Datacomms using the fldigi software suite
The transmission of message (data) traffic using the fldigi software suite of programs has recently been the subject of consideration, research and development by many RAYNET Groups in the UK as well as a number of other parts of the world. Within Zone 7, West Devon and Dorset have been making considerable progress in tailoring the use of the programs in emergency message traffic handling – albeit in somewhat different ways.
West Devon have designed a set of macros primarily intended for use on the ICE (Inter-county Communications Exercise) events and also for use in sending completed CHALETS and 1st. METHANE forms. It should be added that the CHALETS form has now been discontinued in favour of 1st. METHANE.
Dorset have examined and successfully developed the use of two of the forms (IARU and Plain Text) in the flmsg program where the transmitted result at the receiving station is immediately displayed in Internet Explorer to be saved in an appropriate folder and/or 2 copies printed out, one for the operator and one for the User Service addressee. The modes used are PSK250/500/1000. The use of the EasyPal programme for sending .jpg images has been successfully carried out.
There is within Dorset RAYNET a small team of Members equipped for digital operation who can be deployed to key locations for passing messages or larger blocks of data at high speeds over VHF or UHF links.
The equipment suite required for this form of portable digital operation is a transceiver with a data port (6, 8, or 13-pin), an interface unit such as the Tigertronics SignaLink USB or the most recent G4ZLP unit, and a laptop with the fldigi suite installed. On base station laptop or desktop computer can be used.
Dorset also have a long-standing connection with the National RAYNET-HF Team which includes the use of modes such as Olivia 16/500 or Thor22 on HF/SSB circuits.