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2619V4 and V4Chat in 2011

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  • Rick Muething
    Dec 11, 2011
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      Thanks for the feedback. 
      I think it is important to look back over the last year and comment on some things about V4 and V4 chat, where we are in the development and what we have accomplished this past year since we started alpha testing.
      1) V4 is the actual protocol. It’s documented, can run ARQ or FEC modes and is generally useable down to a level of about –5 to –8  dB S/N (based on the standard 3 KHz Noise bandwidth) over most channels including poor multipath.
      2) The V4 TNC is a “helper” program that implements the Virtual V4 TNC...essentially creating the equivalent of a hardware TNC using the V4 TNC software and a common PC sound card. The V4 TNC is set up to be able to be easily used by other programs (V4Chat is one example).
      3) V4Chat is the client. It implements all the user interface and text functionality. It determines how you type to send, what and how data is displayed, how you call and answer CQs, the timeouts,  radio control, logging, etc. It uses the V4 TNC but any other client could also use the V4 TNC and implement a different user interface. There is no “right” or perfect GUI and V4Chat tries to accommodate most user preferences while keeping things fairly easy to set up and operate (always a challenge!) .  What you see now is the result of over a year of Alpha/Beta testing and user feedback...the task is really never done and I am always open to thoughtful suggestions for improvement.
      4) It is important I think to understand and maintain the differences between a keyboard oriented protocol and client (one that is normally manned at each end) and what I’ll call a message protocol/client where messages are sent and stored and usually at least one end (the server) is unattended. Both those have their uses and fans but it can be difficult or inefficient to make one program do both. For example The V4 TNC could be used in either a simple message system or in a keyboard oriented program like V4Chat but it is difficult, and can be inefficient and confusing to try and do both in one client.  There are already a number of message based Clients/Servers that use sound card modes like WINMOR (RMS Express, BPQ32 etc. ) ...I don’t know that we need any others for the V4 protocol. 
      5)  I want to add some nice features especially for the international users like multi-byte character support (UTF-8) which would support foreign fonts and characters. I also know from experience with WINMOR we can expect incremental but significant improvements in sensitivity and reliability under poor propagation conditions. This is one of the great benefits in doing all the signal processing in the software. But it takes lots of work and testing to gain each dB or 2!
      6) I would really like over the next year to be able to support other OS and devices (perhaps some tablets).  This is not a trivial effort and any volunteers with experience with Mono (translation of MS VB.NET code to Linux) or expertise in Mac OS or Java and the Android OS would be much welcomed. I am willing to share source code and offer encouragement but such projects require skill, experience and commitment...it is not a 2 week effort!
      Finally, A special thanks to the over 950 in our V4Protocol group that have contributed to the V4 experiment, development and testing this last year. Best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season.

      Rick Muething, KN6KB
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