- What is C4FM?
– In the simplest form C4FM is the method of digital that Fusion uses for communication. C4FM is used by not only Yaesu for amateur communications but is also used by public safety communications. While the two are not compatible C4Fm was selected due to the high voice quality that it produces.
- What is the channel spacing? Does this buy us anything?
– When using digital voice (Fusion) channel spacing goes down to 12.5 Khz. When using the VW mode voice takes up the whole 12.5 Khz and when using DN mode voice takes up 6.25 Khz and data with FEC takes up the other 6.25 Khz.
- What is the data transfer rate speed? How does this help?
– The speed that Fusion uses for data rate is 9600 baud and running at a faster baud rate helps the voice quality.
- What modes are available for communications? What are the advantages of each?
– The modes for digital are: VW – _Voicewide (higher voice quality), DN – _Digital Narrow (better error correction), and DW – _Datawide (used for sending data or tele-commands)
- Is C4FM the most suitable mode for digital amateur radio communications?
– This is sometimes a loaded question, but I will answer why we think it is the best one. First, Fusion is the quickest and easiest to get up and running on or with right out of the box. All one has to do is turn the radio on for the first time, enter your call sign, and then you are ready to go. No need to do more programming or setting things up in the radio. If you want to talk in FM simply push the DX or mode button (radio based) and then want to talk into digital, simply push it again till you see VW or DN. Finally, our voice quality is the highest compared to the other different digital modes.
- Does C4FM provide better performance and better immunity to interference?
– Digital does help extend some range but if the RF signal has interference it will be subject to it just like FM or other digital modes.
- What is Wires-X?
– Wires-X is a means of allowing stations to communicate with each other using digital as well as analog. This is set-up in a node configuration or by directly connecting to the repeater.
- What advantages does Wires-X present to the general ham?
– It allows the technician class to be able to speak locally, regional, and nationwide with a handheld and a base radio. Also, as stated, it allows the analog and digital user to cross connect to one another in order to communicate. In other words, it fuses analog and digital together for communication.
- What is a node and what is a room? How are they used?
– A node is a device that consists of an HRI-200 directly connected to either a FTM-400 or FTM-100 mobile radio. A room is a virtual aspect of the node which means that if the node (HRI-200) is not turned on the room is not active. You do not have to be connected into the room but just have the node turned on with Wires-x software running. To think of it in another way it is sort of.
- Besides voice communications can messages be sent on Wires-X?
– Wires-X can send text messages, pictures, and store news messages in text or voice recordings. In addition, Wires-X can send text messages from one node to another via the computer software.
- Can images be sent on Wires-x?
- How does Wires-X allow hams to communication with colleagues from around the world?
– By having a Wires-X node you can connect to any other node
- Is Digital communications slowly taking over the ham community?
– Yes, it has created a renewed interest in VHF and UHF communications. Also, with less than desirable HF conditions people are turning to digital communications to make these worldwide contacts. Also, with the digital voice era younger hams are taking an interest due to using Raspberry Pi’s, Arduino, etc.
- How have other clubs handled the transition to digital communications form strictly FM?
– It really depends on the club and users. Some have two repeaters in which one is digital the other is analog. Another is that the repeater is ran in AMS mode and users slowly convert over to digital. Finally, to which I have some of my personal repeaters set-up, is to run one in strictly digital and link it to an analog repeater.
- Do all digital modes have similar performance?
– It really comes down to the mode of digital, codec, and method used. Right now the ones that exist are C4FM, GMSK, and 4FSK utilizing an AMBE or IMBE vocoder and using either FDMA or TDMA. So different scenarios do exist.
- We have heard that digital signals make better neighbors because FM analog signals will occasionally have splatter into adjacent signals but C4FM with it consistent modulation will not do this. Is this correct?
– Digital signals tend to stay pretty tight into the bandwidth because it is standard in the digital data. It really is a series of 1’s and 0’s being sent in a data stream. However, if channel spacing is an issue the digital noise can cause an issue if to close to analog signals.
- I do not have a C4FM radio, I only have a FM radio since I cannot hear the digital transmissions how will I know the the repeater is being used?
– You could utilize the monitor button on the radio to listen or use the BCLO feature on the radios
- If the club buys a C4FM repeater does it mean all of us now have to buy new Yeasu radios to communicate?
– If you wish to use Fusion then yes you would need to purchase Yaesu digital radios. No, digital modes are directly compatible at a radio level.
- So what is the big deal with digital voice? Why is it better than good old FM?
– Digital voice offers additional features not possible in FM communications. Examples would be callsign information, distance, txt messaging, and others. In addition, digital signals have error correction built in so that transmissions can have extended distance.
- How can the expenditure of several thousand of dollars be justified by what we additionally get going to digital?
– The advantage with Fusion is that you can migrate on your own terms and when you wish to use or change to digital. Our repeater is the ONLY technology out there that can operate in AMS (automatic mode select) and also transcode. This means digital in – _digital out, digital in – _analog out, AMS in – _fixed mode out, analog in – _digital out. We also have an entry level line and a more advanced line of mobiles and portables as well as an entry level refurbished repeater at $400 and an advanced one ranging from $900 – $1100.
- To me it seems that the digital explosion is taking over everything. If we buy C4FM repeaters how so we know that Yaesu will not change to a new modulation scheme and obsolete what we have?
– ALL of our Fusion radios are firmware upgradable, so improvements and advancements are covered. As an example, the FT-1DR/FT-1XDR were discontinued over a year ago. Yet, when we released a firmware upgrade for the move to Fusion II in Sept. 2017 the radios were updated also.