Digital radio can seem daunting so let’s break it down to make it a bit easier to understand. First what is digital radio? My definition is pretty much anything that isn’t voice. But what about morse code? Well morse code is actually a binary digital mode, dits and dahs are simply carrier on for a short period or a long period or 0’s and 1’s.
What advantages does digital have over voice?
- Concise information
- One to many broadcast is possible (certain modes)
- Cuts through noise & static
- Can be received & decoded with inexpensive receivers
- Images can be transmitted (maps, damage, etc)
- Coordinates can be transmitted (move to the map point)
- Some modes work with just a cell phone, without any wires (Rattlegram, APRS, FLMSG)
Disadvantages of Digital over voice
- More equipment is required (minimum cell phone depending on mode)
- Much steeper learning curve
- Cost can be a barrier (depends on mode)
- Disadvantages of Digital over voice
What are the options? Well there are many options :
- Winlink Radio Email (can work with just an HT and a cell phone for local work)
- APRS (can work with just an HT and a cell phone for local work)
- JS8Call (requires an HF receiver, radio interface & computer)
- FSQCall (requires an HF receiver, radio interface & computer)
- FLMSG (can work with just an HT and a cell phone for local work)
- FLDGI (many modes, requires an HF receiver, radio interface & computer)
Look at the Articles section for specific articles on each of these modes.