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Re: Vanishing Hams

At 08:22 AM 7/17/2008, Robert Bruninga wrote:

Continuing in the light of
> >> Then consider that APRS has had global text-
> >> messaging (and email) via the keypad of the
> >> D7 and D700 radios for over 10 years now...
> > ... the weakness of APRS is the lack of manufacturers...
>More coming... D7, D700, D710, now Yeasu VX-8R and some DSTAR
>GPS TX support...

That's good to see.  I'll probably go the D-STAR route, given I have 
gear for that.

> > ... I would need integrated APRS support, D-STAR/D-PRS
> > capability (so I can do both in the one radio),
>I sure hope we can work this out.  The DSTAR radio has a display
>and D-PRS has defined the translations between DSTAR and APRS...
>So it is all in work...

That would be good.  It makes sense to combine the two systems into a 
common data set with different access protocols (D-STAR vs 
AX.25/APRS).  Initially, I would be likely to access it via D-STAR 
when portable.

>Because too many people only see it as a vehicle tracking system
>(TX-ing GPS data) instead of the original intent (Receiving and

Yes, it was promoted that way, and in some situations, that is a 
useful function (obviously, not so much for home stations! :D 
).  That data is more useful for location based services (see below).

>displaying all surrounding local information to the mobile
>operator)... Think "tiny-web-pages" on the front panel of the
>radio showing satellites in view(now), freqs, doppler, local
>voice freq, local Echolink freq, local IRLP freq, club meetings,
>net times.  A veritable resource of everything a traveler would
>need to know when he entered an area...

That is certainly the way to go, when combined with a query based 
mechanism, which I believe you defined for that purpose.

> > Also, lack of inbuilt GPS or wireless GPS
>In most APRS applications, and especially in satellite
>operations, few people need a GPS unless they are lost or cannot
>read a map.  No one cares exactly where most people are, just
>approximately, and that is why APRS provides for 1, 10 and 60
>mile ambiguity.  For satellite use, just set your 10 mile
>position, so people can see what city and gridsquare you are in,
>and don't bother with the GPS..

Well, in lesser populated areas, that's true, here in town, there are 
some applications where more precise positioning is 
helpful.  Satellite is usually an exception, because the distances 
involved mean accuracy of position is not an issue.  For my portable 
wanderings, I would also need a GPS simply because it can 
automatically update my position (regardless of accuracy desired).  I 
don't do well manually monitoring and updating. :)

> > For home use...
>APRS is more of an information resource display system for the
>mobile operator.  Not much needed in the shack in competition
>with the WWW.  Its value is in the display to the mobile
>operator of everything going on around him in HAM radio.  Though
>this does need home stations and active stations that are
>actually doing something, to post those real time objects,
>events, and bulletins on APRS for others...

I can see that would be the useful side of the technology.  Certainly 
often get the issue of the nearest IRLP, Echolink system, radio club, etc.

> > I can only run HTs and networked applications
> > (e.g. VoIP, local I-Gate) that don't require
> > physical presence in the shack...
>Which is why APRS as an info display system in the mobile is so
>valuable... Its where we spend a lot of our time with not much
>else to do but sit in traffic...  Now when I drive into a new
>area, the APRS radio displays the locally recommended voice
>frequency/tone there and this alone makes ham radio so much more
>useful when traveling...

Well, I tend to sit on trains myself, these days - and that's why a 
mobile-centric system has severe limitations.  I have to be _much_ 
more mobile than that.  As an information consumer, APRS has some 
potential benefits (though in a familiar area, the info is usually 
remembered anyway).  As a source of traffic, messaging, etc, it has 
potential, though I have full mobile IM capabilities anyway at no 
extra cost.  For position dependent information (e.g. IRLP nodes in 
an unfamiliar area), then I do need the GPS - not for accuracy, but 
for automated updating of the system, because manual updating for me 
is going to be unreliable.

I agree though, this is where APRS has real power, as a mobile 
information resource that is able to serve up location based 
information (now THAT is something that's only just starting in the 
commercial world - ahead of the curve again).  Messaging with mobile 
hams is also a function that I see as potentially useful, but for 
that to happen, we need more people with APRS capability, and using 
it in their daily lives, so there's a high probability that a message 
sent will be received and acted upon.

73 de VK3JED

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