1. You can now help support WorldwideDX when you shop on Amazon at no additional cost to you! Simply follow this Shop on Amazon link first and a portion of any purchase is sent to WorldwideDX to help with site costs.

I want Bluetooth in Amateur Radio gear!

Discussion in 'General Ham Radio Discussion' started by Moleculo, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. Moleculo

    Moleculo
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,799
    Likes Received:
    790
    There used to be a time when ham radio operators everywhere would point at the amateur radio hobby as one that was responsible for helping push the envelope on new communications technologies. In the age of 4G wireless internet, iPhones, Androids, and Skype, I'm not so sure ham radio will ever be viewed again as something that has the capability of producing "ground breaking" communication technology. The R&D dollars just aren't being pumped into the hobby. However, I do think that the Amateur Radio community should do a better job of remembering its experimental technology roots and start to demand the integration of current, available technology into the products of our market space. Toward that end, I want more Bluetooth!

    A few companies (Yaesu, in particular) have started integrating Bluetooth for specific functions, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. For the Yaesu VX-8 and FTM-350 products, you can get an optional Bluetooth board that lets you use a Bluetooth headset, which is a great start. I think all new handheld, mobile, and base Amateur gear should make plans to incorporate the same functionality. In fact, some States are starting to enforce laws that make it an illegal distraction to even talk on radios with hand mics while driving. I can see a time when more and more States make it a requirement to use some sort of headset while driving even for ham radio. These laws may force manufactures to finally add bluetooth chipsets as a standard feature in their radios.

    Why don't we have any HF gear with Bluetooth capability? Is too much to expect that an operator at his home station might want less wires all over the desk instead of more? But I don't just want Bluetooth implemented for headsets. I want to be able to add Bluetooth wireless speakers, Bluetooth mics, and I want a Bluetooth serial connection to my PC for remote control and programming. The only wires that I should be required to attach to any of my rigs at home should be for the power and feed line (and maybe a keying line for the linear amp).



    This year, the Bluetooth v4.0 spec was introduced which now gives the ability to send high speed data over longer distances with relatively low energy consumption. One way this could be implemented in ham radio gear is in lieu of a traditional sound card interface. Imagine being able to stream audio between your PC and rig over Bluetooth without wires. It's not a fantasy; it could happen.

    Personally, I don't believe many of these or other ideas will be implemented in amateur radio gear any time soon. Realistically, since 2010 is almost over and we still see very few products that have even given us the ubiquitous USB port, I doubt the manufacturers even have the capability to expand their thinking into the Bluetooth possibilities. In the true, experimental spirit of Amateur Radio, I think it will take some enterprising folks to figure out how to make little Bluetooth interface add-ons that work with the existing gear until they can eventually be incorporated natively into the equipment. Of course, the software developers will have to get on board, too. For example, the folks that code Digital Master / Ham Radio Deluxe would need to give us the option to select "Bluetooth Device" as the Soundcard interface to our rig. How cool would that be!

    As I look at the massive mess of wires on my radio desk, I have to believe there is a better way and I firmly believe that Bluetooth is a viable option. I think we may see more Bluetooth options in mobile gear soon, but we have to continue to push the use-cases. What about you? What technologies do you see in your every day life that should find their way into Amateur Radio gear?
     
    1 person likes this.

  2. Robb

    Robb
    Expand Collapse
    Yup

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,992
    Likes Received:
    1,902
    Uh oh; you got me started.

    Yes, I believe the Ham industry is WAAAY behind in getting with the USB. It was unbelievably hard to find a crappy/standard RS-232 for the Kenwood TS-2000. No one makes that stuff new any more! (got a USB to 232 cable anyway)

    I think they should also integrate more sound controls into HF rig hardware - like the Flexradio/SDR stuff does. Like separate 10 band graphic EQ's for RX AND TX. More radios should have the options for SDR functions - as the Flexradio line does. The Kenwood software for the TS-2000 isn't that bad at all; but it really could be much better. Having the band scopes built into the radio and accessible via USB link should be a standard piece of equipment. Not a cheesy band scope as HRD has; but one that functions like the Flexradios do. I think they ('Flex') have really come up with the beans!

    Cryptic menu schemes - such as Yaesu's - should be a thing of the past. It's very intimidating, impractical, and time-consuming to use, and Yaesu insists on continuing building radios that are chaotic! More features that aren't easily accesible to the user means a huge waste of time and materials. Can't help their stock value to continue in this vein, Get a clue Yaesu.

    Bluetooth for mobile 2m rigs makes a lot of sense too. That should be a no-brainer. So - like everything else the big 3 mfr's miss - they miss this simple thing too. Even Cobra got there before the big 3 did (baw haw ha!). I'm not a betting man; but I'll bet Wouxun gets there before the others do. They have something to prove and to gain.

    What it all comes down to are these companies competing against themselves, ignoring the end user, and about to lose to American companies. I like it. Wouxun is the real threat here; so long as they can sell a better or equal product than the Americans (Ten Tec, Flexradio, and Elecraft) - so long as they can do it for less . Wallmart's answer to Ham radio - is Wouxun - lol!

    (end of rant)
     
  3. jazzsinger

    jazzsinger
    Expand Collapse
    Bullshit Buster

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,749
    Likes Received:
    291
    i'd rather have firefox/internet explorer installed than bluetooth.
     
