[aprssig] APRS in Dallas

Bob Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Sun Aug 10 11:10:58 EDT 2008

Had a layover at DFW and got to monitor for a half hour.

Of course it is unfair to criticize an area from a snap-shot, but on the other hand, APRS is supposed to provide in 30 minutes a reasonable chance of getting good information on everything you need to know happening in Ham radio in the area.  I was on the sky-tram (roof of the airport) with clear view of the ham radio horizon in all directions...

Again, this is only a snapshot, but some of these things are representative of what is wrong with APRS in other areas too..  Take out your HT.  Monitor your local area.  See what a visitor sees in 30 minutes.

Of 9 Digis received, not a single one was New-N.

Not one digi indicated the Wn-N to use in that area.

Not one digi indicated if it supported TXn-N

There was only one FREQ object (52 miles east), but I was glad to see that it was in perfect format.  Showing freq, tone and Net Thursday at 7 PM. (I could not hit it on my HT).

There was a DFW Airport object but it contained no useful info, such as the recommended FREQ for that area.

Of the 40 station/objects collected by my D7, 9 of them had no status/text info in their packets.

In addition to having none of the New-N info in their text, most of the digis had no useful info.  They wasted bandwidth by repeating their callsigns in their text.  Or saying the DIGI was a "DIGI".  Or that it was an APRS DIGI or that it was a KPC-3 8.2.  All of this is already encoded elsewhere in the packet.  The intent of the TEXT in a DIGI (or any station for that matter) is to provide some USEFUL info, not redundant info.  Each digi has at least 20 bytes that can be viewed by everyone.  THink of how they can best be used for ham radio...

One digi had no PHG info so it was impossible to tell its usefulness over any area

The only IGate had not PHG info

One digi only had a gridsquare (which is wasted BW since every APRS client and radio already displays GS.

When you travel, look at what you see.  Even better, turn on your radio for an hour, look at everything you see.  Is it useful for the traveler, or local?  Does it give you INFO about real-time ham radio?

If not, make it an initiative to fix it.

Just kibitzing from afar...

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