We lead this episode with a note from ARRL HQ responding to our Force of Two episode about ham radio's part in Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane Maria. We invited the League's Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey KI1U to talk to us (or pass the request along). He did pass it along, HQ declined the invitation to appear, but did send a short note that we'll read.
Next, the click-bait headline story. On October 30, Ray Novak N9JA, Amateur Division Manager for Icom America, wrote a story on the ICOM blog titled Is Your Digital Repeater Ham Friendly? Our baitworthy headline comes from Ray's warning that some features in the radios designed for an un-named commercial digital radio service (cough dmr cough) can be used against the unwary operator (stun, kill, monitor) and have no place in the amateur radio service. We agree, but find Ray's treatment of the subject somewhat opaque, heavy-handed, and less than helpful. But what the heck - we're clearly not above a click-bait headline ourselves.
Helping us understand the details is Jason Johnston KC5HWB from the Ham Radio 2.0 show. Jason reviews just about every Chinese/DMR radio that crosses the ocean to America. Ray also casts a shadow over a DMR 'required feature' called talkgroups. Our discussion branches out to cover that and other comparisons between DMR and D-STAR.
Finally, the night before the show, CBS aired a new episode of NCIS that had a significant ham radio element. We show a couple of clips that do the usual hack job on real ham procedure, but also include an almost press-release explanation of what ham radio is. Unfortunately (we are told... we didn't watch the whole show) the ham-protagonist in the plot turns out to be unstable, and (we are told) that hams are portrayed as anti-social in general. Maybe we should watch the whole thing.
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AUDIO LISTENERS: Radio Rating: A-. We read all of the ARRL's note, so you won't miss that on-screen. There's a link to Ray's blog so you can see it all for yourself, as we don't read the whole thing to you. And you'll miss the video from NCIS, but if you picture a well-equipped, Kenwood-centric station, the dialog will carry you the rest of the way.