  4. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt
    Expand Collapse
    Professional Amateur
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Messages:
    13,842
    Likes Received:
    5,094

    But.....but......but...... Tim, half the fun of amateur radio is crawling behind a large desk with a bazillion cables everywhere and finding that one intermittent cable that just made you loose a contact with that JT1 station. When you find it you are guaranteed to feel a LOT better than you did before. :whistle:
     
  5. magconpres

    magconpres
    Expand Collapse
    KF7MDM

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd like to use a terminal emulator on my Android phone to enter text to send via APRS or Winlink.
    I'd be happy with a USB connection between the phone and radio, but BT would be better.
     
  6. C W Morse

    C W Morse
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,022
    Likes Received:
    5
    I agree and I'd like to add one comment regarding states trying to regulate the use of amateur radios and hand mikes. I think such regulations would be thrown out on the Federal level on 1) Precedent regarding the long-term use of amateur radio and the safety thereof, 2) Previous FCC ENCOURAGEMENT of mobile amateur radio, 3) Preemption of of Federal law vs State law. States currently have NO authority to regulate ham radio as it is licensed by Federal regulations (FCC), and traditionally FCC has always retained control of LICENSED radio stations. Thus far, each attempt by states, cities, counties to control amateur radio operations has been preempted or overturned in one way or another.
    Let's hope that remains true.


    CWM
     
  7. Moleculo

    Moleculo
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,799
    Likes Received:
    790
    The states can't regulate amateur radio, but they can regulate what you do while driving a motor vehicle. Vehicle codes are state laws, not federal. They can also make laws that are sufficiently vague and all-encompassing that they can be applied to many different situations. For example, California has a law that says (sic) if you're doing anything that is a distraction while driving, you can be cited.
     
  8. Moleculo

    Moleculo
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    8,799
    Likes Received:
    790
    I'll sign up for that one too!
     
  9. mackmobile43

    mackmobile43
    Expand Collapse
    Jock Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    6,715
    Likes Received:
    372
    Amateur Radio is all about being hands on and is becoming totally bastardized by technology.

    Bluetooth :thumbdown:
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt
    Expand Collapse
    Professional Amateur
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Messages:
    13,842
    Likes Received:
    5,094
    (y)(y)
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. W5LZ

    W5LZ
    Expand Collapse
    Crotchety Old Bastard

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Messages:
    6,832
    Likes Received:
    745
    I don't have any use for Bluetooth, with radio or a cell phone. Has to do with having very bad hearing, lack of 'abilities' of the Bluetooth gadgets and so on. If Bluetooth was an option, I think that would satisfy those who do have a use for it, and those of us who don't. I'm not too sure I'd hold my breath for that to become an 'option' with most manufacturers.
    Wireless mics/headsets are nothing new. I can remember various configurations, both home made and commercially available over twenty years ago. Some liked them, so didn't.
    - 'Doc
     
  12. AudioShockwav

    AudioShockwav
    Expand Collapse
    Extraterrestrial Admin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Messages:
    5,399
    Likes Received:
    1,089
    The Ideals of Amateur Radio have shifted, early on into the service it was about leading the field with new radio applications, ideas about interfacing radio and the rest of the world, public service and to provide a base of trained radio Op`s...


    Technology has moved ahead in leaps, Amateur radio needs to catch up, and forge ahead.
    Blue Tooth is a great Idea for a mobile environment.
    How about Voice Command menu/frequency changes ?
    Somehow need to get the "lets tear it apart, see how it works, and make it better" thrill back in the Hobby.
    The Elecraft K-3 is a great project, I wish more of the mainstream Rigs were available in Kit form.
    There are a few DYI rigs, Ramsey and the MFJ mono band rigs come to mind.

    just some random thoughts.......

    73
    Jeff
     
  13. magconpres

    magconpres
    Expand Collapse
    KF7MDM

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree.

    Technology hasn't bastardized amateur radio. Radio IS technology. It's just an older form that doesn't seem as relevant given how pervasive mobile communications has become with cell phones and, to some extent, the internet.

    When I was 12, I strapped a handheld CB to my bike and enjoyed talking to my friends as we went about our summer days. There's no need for that now.

    But, radio is still the only method for communicating that doesn't rely on someone else providing an infrastructure. Two people with their own equipment can communicate without anyone else's help. That's the attractiveness for me. At least it's the primary reason I pursued a license.

    On the technology front, I would like to see integration with radios and other devices. Smart phones are amazing devices, and really shouldn't even be called phones. I use mine as a phone maybe 10% of the time. I made 0 phone calls today, but I did take some pictures and video, make a voice recording (grocery list), then listen to it later, measure the front panel of a Yaesu FT8800 with a digital ruler, check email, send a text message, scan a barcode and check prices for something I bought, check my bank balance, look up a recipe for mustard greens, and use a level for a painting my wife was hanging.

    Now if only I could interface that amazing device with the HT I plan to buy in the next few weeks (still undecided...).
     
  14. spickus

    spickus
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Who cares about wireless mics? The damn batteries are going to be dead when I want to use it anyways. Although walking through the house wearing a headset would be nice for when you need a .... pit stop. I want Bluetooth key and audio lines that don't require isolation. Reducing the tangle of wires behind my desk. Radios with remote faces, they should be Bluetooth. I want to be able to program my brand new radio without buying overpriced cables. I want to be able to clone radios just by being in the same room. Bluetooth mics are just the tip of the iceberg and I agree with you about the mics, meh.
     
  15. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2001
    Messages:
    5,045
    Likes Received:
    134
    The new technology is already in radio, they just use it on the commercial side.

    The want may be there in amateur, the sales won't be. At least not enough to justify the cost to market/build/sell.
     

Share This Page