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Ham radio or amateur radio communications has been around since the early 1900s.  Ham radio technology has kept pace with traditional communications and may even be the only technology that allows people to communicate in natural disasters.  Ham radio operators can communicate over very far distances using HF (high frequencies) as well as through satellites via AMSAT and even using VoIP over the Internet using EchoLink, IRLP, or D-STAR!

There are nearly 750,000 FCC licensed ham radio operators in the United States and over 3M licensed operators worldwide.  Each operator has federally issued callsign that is used to uniquely identify the station operating on the band.

Using Tropo and Callook (Josh Dick’s W1JDD Callsign API), Chris Matthieu (N7ICE) was able quickly develop a speech recognition and text-to-speech based telephony app that is accessible by any of the following channels:

Voice and SMS: 1-480-374-3234

Skype: +990009369991489376

VoIP / SIP: sip:9991489376@sip.tropo.com

Phono: app:9991489376

Upon calling the application, you are asked to spell a callsign using military phonetics:

A – Alfa, B – Bravo, C – Charlie, D – Delta, E – Echo, F – Foxtrot, G – Golf, H – Hotel, I – India, J – Juliet, K – Kilo, L – Lima, M – Mike,  N – November, O – Oscar, P – Papa, Q – Quebec, R – Romeo, S – Sierra, T – Tango, U – Uniform, V – Victor, W – Whiskey, X – X-Ray, Y – Yankee, Z – Zulu

In addition to these commands, you can say restart to start over or stop if your callsign is entered correctly.  Upon saying stop, the Tropo application does a REST-based call to Callook to get a JSON response of the data related to the callsign inquired.  In addition to the communication channels listed above, Chris Matthieu was able to use his handheld hamradio (like the one featured above) to communicate using VHF (very high frequencies) to connect to a repeater nearly 50 miles away on a mountaintop and connect to Tropo via an auto-patch phone line to perform a callsign lookup.  Here is a screencast and source code for the application!

Here is the source code running on Tropo’s Scripting API:

require 'rest_client'
require 'json'

answer
sleep 2
say "welcome to the tropo ham radio call sign lookup application"

callsign = ""
callsigntext = ""

loop do

result = ask "spell the callsign phonetically. say stop when done or restart to start over", {
:choices => "alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot, golf, hotel, india, juliette, kilo, lima, mike, november, oscar, papa, quebec, romeo, sierra, tango, uniform, victor, whiskey, xray, yankee, zulu, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, zero, stop, restart"}

if result.value == "stop"
break
elsif result.value == "restart"
callsign = ""
callsigntext = ""
else
callsigntext = callsigntext + " " + result.value
say "so far you entered #{callsigntext}"

letter = case result.value
when "alpha" then "a"
when "bravo" then "b"
when "charlie" then "c"
when "delta" then "d"
when "echo" then "e"
when "foxtrot" then "f"
when "golf" then "g"
when "hotel" then "h"
when "india" then "i"
when "juliette" then "j"
when "kilo" then "k"
when "lima" then "l"
when "mike" then "m"
when "november" then "n"
when "oscar" then "o"
when "papa" then "p"
when "quebec" then "q"
when "romeo" then "r"
when "sierra" then "s"
when "tango" then "t"
when "uniform" then "u"
when "victor" then "v"
when "whiskey" then "w"
when "xray" then "x"
when "yankee" then "y"
when "zulu" then "z"
when "one" then "1"
when "two" then "2"
when "three" then "3"
when "four" then "4"
when "five" then "5"
when "six" then "6"
when "seven" then "7"
when "eight" then "8"
when "nine" then "9"
when "zero" then "0"
end

if letter
callsign = callsign + letter
end

end

end

response = RestClient.get 'http://callook.info/' + callsign + '/json'
data = JSON.parse(response)

say callsigntext + "belongs to "
say data["name"]
say "in " + data["address"]["line2"]
say "and holds a " + data["current"]["operClass"] + " license"

4 Responses to “Tropo-Powered Hamradio Callsign Lookup App”

  1. hamcake

    Nice work Chris! I was wondering how long it’d take you to make a ham app! Using RestClient with the scripting API is pretty easy/powerful.
    I made a couple usability improvements to make it faster to enter a callsign. Check it out!

    +990009369991489394

    Reply
  2. socialvirgil

    Awesome Chris!
    I’m totally using this, getting myself a 2-meter for the apocalypse/fun :)

    Reply
  3. Dewayne

    I tryed doing this with an apple // and moutain hardware gizmos back in the day … and failed. technology rocks! now lets implement voice mail on the repeater.

    o-*

    Reply

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