New VARA FM v4.0.1 #VARA


A new VARA FM v4.0.1 is already available, not compatible with VARA FM 3.1.1.

A new version of the  VARA FM 4 modem has been  released 
with  too  many features to  summarise ,  posted  is the  
full  post from the  vara  user group  

73 -Graham


Enabling the  digi repeater function is  , by  adding the call  sign 
no call = off  ,  call  = on . there  is no separate  on/off function

Access to the  function is via either the  chat module or the  RMS Express
New features:

·       The TX DELAY is variable to support different Hand held's  efficiently. 
 Note - Baofengs testers should make sure the menu #35 eliminates the TX tail. (STE delay elimination OFF). The Baofeng documentation is confusing. It’s not clear on some models if ON eliminates the tail or OFF does.

·       Audio equalization has been added to correct issues for some HT’s.  After transmitting it takes time for the RX to stabilize.  Software equalization has been added to VARA FM.

·       Instrumentation highlighted  that some transceivers not designed for high-speed digital have poor audio response at low voice frequencies.  The VARA FM NARROW mode now avoids their use by shifting the frequency range middle frequency up 200Hz.  

·       Level 1 NARROW mode has improved weak signal capability by selecting a narrow audio frequency range based on audio instrumentation.  This change does not affect performance of level 2 and higher modulation techniques.

·       Many hours of testing with the 117 KB “N5TW standard file” in NARROW and WIDE modes in both directions led to improved speed level switching.

·       A  new monitor function has been added to the VARA FM log to report connections to all stations operating on the same frequency. The VARA log now presents entries in chronological order – latest entries on top.

·       S/N ratio information has been added to the RMS Express console and VARA FM log.  This will allow stations to determine it their station is setup properly.

·       Operation of VARA FM sessions through  voice repeaters is improved.

·       Digipeater capability can be optionally enabled on any RMS Express or VARA FM gateway making relay of messages over long distances possible.  No license is required for stations operating as digipeater but stations using the digipeater need a VARA license.  The software modem is a freestanding program and can is used without Winlink software, if only digipeating is required. 

·      New Ping feature, to test the digi route.


Digipeater operation:

Activating a Digipeater is so easy as writing a call sign in the Digipeater textbox. Now you VARA FM station can works as Digipeater, besides working with RMS Packet, Winlink Express, or freestanding (not connected to any application, only a computer running VARA FM). The digipeater doesn't require VARA license.

VARA FM Setup digi.jpg

In case of disaster, VARA FM Gateways can lose the internet connection but, activating the Digipeater option, the Gateways located on a mountain could still be useful to create links of 200-300kms

To connect with a VARA FM station using one or two digipeaters you have to select this option in Winlink Express:

Winlink Express Digipeaters.jpg

You need a VARA license to connect via digipeaters.

In VARA Chat v1.2.0 and VARA Terminal v1.1.2 you have this option ready:

Vara Chat Digipeaters.jpg

(The file size limit for VARA Chat and VARA FM is 2.048.000 bytes. Long .PDF files can be sent in the EMCOMM exercises)

Digipeaters are only useful when the direct connection is not possible or the speed is very low. We are talking typically of links of more than 100 kms, or 200-300kms using 2 hops. But it will depend on each situation, antennas, RF power, mountains, etc...


Autotune and Ping

The sound card window has improved Autotune and a Ping feature,to test the digi route.  

Soundcard screen.jpg


The Auto Tune adjust automatically the Drive Level but, also, will show a warning message if any level is not right (useful for new user)



The Ping function show the viability on both directions, either connecting directly, or using digipeaters. In case of digipeaters, the S/N value is the minimum along the chain. So, using different digipeaters you will have better or worse S/N to reach a same station. The VU levels is useful for monitoring if any station is saturating or has a weak audio input level (below -40dB):



VARA FM Speed Chart

VARA FM Speeds.jpg




Thanks to all the beta testers, and very especially to Joe AH0A and Rick KH7O for countless ZOOM hours and the whole legion of Hand Held  Hawaii testers.


Vara repeater ,  notes 

Entering a call  in to the  set up  box activates the  facility  - no  separate on/off 

Any  ham like  call  may be  used  as  the  digi  repeater call  , as long as the  format  is the  same 

ie commercial or non  ham/ military  use , a non  'real'  call  may be  used ,  as long  as it  conforms to the 
amature 'format'