Tom - Welcome to one of several "third rails" in Amateur Radio. I was an early advocate of Internet integration with Amateur Radio (indeed... that was the founding premise of Amateur Radio Digital Communications - ARDC).

However, I have grown a bit leery about the increasing dependence on Internet connectivity for Amateur Radio systems that are intended as a "fallback" capability (EMCOM) when the conventional telecommunications infrastructure is unusable (for whatever reason). As in, a relatively simple, robust, reliable system such as an FM repeater gets integrated with Internet to the point that drills for "Emergency Communications" on an FM repeater are being done remotely via Internet. That wasn't... quite... the original idea for the repeater as an emergency communications resource.

For fun, experimentation, personal growth, being able to use Amateur Radio capabilities when "on site RF" simply isn't an option, I have no problem with Amateur Radio / Internet interconnection. One example was a club station for a new Amateur Radio group I tried to form. RF (especially antennas) were absolutely not an option at the club's location, so my proposed solution was a split station with the front panel, microphone, speaker, etc. at the club, and the radio at a remote location where antennas were acceptable, and linking the two halves via Internet.

I do have a mild difference of opinion about the nature of Hamshack Hotline... to me it's merely a VOIP PBX that operates via Internet connectivity with a noncommercial user base. In my mind it's similar in scope to the Zello Walkie Talkie app that runs on smartphones and cellular connectivity. They both work great, useful, fun, etc. and do provide usable communications.

Also TCP/IP networking =/= "Internet". VOIP (and video) over an AREDN network is not Internet.

Yeah, it's way too easy to get bogged down on semantics. Your mileage may vary.

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Apr 4Liked by Tom Salzer

An amateur radio license is an authorization to experiment and learn in a social milieu that may include communities near and far where interactions happen in Real Life (iRL) or only/primarily over radio and other means of communication. Indeed travel by plane, ship or automobile may also facilitate the social aspect of the hobby.

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Apr 6·edited Apr 6Author

As I have continued to think about this — with the added perspectives of valued readers! — I am recognizing that one point of confusion is in the terminology we use. "This isn't radio!" is a common cry when radio-free technologies are used in our amateur radio hobby. Perhaps a useful distinction should be: this is not *a* radio. The hobby is a big tent that covers a lot of radio-related things, and not all of those are an actual radio. I occupy the big tent where those related things are still part of my amateur radio hobby.

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