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Nationwide Houston AMSAT/APRS net idea?



The Houston AMSAT net is carried live once a week via C band satellite to
2 meter re-broadcast stations nationwide.  There is no reason why this
cannot be  a two-way affair!

SUGGESTION:  Since anyone anywhere within the APRS infrastructure can send
a message anywhere in the world on 144.39, all it takes is for the AMSAT
Net Control station in Houston to tune his radio to 144.39 and run APRS.
Then, everyone in the country that is listening to the Net via their local
re-transmission station can check-in to NET control from their APRS
station anywhere.

Sound like magic?  It is.  Every packet transmitted anywhere in the
counrty (of APRS) that is heard on 144.39 is routed by Steve Dimse's
APRServe internet system to every other IGate everywhere.  THese Igates
watch for messages to/from locals and glue it all together transparent to
the end user.  80% of amateurs nationwide are within the APRS
infrastructure (see http://web.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/digis.html)

To make it even more cozy, everyone participating in the AMSAT net can set
their APRS ALTNET callsign to AMSAT for example.  THen the only stations
they will see on their maps are other AMSAT stations.  This will reduce
map clutter from hundreds down to only those involved in the net.  Thus,
NET CONTROL in Houston can "SEE" everyone he is talking to!

Might not be appropriate for every net, but it is always nice to have a
back channel for comments and to see who is listening!

DETAILS:  Although anyone anywhere (within the APRS infrrastructure) can
participate on 144.39,  THey will only see other locals and only other
stations that have sent a message to them (such as net control).  THis is
because 1200 baud on 144.39 cannot possible cross connect every one of the
thousands of APRS users live.  The IGATES only cross link directed
messages and position reports for stations involved in a dialog.

Thus, the NET control in Houston, should actually run either Mac/WinAPRS
or APRS+SA and log onto APRServe so that he can see everyone live.

SUGGESTED OPERATIONS:

1)  Netcontrol should set his APRS AUTO-REPLY message to something like:
    "QSL your checkin".

2)  Netcontrol should announce his APRS station callsign on the net and
    ask for checkins from everywhere.

3)  Stations anywhere should send a BRIEF message to that callsign such as
    "Checkin, Bob in Atlanta"
    "Checkin, Sam in Norfolk, with a Query"
    "Checkin, Steven in Miami with a comment"

4)  As we get better at it, then everyone can set their ALTNET to AMSAT
and then it will be more cozy as all the other hundreds of stations
natiowide on APRS will be filtered out and only the AMSAT checkins will
show on the Netcontrols's APRS map.

5)  And FINALLY, once #4 is done, then the NETCONTROL map will ONLY show
the AMSAT stations and this will make a nice APRS Map display for the TV
camera...  OOPS, forgot that this is audio only... shucks)...  But it is
TRIVIAL to use Steve Dimse's JavAPRS to set up a live WEB page showing the
live map display.

SO....  Hows that for the perfect marriage of Ham Radio, Satellites and
the internet!

de WB4APR, Bob

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