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

James Smith k9apr at tawg.org
Sun Jul 29 23:19:36 EDT 2007

I totally agree with Jim, I have to say I tried to model TAWG after 
KCAPRS years ago. And after enough hate e-mails from my fellow hams I 
stepped down from promoting APRS. I still support the website which will 
be revamped in a few weeks. I drove so many miles doing demo's it isn't 
funny! And all on my own dime nevertheless, and people still complained. 
Want to a take guess how many miles? 10,000 miles +  hard to believe 
huh? I have the records to prove it. Do I think the new paradigm needs 
to be used in certain areas yes, like Jim said. In my area not really 
not enough users to cause much damage. We have lost several users over 
the years from the QSO thingy and other issues that have cropped up. Jim 
said it best, but I'll add some more just chill. Take up a digi donation 
fund!!!! And again this is just a hobby, you paid for the software or 
radio and not the infrastructure that supports the software or radio. Do 
you understand that? too the hundreds of digi owners peace!!!!

James Smith - K9APR
Digipeater owner and Operator and plug puller :)
k9apr at k9apr.org

Jim Duncan wrote:
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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)
> 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.
> 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?).
> -- 
> 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...

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