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Re: [CQ-Contest] Radio appliances (long and OT)

To: <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Radio appliances (long and OT)
From: bob@reconstructinghistory.com
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2007 19:50:12 GMT
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
On Jul 06 08:37, "Robert Naumann" <w5ov@w5ov.com> wrote:
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Radio appliances (long and OT)
> Bob,
> Which modern radios have standardized USB connectivity built into them?
> None.
> Even the new TenTec Omni 7 that has Ethernet capability (pretty cool) has a
> DB-9 serial port on the back panel. The new EleCraft K3 also has a DB9
> serial port on the back.
> You are right - all manufacturers should use a standard hardware and
> software interface - but they don't.
> I agree that it all should be better, but the fact is that it is not. There
> is no plug and play in ham radio interfacing of radios, computers, sound
> cards etc. The user must, and I repeat, must assume responsibility for doing
> some work to make these dissimilar, non-standardized devices work together.
> An expectation otherwise is just unrealistic and unfair to those who are
> trying to help make these things work together.

I've been reading this thread with considerable interest, given the problems 
I've been having getting my rig and laptop interfaced.

I submit that expecting a standardized interface system is not unfair in the 
slightest (never mind that it might be unrealistic).  In fact, your examples of 
brand-new designs using DB9, serial-based connectivity - along with Kenwood's 
current models - points out something which is, to me, more troubling: a move 
toward standardization of an aging technology.

That disturbs me because, like many, I don't have serial ports or LPT ports.  
Not one, on any of my computers.  All I've got is USB.

I also submit that there is no reason why market pressure cannot be applied to 
encourage manufacturers to design modern radio-computer connectivity into the 
radios.  There is a reason USB has overtaken serial and LPT connections on 
modern computers: it's easier for the user.  That's why they call it "plug and 
play," after all.  Why *shouldn't* the amateur radio market push toward simpler 
connectivity?  Why *shouldn't* we expect to plug a USB cable into the radio, 
instead of purchasing an interface box and having to wrestle with addresses, 
yadda yadda yadda?  

All manufacturers *don't* use a standard hardware and software interface - but 
they could if they wanted to.  If the computer industry can do it - from 
cameras to printers to flat-bed scanners - why not amateur radio designers?  
Isn't USB just the latest in a long line of industry-wide standardization?

I realize it cuts out a job-creating aftermarket for interfaces and associated 
hardware, but there are enough older rigs around that require that technology 
that no one will starve (at least for a couple of decades!).


Bob, NQ3X

(yeah, yeah; new guy!)

No cute furry animals were harmed in preparing and sending this email.  
Countless electrons, however, were terribly inconvenienced.
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