M17 Digital Communications Go From Strength To Strength

M17 Digital Communications Go From Strength To Strength

The world of amateur radio is like many other fields in that there has been a move underway from analogue to digital modes. In fact, amateur radio has often led the way in digital innovation.  There’s a snag, though: many of the digital speech modes are proprietary. To address this along comes the M17 project, an effort to create an open digital communication protocol for radio amateurs. We’ve looked at them more than once in the past few years, and as they’ve come up with several pieces of new hardware it’s time for another peek.

First up is the Remote Radio Unit, described as “a comprehensive, UHF FM/M17 “repeater in a box,” optimally designed for close antenna placement, enhancing signal strength and reliability.” The repeater forms the “other half” of the UHF handheld radio chain and will be crucial to the uptake of the protocol.

Then there’s OpenHT , their take on an SDR dual-band handheld radio for M17, and perhaps most interestingly for radio amateurs with existing radios, the Module 17 and its miniaturised Micro17 cousin, which are encoders and modems for any radio capable of handling 9600 baud serial communication.

You can read some of our previous M17 coverage here, and it’s very encouraging to see that this project is going places. If you want to see what they’ve been up to lately, check out their YouTube channel which has some older tests ..

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