Phone (cell) patch

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With the recent disasters, I am thinking of adding phone patch capabilities to the shack. The problem is that I no longer have a wired landline, just a cellphone. Has anyone interfaced a cell phone to their Flex 6000? If so, how? This would only be local operation with the control op physically adjacent to the radio.
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Mark Erbaugh

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Posted 9 months ago

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Eduardo Carvalho - KC8R

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Mark, that is a good question, I was thinking about that myself today, as I have a friend that has family down in Puerto Rico.

I was thinking it would be fairly easy. With the cellphone you can just use a splitter for the audio connection using the input on the phone and mic too. The impedance May be a bit off but it could work temporarily.

We could also use Skype to dial out and setup the Dax as the inputs and outputs for Skype. This is probably the cleanest way. With VOX setup it would even let up the rig and you can use the regular jacks on the rig for monitoring. Skype calls are fairly cheap even internationally if needed.

I might give it a try today or this weekend.

73,
Eduardo, KC8R
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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering

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This is what I was thinking too (use DAX)!  I'd be really interested if you have success with this.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I've used DAX and VOIP applications including Google Voice successfully. However, PTT is manual or you have to use VOX. 

So bam, there is your 21st century phone patch!
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Bob - W7KWS -

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Ria, what did you use yourself for talking & listening to the other two connected parties, ie, the radio & the patch receipient? Thanks!
(Edited)
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Bob - W7KWS -

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You might try a SIP VOIP provider. I use New York based Callcentric.com which is a free PBX in the cloud. I do pay $1.50 a month to reimburse them for E911 service which they are required to provide to U.S. subscribers. For this I have two FREE inbound U.S. phone numbers and twenty three-digit extensions that I can program in amazing ways. Setting up call handling is a breeze done by filling in forms on Callcentric's WEB site.

If you also want a landline, a $60 Obi two-line telephone adapter is available on Amazon but is not necessary for patches if you use your cell phone.

https://www.amazon.com/Obihai-Technol...

Setup is straight forward & well documented at Callcentric.com & Obihai.com.

On the PC that is hosting my Flex I use a free SIP Windows SIP VOIP client called X-Lite from Counterpath.com. I set DAX as the active sound device in X-Lite & my Flex now has inbound & outbount phone service. Outbound calls cost two cents a minute or you can pick among very inexpensive calling packages. You can also pick among high quality codecs for your calls. I use the toll quality uLaw codec. All calls between your twenty extensions are free as are calls to other Callcentric users.

If you prefer to use your cell phone's included minutes, make a free call to your radio dialing one of the free Callcentric inbound phone numbers. Then hold that call & make a second call to the patch recepient then merge the two calls.

All of this creates high quality patches limited only by the quality (voice compression) of your cell provider to your phone. The connection berween the radio and patch recepient will be toll quality without any compression.
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John - WA7UAR

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Great explanation Bob! Thanks for this reference.
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Rob Fissel

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W7KWS has a good system there. I use CallCentric at the family's 2nd home and it works well. 

If you're not concerned with things like e911, Google Voice would be a good option. Full comparable with the Obihai hardware, and works directly in a browser vs. needing to use software like X-Lite (which, BTW, is a great program that I use every day at work with Vonage providing VOIP service). Also, Google Voice is 100% free unlimited calling (inbound and outbound) within the US and Canada. It would be extremely easy to implement this solution with DAX for free. 
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Bob - W7KWS -

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Good point Rob.

I have Google Voice as an alternative to cellular calling when I'm out of range but have WiFi but it's rare that I use it as Callcentric calls between extensions & other users are free. Some of my Ham buddies use it too.

I settled on Callcentric because I also use it for audio when I remote my radios from my cell phone. Having retired from cellular development I have an overly sensitive ear to voice compression distortion. Google Voice is better than most but it still drives me nuts.

I also use the twenty Callcentric extensions for automatically directing calls to a number of radios and Obi devices when calling from my cell phone SIP VOIP client Zoiper, which is also free in the Android Play Store. FLEX is Ext. 103, cell phone 104, home 105, TS-590 106, IC-7300 107, wife's cell.... Etc. I try to avoid highly compressed audio at nearly all cost. BTW, I can't hear the compression in Opus which Flex uses.

73, Bob
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Rob Fissel

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Hate to get off topic,but I'd love to sidebar with you. I love SSDR for iOS, but it's bandwidth intensive. It's because of the bandwidth consumption that I don't use it during the commute home and get on HF. 

How are you keying your Flex when using this solution? Just curious, as it might be something I'd like to try out. 

Also, most modern iPhones on AT&T, TMobile, and Verizon offer WiFi calling for free as part of your service. I use it often when at the family's 2nd home where there's broadband WiFi, but no cell service. 
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Bob - W7KWS -

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Rob,

You've embarked on a very lengthy subject, a favorite of mine, but I fear it's to long for keyboards. My email is bob (at) w7kws . com. We can set up a phone conversation.

Bob
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