[aprssig] Emcomm Activation.

Bob Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Sun Mar 2 08:22:11 EST 2008

> Are there any groups using APRS as part of an  
> Emcomm group call-out/ activation process?  
> I was just wondering if anyone has developed a  
> mechanism.

That was fundamentaol to the original conecpt.  I'm not sure how well it works in all clones, but here are all the methods that were designed into the original APRS to assure all operators got the call-up.

1) If someone posted a call-up bulletin, it would be placed on the COMMON BULLETIN board.

2) On receipt, that COMMONO BULLETIN BOARD SCREEN would be forced on ALL users until read.  Only immediate, relevant latest bulletin is on that screen.

3) A BEEP  "B" (== * * * in CW) would occur once a minute until the operator read the bulletin.  THus alerting his attention if he was not watching.  Here is the web page about the COMMON BULLETIN BOARD:

There were additional POSITION alert mechanisms:

4) If anyone sent an emergency posit, the map screen would be forced on all users.  It would be centered and zoomed into that stations symbol.  That symbol would be displayed in bright red.

5) The PC would beep (SOS in CW) repeatedly until the operator attended.  

6) If anyone sent a PRIORITY posit, the same thing would happen but without the BEEP.


7) If an individual receives a message, the MESSAGE screen is forced on the user.  If he is not present, then that screen will still be on the front of his display when he returns.

8) Finally, anyone could send anyone a message and preceed any key word with a % symbol.  On receipt, those words with the % symbol would be sounded out in CW.  Again, alerting an inattentive operator to a specific issue.

I believe WinAPRS and probably others can even speak those words.

And here is the REAL ACTIVATION for ALL club members, not just APRS operators:

9) In APRStt (APRS Touchtone) any APRS message that was sent to APRStt would be SPOKEN onto the APRStt channel.  Remember, APRStt was an DTMF-to-APRS-to-VOICE system so that anyone with just any mobile radio or HT, could fully participate in all aspects of APRS.  That is, their data could be input from their DTMF keypads including messages, and they could get voice response that verbally "painted" the APRS picture (all of this on the separate local APRStt channel).

I am really disappointed that no one picked up and made a windows version of APRStt.  In my opinion, it would have revolutionized APRS by allowing 100% participation by ALL ham radio operators at an event or local situation, instead of just the 5% that have APRS.  Imagine the voice resposne channel that anyone could monitor saying things like:

"W3XYZ, please call checkpoint 13 on 446.5"

"LEAD is 3 point 5 miles northeast of START"

"TAIL is 6 miles west of FINISH"

"W5ABC is 1 point 3 miles east of the REPEATER"

"W5ABC is .3 miles west of W7ABC"

All positions are reported as RANGE and BEARing from a known reference point.  APRStt users can QUERY the location of ANY object from their DTMF.  In addition, any APRStt users can change the reference point to any other station/object in the system from their DTMF too.  As in the last example above.

They can also query for NEAREST.  So the report can be made to the nearest other APRS object.  Or what other object is NEAREST to you.

And unlike the APRSdos implementation of APRStt, which required an external DTMF chip on the parallel port, a good windows programmer would need NO hardware!  Just use the sound card, for the DTMF decoding, and for the VOICE encoding!  Done!

Here is the link to the APRStt system:

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