[aprssig] Mobile user interfaces

Pentti Gronlund pentti.gronlund at tut.fi
Thu Feb 10 18:04:31 EST 2011

Good morning all,

I remember there was a somewhat heated discussion about the two-way
aspect of APRS.

First of all, I can accept the frustration of people driving through
a large chunk of land like the U.S. or mainland Europe with no cont-
acts whatsoever. Very little APRS hams really seem to have no info
about where they are listening, if they are.

However, it is a bit different thing if you look at it in the local
tactical info perspective. Most APRS hams drive at or close to the
home turf most of the time. Everybody around here knows the frequenc-
ies you are supposed to be listening to. You really don't get much 
from having a possibility for a two-way APRS chat but it would be
nice to see the others on the map.  

Let me get a bit sidetracked for a while. In the process of debug-
ging the local info packets of our in-town-digipeater I borrowed a
Kenwood D710 for a while. It was a long while, while the owner made
some rearrangements with his antenna setup :) Contrary to my ex-
pectations and my experiences with the D7 and D700, the UI of the
the D710 is actually quite friendly. Just don't count in the message
section, it still reminds me of the first GSM handies from the early
era 20 years ago...

Me and a ham friend with similar interests have also gathered some
surplus car PC equipment for a while now. I could have built up a
PC in the car but the software isn't up to it. The hardware is, we
have a local brand of surplus data radios to which some hams wrote 
a new firmware, it has both KISS and tracker functionality (and
digipeater, too). If you think about Ui-View, AGWTracker or Xastir, 
all are designed to be used at home. Lynn, I have to apologize to 
you, I have never seen APRSICE in use :)

I think there is no use in ranting about the missed capabilities of
APRS if the hardware/software simply isn't up to the task. I am 
using the said MDR 150 data radio with a nüvi 350 and Argentdata's
GTRANS cable, and I can see where my friends are moving. I also
know what kind of radios they have (or don't have) and can call
them on the radio or on the cell. I would like to have the two-
way messaging but is it really necessary? And if it is, who is
willing to put the manhours to the design of user interface units
that really can be used when you're mobile?

73 de Benjamin OH3BK
The writer has earned his living in designing equipment and net-
works for mobile communications for almost 25 years. He has been
licensed for amateur radio since 1978 and has been operating packet 
radio infrastructure since WA7MBL was your favourite choice for a 

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