Thursday, 26 April 2012

DCS: Also Reflecting Our National Traits

Sometimes I find how we use new technology is as interesting as the technology itself. You may not know or care what DCS reflectors are, but the way they’re developing tells us a little about ourselves, I think.

DCS reflectors are basically a new generation of servers or chat rooms we use with digital amateur radio to link repeaters, nodes and individuals together. They were developed recently by some very clever enthusiasts in Germany and are growing in an organic way. A bit like dandelions.

Each DCS reflector has modules from A to Z, which are a blank canvas. The way in which these are being filled is like a group of sugar drink-fuelled children scrambling to choose their bunk-beds in a large dormitory at summer camp.

Let me explain: The first two DCS reflectors, DCS001 and DCS002 were hosted by the Germans. They had neatly and orderly divided up the entire globe into modules. It was a good start. For their own country they had a national module of course, with additional modules for north, south, east and west Germany respectively. But anyone who knows a little about Germany should not be surprised to see that Bavaria has broken away and formed its own module. The states of Hessen and Baden-Wuettenberg followed suit, of course. The states of the former East remain quiet for the moment, it seems.

There are now nine DCS reflectors at the time of writing, all now hosted by different countries who wanted their own national servers. The Dutch are fastidious in their egalitarianism. They’ve gone and divided their reflector into nation-wide, north, mid and south Netherlands as well as – wait for it - thirteen different regions including the colonies of the Dutch Antilles. The inhabitants of Flevoland must be ecstatic.

The Swiss, however, have no national module at all. No, they’ve divided their piece of DCS cake in language-slices: German, French and Italian. I’m also sure it will be the most reliable DCS reflector ever known to man.

The Italians seem a little less self-assured. They have a record number of four test channels, just in case.

The US reflector is well-ordered, with a couple of the noisier states, like Texas, having their own module. Even the Canadians are accommodated.

And as for my lot, the Brits? Well, we would have to be a little bit different, wouldn’t we? At the time of writing there is a national UK module, with a Northern Ireland, Wales & West, Midlands and South module. No Scotland so far. Maybe it’s the expense. And uniquely in the new DCS community, the city of London has decided that it is elevated enough among the great and good capitals of the world to merit its very own module.

I think we can rightly take most pride in the four inconspicuous modules simply labelled as ‘chat’. You can transfer to these modules for your one-to-one conversation without tying up the repeaters of an entire small country. I have heard less-than-scintillating conversations occupy worldwide reflectors for some considerable periods.

The pace of development is astonishing. An idea whispered in the ear of a developer is often embodied overnight. And we’re just one month into the story…..

UK DCS005 shown on he excellent (German) DV-RPTR
Control Centre software

11 comments:

  1. nicely written and explained, well done dereck. alan m0aqc

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Alan! 73 Rob MW0DNK

    ReplyDelete
  3. ahemmmmm i will restate my last with a name correction.....

    nicely written and explained, well done ROB!!!

    alan m0aqc

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting sounds like AOL for Ham Radio

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! I'm sure the system will change out of recognition again within the next few weeks and months. We can be more selective than ever how we communicate. 73, Rob.

      Delete
  5. I've read this with a big smile on my face..
    Excellent written!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's put a smile on my face - thanks for your kind comment and thanks for the link on your webpage. 73, Rob.

      Delete
    2. Great blog Rob, how about your thoughts on the co operation between the software developers!.
      Johnston GI0BFO

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the comment, Johnston. I think I'll quit while I'm ahead on this particular subject! Look forward to catching you soon on DCS005 (insert appropriate module) 73, Rob.

      Delete
  6. Can't use DCS reflectors from Sydney in NSW Australia... nobody will install the software on the gateways! REF's only.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear that, but I hear the the DPlus system is working a little better these days. Things have changed already since I wrote this article. It's hard keeping up! 73, Rob.

      Delete