WHAT CAN WE DO IN 2013 TO PROMOTE PACTOR ?
TOPIC ONE: PACTOR has changed from an HF digital mode of choice to a means of specific high speed communications.
The use of PACTOR by boaters, by those participating in MARS, and by auto mailbox (Store and Forward) users has grown while the
number of 'others' is not growing as rapidly.
ANSWER: The expanded use of PACTOR should be the goal of most PACTOR users. That means if those in the 'other' catagory are to grow, then PACTOR should be used more often, much more often, by this group. Perhaps even a PACTOR contest can be started to help increase PACTOR awareness.
TOPIC TWO: In the past PACTOR modems were multipurpose. They did CW, RTTY, AMTOR, PSK-31, WEFAX, etc. Today
PACTOR modems are pretty much limited to PACTOR mode only.
ANSWER: SCS, the maker of PACTOR, has promised to address this issue in the future; however, results are needed. There should be an ongoing communications issue to remind SCS that PACTOR continues to be used by a number of non-commercial users. Perhaps we can request a date to expect an update which should be sooner rather than later.
TOPIC THREE: The cost of a PACTOR modem has gone up so much that it is beyond the means of the average Ham
ANSWER: As previously reported, SCS has said that the number of general Ham Radio users has declined to the point they are a minority of SCS business. As a result, there is little incentive to create a bare bones PACTOR modem. When the only 'cheap' PACTOR-4 modem is high priced box and the 'regular' PACTOR-4 modem is even far more expensive, here's what to do:
Now, of course, a new lower priced PACTOR modem may be wishful thinking, but for SCS to even consider creating such a device we should let SCS know there is a market for making it. We should remind SCS that Ham Operators were the initial prime supporters of PACTOR -- the main beta-testers of their products -- and the promoters of future sales. Now is the time for SCS to return the favor and support their original base of users.
Frankly, SCS has not been paying attention recently to Ham users. With little to sell and few to buy, is it any wonder? Now is the time to change that equation. If there was a new modem available from SCS with more modes and at a lower price would you purchase it? I certainly would. Yes, now is the time to let SCS know that !!
Have a HAPPY 2013.
PACTOR IN 2013
With respect to Amateur Radio it can be claimed that using PACTOR for QSO's is on life support. Yes, there are a few 'die-hard' hams trying to preserve the originial purpose of the mode. But today, the primary day-to-day operation of PACTOR in the Ham Bands is as a store and transfer mode used by automatic mailboxes -- and even that use is not exclusive. Of course, PACTOR is also used for other non-Ham purposes, such as MARS and Marine.
As previously mentioned, the deterioration of Ham Radio support by the sellers of PACTOR and the ever increasing cost of the product explains our 2013 predictions. Yes, FREEWARE SOFTWARE and the much higher cost of using PACTOR means that fewer Hams will bother with PACTOR.
Meanwhile, please have a HAPPY NEW YEAR. I hope to have a QSO with many of you and I do have a PACTOR TNC. I still call CQ with RTTY, but I am not a contest player -- I like to chat.
WILL HAM QSO USE OF PACTOR SURVIVE THE ECONOMY OF FREE?
What happened? As mentioned previously, there are two main reasons. First, a deterioration of Ham Radio support by the sellers of PACTOR and the second is the ever increasing cost of the product. Yes, the automatic mailboxes still exist and they are the primary Ham Band PACTOR use. The appearance of FREEWARE SOFTWARE and the much higher cost of using PACTOR means that fewer Hams bother with PACTOR.
In addition, PACTOR use is touted for "OUT-OF-THE-HAM-BAND" use. PACTOR-4, the latest release, is not permitted on the USA Ham Bands, yet ads for AUTO MAILBOX use, MARINE BAND use, MARS use, and OUT-OF-USA use are the sales and marketing efforts. When was the last time there was a PACTOR ad in a Ham Radio publication? Is it any wonder manual PACTOR QSOs are on the decline?
PACTOR USED ONLY INFREQUENTLY FOR QSOs
So, what been happening? According to many sources there are two main reasons. First, a deterioration of Ham Radio support by the sellers of PACTOR and the second is the ever increasing cost of the product. More on these items to follow shortly.
AUTOMATED MAILBOXES UNDER THREAT?
In addition, so-called "Homeland Security Concerns" may exist where "codes and other means of obscuring the meaning" of messages may be a significant problem.
While directly there is no tie to PACTOR-4, the use of PACTOR-4 on Store and Forward operations is seen as adding to the problem rather than correcting it. Meanwhile, my sources report there are some 'bottlenecks' in the process to allow PACTOR-4 to legally operate in the US Hambands. Some progress has been made, I was told; however, there are some issues about commerical conflict and whether PACTOR-4 (being called a closed protocol designed for commercial use) merits use on the ham bands when royalities are involved.
More on this topic later as further news is released.
PACTOR-4 - UPDATES AND IMPROVEMENTS!
PACTOR-4 - WHAT'S MISSING THAT SHOULD BE THERE?
Demetre says: "The P4dragon is missing FEC PACTOR and some other modes. I think it is imperative for SCS to make the new P4dragon support all the modes the older PTC-II series modems did.
