[aprssig] Failed APRS?

k4rjj at bellsouth.net k4rjj at bellsouth.net
Mon Jan 19 14:41:37 EST 2009

 Bob, I would say that allowing the 1 way trackers on the network was the downfall and caused #2.  Now that the door is open how to stop the cattle?

K4RJJ Ronny

  -------------- Original message from "Robert Bruninga" <bruninga at usna.edu>: --------------

> I was just pointed to N5FDL Dave's "EMCOMM-U" and his blog entry
> "The Failed Promise of APRS"
> (http://tinyurl.com/7n79fb)   Here is my response to his
> comments:
> David,
> As the original author of APRS dating back 20 years, I have to
> respond to your blog.
> You are right!!!
> You can imagine my frustration over the years at seeing how the
> APRS concept has deterioriated by all kinds of issues that you
> have raised.  Fortunately beginning in 2004,  I had had enough
> and was able to break away from the APRS satellite projects that
> have consumed so much of my time for the last 9 years, and get
> back to APRS full (avocation) time.
> Your concerns are right on!  In this hasty response, I hope to
> show you how each of your concerns has been and is being
> addressed, though we have to reverse a number of trends.  And we
> must re-educate most existing users and all future users.
> 1) Fix the network!  See www.aprs.org/fix14439.html.  This
> initiative began in 2004 and has shown a 2 to 5 fold improvement
> in local RF network reliability.  Not only does it show the
> technical how-to-fix the network, it establishes a new baseline
> 2) Transmit-only-trackers!  These transmit-only devices were
> killing the APRS concept of rapid-real-time human digital
> communications (APRS) by attempting to turn the national network
> into nothing more than a vehicle tracking system. (APRS was
> never intended to be a "tracking" system.  Please read
> www.aprs.org/APRS-tactical.html.)
> 3) TRACKER MANEFESTO.  I have asked all manufacturers of such
> one-way devices to include a copy of the APRS Tracker Manefesto
> in their products to help educate users about the above topics
> and to try to get them to join the "2-way communications
> network".  I also encourge them to design two-way systems in the
> future or to include speaker monitors for Voice Alert.
> www.aprs.org/doc/TrackerManifesto.doc
> 4) APRS Voice Alert and TWO-WAY communications for all mobiles.
> We must be able to communicate at least by voice with all APRS
> operators including those with TX-only trackers.  THe Manefesto
> tells them to transmit their LISTENING frequency included in
> their position reports.  APRS positions are NOT intended for
> detail tracking, only for locating the comunicator in the APRS
> network. APRS Voice-Alert replaces the passive 146.52 national
> calling frequency for mobiles with the active pinging and
> proximity detection (on the open road) for easy contact.  Far
> far better than 52 and finding nearby operators.
> www.aprs.org/VoiceAlert3.html
> 5) Station and Mobile Attributes.  APRS symbols were designed
> with at least EIGHT VISIBLE attributes.  8 colors displayed
> these attributes by a simple glance at the COLOR of an APRS
> station or mobile.  None of this is displayed by most new
> follow-on "APRS" clients because most of them use simplistic
> one-dimensional WINDOWS ICONS instead of
> multi-layered/multi-colored SYMBOLS.  see
> www.aprs.org/symbols.html
> 6) FREQUENCY OBJECTS:  Since APRS is supposed to rapidly
> facilitate communications between operators, ALL APRS
> digipeaters are supposed to be putting out front-panel objects
> to the Mobile Radio operator that shows him the recommended
> voice repeater frequency in EACH digipeater's coverage area.
> Please see www.aprs.org/localinfo.html
> 7) Universal Amateur Radio Text Messaging.  APRS has had keypad
> text messaging for over 11 years long before it became the rage
> of today's youth, yet the rest of amateur radio has ignored this
> powerful real-time communications capability.  We are reversing
> that, by initiating a new initiative (see "Eclectic APRS" in Feb
> 2009 QST) and the web page: www.aprs.org/aprs-messaging.html
> 8) Smart Beaconing:   Too many people have been lead to believe
> that APRS is a vehicle tracking system, and therefore that a
> GOOD APRS network will provide GOOD tracking, and the smarter
> the beaconing, the better the track.  This is IMPOSSIBLE on a
> 1200 baud channel never inteneded for detail vehicle tracking!
> APRS is a two-way communications system between operators.  The
> purpose of transmitting POSITION is only to inform others of
> your activity status, availability, and approximate position in
> the network.  NOT YOUR PRECISE position while moving.  Please
> see the MISCONCEPTIONS web page under #2 above
> 9) EDUCATION!  We must educate.  Simplifying and fixing the
> network starting in 2004, was the biggest step towards user
> education.  By simplifying the network, shortening paths, and
> getting rid of old legacy concepts, now we can finally educate
> users.
> a) APRS is a 2 way system between live operators
> b) APRS cannot support detail tracking on the national network
> c) TRACKERS are ideal for special and LOCAL events on small nets
> or other freqs
> d) APRS is about COMMUNICATING with fellow hams, not pushing
> one-dimensional objects around an internet map.  
> Hope that helps.
> Bob, WB4APR
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