UI-View Bashing (was Re: APRS RF DX? (Was RE: [aprssig] APRS in Atlanta - flooding the network))

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Thu Oct 13 12:32:02 CDT 2005

>>> schiers at netins.net 10/13/05 10:32 AM >>>
>Unrefined out of the box PHG circles based on 
>user entered data that has not... is a waste 
>of time, and worse.

Ah, but this is simply the wrong perspective.

Ham radio operators are supposed to have an
idea of the complexities of radio propogation
and no one with any experience  would 
expect that there is  an  EXACT answer to 
terrestrial radio range.

THe thing to do is not to expect PHG to be a line-in-
the-sand beyond which communications is impossible
and inside of which it is perfect.  But it surely

>Bob sometimes doesn't take into account is 
>that probably 75% of the PHG's circles don't ...
>even remotely [reflect] the REAL coverage...
>and this is NOT unique to UI-View...

No, but the presence or absence of PHG data
and the inability to see it, is unique to UIview.

>it is a disease that afflicts all the aprs clients 
>that support  PHG in one way or another. 
>This is a user disease, not a client disease.

Qualtiy of data is always a problem with any
system.  But there is a world of difference
between a station with 300 feet HAAT and
one with 10, and it should be visible on the
map when desired.

>Basically, you have to "fake out" the PHG 
>to match the actual RF coverage of the digi.
> Very few people have taken time to do this, 
>so we end up with a  bajillion phg circles 
>that are worse than meaningless, because 
>they create the impression that a certain 
>coverage exists, when in fact the actual 
>coverage is far greater (typically) than the 
>PHG circle would indicate by typing in the actual 

I think most of the problem you refer to is an error
in interpretation.  You simply should not expect
RF to work to  lines in the sand.  You should interpret
PHG circles as a relative measure or range.  And
use that knowledge in helping you to use your
RF network.

The only user entry problem is somehow that we have
some HAMS who dont seem to udnerstand the differnce
between Sealevel (meaningless) and altitude (meaningless)
and Hight above average terrain (the only thing that counts).

>So...are we better with totally erroneous PHG 
>circles (most of the time), or none at all, except those 
>that are verified in terms of coverage? Maybe it's 
>a good thing that UI-View doesn't "natively" support PHG.

I'd rather not cater to dumbing down of HAM radio
to plug-and-play where we cannot assume that users
have an idea of their height above average terrain
and its importance in local RF communications.

If someone lives on a farm in Illinois which is flat as a
pancake with his antenna on a 40 foot silo, but enters
his antenna height as 300 feet because his GPS says
his "altitude" is 300 feet, then we need to fix his
understanding  or radio.  Not dumb down RF radio
range to simple one-size-fits-all ICONS on a map.

>The whole issue is silly. PHG as implemented is a 
>farce.   PHG (or the lack thereof) debates are 
>much ado about nothing. PHG "is" the problem, 
>not anything to do with client software....

I guess we disagree.  The problems I see are

1) lack of consistent display of PHG in all APRS
software so that all users are aware of it, and
SEE IT ON A DAILY BASIS so that if they see
a circle is  unrealistic, they can fix it.

2) Lack of understanding of PHG by users who
cannot see it, or who think that radio waves
can be predicted  like falling off the edge of the

3) Lack of understanding that PHG is a relative
display of station range, not an exact display.
and that there is a world of difference between
stations with 20 feet HAAT and those with
200 Feet HAAT.

4) The apparent lack of appreciation for HAAT
(height above average terrain) as the single
best predictor of VHF radio range.

de Wb4APR, Bob

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "William McKeehan" <mckeehan at mckeehan.homeip.net>
To: "TAPR APRS Mailing List" <aprssig at lists.tapr.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2005 6:45 PM
Subject: Re: UI-View Bashing (was Re: APRS RF DX? (Was RE: [aprssig] APRS in 
Atlanta - flooding the network))

> I'be been looking at PHG rings (in Xastir) recently. What exactly does 
> this
> tell me about the network?
> My PHG circle is small, but there are digi's outside of my circle that can
> hear me. And I can hear other stations and not be in their PHG circle. 
> Then
> there are some stations inside of a digi's PHG circle that do not get seen 
> by
> the digi.
> It seems PHG tells you very little about a station.
> Someone educate me please.
> On Wed, October 12, 2005 3:59 pm, Robert Bruninga said:
> <snip>
>> Seeing the PHG on home stations becomes valuable
>> when the digi dies or is flooded out and you want
>> to see who's home stations you can digipeat through
>> to get from point A to B.  Usually when you are in
>> this kind of circumstance, it does not work well to
>> then try to ask everyone, "please now enter your PHG
>> because now I need it, even though I never
>> really needed it before"...
> <snip>
> -- 
> William McKeehan
> Internet: mckeehan at mckeehan.homeip.net 
> http://mckeehan.homeip.net 
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