[aprssig] Pagers as part of the Text Messaging Initiative

Ben Jackson bbj at innismir.net
Mon Jan 26 21:56:15 EST 2009

Steve Dimse wrote:
> First, an apology to all you outside the US, this of course only  
> applies to the USA APRS network.

So, everyone else, run with it! ;)


> Certainly weather transmissions are telemetry under the rules. Only  
> slightly less certain to be legal is position, being a measurement of  
> the location of a station. Most the other kinds of information sent on  
> the APRS network can be stretched with very little effort to be called  
> measurements. Most messages appearing on RF can be justified as either  
> a two way communication if part of a QSO, or information bulletins,  
> another allowed one-way transmission (also with a specific definition  
> - "A message directed only to amateur operators consisting solely of  
> subject matter of direct interest to the amateur service."). These are  
> the rules that make APRS legal, not your general statement that there  
> are a network of participants, which nowhere appears in Part 97. Even  
> if this were acceptable, clearly pagers do not fit as that is by  
> definition aimed at a single receiver designated by the tones.

So, the million dollar question is, what classifies as subject matter of
direct interest to the amateur service? How would a APRS message differ
from a POCSAG transmission to a pager? ACKing is not required (I think,
my protocol reference is in another room), and I (IMNSHO) don't see a
difference between the two besides the protocols used.

> I don't think I could call a page I sent to Bob telemetry, nor would  
> it be of direct interest to the amateur radio service. There is,  
> though, one other allowable one-way transmission that you might be  
> able to say covered it "Brief transmissions necessary to establishing  
> two-way communications with other stations" If Bob is not on RF, and I  
> want to start a QSO with him, I could look the FCC in the eye and say  
> a pager transmission was legal. In this case, the content of the  
> message matters. If I page "Bob, meet me on 147.000+", I'm absolutely  
> covered. If I page "Bob, thanks for creating APRS", I'm not so sure  
> I'm safe.

So, then does the question become: Is it a problem for the originator of
the message or a problem for the messagegate? Does 97.219 apply?

> So my position is that pagers do not qualify as a group, but specific  
> content may make it possible to include paging as a component of your  
> system.

Which I think seems fair interpretation, but I think there is a large
grey area. However, this is a question for the landsharks. Would this be
a question for someone at the ARRL? Do they provide interpretation of
Part 97 for sticky legal conundrums that we are currently engaging in?

Of course, if this is deemed non-kosher, is the next step to poke the
FCC? How the heck does anyone even do this?

> Just please, don't argue that your idea is good, therefore it must be  
> legal!

That, I agree 100%. There are a lot of "good ideas" that aren't legal as
determined by Part 97.


Ben Jackson - N1WBV - New Bedford, MA
bbj <at> innismir.net - http://www.innismir.net/

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