Long before the advent of the personal computer, ham radio operators communicated keyboard to keyboard. As early as the 1950s, Ham's used modes such as Radio Teletype using 5 bit code. Perhaps slow under current conditions, 45.45 baud (about 60 words per minute) is certainly fast enough for chat!
Plowing deeper we discover that hams were some of the first adopters of digital communications. Ever heard of Morse code? Quantized coding of the alphabet certainly qualifies as digital!
During the first part of the last century, Hams were the ubergeeks. Through the work of a few devoted Hams and XO geeks, digital keyboard modes are available on the XO!
Fldigi is a multi-mode program that has been "sugarized" for the XO. It can be integrated with a radio for Ham radio applications or can be used with the built-in speaker and mic sending data across a room via audio. It is a great way to demonstrate theories of digital signals and audio properties in a classroom setting.
Some of the modes are simple like Morse code. Other modes are more advanced such as Multi Frequency Shift, Phase Shift and Frequency Shift. Fldigi has a great frequency scope that can be viewed as a waterfall or scope style. With a simple shortwave receiver (with sideband or BFO) signals coming from around the world can be decoded using the XO!
So what else may be in store for the Ham/XO geek in the near future? Software Defined Radio implementation, rig control, and perhaps Digital Radio Mondiale. Only time will tell in this dual (radio and XO) realm where geeks rule!
Give Fldigi a try with the OLPC News Forum HowTo. Using a transceiver, my first XO/Fldigi contact was from here in Oregon to the Kamchatka peninsula! No wi-fi needed.
XOpher is an active PDX XO User Group member who reminds us all that geeks are timeless, its only the technology that changes.