When I first started my radio career, (NOT in the amateur field), I was always curious as to what went on, on the other channels, so I had already sown the seeds of listening, although very specifically in my own radio world.
However it was a very different protocol. There was no seeking out of new traffic, it was very specific, and very ordered and directed. Initially VHF the main links were Hi-Band FM, and output to Low Band AM. UHF communication was in its infancy with limited ranges and very low power due to lack of battery efficiency.
Eventually the UHF performance was improved and eventually VHF was largely displaced expect for inter agency working over distances.
Band-Boxing is a term that was used in various agencies, where channels could be linked to provide wider coverage, allowing flexibility of working patterns during periods of low activity.
In the advent of Time Division Multiplexing, this became even more possible, in this Digital Age of Tetra and DMR.
This is where the comparison joins that of the amateur field.
Firstly the ability to link different regions is extremely interesting, but not necessarily welcome. The Band-Boxing of talk groups although very possible is not always desirable. Band-Boxing of Modes is also possible under the same umbrella, but I have to ask the question “is it desirable?” Admittedly here I do not have the capability of Wires-X, YSF or C4FM, or D-Star. I find DMR most fascinating and a very capable mode for world-wide communication.
In my career world, band-boxing was almost a necessity, but as everybody in the world has the capability of switching to a desired talk group or mode, is it even desirable to connect one with another, simply because it is technologically possible?
Yes, it is nice to be in control of a device or a system giving one the power to do everything. But if a system exists where a service is already provided to do exactly what is necessary for an individual to do what he wants, why does there seem to be a propensity to make new systems to usurp or supplant the existing functions, that tend to further dilute the activity or complicate a working system already capable, provided certain protocols are applied. It would be nice to have a single place to interact, but has already been demonstrated, there are two major Global DMR Networks that rarely interact, but are slowly beginning a co-operation.
The more the splintering occurs, the more diluted the activity becomes, and chaos ensues, with fewer cohesive points making for confusion ill-feeling and disaster.
I’ve written much about the philosophy of radio, and its clash of ideas, and this is a case in point. Yes it’s exciting to have a tool that creates a movement, but the consequences can be counterproductive to the greater good. We are a global entity – full of differing ideas and points of view. But the greatest maxim of all is “If it’s not broken don’t fix it.”