free 'reader only' version would allow 'listening as per the rules.

Pactor is a more difficult issue as the military and government use Pactor, and probably would not want others to listen in.

Winmor could follow the same route as VARA.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:00   #18
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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The guy who developed VARA spent considerable time developing this mode. Some compensation for his work is reasonable. Showing the software would allow anyone to copy it, depriving him of the rewards for his work.

If it is a matter of being able to 'listen' to VARA communications, a free 'reader only' version would allow 'listening as per the rules.

Pactor is a more difficult issue as the military and government use Pactor, and probably would not want others to listen in.

Winmor could follow the same route as VARA.
I suppose: though I generally think that if you're developing on an open platform (or any platform that you don't control) you only have so much room to complain about changes like this.

Seems to be even more childish to see "when faced with the option to open the source or close up shop, we're closing up shop!"
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:40   #19
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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I suppose: though I generally think that if you're developing on an open platform (or any platform that you don't control) you only have so much room to complain about changes like this.

Seems to be even more childish to see "when faced with the option to open the source or close up shop, we're closing up shop!"
Nobody said anything about closing up shop. I suspect this type of communications will continue everywhere except the USA, if these rules are approved.

I use the Winlink system with both Winmor and VARA, and it is extremely useful for weather offshore. Without it, either I don't get weather, or I buy expensive alternatives. These communications modes are used for ARIES when the signals are too weak for voice. I live in a very rural mountainous area. Cell signals are non existent. The local emergency coordinator, all volunteers, operate repeaters will provides radio coverage, where no other exists. Winlink is essential in communicating with outside emergency services. Without Winlink, no communications. Shutting this down is a step backward. Ham is about more than guys playing with their radios.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:41   #20
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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I suppose: though I generally think that if you're developing on an open platform (or any platform that you don't control) you only have so much room to complain about changes like this.

Seems to be even more childish to see "when faced with the option to open the source or close up shop, we're closing up shop!"

Well, income from this proprietary technology is what keeps food on their tables. Easy for us to say they should just start giving it away.


Refusing to do so would not indeed mean closing up shop -- PACTOR has a number of applications, and I doubt that amateur radio is the biggest one. PACTOR continues to be perfectly legal on marine SSB, and there are military uses for it.


But I'm not sure we're facing that anyway. PACTOR transmissions can be monitored -- there is no need to encrypt the data stream. See here: https://kypn.wordpress.com/tag/ardop/


And in any case, we have a growing multitude of software digital modes, including not just Winmor, but Vara and ARDOP.


I don't think there is any need for panic.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:45   #21
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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Although over the air Winlink communications are encrypted, the communications can be listened to by government organizations if they wish. Each Winlink base station keeps an unencrypted history of all communications. No one is attempting to hide anything.

The encryption has nothing to do with PACTOR. It is carried out as part of the Winlink protocol.



The demand for publishing PACTOR specifications is not concerned with encryption; that's a different issue.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:57   #22
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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Nobody said anything about closing up shop. I suspect this type of communications will continue everywhere except the USA, if these rules are approved.

I use the Winlink system with both Winmor and VARA, and it is extremely useful for weather offshore. Without it, either I don't get weather, or I buy expensive alternatives. These communications modes are used for ARIES when the signals are too weak for voice. I live in a very rural mountainous area. Cell signals are non existent. The local emergency coordinator, all volunteers, operate repeaters will provides radio coverage, where no other exists. Winlink is essential in communicating with outside emergency services. Without Winlink, no communications. Shutting this down is a step backward. Ham is about more than guys playing with their radios.
Seems that is what is being said here:

"Unless we receive support from users on this serious threat, Winlink will be forced to close shop on HF in the USA. US and non-US users and gateway operators are urged to educate themselves and comment!"

I understand the usefulness.

Why would Winlink have to shut down?

I use commercial products for weather (inreach). I'm not really trying to make a comment about commercial or open source being better (I use plenty of open source technology every day), guess more along the line of, I would actually prefer for software running on an "open" platform be open source.

Also, people always think if they release their code people will steal it. Not true. People want SUPPORT, not your (maybe shitty) code.

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Well, income from this proprietary technology is what keeps food on their tables. Easy for us to say they should just start giving it away.


Refusing to do so would not indeed mean closing up shop -- PACTOR has a number of applications, and I doubt that amateur radio is the biggest one. PACTOR continues to be perfectly legal on marine SSB, and there are military uses for it.


