Speech Enabled Radio

I know, some of you are muttering under your breath that radio is already speech enabled – you turn it on and you can hear not just speech but also music. That’s a great concept but it’s not what I’m talking about.

As I told you in an earlier blog entry I recently earned my Amateur Radio license and I’m picking up where I left off probably 30 years ago with HAM and Shore Wave Listening(SWL). I find it infinitely fascinating to seek out and listen to radio broadcasts originating from some far away corner of the globe. There is something exciting to me about listening to broadcasts from stations like Radio China and Radio Havana (closer to home) or listening to what is being said in New Zealand.

Technology has really changed over the years. I cut my teeth so to speak on a Radio Shack DX-160. I recently bought one of those off of E-Bay but I’ve been decidedly disappointed in it so I’ve been looking around for a newer generation radio.

My search has led me to the WinRadio WR-G305e which is a software defined radio (SRD) meaning the the demodulation and the last IF (intermediate frequency) stages are all software defined. In simplest terms means that the guts of the radio is really just a software program that runs on a PC. It also means that the radio can be upgraded as new technologies come along and that it can be easily enhanced as the API is exposed for developers. The interface shown below is awesome in it’s beauty and the amount of control it gives you over the radio.

So. where’s the speech related part of this? Well, Terry Gold has been working on a project to speech enable his Toyota FJ using Vista and a bunch of other gadgets. I’ve been following the project and exchanging emails with Terry concerning his progress. Terry, if you are reading this you really need to get that FJ off-road. Speech enabling something seems like a great way to experiment with speech..

Casey Chesnut has a post on using MSN Messenger Mobile to automate his Media Center PC so that he can instruct it to record things even when he is away from home.

So with this type of inspiration I’ve decided that I am going to speech enable the G305e so that I can control it remotely using either speech via the phone or from Instant Messenger. It sounds like it will be a challenging project but it should be fun to work on something that combines my interests and hobbies as opposed to just writing stuff that my boss at work wants.

The G305e has an extensible API so in addition to using speech to tune it I’m going to look into streaming it’s output to the Internet so that others can listen it. I’m also going to look at writing an interface that will take Morse Code and convert it to text. I don’t know Morse Code so as they say necessity is the mother of invention.

I’ll keep you informed as to my progress but for now the first step is to order the radio tomorrow. Once that is up and running I’ll start experimenting with extending the interface. This project should keep me busy for a while but I’m really looking forward to it.

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