"As it is P4dragon is not 100% useful to Radio Amateurs, but only to the die hard Pactorists and mostly to the ones who are only interested in the Winlink2000 system. It would be great if they could also support PSK-31, RTTY, SSTV, WEFAX, NAVTEX, perhaps ALE 141 and perhaps other exotic soundcard modes (MFSK, Olivia etc.) as well as Pactor.
"Also a Pactor listen mode is imperative because as it is now we cannot have any Pactor QSOS with the P4dragon, and QSOS are the best part in Amateur Radio.
"It is a shame to tell you that I have read in the newsgroups that people are thinking of using MULTIPSK (a soundcard program) for calling CQ Pactor on 100 baud Pactor FEC and for decoding FEC Pactor CQ calls from others and then switching to their P4dragon for a Pactor 1/2/3 or 4 QSO. Instead P4dragon should have this ability of listening or transmitting FEC Pactor.
"73 de Demetre SV1UY"
PACTOR-4 RAISES QUESTIONS FOR USA HAMS
Much as PACTOR-2 and PACTOR-3 were challenged as being 'non-compliant' with FCC Rules and Regulations, time has shown that novel digital modes do take time to 'shake-out' and their later adoption has been credited to technical standards. However, PACTOR-4 uses a challenging modulation scheme and unlike previous PACTOR modes, the signal is so complex so as to render obsolete many existing FCC Amateur Band standards. While the idea of rapid data transfer appeals to many hams, there is great objection to the growing bandwidths of new modes. The preference is for digital signals to be contained within a 500Hz bandwidth -- and -- the narrower, the better.
Some of the objections to PACTOR-4 are logical and based upon existing technical standards. However, others object to PACTOR (no matter the bandwidth) based upon purely personal motives. These objections fall into three areas, technical, financial, and personal. The technical objections (as with PACTOR-2 and PACTOR-3) can be addressed by the process of acceptance and changing of the existing rules. It is more difficult to deal with the financial and personal areas. The high cost of a PACTOR TNC has always been the source of frustration for those who might otherwise be very interested. Unfortunately, the Amateur Radio crowd would rather get something for nothing -- hence the preference for software driven applications. The personal aspect of objecting to PACTOR has its roots in the licensing and control of the mode. Back in the days of PACTOR-1, past licensees and builders of PACTOR-1 TNCS (AEA, MFJ, KAM, etc.) took shortcuts that cheapened the product and undermined the original specifications to the point that some TNCs were so inferior as to hurt the reputation of the mode itself. Many articles of the time were devoted to the inferior performance of the PACTOR-1 mode itself, when in fact the units under test themselves did NOT meet and undercut specifications.
Is it any wonder that SCS (makers of the PTC) clamped down on letting others make inferior copies of their products? The bad experience of marketing PACTOR-1 led to the high cost (for a fantastic unit) for newer products to grow even higher. In addition the tight control of the source code and the shielding of technical aspects caused the 'freebee' software writers to be 'shut-out' of attempting to write inferior copies of software only applications of PACTOR-2 and more recent upgrades. So, the financial and personal objections have pretty much combined to avoid SCS products.
The current challenge is two-fold. First, to compare the actual results achieved with PACTOR-4 and secondly to see if the PACTOR-4 can be effective in the the ham radio arena. Meanwhile, PACTOR-4 needs to be tested in the USA and elsewhere to determine if the rising price of this newest mode is justified. Only time and experience will tell if PACTOR-4 can work in the ham bands.
WELCOME PACTOR-4 - YES !! PACTOR-4 is here
Click here for more info on Pactor-4
We are now on our new server and hopefully can devote
some more time to the PACTOR mode. PACTOR is an HF
communications mode which is primarily used by Hams
and others to transfer data point to point.
Here is some interesting mail about PACTOR.
Click here to read this interesting mail exchange.
Shortly after posting this email we received a nasty response.
Click here to read this reply email.
Your comments are always welcome and I look forward to hearing from you.
73 de Phil - N8PS
The PACTOR web site is up and running. Unfortunately, due to the struggling
economy and high financial cost, our written publication has ceased.
However, our support for PACTOR as an HF digital mode has never been higher.
This site continues to serve as an information clearinghouse about PACTOR.
More exciting news is on the way, so please keep checking back as we work
to expand this web site and increase its content.
Meanwhile, PACTOR remains the leader in HF digital technology.
73 FOR NOW - DE PHIL - N8PS
Latest PTC-II/II(e) software update = Version 4.0
The latest PTC-pro software update is Version 4.0
HOW DOES PACTOR STACK UP? (28-Nov-96)
Click here to read about mode comparisons.
The best digital ARQ (linked) mode on High Frequency ( 3 to 30 MegaHertz ) Amateur Radio is called PACTOR.
It transfers text, files, and graphics quickly and without error. Pactor was invented in Germany and is quite popular among
hams who communicate by radio with computers. PACTOR NEWS is an online source
dedicated specifically to PACTOR.
Click here if you would like to read my biography or for information about Clayton, Ohio.
Thanks for reading.. this is Phil Sussman - N8PS - 73's