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Allow user to chose any interval between 1 to 10 minutes
I agree that US rules shouldn't be forced on all hams. So an on/off option would be good. But newcomers to this very cool mode need to be made aware somehow that VARA does not transmit callsigns required by some local licensing authorities. I didn't know that until Irad pointed it out above.
Please do not forget that the FCC rules apply only to the US Hams not to the whole world, so I think that whatever you do should not be enforced to all Radio Amateurs. I think it is best to be selectable with an ON/OFF switch and also with a variable timer! The only forced action I personally see correct is for both callsigns of the QSO to be sent when we pass the keys from one end of the qso to the other. This should also keep happy our fellow Radio Amateurs who are monitoring so they know who is having a QSO. I believe that sending DE MYCALL every 10 minutes in the middle of the QSO is a nuisance!
73 de Demetre M0SUY
I just re-read Irad's suggestion at the top of this thread, and would like to add that the ID only be forced at: initial connect, disconnect, and ONCE EVERY TEN MINUTES. More frequent ID's are not required by the FCC and will add unnecessary clutter to conversations .
I'm finally getting around to posting in the forum on my request to add a forced station ID every X minutes, selectable by the operator.
There are two issues I see.
1) Station identification as required by licensing authority (FCC in US requires ID every 10 minutes and at the end of the QSO). If VARA-HF doesn't include the transmitting station's callsign, that requires the operator to manually type an ID periodically. Or invoke it in a pre-canned message.
2) For the convenience of operators monitoring a QSO to know who is connected to whom so that when the QSO is over, you could call one of the stations. That currently is not possible because callsigns aren't displayed in the monitor window.
Question: how often are call signs transmitted in the VARA-HF protocol? (Apart from VarAC?) Only upon initial connection?
I am doing this exactly because of the 2 reasons you stated.
I attached my post here from facebook from the 16th where I declared this move. this will also answer your question:
Hi all. @Tom Weeden brought up something important in one of his comments on a post here.
As hams - we are obligated to identify ourselves every few minutes (number of minutes is depend on your local rules).
This will also allow hams that are monitoring the frequency to know who is chatting and can connect any of the chatting parties once the QSO is over.
The VARA protocol does not contain a callsign in any transmitted packet. So I have decided its VarAC responsibility to do it.
I will be adding a feature in one of the upcoming versions that will broadcast a "DE MYCALL" every X minutes. I will give the operator the freedom to chose any number between 1 to 10 minutes (default would be 5) based on your local regulations.
I will also put this broadcast on screen as part of the chat stream to maintain transparency with the operator.
It's our obligation to comply with regulations but also an obligation to our fellow hams who monitor the frequency.
The callsign you see as on your chat stream are not transmitted... they are generated on screen.
Today I monitored the frequency. I captured quite a few chats. But not a single time I saw self identification. Unlike SSB, when it comes to keyboard chats, it is not in our nature to type it. even if I put a big red flashing button, people will hardly press it. I know I won't :) On the other hand those signals this morning were strong and once the QSOs ended I wanted to connect the parties and chat. but I didn't have a clue who they were... This only strengthen my position that VarAC need to do it. It may take a few more seconds every few minutes, but this will create more engagement as people will be able to find people to chat with by monitoring the frequency. Small price to pay for a big value in my opinion.
I'm not against sending callsigns (good idea) during a chat, I was just questioning if it was necessary since they were shown on screen. I think a separate window showing decoded calls (with timestamp) would be great. If this feature could also be configured to be set to send a callsign at the initial connection, and again at disconnect, it would be great. If it just relied on some sort of a timer to trigger it, then many short chats would never trigger sending a callsign.
If the callsigns that are displayed on the QSO (top) are actually being transmitted, then no additional ID's are necessary. This is how ID's were handled in the packet radio days. The FCC said that since the packet data was easily decoded by a monitoring station, that was all that was necessary.