[aprssig] SMART Networks

Rich Garcia k4gpsc at gmail.com
Fri Mar 28 18:10:00 EDT 2008

I have come to the conclusion that nothing will just work and nothing will
be easy for a travler on APRS. I got tired of the 2 radio/tnc/GPS/laptop
configuration so I bought a D710A after many years of piece meal systems. I
drove from the Charlotte to the NYC metro area along I-77 / 81 and 78
yesterday arriving today.

Along most of that trip there was good APRS coverage except in the Northern
NC area then in the Harrisburg - Reading area. Good coverage means I could
hear STRONG SOLID packets since I like to watch the road and not my display
most of the time. What I did notice in some areas that even though there
were solid packets if I sent a position report out I never heard my packet
get retransmitted.

I just got into the hotel and using aprs.fi I redrew my path and stations
along it. Seems that yes some areas are still void of APRS but NOT very
much. Other areas are just not WIDE-N capable and still using
WIDE/RELAY/TRACE. Some digis do not specify but by looking at nearby
stations to the digi I can see they use WIDE in their path so apparently the
digi is still a WIDE.

I have been a ham for a lot of years, played on and off with APRS (mostly
on) since the beta days of APRSdos and really done nothing but APRS over all
of these years except build a few repeaters or try PSK. If someone that
cares about APRS and is at least somewhat familiar with it can not keep
track of what way to digi while doing 70mph down the interstate how is that
going to make those new people feel about the application? If you got to be
changing paths all the time and not able to concentrate on the trip is it
worthwhile? I forgot about all of this since I ran APRS mobile for MANY
years over my Verizon AirCard, never had to bother with digi's for many

No one can force anyone to do anything in amateur radio but bottom line is
if everyone can not come to a single common way to run it's operation things
like APRS should be considered more a local service than a public service
and not advertised that way? Actually in some cases like the panhandle of
Florida APRS was taken to another frequency since they were not interested
in the things going around them. I think that is long gone now but it was
actually a good idea for them and for everyone else in the long run. If you
have a digi on .39 and budlist out people and want your own "private"
network so be it but why take up .39 which is meant for travelers? There are
plenty of frequencies out there.. Same goes for the WIDE-N or WIDE/RELAY
situation, if everyone else in the area try your best...ask for help if
needed but use the new paragrim so that travelers that are in the area are
able to get out.

One other quirk I noticed...while I was listening there are a few stations
in the Blacksburg area I believe with some HUGE dwait times. When listening
to the frequency it seems like some of the packets have a 2+ second dwait
time before the real packet goes out. The frequency in the area sounds
really busy but it probably is not.


-----Original Message-----
From: aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org
[mailto:aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org]On Behalf Of Robert Bruninga
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 12:16 PM
To: 'TAPR APRS Mailing List'
Subject: RE: [aprssig] SMART Networks

>> Give us a break, Bob.  The way to manage the
>> network is to let the digi node operators
>> define a 'service area' geographically, then
>> digi any packet originated in that area, and
>> ignore all others.

Then today we see on the SIG:

>The only thing that is locked out are... digipeaters
>that are located outside of the Lubbock NWS coverage
>area.  Sometimes this blocks a legit traveller who
>operates a digipeater with his own callsign.

In this example, apparently Lubbock Texas has constrained APRS
to focus on support of National Weather Service support at the
expense of the occasional  traveler, visitor, communicator,
first responder, or anyone else passing through or nearby, or
needing to get an RF message through or around Lubbock finds the
network does not work as expected..

This is not the first time that travelers have reported
inconsistent APRS performance in the Lubbock Texas area.

Yes, ignoring out of area digis was a good stop-gap measure back
before the New-N paradigm to force a reduction in unwanted QRM.
I wonder if it is time to see if these draconian traps and
filters are still required in that area, or if the DX QRM is now
less than it was.?

The more APRS works the same and consistently everywhere, the
closer we are to providing a consistent service to all of HAM
radio and travelers.  And visiting first responders.

Bob, Wb4APR

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