Stray Signals

Network Radio, September 2018

These letters were received for publication in the September 2018 RadCom but pressure of space meant they could not be included in the printed edition.

David Lees, G0PDL
The reason Network Radio is worth a try is simply because it isn’t like anything else. If it was, it wouldn’t be so popular. The combination and timing of the introduction of the Network Radios channels AND the number and UK availability of various new models means we have had an explosion of new users. Add to this the fact that you probably already have a phone that you can use, this is one of the few new ways of communicating without the need to purchase new equipment to try it out.

Geoffrey Stainton, G1MQQ
When asked what’s so special about amateur radio, my answer is simple: AUTONOMY. If all the existing communications infrastructures failed tomorrow, mobile phones, voice over IP, Network Radio etc would all fail with it, but radio hams would still be able to operate – as has been proved time and again when we have been the only communications available in times of disaster.

Ray J Howes, G4OWY/G6AUW
Yes, there have always been attempts by private commercial enterprises to grab ham radio frequencies for profit. But to date, these interests have not been entirely successful. Due, mainly, to the IARU and others to prevent it.
Although I understand G4BUO’s misgivings regarding Network Radio, methinks he is jumping the gun a bit. Yes, “EchoLink and D-Star Dongles” are a potential danger to traditional ham radio. 2m FM was perceived as a real danger to ham radio too, once upon a time. Ditto, SSB. OK, not quite a correct comparison, but an appropriate one, given the reaction when Network Radio hit the ham headlines. No, “chat channels on the internet” are NOT a form of radio. It’s mere communication via different means. Perhaps G7DDN was being a touch economical with the definition of ‘radio’ to deliberately attract attention to his article? If so, his ploy worked.
Luckily, and sometimes under extreme pressures from commercial ‘predators’, most Governments worldwide still believe that ham radio has a valuable purpose. Let’s not get rattle our cages too much when something new pops up that, superficially, is a novelty. The clamour for Network Radio will fade. Its apparent golden lustre will lose its shine, when the marketplace moves on to the next ‘new’ thing to bedazzle a few hams who have to be seen to be on the cusp of the next thrilling wave of communications technology.

Tony Falla, VK3KKP/G8HIM
I think radio retailers must be fearful that there is going to be a downturn in sales of radio equipment so are trying to diversify into repackaged phones. Forgetting for the moment the apps that already exist (Echolink, Hamsphere etc), we are experiencing a push from the Network Radio lobby to convince licensed radio amateurs that our activities could all be done on cut down mobile phones fitted with PTTs. I’m told this is just another step on the way to a new ‘golden age’ where we wouldn’t have to listen carefully to our conversations with each other, erect an antenna or face atmospheric noise. And best of all is that we don’t need a licence to participate or to study to avoid interference with Essential Services. Ultimately, we’ll have no need for bands of frequencies to be reserved for us to use in our experiments – and no need for national bodies to protect those rights.
It’s clear that some of the push for this change to happen is coming from those who believe a Baofeng in

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