In the past UCARES has used ARESPACK as the standard for packet communications however many now feel that that software is becoming obsolete.
UCARES members and leadership are currently investigating updating our packet usage and requirements to a more common standard. The option we are currently looking at is NBEMS. Over the few months we hope to become more familiar and practiced in use of NBEMS on various band and packet encoding protocols so we can define a reasonable standard for it’s use in emergency communications in Utah County.
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Below is a working document with suggestions on where and how NEBMS should be used. You should check back regularly since this document will change as we refine our knowledge and practices.
Software downloads for various platforms: http://w1hkj.com/download.html
Windows, Mac and Linux platforms are currently supported. At the very least, you will need the following packages:
- fldigi – The main packet decoding software. It converts audio signals into digital data. More info on fldigi can be found on W1HKJ’s web site.
- flarq – File transfer application that integrates with fldigi. It is used to pass ICS forms and other documents through fldigi over the air.
- flamp – Implements the “Amateur Multicast Protocol”. Used to transmit one or more files in blocks. It uses error correction to ensure each block is sent correctly.
- flwrap – a small program that encapsulates files to be sent, within identifier blocks to verify file integrity.
- flmsg – a fast simple forms management editor for quickly sending standard ARRL and ICS message formats.
Other suggested packages:
- flwkey – simple interface to a CW key code generator
- flrig – simple rig control software supporting CIV, hamlib, rigcat and othres. Ties directly into fldigi.
- fllog – simple contact logging program integrated into fldigi.
- flnet – simple net check-in management interface integrated into fldigi.
Other interesting packages:
- kcat – computer control program for the Kachina 505DSP transceiver
- kcts – maintenance program for the Kachina 505DSP transceiver.
Linux – click here
Windows – (todo: link to an instruction page)
Mac – (todo: link to an instruction page)
Setup and Configuration
The first time you run fldigi it will open a setup wizard to walk you through a few basic setup steps:
You should enter your Callsign and name in the appropriate fields. I suggest entering your current city and state in the “QTH” box, and the QTH locator code in the “Locator” box. The antenna field is optional is meant to be a short description of the antenna you use for Call logging purposes. If you don’t know your QTH locator code there are a few tools to help you find it. You can search “qth locator” in your favorite search engine or use this one: http://qthlocator.free.fr/index.php
The next dialog will as for the type of sound card you are using. This will depend on the sound card (or external sound modem) you are using and your operating system. As this document grows, we hope to have settings listed below for various types.
Sound Card settings:
(todo: move these to a separate “sound card” page)
- Signalink USB
- Linux – Pulseaudio is the most common and seems to work fine.
- Windows – This will probably show as a USB soundcard
Determine the type of radio you want to control and the method of control. There are several different software libraries to control radio hardware and it varies greatly. If you have experience with a radio model or control mode not shown here, please e-mail me and I’ll add your notes.
(todo: add a page for radio and sofware library specific notes.)
Tabular data sources:
As I have not yet had the need to use these, I’ve left them at their default settings.
You are now ready to start configuring fldigi to your liking. Here are some recommended configuration changes:
If you plan on using fldigi with nbems, you can autostart the nbems programs when fldigi launches. Go to “configure | autostart”. You will be presented with the window that lets you select the programs to start with fldigi. If you have installed the various NBEMS software packages in their default locations the location for each program may already be filled in. If it is not, clicking the “locate” button should find it. If it doesn’t’, you will need to enter the path to each manually. These are the programs I normally have open when fldigi opens: flrig, flamp. You can also add your own programs to the last 4 custom fields. When finished click “save”.
For your first contacts with NBEMS and fldigi, you will want to have another fldigi user ready and listening to test your setup. You can use the suggested band plan below to decide how and where best suites your needs.