[aprssig] A Proposal for the Continuation of APRS

Jeff Hochberg jeff at w4jew.com
Sun Feb 13 12:19:47 EST 2022


My name is Jeff Hochberg (W4JEW) and I’m located in Atlanta, GA.

I chatted with Steve Dimse earlier this week about what I am about to cover
here. He asked that I ensure this is an open discussion with aprssig, hence
the reason for this message.

I’ve been a member of the aprssig mailing list for quite some time now but
haven’t been an active participant - primarily due to other commitments,
work, and most importantly family.

Some of you might be familiar with the annual Appalachian Trail Golden
Packet (ATGP) event that Bob Bruninga started back in 2009.

Bob and I connected shortly after he was first diagnosed with cancer and he
asked me to take on managing ATGP just shy of 3.5 years ago. Not only have
I been managing the group, I’ve been coordinating the annual event, and
running a new monthly ATGP Knowledge Share series that is focused entirely
on APRS.

APRS has been at the forefront of my time with amateur radio and is
something that I am extremely passionate about. I, along with a core group
within ATGP have been very concerned with the future of APRS and have been
watching closely to see what would happen after Bob left us.

With Kenwood’s uncertain demise - discontinuing the TH-D74 and not making
any official statement of their future on continuing with production of the
TH-D72 and TM-D710 has left a dark spot on APRS. Granted, there are other
manufacturers that continue to support APRS and there’s a strong community
of hardware manufacturers that are still shipping TNCs, as well as a wide
array of open source and closed source software projects (Direwolf,
APRSIS32, PinPoint APRS, to name a few.

Yaesu’s implementation of APRS is probably the strongest outside of Kenwood
- which isn’t saying much. Icom’s conscious decision to not include analog
APRS in their radios baffles me. And there are other manufacturers such as
AnyTone that are limping along with half-rate implementations of APRS that
do more to harm the ham community than help. Thankfully they seem to
realize the error in their ways and have been making a slightly concerted
effort to remedy their sophomoric attempts with the original AT-D878 and
AT-578 with the recent release of the AT-D878UV2 Plus and the AT-D578UV3
Plus - both still leave a lot to be desired.

I think we can all agree that the APRS standard stagnated and has largely
remained the same for the past several years. We’ve been stuck at the
current version for far too long and have fallen out of the limelight. The
time has come for that to change!

And I know there’s some that feel as though it’s time for APRS to publish a
final chapter and close the book forever as there’s been advancements in
other areas of amateur radio that overlap APRS either in part or in full.

I couldn’t disagree more strongly! There’s plenty of lifeblood left and
there’s tremendous opportunity to bring it back with a vengeance!

What APRS needs is an overhaul. The standard needs to be updated to include
relatively recent extensions as well as a group of people that are invested
in driving it’s future. I’ve been reading through an active discussion on a
replacement for APRS - that is also something that could be considered.
Truthfully, there are lots of directions this can go in.

What is needed at this juncture is an organization - more specifically a
non-profit 501(c)3 corporation that will represent APRS at a global scale
that is focused on a renaissance as well as adding to an already strong
foundation that can compliment the some of the latest and most exciting
areas of amateur radio including, but not limited to, the likes of the M17

John and I are putting forth a motion.

This email serves as an official proposal to kick off this effort. I, Jeff
Hochberg, along with John Tarbox (WA1KLI) are proposing the creation of a
501(c)3 non-profit corporation who’s charter is to re-establish APRS as a
kingpin of the ham radio world. To take on the trademark and the aprs.org
domain, with the mission to ensure that APRS continues to thrive.

But that’s not all. This corporation will have an open door policy where
any like-minded licensed amateur radio operators around the world can join
provided they are committed to advance APRS into version 2.0 and beyond!

While this is still very early stages, it is something that we are willing
to commit to 100% and begin with the formation of an organization

There are two other prominent members of the APRS community that we are all
familiar with (and are also members of aprssig) that have also shown
interest, but I do not want to name them without their permission.

Who is Jeff Hochberg? That's an excellent question!

Just to share a little bit more about me... I live in Atlanta, Georgia with
my wife Charity and my stepdaughter Tatam.

I currently hold a General Class license and have been a licensed amateur
radio operator since 2015 (originally KM4KPI). I am currently pursuing my
Amateur Extra license and intend to take the exam in the not so distant

I’ve been working in the Information Technology sector (specially in the
networking and security world) for the past 26 years. I am a Field
Solutions Engineer (a.k.a. "Sales Engineer") focused on enterprise
customers for one of the world's leading cloud providers - a name many of
you are likely familiar with.

In addition to sales engineering, I also have several years experience in
the realms of technical marketing and business development and a proven
track record of solving complex problems for some of the worlds largest
organizations in the Fortune 100 and Fortune 50.

John has been a ham since the 1960s and holds an Amateur Extra license
(WA1KLI). He has worked in the IT field his entire career as a programmer,
IT Manager, and currently as Adjunct Faculty in Computer Science. He is a
life member of ARRL and a member of Quarter Century Wireless Association
(QCWA). He has participated in ATGP for over ten years, first from
Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine and, more recently, from Mount Washington in NH.

John resides in Phillips, Maine, and in 2020 earned an MS in CIS with a
concentration in Cybersecurity from Boston University. During 2019-2020 he
served with Americorps as a Digital Literacy Instructor.

Besides ham radio, John enjoys Sailing and outdoor activities with his
partner, Carolyn KC1MGI. SOTA and POTA figure prominently in his plans for
this summer.

You can review our profiles on LinkedIn to learn more about our
professional backgrounds:



This new organization can use the help and support of all the hams who have
worked so hard to make APRS what it is today, as well as those who will
join us to advance and promote APRS as we go forward.

We intend for this organization to be as *open and inclusive as possible*,
and thus we welcome all who wish to join us on this exciting journey to
make APRS move forward in the 21st century.

As mentioned, there are a couple of others in the APRS community that are
actively giving consideration to joining John and I, but wanted to take
additional time to give it thought. It was important to John and I to make
sure we reached out to aprssig as quickly as possible.

We are excited at the prospect of this opportunity and hope we can count on
your support!

Please do not hesitate to let John Tarbox and or myself know if you have
any questions or concerns via this thread on aprssig. At the request of
Steve Dimse, it is important that all discussions related to this matter
remain in the public domain.

Thank you for your consideration!

Best Regards,

Jeff Hochberg - W4JEW

Atlanta, GA

w4jew at arrl.net

John Tarbox

Philips, ME

wa1kli at arrl.net
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