[aprssig] weak signal ISS packet (APRStt)

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Fri Jan 23 09:31:10 EST 2015

Go get 'em Steve!
And as Steve says, to lead APRS in a new direction, what you need is a
KILLER app, and something EVERY ham can use.

And we have had that in the wings since 2001.  And it is called APRStt.

It lets EVERY ham with ANY FM mobile or HT join in the full APRS
experience.  They just send their call from DTMF memory and See the APRS
incoming information via VOICE Synthesis.  It lets 100% of club members
input data at events and 100% then "see" the APRS tactical picture.  Not
just the 5% with APRS radios.

If you want to contribute something new and exciting, and low cost, put up
an APRStt translator.  Byonics makes the basics module for $30.!

See http://aprs.org/aprstt.html

And I am working feverishly on an APRStt for our next satellite.  Not only
can the Kenwood and APRS radios have worldwide APRS coverage, but ANYONE
with an HT and DTMF memory can play too.

The reason it is a killer app, is because only ONE person per club has to
build a local APRStt translator, then EVERYONE in their club, with ZERO
investment can use it and join the global APRS connectivity!

Bob, Wb4APR

-----Original Message-----
From: aprssig-bounces at tapr.org [mailto:aprssig-bounces at tapr.org] On Behalf
Of Steve Dimse
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2015 8:24 PM
To: TAPR APRS Mailing List
Subject: Re: [aprssig] weak signal ISS packet

On Jan 22, 2015, at 7:21 PM, Bill Vodall <wa7nwp at gmail.com> wrote:
> Perhaps if we'd invested more time on the RF Radio network side we'd
> have moved beyond technology that was outdated even in 1997.  That's
> the point of my suggestion - doing it easiest way isn't the best for
> the long run.

If there had been a more significant barrier to getting involved in APRS
in the mid-90s - say $400 for a radio/modem per station, APRS would never
have taken off. APRS became the success it is precisely because it worked
with the TNCs and radios many hams already had or could buy used dirt
cheap. People could experiment for free, and as they did some got hooked,
and it reached a critical mass.

To suggest it could have been done differently ignores the critical mass
issue, and also assumes that someone spent the tens or hundreds of
thousand of dollars to develop those radios and modems, you sure couldn't
buy them then! TAPR spent a lot of money trying to build a point to point
radio in the 500 kbps range in the late 90s. I personally threw thousands
of dollars into that project. The problem was by the time we had turned
the boards a few times one or more chips was discontinued because the
technology was improving so fast. It was hopeless unless we spent enough
to hire a full time team of engineers that could complete the project in a
few months and buy a lifetime chip supply. TAPR couldn't afford that, no
ham radio organization could.

>>> EuroHAMNET from the DCC on HamRadioNow -
>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytuOqcYgOtg
> This is one DCC presentation worth watching..     It shows what can be
> done building a independent networking using Ham ingenuity and modern
> hardware and software.
And since you sent this I have watched it. Really, it is something very
much like HAMWAN. And yes, it is interesting. If I lived in an area with
one of these networks I'd play with it too. Sure, you could build an
APRS-IS using these links. But right now these can do less than the
commercial wired and wireless Internet links that get stronger every day,
and they will never come close to reaching that level of service. They do
nothing unique.

So yes, they are fun to play with. They have utility for putting our
bandwidth to use and for possibly providing emergency TCP linkages. But
they are not now replacements for the 1200 baud APRS network, nor will
they ever be.

We know that because of synchronization issues 9600 baud provides little
improvement over 1200 in an ALOHA network for the short data packets APRS
is concerned with, and faster modems really do not help. So even today, if
I wanted to design something for the APRS network, I'd chose 1200 baud. It
is cheap, easy, reliable, and proven. Nothing you have talked about comes
close to matching it for what we need it to do! When linked with the
Internet it is powerful and unique tool, but it never tried to, and never
will, do everything.
>> Something like "Seattle's HamWAN is an amateur network using commercial
802.11 equipment in the 5.9 Ghz band.
>> It has very limited coverage and is not suitable for mobile or portable
> Coverage is actually quite impressive

Looking at the map on their front page I'd disagree, it looks like tall
rooftops and high ridges are the primary coverage areas.

> and I can see it working well
> for portable operations...

Yes, for those areas with coverage, setting up a two foot dish is not too
big of a hurdle.

> Mobile operation has been attempted but that's not a good fit (yet)
> for this technology.
yet? You think there will ever be a day when an 802 technology will be
good fit for mobile operation?
> I'm the biggest APRS fan in the house - it's the Ham digital
> equivalent of what Facebook is for the rest of the world.  At least it
> could be if we move forward with all the missing potential
> functionality (email and bulletins, data files like the callsign
> database, custom icons, software updates) - and that's why I see these
> Internet clients as such distractions from what we could be doing.

Huh? You want to send software updates via APRS? That's really nuts! Even
if we had a magic wand and every APRS radio and node had a dedicated
40Mbps bandwidth, the best you can come up with is matching what the
internet has been doing for 20 years?

Here's the thing. If you want people to get excited about some high
bandwidth ham radio network, you need to have a killer app, something that
can't be done on the existing Internet. Otherwise you are just playing at
making your own inferior version of the Internet. And interesting as that
may be to some it is never going to attract a critical mass. And it is
never going to replace the boring 1200 baud 144.39 network.

Steve K4HG

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