[aprssig] Some notes & IGATE questions for the IGATE gurus

Jeff Thomas - KD4EVB kd4evb at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 25 14:38:22 CST 2006

To start with, here in the Ohio Valley/Northern
Kentucky area I find that WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1 works
extremely well for a mobile path.  I think the New
Paradigm change has done a lot for improving
reliability of things on the RF side. Looks like many
area sysops are slow (or unaware, hard to tell) to
change over to the new system (for whatever the
reason).  A 5w tracker gets out very well when just a
few years ago it was very hit and miss on RF due
mostly to channel loading and heavy adjacent area QRM
at the digi receiver wiping your low level tracker
signal out a the digi.

My only fear is that this is a stop gap measure that
will eventually hit it's limits within a few years if
area activity returns.  Many of the locals gave up on
ARPS in the 2001-2003 time frame as it was just too
unreliable.  Some are returning, and I figure in a few
years things will be loading up pretty heavy again. 
Seems to me we need to come up with much better
"smarter" digi's (and maybe trakers, grin), do some
user education, and other ways of making things easy
for the users to use without making it easy for the
users to clobber the rf side of things ;-)  I'm glad
to see that there is at least some discussion of
smarter digi's underway on the list.

I figure once 99% of the digis are on the new system,
the improvements will be even more noticeable.  Why
the slow conversion in this area?  Beats me, my gut
feeling is that it's probably 75% lack of good
communication and no area leadership between all the
digi sysops....something I haven't had to time to ask
around about.  

Now for an IGATE question.  Can you have too many
IGATEs in an area?  By this I don't mean a hundred
igates within a few miles (that would be obvious
overkill).  Are you better off with say dozen or more
local home stations gating things into the system
versus just one or two well located IGATEs?  Does
having a pile of home stations gating everything on rf
into the system confuse or degrade the ability for
return messages getting back out on local RF?

In my area and immediate surrounding area, one of the
biggest complaints I hear is the reliability of
getting into IGATES regardless of path (although a lot
of the time it forces folks to crank up their hop
counts).  From what I see, we've got more than a few
igates in the area that apparently they don't hear the
digi's well and/or the digi doesn't hear them too
well, the later is probably the issue.  Reliability of
getting out of area messages into and out of the IGATE
system seems to vary a lot from day to day.  

While I haven't done any testing myself in awhile, I
think the main issue is that of reliability of getting
"return" (acks, replies, etc) messages back onto local
RF from the IGATE system.  

Just curious what the thoughts are of those much more
savvy on the pros/cons of the IGATE system are?

Thanks in advance.

73 de Jeff, KD4EVB

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