[aprssig] Igates Are A Fair Weather Solution (was: "Finito")

Sun Aug 28 13:01:11 EDT 2005

I think what everyone is missing is that on 1200 baud packet there is a
limit to the amount of traffic you can put on that channel.  I agree that
the internet is not the way to go for emergencies, but neither is pushing
all of your data over a large path to support a large area.  The reason I
say the last part of that is because you will be blocking other people's
traffic they are sending.  Every one person that uses a large path decreases
the reliability of the APRS network for someone else, including themselves.

Now if you develop a tunnel (much like the IS but on RF) then you could
easily link the entire state of Florida (and beyond) on RF that wouldn't tie
up the 144.390 frequency and would help keep the local networks reliable.

-----Original Message-----
From: aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org [mailto:aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org]
On Behalf Of Geoffrey Dick
Sent: Sunday, August 28, 2005 11:49 AM
To: aprssig at lists.tapr.org
Subject: [aprssig] Igates Are A Fair Weather Solution (was: "Finito")

Subject: Igates Are a Fair Weather Solution, Earl's "Finito"

Amateur Internet APRS is only a "fair weather" tool useful only from
armchair observers who have a good wired connection, and an 
unlimited source of power.   It is great for when the sun is shining, 
for watching parades, and weather-permitting outdoor events.   When 
it comes to a foul weather disaster, my experience has demonstrated it comes
up quite short of being useful for tactical purpose.  As utility power is
lost, the computer-operated "smart" Igate digis die first, leaving only
battery-operated TNC-only digis with preset 
path limits, that are now set to break the RF connections.   

Here in Florida, we spend half the year under a hurricane watch.  
When this type of event occurs, wide-spread areas undergo fallen trees,
powerlines, telephone, cellphone, and cable outages.  As that happens, the
RF connection becomes essential to for doing anything tactical.

On RF, we can no longer receive the severe weather bulletins, and hurricane
position updates from a West Coast station, only 60 
miles away.   We also can no longer see on RF the picket fence of 
weather stations, that surround us in Central Florida.  Working from a
hurricane shelter, there is no internet gateway hookup to complete the
connection.  For lack of the completed RF connection, Amateur RADIO APRS
fails as a mobile tactical tool in disaster areas. 
For the sake of limiting the path of a few abusers in densely populated
areas, we have become obsessed with strangling the wonderful RF network
capability that has been put in place.  

I have to support Earl Needham.  His "Finito" is a summation of the decline
of APRS some of us are experiencing here on the Florida peninsula.  I used
to enjoy seeing 150 to 250 stations coming in on RF APRS each day here in
Central Florida.  Yes, the single 1200 baud APRS channel IS sufficient to
accomplish this.  Now, all we see is 5 to 15 stations, depending on the time
of day.
Sometimes we see a glimpse of a distant station when band openings occur.  

With the new path-limiting paradigm, blindly being put into place,
WIDE1-1,WIDE2-2 RF APRS is like watching paint dry, lacking the tactical
usefulness it once had.  It is my belief that Florida digi owners should
consider adding increasing alternate paths of FL4-4 for the Keys, and
FL3-3,FL2-2,FL1-1 in general to achieve 460 miles of State connectivity
South to North.  That would give us a tactical path to go to in a State wide
emergency, without overwhelming neighboring border States.

Geoffrey Dick, wa4ikq

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