[aprssig] Future for aprs

Kauto Huopio OH2LFM oh2lfm at sral.fi
Sat Sep 8 10:58:29 EDT 2012

On Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 12:22 AM, Andrew Rich <vk4tec at tech-software.net> wrote:
> Is any one else like me
> Frustrated by the constant bombardment of emails from people who just can't get it together.
> Maybe I joined the wrong mail lists ?
> Every aprs kit I ever built for myself or others has worked perfectly
> When do we break away from being just users to experimenters
> Has the pioneering dream died In ham radio ?

Interesting. We discussed along the following lines after a serious hacking
session at OH2K club a couple of months ago..

We could develop a new open source radio platform
providing APRS-like functionality (and more!) using real cutting-edge
not platforms that were bleeding edge in the 1980s..

What we would like to see? Something that would provide..

*radically enhanced radio resource usage
 *support of 100s of terminals within a sq km area
*efficient ad-hoc message passing using multilayer structure
 (other mobile terminals, high power car terminals, fixed "digipeaters",
 aerial stations (aircraft, blimps, drones, satellites)
*100% open source on all but individual IC base components

..maybe also to have a look on a reasonably reliable ad-hoc data network
for emergency / SAR situations that would facilitate mobile ad-hoc
IP connectivity at 100-200 kbit/s range to 10s of terminals for
a reasonably wide area (say tornado/flood ground zero). Something
really faster than present HF data, but doesn't have to be WLAN / high
3G/4G speeds. And coverage that could be deployed with 3-4 base
stations for a reasonably sized city. This service could provide
reliable email even with several MB attachments, web browsing,
even remote terminal access.

To facilitate this, we would need an "Arduino" or "Raspberry Pi" for radios.
An open-source SDR-based radio platform that would support various
frequency bands all the way from HF to microwave  bands. Naturally
we would have to start from a very limited set, like a 1-5W handheld/
tracker -type platform for 2m/70cm. The project could start just from
a base radio (providing just USB/GPIO/audio interfaces) then add
a handheld UI (matrix display, PTT, function knobs, even a touch

I know this sounds really wacko, but I think we need to try to make
a radical facelift to the amateur radio hobby in the technology front.
Something that would allow to use the radio resources available to
us at a greater extent. There is a *lot* of capacity available on the
higher bands, we just need gear for it. And we should see how
we could get more out of our 2m/70cm allocations. Guaranteeing
backwards-compatability - no I don't want all this to kill APRS nor
CW or SSB/FM voice. But more activity  - I want our bands to buzz,
and adapt to our community service needs in times of emergencies.

Why open source? Because I feel that that the core platforms,
the radio interface, the related codecs - should be in the spirit of
the hobby be 100% open. The commercial competition should be
on the physical design of the devices etc, packaging and support.
Open source will mean the basic design is adaptable to
commercial purposes, which could
provide the needed volumes to guarantee reasonably low unit prices.

We could do something to radio that Linus Torvalds did to general
computing. (Not me, I am very poor programmer and terrible with
a soldering iron..)

Have to write these thoughts maybe better organized to some corner
of the net.

Comments? :)

--Kauto OH2LFM

Kauto Huopio OH2LFM - oh2lfm at sral.fi
Hansakallionkuja 12 A 1, 02780 Espoo, Finland

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