But I'm not sure we're facing that anyway. PACTOR transmissions can be monitored -- there is no need to encrypt the data stream. See here: https://kypn.wordpress.com/tag/ardop/


And in any case, we have a growing multitude of software digital modes, including not just Winmor, but Vara and ARDOP.


I don't think there is any need for panic.
I understand and I can emphasize with that absolutely. However, whenever you choose a platform for your technology to run on you are subversive to that platform. You can lobby for changes, that is within your right to IMO.

As soon as you try and make an argument that a change should be made because it is better for you as a commercial provider vs. better for everyone (certainly open source tech would be better for the average user - they would not have to buy an expensive device if they do not want to) I stop sympathizing with you.

Can you encrypt marine SSB? I know you cannot for HAM. I thought they were extremely similar or even the same regarding regulations: these discussions are indicating otherwise?
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:07   #23
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

What part of "it is not encrypted" do we not understand. There is no exchange of cypher keys nor any negotiation of logins/passwords. It is compressed and nothing more. The Interface Control Document (for B2F) which shows the data format and what bit goes where is readily available. If one is really wanting to see what is going on then write a program to do so. Then, sell the program for $5 to those who want to see what is going on.

I seem to recall hearing about this issue when some ham was upset that they could hear the signals but could not decode them. I hear weird signals all the time but just bypass them. Maybe FLdigi can incorporate the decode into their already crowded package. Maybe PACTOR uses a preamble/postamble that sets up the process of un-compressing the data stream.

There is nothing nefarious going on here.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:18   #24
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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What part of "it is not encrypted" do we not understand. There is no exchange of cypher keys nor any negotiation of logins/passwords. It is compressed and nothing more. The Interface Control Document (for B2F) which shows the data format and what bit goes where is readily available. If one is really wanting to see what is going on then write a program to do so. Then, sell the program for $5 to those who want to see what is going on.

I seem to recall hearing about this issue when some ham was upset that they could hear the signals but could not decode them. I hear weird signals all the time but just bypass them. Maybe FLdigi can incorporate the decode into their already crowded package. Maybe PACTOR uses a preamble/postamble that sets up the process of un-compressing the data stream.

There is nothing nefarious going on here.
Where are people either saying it is encrypted or there is something nefarious going on?
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:18   #25
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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. . . As soon as you try and make an argument that a change should be made because it is better for you as a commercial provider vs. better for everyone (certainly open source tech would be better for the average user - they would not have to buy an expensive device if they do not want to) I stop sympathizing with you.

I don't understand what you're saying. Who's arguing for what change, to benefit commercial interests?




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Can you encrypt marine SSB? I know you cannot for HAM. I thought they were extremely similar or even the same regarding regulations: these discussions are indicating otherwise?

You are allowed to encrypt communications on marine HF. You are not allowed to do that on amateur radio.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:22   #26
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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Where are people either saying it is encrypted or there is something nefarious going on?
Here...
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Although over the air Winlink communications are encrypted, the communications can be listened to by government organizations if they wish. Each Winlink base station keeps an unencrypted history of all communications. No one is attempting to hide anything.
TransmitterDan first mentioned the use of encryption, but did not say the link was encrypted. He rightly pointed out that encryption is not legal on Ham Bands.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:28   #27
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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TransmitterDan first mentioned the use of encryption, but did not say the link was encrypted. He rightly pointed out that encryption is not legal on Ham Bands.

Indeed, and that does seem like a violation. Giving the keys to the government is not enough, because amateur communications are mostly self-policed.


But this is a WinLink issue, not a PACTOR issue.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:36   #28
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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The propsed rules and interpretation would apply to HAM bands. Sailmail operates on Marine SSB channels, so would not be directly affected. From a cruisers practical point of view who uses Sailmail it would eliminate the backup option of getting weather through Winlink using a Pactor modem.
thank you, that was my concern.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:42   #29
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

Encrypted text could imply nefarious intent, but could also imply privacy. I believe more of the latter than the former.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:42   #30
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

As an avid sailor and also ham operator I am split.

This petition is targeting Automated Controlled Digital Stations (ACDS) and point to point communication.

Also mentioned by one proponent of the petition is the abuse by the boating community to abuse the service. I suspect they are implying a number of boaters who use Pactor modems that do not have ham licenses...and they are probably correct.

The only thing this petition calls for is enforcing/strengthening existing FCC rules. There are already rules that cover everything this petition covers....there is nothing new here except calling out specific modes/technologies (including D-Star).

On one hand this is not introducing new rules, on the other hand I question whether it is really necessary.
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