[aprssig] Broken digis (Ohio to Oklahoma and everywhere inbetween)

Stan - N0YXV n0yxv at gihams.org
Sun Jul 29 23:10:41 EDT 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Duncan" <jdbandman at earthlink.net>
To: "TAPR APRS Mailing List" <aprssig at lists.tapr.org>
Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2007 9:38 PM
Subject: Re: [aprssig] Broken digis (Ohio to Oklahoma and everywhere 

> It all seems like a lot of fuss to me. Personally, I'm not sure that the 
> new paradigm is necessary in every locale. Clearly it is essential in a 
> high-traffic environment. Is it necessary in a small, local area where 
> there are <25 users on the air? I'm not sure it is.

Well one would think that on the surface. It's the small area's that only 
have a couple of APRS users that have long paths that wind up in large 
cities where it is a problem. So while it's not that important (if at all) 
for you it is important for your APRS brother in the city.

> When I operate mobile in the KC area now (since the changeover) the ONLY 
> place I can see that I've been digipeated at all is on my own digipeater 
> (W0APR-3, one of the "offending" digis!).  I have no way of verifying that 
> I am even being seen/heard. Now, that's a minor point and I suppose that 
> blind trust is a requirement to operate APRS.

Maybe others turned off support for the old stuff? Wouldn't that explain why 
it's only working on your Digi?

> You can't even Ping a path any longer to verify whether you are being 
> heard or not with the new system. Now, to me, that means that unless 
> somebody happens to send me a message, I can't know with absolute 
> certainty whether my mobile is even making the network or not.

Really...I've been able to Ping or Trace almost every station I've seen. 
Maybe it's a setting issue?

> Now in the Kansas City area we USED to have quite a few low-power home 
> stations (people operating in locations/situations where anything more 
> than a few watts or a small, low-altitude antenna was possible). Without 
> the availability of RELAY those stations are potentially out of the 
> picture! It could almost be interpreted as an admonition to hams of 
> limited means that (and this is stretching it!) APRS is a rich-man's game 
> and if you can't use the WideNn paradigm then you're pretty much useless.

Actually the new paridigm has a setting replacement for RELAY it's WIDE1-1 
so the home users can still play.

> Regrettably the network is no longer truly open in this area and new users 
> who may come on-air with little or no understanding but who simply wanted 
> to download and try the software with it's default values would probably 
> see stations popping up but when they discover that they can't communicate 
> they quickly lose interest.

Yup I'm sure that happens a lot. I've been in Networking for a long time (OK 
it's not that long) but I still felt that APRS had a high learning curve. 
I'm STILL feeling like it has a high learning curve. ;-) That's why we need 
to get more correct information into more hands. When I started Google was 
my friend...err some what. Some times Google lead me to a valid source of 
information and then again....?

> Case in point: Back when Bill Young and I were the moving force behind 
> promoting APRS in the KC area there was a long-time ham friend of mine who 
> wanted to get on the air. Unfortunately he was using a PK-232 TNC which 
> would not take the programming strings coming out of the software to get 
> it into converse mode. It was a constant struggle trying to get him on and 
> keep him on the air. Now, he COULD have gone out and spent (in those days) 
> the $139.00 for a new Kantronics TNC, but he was very active in other 
> packet and digital modes and the PK-232 worked great in those 
> applications. Eventually he decided that APRS was too big of a hassle to 
> deal with in all the gymnastics it took to reset and program the PK-232 to 
> operate with APRS so he said "looks like fun but it's just too big of a 
> hassle just to get it to work!" (Problem was getting the TNC out of KISS 
> mode and back into PACKET mode reliably)

Wow I love the PK-232. I have two of them running APRS right now. Solid 
TNC's that don't seem to have any quit in them. Super easy to set up 
too...if he needs help have him send me an email.

> I can't help but wonder if there are people out there who have had similar 
> experiences with the new mode of operations and have given up as a result.

That's why we need to get more information out there, this hobbie needs more 
Elmers not less.

> It's a shame that instead of making a wholesale change that there isn't 
> room for a transitional period or room for both modes of operation. It 
> might make a difference for those who are technically challenged (which is 
> a whole other issue when you think about the history of amateur radio, 
> right?).

Agreed....so how long do you want this period? One year, two, three.... If I 
count correctly it's been over three years now...right? Or maybe my memories 
aren't the stuff's they's used to's bee. ;-)

> --
> Jim Duncan, KU0G
> P.S. So Jerome is aware, I have attempted several times to reprogram APR-3 
> remotely with no success. Access to the digi site requires taking a good 3 
> hours by the time I make a call to let the site owner know I'll be on the 
> property and get a response, drive out to the property, and then do 
> whatever is needed on site. Most of my days are taken up with preparing 
> for the fall marching band season and writing a doctoral dissertation so 
> while it's on my list of things to do it must take a back seat. It IS a 
> hobby, after all...

Yup don't think anybody can fault you there. Job first hobbie second. Don't 
think anybody should tell you anythink else. I think people might be a 
little more understanding if they new there was a time frame involved.

Don't take my observations as gospel these are just my thoughts....if you 
differ please feel free to join in....politely if possible. We both might 
learn something new. :-)

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