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Amateur Radio for Non-Hearing ( Deaf)

In the same way that amateur radio operators prefer different modes of operation we also have different amateur radio operators who use their equipment quite differently from you or me. Our non-sighted brothers and sisters are referred to as “White Cane” or “White Caners”. As a majority in the visual culture sighted people make and accept these associations but sadly do not fully understood.

The term “Silent Keys” in a way has two completely different meanings or is referred to as an auto-antonym. In this discussion post I will briefly touch on some of the loopholes or avenues a deaf amateur radio operator would use to allow or perhaps I should say invite a hearing person into their world. They include;

1. Audio and audio levels.

2. Data Packets.

3. Windows Sound Settings.

4. Physical and Virtual Cables.

5. Amateur Radio Software

6. Amateur Radio Devices Signal Link / Rig blaster

7. Rapid Communications Exchanges

Audio and Audio Levels: A hearing person interprets this with an auditory perspective and understanding or they hear most of the sound vibrations, pitches and tones at the appropriate levels for their understanding. A non-hearing person will either see or feel these similar levels for their appropriate level of understanding. Everyone will always use what is best for them.

Along comes amateur radio with its mythology of open, cross border distance communications between different people and cultures with the similar mandate of making new friends. Sometimes we only look at the big picture and forget about the foundations stones of the hobby or the individual operators themselves. A non-hearing person will use their language tools such as sign language and word sign spell to communicate their thoughts to others who have a similar skill and knowledge, sorry I forget to include facial expressions to my list.

If someone is smart enough to figure out how to cross these barriers between individual groups they are in for a treat and many good times or perhaps I should just say good conservations. Away we go.

Data Packets: By definition a data packet is Definition as;

A data packet is (a unit of data) made into (a single package) that travels along a (given network path). Data packets are used in Internet Protocol (IP) transmissions for data that navigates the Web, and in (other kinds of networks.)

Look at all the words in brackets and apply them to amateur radio; (a unit of data-Letter in the alphabet), (a single packet- sentences or complete thoughts), (given network path-cw, voice, data), (other kinds of networks- vhf/uhf, HF). Do the math and you always get amateur radio.

A hearing person will use these tools accordingly. A non-hearing person will use the same tools in a different way. They will use data packets in amateur radio software programs like inputs and outputs. They do not have to hear the sounds in their communications but only know how to transmit and receive them.

Windows Sound Settings: If you right click on the small speaker icon on your windows computer you will be displayed with your computer sound options menu. Pay special attention to “Playback” and “Recording”. These are everyone’s inputs and outputs settings. If you click on anyone of the icons you will be displayed the devices currently installed on your individual system. If you next click on a device you will see the individual properties. Pay attention to the slider and the associated position db level. This is extremely important to a non-hearing sighted person. They will visually use them for input and output adjustments.

Physical and Virtual Cables: Physical and virtual cables are used by everyone. They allow us to make series and or parallel audio connections.

Amateur Radio Software: There are many, many different software programs that amateur radio operators use to communicate, such as; FL Digi, Ham Radio Deluxe, etc... Check out the following link. Notice that this is a secure site. What you select is really up to you but always keep in mind that windows does not always interact with these amateur radio programs constantly. Windows updates or constant driver updates will test your temper.

Amateur Radio Devices Signal Link / Rig blaster: These are physical devices or basically external sound cards which allow you to connect audio cables to and from your radio. The only difference is in that they should have an internal PTT circuit built in. You may also achieve the same results using just your computer sound card and the VOX on your radio, mostly.  

Rapid Communications Exchanges: This is a bit complicated to explain in just a few words or sentences but hear goes. The data packet is compiled or recorded, it is then sent to perhaps a software clip board where it rests for a bit, it is next sent through an audio cable to a sound interphase, it next activates the PTT circuit and is inputted into your amateur radio, it is transmitted to a destination VIA your selected frequency. You next must wait for a response. Hay you just sent a CQ. For a hearing person the positional or sequential time steps seem instantaneous but to a non hearing person they must rely on lights, dials, meters, gauges and in most cases waterfall displays and visual text displays. They of course have to reverse the process to receive the communications exchange.

I made hundreds of PSK contacts using combinations of what I am discussing. Most are hearing but some are non-hearing. Its only through reading their QRZ profile do you realizes how they are doing it.

These configurations or steps if implemented individually are really only the small pictures that make the larger picture work. In most cases someone else has tried and made them work for them. That’s why open NETS, and discussion posts like these are a win-win for everyone. Use it or lose it. Hope this post is of some benefit to you and your current projects. 73 to all.


March 30, 2018 at 12:31 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 11

Finaly got past this site's security and submitted my posting.


March 30, 2018 at 12:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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