[aprssig] Open Source/Commercial Use acceptable APRS Alternative?

Greg Troxel gdt at lexort.com
Mon Aug 7 08:33:41 EDT 2023

John Gorkos <jgorkos at gmail.com> writes:

> In the deep corners of my brain, I recall there was an alternate
> protocol written Once Upon A Time that supported location
> tracking/telemetry/messaging over AX.25, but was NOT APRS and not
> limited to non-commercial use.  Does anyone have the name and/or links
> to something like that?  I'm working with a non-profit for event asset
> tracking, and I don't want to cross any lines.  We're using LoRa for
> short- to mid-range vehicle/personnel tracking and I'd rather not
> reinvent wheels.

I am unaware that APRS the protocol has any kind of limitation on
non-commercial use.  I don't see that trademark law can reach that, and
I haven't heard anyone say that this has been claimed.

Certainly APRS packets transmitted in the Amateur Radio Service have to
follow Part 97 and thus be non-commercial.  But that's about Part 97,
not about APRS.

People have been talking about sending APRS-format packets over Part 15
LoRa, and I don't see any regulatory problems with that.   One could
also send them via LoraWAN.

You say AX.25, but with LoRa, there is no AX.25.  There is just bits in
a LoRa payload.   AX.25 is a MAC format, and people usually use it
loosely to include the PHY layer.

Receiving data on Part 15 LoRa and retransmitting it over Part 97 seems
against Part 97.  This is sort of funny; getting weather from your
outside sensor via Part 15 to yoru console, and then over Part 15 WiFi
to your computer, and then periodically creating APRS packets and
sending them over 2m is fine.  There's no ban on transmitting
information that has traversed another service, but rather "No station
shall retransmit programs or signals emanating from any type of radio
station other than an amateur station"  97.113(c).

Receiving data on Part 15 LoRa and sending it to APRS-IS is likely
frowned upon by APRS-IS, as I view that as limited to Amateur APRS and

[I didn't talk about LoRa over Part 97, because:
  - you are talking about a use not appropriate for Part 87
  - it's an unspecified emission and thus needs a CW ID
  - I do not think it is ok to use proprietary (patent-required and/or
    secret) emission types in the Amateur service.

73 de n1dam

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