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Old 08-04-2019, 07:46   #31
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
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.
Winmor is not encrypted though.
Quote:
Compression techniques are proprietary and equivalent to encryption.
FALSE. ARQ protocols sometimes use data compression (e.g. FBB B1 circa 1986 and
Winlink B2F circa 1999) which use publicly posted specifications. These historical and
easily used compression and decompression techniques (similar to familiar computer
“zip” files) are NOT encryption and can significantly improve spectrum utilization (2:1 is
typical with text messages). They are routinely used by the amateur community
worldwide. The Winlink system uses ONLY B2F protocol with LZH compression/
encapsulation.14 Any other available compression techniques (public or proprietary) are
not supported by Winlink and are disabled in any terminal node controllers or modems
by the current software used in the Winlink system.15
More rebuttals here >
https://winlink.org/sites/default/fi...i_comments.pdf
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:56   #32
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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Originally Posted by Discovery 15797 View Post
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.
Seems very unlikely, for the winlink service anyway, how would anyone get a winlink password without a ham callsign? From memory the only way to get one is sending a message over winmor with a valid callsign then they email back your details, must be done over RF.

Quote:
We require
A valid amateur radio license, or
a license from a participating government service or agency. Ship station, marine or general radiotelephone licenses DO NOT qualify.
https://winlink.org/user
Not sure if any other services exist that would do anything useful for connection on the ham frequencies with a pactor modem?
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Old 08-04-2019, 09:06   #33
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

I think it is much ado about nothing. If I use RTTY to send a small .doc file or a .PDF file, is that a violation? Or it will depend if it is password protected or not?

HF communications is dying, there are may be hundreds of marine users only and thousands of (active) ham users. The Sunspot cycle is going the wrong way. And these guys are focussing on encryption. Most sailors just want to communicate and get weather. Pactor is better for this than the alternatives. Let it be.

Will they also ban ALE (another competing node?)?
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Old 08-04-2019, 09:12   #34
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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I think it is much ado about nothing. If I use RTTY to send a small .doc file or a .PDF file, is that a violation? Or it will depend if it is password protected or not?

HF communications is dying, there are may be hundreds of marine users only and thousands of (active) ham users. The Sunspot cycle is going the wrong way. And these guys are focussing on encryption. Most sailors just want to communicate and get weather. Pactor is better for this than the alternatives. Let it be.

Will they also ban ALE (another competing node?)?
I suppose much of this depends on what the FCC considers encryption. Many times password protecting a file is NOT encrypting the file. Other times it is!
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Old 08-04-2019, 09:27   #35
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
I think it is much ado about nothing. If I use RTTY to send a small .doc file or a .PDF file, is that a violation? Or it will depend if it is password protected or not?

HF communications is dying, there are may be hundreds of marine users only and thousands of (active) ham users. The Sunspot cycle is going the wrong way. And these guys are focussing on encryption. Most sailors just want to communicate and get weather. Pactor is better for this than the alternatives. Let it be.

Will they also ban ALE (another competing node?)?

As a HAM service you may not prevent either the general public or the government from reading all messages. The amateur radio service offers neither privacy or security. In fact they are not allowed by law.

I realize some people don’t understand in today’s world of privacy concerns why amateur radio is by design not private. But it simply isn’t. And an attempt to conduct private communications using a HAM license is illegal. And I am pretty sure this is required by treaty with many other countries. So if it’s illegal in the US it should be also illegal pretty much everywhere else in the world.

As someone else pointed out, this NPRM is not plowing (ploughing?) new ground.
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:23   #36
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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Originally Posted by Discovery 15797 View Post
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.

...
Since you cant get a Winlink logon without a Ham call sign, there isn't likely much issue on licenses. The boaters abuse is likely the failure to comply with the prohibition from doing any commercial business over Ham.
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:35   #37
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

So it seems the sticking point of the NPRM is that in addition to publishing the specifications of a digital (RTTY) transmission standard, there must also be an open source software available that can decode the transmission into clear text (i.e. eavesdropping code).

I can see the government’s interest in this rule. They don’t want to have to write decoding software for any and all HAM data encoding schemes. I can also see why a commercial company might not like this rule.

