[aprssig] The future of APRS. (Was Re: weak signal ISS packet)

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Wed Jan 14 10:39:10 EST 2015

On Jan 14, 2015, at 5:10 AM, Dave B <g8kbvdave at googlemail.com> wrote:
> Maybe when I retire, if the Government ever let me retire that is.
Hope you have a backup plan ;-)
>> No one makes money on APRS development. We do things like put ads on
>> our web sites and charge for software in the hope of stopping the
>> hemorrhage of money we spend to develop and provide our service, maybe
>> even earning a few cents an hour on our time, or providing some
>> justification to significant others for the hours away from them. But
>> any way you look at it, this is something you do as a hobby because it
>> interests you. So, if it isn't something you are willing to waste
>> thousands of hours (and dollars) on, and that decision is repeated a
>> few ten-thousand times by everyone else in APRS, it doesn't get done.
> That hasnt' stopped things developing in other areas of Ham Radio, in particular 
> the proliferation of SDR software.  Many digimodes, some of which could 
> potentially knock spots off 1200bd AFSK (RPR* etc)   Digital Voice (FreeDV etc) 
> and digital SSTV etc, most developed by groups of unpaid people, though with a 
> core few who do the coding, but many who do the testing.

This is very different. There wasn't already a system of tens of thousands of SDR users. And the very proliferation of software actually hinders its development now, no one system can get critical mass. So this is a  place where people are experimenting, not building a working, coherent system. Maybe someday. And if this interests you this is where you are working, on systems that can be improved if a dozen people load new software, not on trying to redo a system with immense inertia.

> I don't know for certain, but I think G3RUH developed the "RUH" 9600bd 
> modem, much in his own time with others who I forget, that was poorly adopted 
> (except in small areas) it is however, included as standard in many Kenwood 
> APRS capable radios.

Yea, because it was another feature that could be easily added without raising the cost much. How many of those radios have ever received a SINGLE 9600 baud packet?
> APRS (sadly) is stuck in a backwater in many people's eyes, compared to what 
> can be done now, "at very low cost" with a mobile phone, that just about 
> everyone in the developed world now carries with them nearly all the time.

And again, you have partially answered your own question. In the early days of APRS it was a system you couldn't get at reasonable cost (some features at any cost) anywhere else. Now, everyone has far better features in their pocket 24/7. How much of your personal life and treasure are you willing to sacrifice to get something that will never match what your latest phone can do?

Unless you or someone else cares to make that sacrifice nothing will change, and complaining about it doesn't help inspire others. No one takes on APRS development because someone else wants something, we do it because WE want something, and are willing to spend our own time and money to make it happen. 

Steve K4HG

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