ARDOP

ARDOP and VARA Now Beta Testing In Winlink Software

The ARDOP (Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol) and VARA protocols are both now fully integrated into software by the Winlink Team. Where BPQ32 allowed both these soundcard modems (radio protocols) to be used on the Winlink system during protocol beta testing and after. Now they have been integrated into the systems' most popular software, RMS Trimode on the server side, and Winlink Express on the client side.

To get the beta software, enable the checkbox for allowing beta software to be auto-updated in your programs. You will also need the latest version of VARA from the author's web site https://rosmodem.wordpress.com.

If you join in the testing effort, please post your observations and results on the Winlink_Programs_Group (see the Support menu on the site).

Eventually, we expect WINMOR to be phased out as these new, more robust and speedy protocols become regularly used. There will be a long and healthy overlap during the transition.

Give them a try! Rigorous testing has shown their promise, and now there are many positive real-world performance reports over HF pathways with today's typical poor band conditions.

73,
The Winlink Development Team

ARDOP News

Here is a short status report on the development of ARDOP, a new, flexible protocol for messaging.

Read about ARDOP (Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol).
The Yahoo ARDOP forum site (which has beta downloads and documentation) is at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ardop_users/info
The ARDOP Developers forum (installs, docs and sources) is at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ardop_development

At the end of 2016, we are near the end of beta testing for the ARDOP_Win TNC (protocol optimization). John Wiseman has also written a version of ARDOP that works with BPQ32 (Server or Client) and can connect to the Winlink system. We are working on integration into Winlink Express and RMS Trimode which will provide client and portals into the Winlink system. Eventually, ARDOP is planned to replace WINMOR (more robust, more bandwidth options, faster) but that won't happen until we have really wrung out the above implementations and optimized the protocol. The conversion from WINMOR will be a simple software change and resetting the setup parameters.

Also, a future (now in testing) hardware implementation (in C operating under Linux on a Teensie quad core processor) will be announced next year. It will permit seamless (no additional sound card or external hardware) and easy integration with other protocols like Pactor and Packet.

Watch this space for more news. 2017 will be the year Winlink moves to ARDOP.

Rick KN6KB
Winlink Development Team

A New Open Protocol is Coming

A new, open radio protocol is in the future for Winlink users, and for amateurs everywhere. ARDOP (Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol) is a new cooperative radio protocol project in which the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation and Rick Muething, KN6KB, of the Winlink Development Team is proud to have a major role. ARDOP will ultimately replace WINMOR in the Winlink system because of it's superior features and multiple platform (OS) support.

The protocol design is open, and the software implementations will be open-sourced. This means you can expect the protocol to take different forms, like a virtual TNC using sound-card software on Windows, Linux, Apple OS X, iOS, and Android, or in hardware, like a USB plug-in or 'add-on box' using today's low-cost DSP CPU chips.

What can you expect of this new protocol? Features like bandwidth negotiation, received signal quality feedback in ACK and NAK, auto-timing, more bandwidth options and a wider range of performance. It will be optimizable for both HF and VHF/UHF radio channels (SSB or FM modes), offer VHF/UHF repeater support, and use both ARQ for connected communications and FEC (forward error correction) for broadcasts. It will allow multi-language messages with full binary support for UTF-8 character set. And you can expect advances in speed and efficiency in noisy, multi-path propagating channels, and effective busy-channel detection to minimize the chance of interference with other communications.

Rick said, "Another goal in this effort is to put something out there in several OS and languages that has a chance (maybe just a slight chance!) of getting some other developers interested in learning about and promoting DSP digital modes. It will be easy to add/test additional modes and extend the protocol. For instance, this morning I did the initial integration and testing of a special super robust data mode (16FSK) that should perform very well in very poor multipath and aurora conditions....it only took a few hours to add the data mode and start testing it. I think if the code is open, yet with compatibility controls to insure conformance so versions are compatible, it just may help some of those not so versed in DSP to learn and eventually contribute."

Since April, Rick has been making satisfying progress wringing out bugs and tuning the protocol with the help of a team of alpha testers, Neil Hughes of the Winlink Development Team conducting endless tests. John Wiseman, G8BPQ, along with Matthew Pitts, N8OHU, have contributed to the specification and open source planning. John has been testing and integrating the virtual TNC into the BPQ client/server. Soon, beta testing will be announced and if interested--and for your promise to assist and make accurate reports--you can get involved in the testing, probably early this Fall.

We've put together an overview page that should answer any questions you might have, and send you to the right places for information. Exciting times! The Radio Art improves!

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