[aprssig] A Proposal for the Continuation of APRS

Pete Loveall AE5PL Lists hamlists at ametx.com
Fri Feb 18 07:28:16 EST 2022

I have been silent since Bob's passing as I have not seen a great need to add my 2 cents worth to the discussions.  First, let me say I was very sad to hear of Bob's passing.  While Bob and I had many disagreements, we also worked well together and collaborated on many projects over the years.  Included in this was defining what was necessary for an IGate to properly support local RF networks using messaging and the creation of the D-PRS specification for including D-STAR radios into the APRS word (including using D-STAR as a transport).

I would like to throw my hat into the ring (to steal Lynn's statement) as well.  I got my first license in 1970, was involved with digital modes from the beginning (yes, CW is a digital mode but also RTTY in those days) and experimented with many implementations of AX.25 since its inception.  My business background is computer science and networking including programming, network design and maintenance, and cybersecurity.  Throughout my career, I have helped customers get more from what they have instead of trying to sell new technologies just because they are new.

I set up my first APRS station in 1997-1998 timeframe and established the second IGate in the DFW area soon after (first was aprsD).  By the early 2000's, we were seeing APRS-IS (thank you Steve Dimse for creating the first server and setting the high standard for what a server should be) becoming unstable as usage began to exceed anticipated capacities and configuration "fixes" were causing looping packets, mangled packets, etc. that were overloading the infrastructure.  I worked with Steve and Dale (aprsD original author) to introduce javAPRSSrvr as a new OS agnostic platform to perform the APRS-IS server function.  I also worked with the people who would become founders of the aprs2.net Tier 2 servers (they were great beta testers) and many others to bring forth a solid platform which is still in use today and continues to be the base standard for what a server should do.  I also worked with Roger Bille SM5NRK who developed the first adjunct to javAPRSSrvr, javAPRSFilter, which is the basis for all server filtering today.

Throughout the development of all aspects of javAPRSSrvr, my focus was to make APRS-IS stable and help interconnect amateur radio APRS RF networks worldwide.  To do this, I was always in communication with Bob, Steve, and others to ensure we weren't introducing issues that would prevent communication yet allow development of new platforms that could be used both on RF and on the Internet.  We also came up with compromises like offloading CWOP to their own servers and offloading non-RF-centric information to Firenet for high bandwidth testing which improved the RF usability of APRS-IS tremendously.

I am not a bigot regarding Open Source, any particular programming language, or any protocol.  I believe we can be inclusive without excluding those who disagree with us and without being demeaning, in public or private.  I would like to see APRS continue to expand and go forward but maintain compatibility with APRS software and hardware many decades old.  Amateur radio was written up in the first Whole Earth Catalog as being the "only communications after a nuclear war" because most of the equipment at that time was still tube type and impervious to an EMP.  Guess what, there is still a lot of that equipment out there and I can still "talk" to people using it even though I am using a SDR today.  One of the things that kept APRS going was standardization on RF and in the protocol so you can use your equipment most anywhere and it will work.  I want to see APRS remain that capable.

I offer my services to the group to continue to promote compatibility and usability of APRS around the world on RF and on APRS-IS while encouraging experimentation and development to extend APRS, not deprecate it.


Pete Loveall AE5PL
pete at ae5pl dot net

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