[aprssig] New n-N success in NC (really??)

wb4iuy at teara.org wb4iuy at teara.org
Fri Feb 11 19:34:38 CST 2005

>So Eric, what will it take for mobile travelers to use your area if you 
>are abandoning WIDEn-N? One says use RELAY,WIDE2-2, Others say no to 
>RELAY period and others say use RELAY,SSn-N, or LNKXXn-N
>Do we have a way of knowing when we start out on our trips where to park 
>and change our dumb tracker UNPROTO paths?
>I got a bad feeling about all this.. The country is going to become all 
>fragmented because of all the confusion with all this hip shooting.

You know, I've been reading all the archives and trying to catch up a bit,
myself. We still have loads of digis in NC that never even picked up
wideN-N, let alone the latest "protocols of the week". I was one of the guys
who was running wide6-6 for a while from home, as I messaged constantly with
folks over about 4 states and was having fun.... I ASSumed that, with the
decay rate of APRS, the beacon was only every 30 minutes or so. Didn't know
it was causing all of the gloom and doom I'm reading about. 

I saw, while reading through the archives and trying to catch up, where
folks had made comments about me (WB4IUY) on this reflector, that I must be
"_trying_ to QRM the network" by using the path I had, yet only Bob took the
time to drop me a note and alert me that it was causing problems. I don't
know if the folks on this reflector are aware or not, but everyone doesn't
live on the web and there are amateurs who actually use RF in ham radio most
of the time. Before you "bust" on people using APRS, simply take the time to
drop them a note on the mode that you actually heard them on (unless you
heard them via TCPIP, I guess)....

I noticed one day that the local digi wasn't picking me up, and none of my
regular APRS friends were getting my messages (yet mobiles were rolling
through with their 60 second beacons and loading up the digi's pretty good).
After a bit of checking, I realized that my local digi and the 3 or 4
eastern NC digi-boxes were no longer repeating wideN-N. I look at the map
now, and I'm in central NC, and I see _1_ non-digi station to the east... I
do see the digi's down east beaconing, beacuse of their "wide" statements in
their path. That's it. When I look at the majority of the traffic in the
state, most of what I'm seeing now is relay,wide...maybe because folks are
confused and can't figure out what to do? 

So, in NC we have digi's, that never went to wideN-N (several, in fact). We
have digi's that used to do wideN-N and now don't (so someone has to use
relay,wide to get through). We have some that are now doing ncN-N, yet most
of the RF-only users (not hanging out on the web, like myself) don't have a
clue what's going on. This linkN-N thing seems to be a train-wreck looking
somewhere to happen, if a person doesn't know what the highways are that
have been "approved" for the linkN-N stuff. Most of the guys with trackers I
know don't keep a laptop in the car to change paths on the fly.  Now I'm
reading that some digi's are talking about dropping relay/wide...how the
heck does anyone know what to do, anymore???? ...especially if they don't
stay parked on this reflector??

I'm now getting _internet emails_ from guys I used to talk with via APRS,
'cause they can't even figure out what to set their paths to in order to
talk via APRS. I'll message them, but they can't reply. Maybe I'm all wet,
and we should all move our home stations off of APRS and turn it over to the
trackers with their one-way 1 minute beacons, so someone might see them on
the map via the internet. I guess to whole purpose of APRS is for trackers,
anyway. That's probably where I got off track some years back, while I was
having so much fun 2-way keyboarding with real hams out there, as opposed to
looking at a bunch of cars running around on the screen. 

You know, myself and Jay KQ4MS put the first digi on the air in NC east of
Charlotte many years ago. I distinctly remember when we had to wait for a
band opening before we could see anything outside of Raleigh, NC. 
I watched APRS grow and it was a very fun mode. Lots of messaging, many
friends made, lots of neat experimentation was done, and we "elmered" the
locals with spare TNCs to get them on the air and see APRS grow. There were
APRS seminars at local hamfests, we even hauled a load of folks over to the
western part of the state for an APRS class and brought back books to get
more people in the east on this mode... Now I can't even figure out what
path to run, let alone try to tell someone else. Seems that the folks
working on the protocol and digi updates can't even answer that question for
more than a few days at the time...

When it quits being fun and turns into work, people leave. I, for one, am
tired of getting flames via email from other Johnny-come-latelys on how to
set my paths, what I should be doing with my own personal APRS station, that
I should turn off "relay" on my station, etc. Heck, I can't even hit the
local digi WITHOUT relay in the path, myself, so maybe my closest APRS home
station won't fold to the "TURN RELAY OFF" flame messages from these new
APRS folks. I sincerely hope the dust settles and a great protocol arises...
moreover, I hope the digi owners across the state of NC (and the US) can
agree to actually implement it and stop changing things for a while :-)


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