Experiments with Chirp – sending an audio URL….

In amateur radio terms, Chirp is an ambigious term! In this context, we’re not talking about your CW transmitter warbling up and down the band and we’re not talking about a neat package for programming your handheld.

Two or three weeks ago, Rory Cellan Jones presented an item on the BBC about an application called Chirp that runs on smartphones. It provides the ability to transfer files between devices using audio.

Let’s say I’ve a picture or a URL on my phone that I want to send you. I start the Chirp application on my phone, as do you. I select the photo that I want to send you and press the button. First of all, the application quickly uploads the picture to the Chirp server. Once it’s done that, it sends a series of tones which your phone ‘hears’. The tones act as like an audio QR code and provide your phone with a URL with which it can access the picture that I uploaded.

Julie and I have been using Chirp to transmit photos between our iPhones and iPads – it’s easier than emailling photos back and forth.

The other evening I was talking to David M0TFY on GB3WH and we were talking about Chirp and we wondered whether it would work on the air. After all, how often do you want to send someone a URL or an email address over the air? If you’re like me, pretty frequently! Something like Chirp would work well.

Our experiment of using Chirp using our iPhones miked into the radio across GB3WH failed. However, I’ve a feeling that if we tried simplex we might be more successful – my suspicion was that some of the tones that Chirp uses were not being passed by the audio circuitry of the repeater.

Even if the Chirp application doesn’t work over the air (which I think it probably should) – it might be an interesting project for someone to write something that would use tones that would pass over the air readily and robustly to send URLs or eMails…

The Chirp application is free and runs on iPhones. You can read about it here or download it from the App Store.

Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “Experiments with Chirp – sending an audio URL….”

  • Jeff N1KDO:

    Some people use MT63 with “acoustic coupling” (holding the radio microphone near the computer speaker and vice-versa) with pretty good success.

    Are there any MT63 apps for iPhone?


  • Speedmaster (K9ROC):

    I’ve been tinkering with Chirp on my iPhone and like it.

  • Risky:

    Awwww, happy belated biadrthy to Nish. What a beautiful sweetie! I can just feel your love and pride through your words Lisa. I know exactly how you feel. My one and only daughter is still at home from her college winter break, she’ll be leaving to return to school this Friday. She is my best bud and a smart, articulate young woman I am so very proud of her and happy for her.Watch out, I don’t know how, but 13 to 18 goes by like a blur. Looking at the pictures you all are rearing a well rounded teen. Keep up the good work!

Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on AmateurRadio.com!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: