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[aprssig] PSKMail Live CD

Lance Cotton joe at lightningflash.net
Wed Dec 20 14:17:41 UTC 2006

Amateur Radio WB8NUT wrote:
> A Pactor II or III modem is proprietary and VERY expensive for just one 
> mode.  I don't think PSK is the answer because it is not fast enough, 
> but I wish someone would develop something to use as a replacement for 
> Pactor that is not proprietary and offered by one vendor only.

One of the benefits of PSKmail is that the "digital engine" it uses is a 
multi-mode digital program called gmfsk as it's base. That means you 
could use PSKmail with any of the multitude of digital modes, including 
Olivia, MFSK16, MT63 and more.

PSK63 was chosen by the PSKmail creator as the desired standard because 
it's a narrow mode that is able to be used at very low levels, hence it 
results in a robust transmission at minimal bandwidth usage.

The truth is, you could set up PSKmail with any digital mode. Problem is 
that any other PSKmail nodes who want to interoperate would also have to 
have it. It is by no means restricted to PSK63, however.

The really nice thing about PSKmail is that it's built on "the UNIX way" 
of stacking small utilities together with a little bit of glue to end up 
with a very efficient, modular system. The one bit of real magic with 
PSKmail was the creation of a protocol to turn any non-ARQ mode into an 
ARQ mode by the addition of a small amount of overhead. All the other 
parts already existed:
  - Soundcard digital program
  - Standard UNIX email program
  - Other UNIX utilities for scheduling and data-passing

If only we could have MORE programs which don't come up with a new 
standard of doing things that have been done for decades with a 
perfectly good standard.

-Lance KJ5O

J. Lance Cotton, KJ5O
joe at lightningflash.net
Three Step Plan: 1. Take over the world. 2. Get a lot of cookies. 3. Eat 
the cookies.

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