Preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse begins…

The origins of the AA8GK Michigan Zombie Repeater…

Having been a ham since 1979, and licensed when I was 14, I’ve been amazed at the changes in technology in general and ham radio specifically. But, nothing has so intrigued me, however, as much as Yaesu’s System Fusion has.

Digital voice is nothing new in Amateur Radio. Certainly, hams have been experimenting with digital voice for some time. P25 (a public safety standard for decades) and DMR became popular as surplus equipment from police, fire, and commercial users hit the flea markets. Then, ICOM came out with their D-Star equipment. To be sure, ICOM didn’t invent D-Star, the brilliant Japanese hams did that. However, ICOM saw the enormous potential in Amateur digital voice, picked up the football, then ran with it. D-Star is wildly popular across the planet, connecting hams from all corners of the globe with crystal clear communications.

I also tried D-Star, purchasing an ICOM 880 and 2820. Sadly, the D-Star infrastructure never really built out in the Detroit, Michigan, area. As a result, I quickly lost interest.  I absolutely have no dig on D-Star; it’s a fine system and it continues to grow, as it should. Further, I am NOT one of those detractors who pontificate there should be only ONE digital voice standard in Amateur Radio. How asinine! After all, look at the dozens of digital modes hams have to communicate with! None of them are compatible with each other, after all. BUT, digital voice modes CAN be made to work together! Those ‘one standard’ proponents are the modern day equivalents of the spark-gap operators complaining when that newfangled CW contraption came along. Whipper snappers!

A great friend of mine, W8SOX, got into Yaesu’s System Fusion around a year, or so, ago. He had an FTM-400 mounted in his car and showed it to me one day after we’d imbibed a couple of beers at Buffalo Wild Wings. I was very taken with its beautiful design  and capabilities. About a month later, I had my own, and it was all downhill from there. SOX then introduced me to Yaesu’s Wires-X VOIP system. He set up his Wires-X node at home, parking its frequency on that of a local Fusion repeater here in Detroit (with the repeater owner’s blessing, of course!). Through this repeater and node, global communications were possible just driving around town. Sure, it’s not DX in the purest sense of the term, but who gives a rip? It’s just plain fun! So, here I am. About 3 months into my Fusion odyssey I now own an FTM-400, FT1D, and a dedicated FTM-100 and Wires-X node! But, it gets worse…

More to follow.

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