[aprssig] APRS Email from Space! (ET Phone Home)

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Sun Jun 30 10:27:31 EDT 2019

> On Jun 30, 2019, at 4:15 AM, Pete Loveall AE5PL Lists via aprssig <aprssig at lists.tapr.org> wrote:
> I am harsh because Bob approached me about this before the launch of PSAT 2 and I told him at that time that the email servers rely on APRS numbered messaging to differentiate between messages, to report to the sender the status of an email being sent or not,

In my test messages from RF, I've never gotten a status, because presumably the return path was weak, and yet it worked. The return info is a nice feature, but not a requirement for it to work.

> and to prevent abuse of someone generating SPAM
> (you have a very limited definition of SPAM which does not make my statement factually incorrect)

Google defines spam as "irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients". Google is on my side. It doesn't affect your argument, but you've been around the internet too long to use the word incorrectly.

> by blasting a server with repetitive emails to a single person.

But if the sender is sending one message packet a day essentially to himself that is hardly a concern, is it?
> Because you don't find the content of messages "exciting" that are generated by people experimenting with amateur radio (I thought that is how amateur radio started) doesn't make Bob's statement about a satellite bot trying to generate meaningless emails being "exciting" accurate. 
> I will argue it is a lot more "exciting" that amateur radio operators are experimenting than setting a bot up to generate packets to servers that violate what the servers were set up to do in the first place.

I would agree what Bob is doing with the email is not exciting, certainly once the first "amateur radio email from space" has been sent. And I would also say that the test messages are more useful than Bob's email home from space. Learning to use a feature you may sometime need in an emergency is a core value of amateur radio. But no, using a feature that has been around what, 15 years?, is not exciting.
> Steve, you may not think it is one of those times but because I had already gone through this in much more detail with Bob before the launch and because Bob decided to do it anyway, I felt it was time. I did explain to Bob in detail that this would do nothing to advance amateur radio, APRS, or satellite use by explaining exactly what you stated in your "rather senseless" line and if he wanted to generate emails, create a server that monitors APRS-IS and sends him an email when it sees packets from PSAT 2 without having the satellite trying to use numbered messaging without the ability to ack or receive numbered messages in response which is what the email servers require.
> Hope this explains why I was very disappointed in Bob's actions and that we are in agreement that this brings nothing to amateur radio or APRS and detracts from the good things PSAT 2 could be providing.

This is just another Bob being Bob moment, and the reality is this one does no harm, unless the satellite starts spewing  continuous emails to thousands of addresses. Then I would join you in condemning Bob. But until then I still believe you are wrong in calling him out over this. It just isn't a big deal.

I used to get all riled up over every Bob kludge. He has a lot of ideas. Some are brilliant, and many are just plain bad (like flying touch tone APRS, a Bob idea still in search of usefulness). But when on a visit to the Smithsonian I saw Bob's kludgy PCSat engineering model complete with measuring tape antennas literally basking in the glow of the shuttle Discovery, I decided to leave the guy alone unless he is going to cause real damage, or until something of mine is on display in the Air and Space museum.


(The reflection in the glass is the real Discovery).

Steve K4HG

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