A URI prefix for radio callsigns

I've had my amateur callsign far longer than I've had my email address or provider-independent IP ranges.

While working with the tel: URI recently, I started thinking it would be useful to have a similar URI scheme for radio callsigns. After all, callsigns follow a well documented and globally unique pattern. Amateur operators are often mixing computing technology with radio. This could be a useful foundation for bigger things.

One possibility is in SIP. SIP already has the possibility to route messages using URIs other than sip:. For example, a SIP message can have a tel: URI in the request line. It could be equally feasible to do this for radio callsigns, especially for amateur radio.

Another possibility is placing call signs in HTML. Imagine if you could click HB9FZT and some browser plugin looks up a directory to find out which frequencies or repeaters I've used recently.

From URI to URL

A URI typically identifies a resource. A URL helps locate the resource.

In radio, a URL would probably not be very similar to a HTTP scheme URL. A full URL for a radio contact might specify not just the callsign but also the desired frequency and transmission mode.

Instead of a directory path, it is likely you would need things like these as a bare minimum:

  • transmit frequency
  • receive frequency (or offset) if using a duplex mode
  • modulation (FM, SSB, etc)
  • bandwidth
  • mode: morse code, voice, video, packet data, etc

For a fixed station, especially a repeater, it may also be useful to encode the geographic location. For a station in orbit, however, it may be necessary to provide a completely different set of parameters describing the orbit or a pointer to where to find fresh parameters.

Please share your feedback

The idea is now actively under discussion on the IETF URI-review mailing list.