Although I am mainly an analog operator, I too have given the digital vs analogue some thought and I agree totally with Laura, it is what we do with the digital signals after we have received them, that is the important issue.
APRS, although an interesting development, will never take off here in Europe (sorry Bob).
I have all the equipment necessary in my shack to set myself up as an APRS ground station, but I worked out that it would cost me $1,288.00 per month for permanent internet connection to the APRS server. And I just can't seem to get excited about sending one line messages, or waiting 5 days for conventional packet message to arrive.
In Mike's original posting, he hinted that there are too many digital birds. I would suggest that there are not enough !
What we need are 2 or 3 geostationary sats, so that we can have a permanent real time link into our existing terrestrial packet networks. This need not be as expensive as it sounds, as there is a lot of unused capacity on existing commercial geostationary satellites that we ought to be able to beg, borrow or even rent ! transponder space on. If we had fast, real time, intercontinental digital links, then it may give the impetous needed to upgrade the archaic 1200/9600 packet system into something approaching our own internet. With a >= 56Kbs (at 10 gigs ?) TCP/IP backbone, we could then run freely available web software and really have some fun, sending and receiving digital pictures, digital audio and just about anything that you can imagine, realtime, worldwide.
But then, it won't happen, will it ? ....................
73, Tony, EI2FSB.