So to the specific issue of open source software requirement I have to be slightly in favor of the NPRM. HAM radio is for the purpose of learning and experimenting. Not conducting business.

If a commercial software player wants to withdraw its product from the market because of the open source requirement that is their right. But I think the practical result would be that the open source community would fill the gap by creating software based on the published standards. Thus effectively negating the commercial company’s advantage around the world. It’s usually not a great idea to cut off your nose to spite your face. All these companies have to do is publish an eavesdropping program in source form. They apparently don’t have to publish the transmission software and they don’t have to provide a particularly nice user interface. Just publish something good enough to allow eavesdropping.

I don’t see the reason for so much hand wringing.
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Old 08-04-2019, 13:53   #38
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

This rule seems really poorly written. Requiring open source software availibiity and full protocol documentation potentially does very little to allow people to use these tools. A patent publicly documents an invention that can include a protocol, yet it gives no right to use it. The most common open source license, GPL 2 as used in Linux, does not give the user the right to use the program when its use is covered by patents, even though it can be freely distributed.
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Old 08-04-2019, 16:39   #39
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

I think it is mandatory that HAMs must use freely licensed modulation formats. Otherwise there is no way to comply with the requirement that anyone from the public or government can listen in. So this rule is making that more clear and creating a further requirement that the software be provided to the public and government at no cost.
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Old 08-04-2019, 20:47   #40
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
I think it is mandatory that HAMs must use freely licensed modulation formats. Otherwise there is no way to comply with the requirement that anyone from the public or government can listen in. So this rule is making that more clear and creating a further requirement that the software be provided to the public and government at no cost.
I agree that this is the intent. It just seems the language is poorly crafted.
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Old 08-04-2019, 23:19   #41
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

Pactor and VARA are not going to close up shop. They don’t control what bands the protocols are used on. All they have to do is start advertising “For Use on Marine Band Only”.
This going to affect the users way more than the companies.
How does the FCC enforce this with all the folks that already own an example of either?

I don’t see this as very enforceable.
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Old 08-04-2019, 23:50   #42
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

This has been going on since at least 2007... issue then was - as I recall - bandwidth...

Somebody who has never moved on from CW has an out of joint nose...
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Old 09-04-2019, 07:11   #43
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
I think it is mandatory that HAMs must use freely licensed modulation formats. Otherwise there is no way to comply with the requirement that anyone from the public or government can listen in. So this rule is making that more clear and creating a further requirement that the software be provided to the public and government at no cost.


I don’t think that argument flies. If it did that would mean the radio, tuner and antenna for an eavesdropping public would need to be provided at no cost.
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Old 09-04-2019, 07:15   #44
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
This has been going on since at least 2007... issue then was - as I recall - bandwidth...

Somebody who has never moved on from CW has an out of joint nose...
That could be but the FCC is well staffed with engineers who have a pretty complete understanding of digital modulation systems. What I “hear” is the FCC is getting some push from law enforcement and security agencies to clamp down on illegal use of HAM radio bands and equipment by terror groups and other non-law abiding folk. The various governments have pretty well tapped into mobile phone apps and wireless is one of the last bastions of secure communications for bad guys. Two way radios don’t need any infrastructure from a third party and easily support full encryption that can be hard to crack. So the “solution” seems to be finding transmitters that are unreadable and putting them out of business. But it seems the legal department wants the rules tightened to ensure successful prosecutions. I don’t think this effort is rooted in a Neanderthal mind set. Well maybe it is, but not for lack of technical prowess.
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Old 09-04-2019, 07:22   #45
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Re: pactor banned from the usa?

Eavesdropping is by choice, not mandatory. Monitoring of communications for purposes of gathering data or for judicial purposes is by need, not by choice or mandatory.

The FCC or any other agency is not going to spend time hunting the bands for illicit users of VARA or PACTOR, or any other data mode. This is why we hams police ourselves. If there is a fragrant abuse of bandwidth or excessive inference (like contest - LOL - sorry), then that will be reported and monitoring will start.

I am sure that if the FCC says no more VARA, the WinLink community will (reluctantly) comply.

It takes two to make a link and if one side complies then there is not more link.
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