[aprssig] APRS on Smart Devices [WAS: APRN news from Dayton!]

Gregg Wonderly gregg at wonderly.org
Tue May 24 15:18:17 EDT 2011

Julian, thanks for your followup.  I want to clarify my position to make it 
clear that I am not saying "use the cellular network".   Instead, I am saying 
"use the devices facilities to access APRS."  In particular, with IP 
connectivity, there is nothing that says I could not be in Texas, for example, 
and use WIFI facilities on my smart device to access a HSMM network operated by 
HAMs there in a community so that I could access the APRS-IS, an IP accessible 
TNC connected to a 144.390mhz transceiver etc.  Or, as I said, I might have, in 
my car, a TNC connected to a 144.390mhz transceiver that has a WISNAP module 
connected to it, so that WIFI paths to the TNC are available.  I might have an 
iPad in the car with me doing APRS just fine, using the normal 144.390mhz stuff.

I might also have that connected to a WIFI access point in the car with me that 
would allow other people with smart devices to operate in a local APRS network 
supporting some event on the ground.  They could be collecting information (for 
example in Joplin MO) and my network would allow all these devices to exchange 
information about what is going on.

For this to work, we all need to accept that things like this might be the ONLY 
way that a HAM can provide support in a situation such as what exists in Joplin 
MO today, or perhaps someplace here in Oklahoma tomorrow, if today goes as bad 
as the NWS says it will.

Requiring that only 144.390mhz is how we get APRS or other digital payloads to 
flow is short sighted.  We have multiple bands and modes on our HAM radios 
because one way is not always the answer.

We really need to work out how we will accommodate these smart devices to be a 
healthy part of the services we can provide.

144.390 is a very capable network today, but there is only one large area DIGI 
in may areas, and when that goes down, we may need something else to support 
larger areas.   144.390 is okay, but if all we have is working cellular node 
with internet data out of our mobile devices, then we need to be able to use 
that, and RF people need to be on equal footing with these smart devices.

Gregg Wonderly

On 5/24/2011 11:37 AM, Julian, G4ILO wrote:
> I understand and agree with you Gregg but as a user of Lynn KJ4ERJ's
> APRSISCE in Windows Mobile and also an owner of several APRS RF
> devices I find myself in something of a dilemma. Do I use APRS over
> cellular and get all these improved features or do I stick true to the
> spirit of the hobby, use the radio and accept the limitations of the
> radio devices and the bandwidth? APRS over cellular is as much ham
> radio as Echolink on a computer (or cellphone) and I think many of us
> would be quite scathing of someone who claimed he made a ham radio
> contact because he called someone up on Echolink.
> If we go for the smartphone option because "it's better" aren't we
> sending a message to the powers that be that hams don't need dedicated
> spectrum any more, that we could all use the internet and free up all
> that spectrum space? That would certainly suit the UK regulatory body
> Ofcom which is refusing to take action over PLT interference
> essentially because it believes radio hams are just a small bunch of
> hobbyists whose use of the radio spectrum is of no importance.
> Julian, G4ILO
> On 24 May 2011 16:36, Gregg Wonderly<gregg at wonderly.org>  wrote:
>> APRS on these smart devices is the future.  We can not possibly get to the
>> same level of features and support and "programmable" extension on a HAM
>> radio without them understanding where things are going, and getting out of
>> the dark ages.
>> Smart devices will be much more useful to us for data collection, routing
>> and management, then a HAM radio can ever be.
>> Gregg Wonderly
>> W5GGW
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