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[aprssig] APRS routing strategies (3-3 or 2-2?)

Stephen H. Smith WA8LMF2 at aol.com
Fri Feb 18 04:20:58 UTC 2005

Robert Bruninga wrote on 2/17/2005, 4:31 PM:

 > *** We assume he is a Ham and has at least a clue about
 > VHF radio range.

Bad assumption for large numbers of clueless newbie appliance operators, 
especially those that came of age (radiowise) on the west coast.  They 
just assume that of course 1W handhelds go 50-100 miles without thinking 
about WHY they do (repeaters on 1000-3000 foot mountaintops).

I have heard more than one out here expressing genuine puzzlement about 
"why their mobiles don't get out" the first time they take a trip to the 
midwest or east coast.  Ditto for the users that "don't get it" that a 
1/4-watt pocket tracker isn't going to show their commute route unless 
they are line-of-site to a digipeater.

 > ***Then he looks around him.  If he  sees Mountains then
 > he knows that other fellow hams who cannot resist mountains
 > has probably installed an APRS digipeater on one of them.
 > And if so, then the range might be 50 miles or more.  If not, then
 > the range might be 20 miles or less.

Conversely, most midwesterners (unless they've traveled in the west) 
don't realize the absolutely staggering orders-of-magnitude difference 
between having a repeater up 200' (a really big deal in the Midwest) and 
having one up 3000' above terrain (as any self-respecting repeater in 
California would be!).

I grew up in East Lansing, MI and remember in the early 1970's when the 
Central Michigan ARC managed to get a 2M repeater up SEVEN HUNDRED FEET 
on the local PBS-TV tower.  At the time it was viewed as the event of 
the decade, almost as great an accomplishment as reaching the moon. 
Here in L.A. you'd be laughed off the air to brag about a repeater being 
700' above terrain!

 > *** Then this same sentient being also knows whether he
 > is 20, 50, 100, or 300 miles from the nearest city.
 > *** Since almost EVERY city in the USA has APRS and
 > at least one IGate, then he can do the mental math
 > of whether 1 hop, 2 hops or 3 hops will probably
 > get him to the Internet (if that is his objective).

Deinitely not true for thousands of miles of Interstate in the West. 
You don't hear a peep west of Lincoln, NB on I-80, or west of Topeka, KS 
on I-70 until you get to the Denver metro area.  The northern routes 
(I-90 and I-94) are even sparser with basically nothing between the 
western border of MN and the centers of Montana and Idaho.

On the other hand, in all fairness, it won't matter what path you select 
since there is no one to QRM!

 > *** If he is so cluless about the range of his VHF radio,
 > he probably shouldnt be licensed to use it.

Unfortunately, many recent recruits are the result of "dumbed-down" 
exams and memorize-the-questions Gordon West license mill classes or 
equivalent ("Get your Ham Radio licenes in one weekend day") type 
"courses".  THEY --ARE-- THAT CLUELESS !

 > If he is so clueless
 > about where he is, he should look at a map...  If
 > he is so clueless how to think these things together,
 > and is just an internet appliance operator,

Unfortunately, the amateur ranks are absolutely rife with recent 
recruits that don't seem to be able to think ANALYTICALLY about much of 
  ANYTHING. [Consider the number of dumb questions posted on many of 
these mailing lists that the poster could have answered himself if he 
would RTFM, think for two minutes, search the list archives, or do a 
Google search.]  Seems to parallel the ceding of  study&teaching of math 
and physics in American universities almost 100% to 
Chinese/Vietnamese/Korean/East Indian immigrants.

Stephen H. Smith             wa8lmf (at) aol.com

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