[aprssig] APRS on Amtrak, DC to Minneapolis

Gregg Wonderly gregg at wonderly.org
Wed Jun 6 08:39:32 EDT 2018

RF is RF no matter what the modulation, band/freq etc.  One of the reasons why we have SSB, PSK-31 and a boat load of other digital modes that are much more affective than morse code is because people believed there was a reason to be better, and were curious about how to make that happen.

I suppose that some would say why do we need SDR since I can hear that station. “What’s your problem hearing that”, some might say.

Ultimately, communications is what needs to happen.  If you don’t understand a mode, the equipment, the mechanism, the limits, etc., then you will likely have an experience as described here and not how to fix the problem.  If you want to show someone your progress, you could use “find my iPhone” or some other tracking app for android.  But, if you like to keep things technically centered into HAM radio things, for APRS, using an iGate instead of RF direct is really the best choice for many long distance, out in the country, situations.   

Digipeaters are not a promising solution because most people would did, could or would operate one in the past, today, don’t have anything useful happening with that equipment, from most perspectives.  There is just so many other, effective ways, to do the same thing with other technologies which have far better mechanisms, software, messaging etc.

A long time ago, we should of switched to OpenTrac and left APRS as defined by Bob’s protocol in the history books.  Text only coms with wild syntax and variable content is just extremely difficult to manage the expansion of more features.  The size of the AX.25 packet is problematic.  Sending multiple packets was always frowned upon, when it was really the more effective way to manage the content.  AX.25 was the problem that created the larger problem of extensibility and management of the APRS and packet radio network.

My cell phone using RF designed for today, is immensely more productive.   The FCC doesn’t give US Amateurs freedom to work on bigger bandwidth modes on ground wave frequencies.  That would be interesting to do with more bandwidth.  But there are things happening today even, on digital data emissions that are ground breaking still.

The legacy equipment and the standards to meet are both inflexible for targeting to a better solution.

It would be nice if we really could just move on to finding much higher bandwidth, much more effective digital data mechanisms which would include enough useful functionality with enough flexibility in design to have OpenTrac like features that would provide for expandability and flexibility in how the data was moved through RF means.

Gregg Wonderly

> On Jun 4, 2018, at 4:27 AM, Miroslav Skoric <skoric at uns.ac.rs> wrote:
> On 06/03/2018 06:58 PM, R Kirk wrote:
>> An HT is pretty unusable on a train as you and others point out, so I would give up that idea even at 25W. On the other hand, I had good luck on an AMTRAK trip from DC to Savannah using APRSISCE on a laptop and the train's WiFi. It's the only thing I've found reliable.
> Are you a ham or a 'WiFi-amateur'  :-)
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