Pactor 4 Dragon

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DaveK
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Pactor 4 Dragon

#1

Post by DaveK » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:38 pm

In the world of electronic gizmos, there is but one constant - there is always a newer, better and more expensive toy than the one you currently have. Ham Radio seems to be no exception to this rule.

SCS Company, the German creators of the Pactor series of controllers, have recently announced the introduction of their newest item, the Pactor 4 Dragon DR 7800 modem. From the SCS website:
Pactor 4 Dragon.png
Pactor 4 Dragon.png (306.89 KiB) Viewed 3331 times
According to all of the reports that I have seen, it offers throughput speeds that can exceed three times what the P3 controllers could produce. The SCS website claims that it is capable of "E-mail, almost like at home" (http://www.scs-ptc.com/shop/products/mo ... on-dr-7800).

At the present time there is just one little drawback - it may be too fast to be in compliance with FCC rules. I have not seen any FCC rulings yet, but it will probably be just a matter of time before it comes to their attention.

Pactor 3 is a great tool for back country communications, via the HF frequencies, but the P4 Dragon could be a huge leap forward (when it is approved for use by Amateurs).
DaveK
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cruiserlarry
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Re: Pactor 4 Dragon

#2

Post by cruiserlarry » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:12 am

OK, I'm hooked...

You left out the one detail that could derail my excitement: the price ???
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DaveK
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Re: Pactor 4 Dragon

#3

Post by DaveK » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:23 pm

cruiserlarry wrote:OK, I'm hooked...

You left out the one detail that could derail my excitement: the price ???

If the hook is set, then the rest will be just mere details. For the moment, you can save your nickels. Relative to the Amateur frequencies, the Winlink 2000 System of Radio Mail Stations are not quite ready to use P4, but the changes are under development, and will be available soon (I'm told).

The other issue appears to be the question of the legality of using the P4 Modem. Several Hams have "opined" that its symbol rate exceeds what is allowed under the FCC rules. They may be right, but I am certain that there will be a move, probably by the ARRL, to have the equipment or technology somehow exempted from these restrictions.

The other reason to wait a little has to do with the fact that the DR7800 is being offered to replace their top of the line model (and, of course, their most expensive model). I was advised yesterday that there will be a new P4 Dragon model coming out soon that will replace their mid-line model (translation = cheaper).

So to answer your question, the cost of the DR 7800 is about $1850.00. I figure that the mid-line model will be about $300 less. So how's your enthusiasm doing now?
DaveK
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Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
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xtatik
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Re: Pactor 4 Dragon

#4

Post by xtatik » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:53 am

Beware.....
There are heavy and heated discussions that could see Pactor moved out of the amateur spectrum due to interference issues that are cropping up. Most of the offenders are yachties who abuse the service. Seems Pactor is having a tough time finding clear frequencies in custom with other modes. Many PSK, Hellschreiber and even CW operators have been trampled and they aren't happy about it. They're being very vocal about it towards the ARRL and moreso the FCC. With SCS controlling the mode through patents to the point that no other ham can even "homebrew" a unit, it is being pitched as being outside the bounds or intent of Amateur Radio customs and could or should amount to a commercial service.
Randy
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DaveK
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Re: Pactor 4 Dragon

#5

Post by DaveK » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:22 pm

Randy:

I know. I have felt the heat, even here in the coolness of the south bay. It will be interesting to see how things settle. Unfortunately however, in these type of settings, things rarely settle, they just keep simmering. Witness the never ending controversy over non-code General and Extra licenses.

I guess there is no way to know what will happen but I do know that there are many emergency preparedness groups, like SATERN and some CERT groups whose equipment and training involves the use of Airmail (which, when used with a P3 modem, is one of the fastest and most efficient email communication tools available).

In defense of the SCS guys and their exclusive use of their technology, it should be noted that they did allow other companies some years ago to make products with the Pactor technology. If memory serves, MFJ and a couple of others were involved and before SCS pulled the plug, some or all of these other companies had screwed up the products so bad that the Pactor products were getting a bad reputation. Since then, if you want a Pactor modem, you have to buy the ones made by SCS. From personal experience, their quality is outstanding.
DaveK
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Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

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