From ARRL de WD1CKS@WLARB to QST on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 16:54:02
SCS, the company that created PACTOR, has unveiled software that offers the ability to monitor the content of PACTOR 1, 2, and 3 transmissions over the air. The free PMON software runs under the Linux operating system. A software version to monitor PACTOR 4 is scheduled to become available next year. PMON will offer "thorough observation and documentation of all presently available PACTOR 1, 2, and 3 transmissions," SCS said.
"PMON covers all PACTOR levels with the appropriate speed levels and packet variations," SCS said. "PMON will read in parallel PACTOR 2 and PACTOR 1. The very wide receiving range (frequency offset ±200 Hz), as well as automatic sideband recognition, ease routine operation of PMON with PACTOR 2 and PACTOR 3 considerably."
According to SCS, only minimal hardware is required to use PMON. The equipment complement includes a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (minimum) computer and a USB sound device. SCS noted in an October 11 news release that all SCS PACTOR hardware modems include a command to allow PACTOR monitoring on the fly. The German company says PMON now makes this possible without a modem and adds the ability to decode B2F/LZHUF-compressed messages - Winlink email and others.
"This exciting new software development for Raspberry Pi complements and surpasses previously released SCS software that leveraged PACTOR modems' ability to monitor PACTOR to read Winlink for meaning," SCS said. The company also said the new software permits modem-less monitoring of all kinds, something that would be useful for monitoring Winlink email traffic.
The Winlink Development Team called the new software a "welcome contribution to the Amateur Radio community."
The issue of message encryption arose in recent months with respect to renewed attention to ARRL's so-called "symbol rate" petition for rulemaking (RM-11708) and the accommodation of automatically controlled digital stations (ACDS) - many of which employ Winlink. Some commenters on ARRL's petition expressed concerns that PACTOR message encryption was a violation of FCC Amateur Service rules.