April Meeting Recap: Digital Modes and Baker to Vegas

We had a full house at tonight’s monthly SPARC meeting, which featured two informative presentations.

Tim's presentation
Understanding digital radio

Tim WA0PTC explained the pros and cons of the three major digital radio modes: D-STAR, C4FM/Fusion and DMR. Eric K6EJC added that, based on the volume of business he sees at Ham Radio Outlet, DMR growth has soared in the past two years. Bob WB6YJJ and Rick KI6ZKM demonstrated the vocal clarity of Fusion using their handhelds.

How hams help B2V run smoothly

Oliver K6OLI reported on his service as a volunteer at the annual Baker to Vegas relay race — as he put it, “a near Death Valley experience.” With no cell service for huge stretches of the race, amateur radio is vital to the safety of over 8,000 runners, guests, family members and support staff.

AREDN mesh kit
Example mesh deployment

B2V also presented an opportunity to test mesh networking capabilities. Thanks to a portable Verizon satellite link, Oliver and his team were able to connect their laptops and VoIP phones to the regional mesh networks in Altadena, Pasadena and Sierra Madre. This has exciting implications for the future of emergency communications since mesh go kits are fairly inexpensive and extremely portable.

Our May 2 meeting is scheduled to feature John Vidale, Director of the Southern California Earthquake Center. On June 6 our guest will be an administrator from our local FEMA district. Hope to see you there — any changes will be posted on SouthPasRadio.org. 73!