[aprssig] [RFC] Power Source Data Extension

spam8mybrain spam8mybrain at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 12 12:34:32 EST 2017

It does seem kind of odd why the type of power source really matters at the icon level.
IMHO, from having been shelter communications staff in ARES/RACES operations, more important shelter parameters to flag at the icon level might be:
1. open, closed, full, still has room2. pets allowed/not allowed3. handicapped-accessible?4. in need of resources vs. fully resourced
For the last item, which kind of resources are in need might be considered sensitive information, so that might not be suitable to report even in a comment on non-secure amateur radio links.
Just my $.02.
Andrew , KA2DDO author of YAAC 

-------- Original message --------
From: Kenneth Finnegan <kennethfinnegan2007 at gmail.com> 
Date: 2/12/17  3:27 AM  (GMT-05:00) 
To: TAPR APRS Mailing List <aprssig at tapr.org> 
Subject: [aprssig] [RFC] Power Source Data Extension 

As I continue to study the APRS symbol set this year, I've noticed a set of symbol overlays indicating the power source for APRS stations, but their documented application is limited to only a few base symbols and is somewhat sporadic. Houses get all sorts of options for symbol overlays indicating their power, but shelters get none. 
In an effort to free the symbol overlay from trying to indicate both the type of station and the type of power source for the station, I'm proposing a new data extension to indicate power source. 
Why was 50Hz vs 60Hz handled for houses? I'm a bit at a loss where that would be an issue.
Power Source Data ExtensionThere has been a proliferation of APRS symbol overlays trying to encode the power source for stations, which suffers from a few issues:Several duplicated sets of symbol overlays for power sources per station type (i.e. solar powered plane, solar powered car, and solar powered house)Prevents the symbol overlay from being used to convey more important information than the station's power sourceIs unable to represent more than one power source at a timeOnly gives the ability to indicate power source to a limited list of station types which have symbol power overlays definedTo correct these issues, I am proposing the definition of a new station capability field to be included in the < capability packet or included as a data extension in location or status comment fields.PWR=[Unordered list of power source codes]B - BatteryC - Coal, natural gas, wood, etcF - H2 fuel cellsG - Internal combustion generatorH - HydroelectricN - NuclearS - SolarT - GeoThermalU - Utility mainsW - WindMultiple sources should be listed as several power source codes immediately following the = with no seperator between power source codes. The list of power sources is terminated by any character which is not an upper case letter [A-Z].The PWR extension is not meant to differentiate between different sources for utility mains power. The availability of power codes such as geothermal and nuclear are only for completeness, and should not be used by stations which are simply paying their local utility company to operate these sorts of power sources. This means that a power source like PWR=N would be very unusual, since it indicates that the station is operating a nuclear power source.Stations should indicate the power sources they typically have available, which may not currently all be active. For example, an off-the-grid solar site would beacon PWR=SB to indicate that they are a solar + battery station, despite the fact that the solar panels aren't necessarily producting power during the night.This means that the PWR extension should never be used as a way to remotely monitor power sources like whether a site has utility power or not (i.e. it switching between PWR=UB and PWR=B). The correct way to monitor if a site has power or not is to use one of the boolean telemetry fields to encode the power state and beacon a telemetry formatter such as :MYCALL :PARM.,,,,,AC Power.The PWR extension may be foregone when the power source for a station is unremarkable. For example, house stations only running on wall power (PWR=U) or car mobile stations only running on internal combustion generator (PWR=G) may forego the additional packet length taken to indicate the obvious.This power source capability / data extension field deprecates the following symbol overlays (with possible replacements indicated):E^ = Electric aircraft (PWR=B)S^ = Solar powered airplane (PWR=S)E> = Electric car (PWR=B)H> = Hybrid car (PWR=BG)S> = Solar powered car/vehicle (PWR=S)V> = GM Volt (PWR=BG)E# = Emergency powered digipeater (PWR=?)5- = 50Hz mains power, house (PWR=U)6- = 60Hz mains power, house (PWR=U)B- = Backup battery power, house (PWR=UB)E- = Emergency power, house (PWR=?)G- = Geothermal, house (PWR=T)H- = Hydro powered, house (PWR=H)S- = Solar Powered, house (PWR=S)W- = Wind powered, house (PWR=W)Many of these symbols would likely be replaced with something other than what's listed; e.g. the overlay for a solar-powered house lacked the expressiveness to distinguish if it's a grid-tied solar-powered house (PWR=SU) or if it's an off-the-grid house with a battery bank (PWR=SB).The distinction between 60Hz utility power and 50Hz utility power is not made in this data extension since the possible application of where that distinction would need to be made is incredibly small. For the very few applications where mains frequency would be of any concern to other users, APRS nodes may otherwise include a note on the power frequency. One possible method would be PWR=U(50Hz); power capability parsers should terminate at the '(' and need not process the frequency indication after it.

Kenneth Finnegan, W6KWF

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