[aprssig] N1547C tracker

Ron McCoy rmccoylist at blueantservices.com
Thu Oct 20 11:22:30 CDT 2005

And Curt, thanks for posting that. It sums things up nicely.

While I realize the importance of policing our bands against misuse and
protecting them from loss, I wish there was less hysteria associated with
the topic on this board.

I signed up to learn about APRS and to hear about new and innovative uses
for the technology. You know, what HAMs are supposed to be about. Instead
most of the traffic is carping about the number of dipoles that will fit on
the head of a pin, splitting regulatory hairs in a way that would make the
boys inside the beltway proud.

I didn't become a HAM to play lawyer. I've read the regulations and abide by
them. I've never handed anyone a HAM radio that wasn't licensed and never
will, short of the exemptions for emergency traffic. BUT, the regulations
are the framework for our hobby, not the point of it!

When the topic actually is APRS, sometimes I see people talking past each
other guarding their lines in the sand instead of engaging in honest
discussion with the goal of learning from each other. If that's what you
enjoy, head back to the office. Most of them have plenty of turf wars to

Has anyone heard of something new and innovative being done with APRS?
Anyone deploying trackers in a way that really shows support for our service
mission? Any war stories about "good things" being done by HAMs in the real
world? That would be great stuff for the list.

-----Original Message-----
From: aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org [mailto:aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org]
On Behalf Of Curt, WE7U
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 12:07 PM
To: TAPR APRS Mailing List
Subject: Re: [aprssig] N1547C tracker

On Thu, 20 Oct 2005, Steve Dimse wrote:

> But the rules also allow for automatically controlled operation,
> which is exactly what a tracker is. You are trying to apply the wrong
> section of the rules.
> Absolutely, as an automatically controlled station. The requirement
> is that operation cease when ordered by the engineer in charge. There
> is no requirement that the cessation occur via amateur radio means.
> When you push a PTT button, you are controlling a
> transmitter. When you flip power on a tracker though, it is the
> automatic controller that determines the transmit instant, not the
> power switch.
> It is not a control link, which has very specific meaning under Part
> 97. It is a means to cease operation if you should be notified to do
> so by the EIC.

Steve:  Thanks for posting that!  It fits with my understanding.
I've seen you post similar things toward the end of all-too-similar
discussion in the past.  Keep it up!

Various SAR groups have been working towards similar operation,
planning to deploy APRS trackers to field teams/vehicles during a
mission.  As long about all that the field teams can do to the black
box is flip the power switch on or off, it's perfectly legal,
whether the tracker is carried by a ham or a non-ham.  It's under
AUTOMATIC CONTROL!  It so happens we have a LOT of hams in our SAR
group, but that's not the point of the discussion here.  We'll
probably use tactical calls for our trackers quite a bit too.

It's amazing how much discussion comes about each time the
automatically-controlled station -or- the tactical calls thing is
brought up on the SIG.  It's been hashed out many times before, but
new people come along that weren't part of the earlier discussions
or people that will NEVER be convinced of the correct application of
the rules pitch a fit again.  Because they can...

By the way, whether Eric or anyone else (that wasn't in simplex
range of the aircraft) could see a valid callsign for the aircraft
doesn't matter.  This was brought up a bit, but perhaps not fully:
He could have identified it via morse code or could have sent a
DIRECT packet out every (less than) 10 minutes.  Whether people see
a valid callsign one or more digipeaters away doesn't matter per FCC
rules, it just has to transmit identification to simplex range per
10 minutes of operation and at the end of such operation.  He could
also have had "NOGATE" or "RFONLY" in the path so that the callsign
never showed up on FINDU.  That's fine too.  It's perhaps not
convenient for others, but it satisfies the rules.

As far as grey areas, at least one example given was not grey at
all, it was an outright rules violation!  I can safely say I've not
handed a radio to my kids/wife.  I've even gotten some strange
glances from family members when I lunge for a radio to keep them
from messing with it.

As far as actual grey-area stuff I'd be more aggressive if I saw
some maneuvering room in the rules, as opposed to sitting on my
hands and DOING NOTHING because the rules weren't totally clear on
my exact application.

Curt, WE7U.   APRS Client Comparisons: http://www.eskimo.com/~archer
"Lotto:    A tax on people who are bad at math." -- unknown
"Windows:  Microsoft's tax on computer illiterates." -- WE7U
"The world DOES revolve around me:  I picked the coordinate system!"

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