[aprssig] APRS Coverage in Key West

Richard Sharp, KQ4KX kq4kx at arrl.net
Sun Apr 29 15:28:34 CDT 2007

However, I fail to see that it's an issue of doing what "Bob Bruninga
dictates."  If memory serves the guys in California (as usual) were
stressing the use of what is now the nationally accepted "n-N paradigm" long
before Bob (or anyone else) started recommending it be adopted nationwide.

Those weather stations/digipeaters in Key West are certainly in a unique
situation - low HAM density.  Of course, not being near there I can't really
speculate on how many traveling HAMS use APRS when there.  Granted, there
are "other" things to do when on vacation there or anywhere else.  However,
many HAMS like to take HAM radio with them while on vacation as part of the
enjoyment of the hobby.

So, for the overall good of APRS in general it would be nice to see all APRS
sysops keep up to date on the current standard.  This isn't "dictating"
anything but generally most sysops, repeater owners, etc. are doing what
they do for the good of Amateur radio in general.

Now, I'm speaking from a unique perspective because I am the sysop of the
exact same type of system that is in Key West.  I work for "the county" in
the radio shop so I have direct access to the sites to keep the equipment
maintained.  Our county EM & Fire Dept. was interested in having weather
data that is relatively "real time" to access.  It was again just recently
used during a brush fire so they could keep tabs on wind speed & direction
from multiple areas around the fire.

I would have been the one to install the equipment regardless if it was on
APRS or not.  I pitched my idea of having it on APRS and it was approved.  I
even operate an I-Gate at my office to facilitate consistent APRS-IS feeds
from the weather stations.

My view is that since I took the initiative to have these weather stations
on APRS I would have it serve the APRS community too by setting them up as
digipeaters.  There's certainly no extra cost in doing so.  Now granted, I
did this project a few years ago and the all the equipment is modern so I
haven't been in a situation where a lot of infrastructure has had to be
replaced yet.  Although, being on the 150 band wouldn't change the
maintenance requirements.  The only real *upgrade* I've done recently was
update all the EPROMs in the KPC3+ to 9.1.

I could have simply put them on some other HAM frequency (not 144.39) or on
a 150 freq to *only* provide the weather data the county was interested in.
By putting them on APRS not only are they provided with the data but the
county is very pleased that others (including NWS) can view the information
as well - at no "extra" expense to the county.

Is it that the TNCs need firmware upgrades to comply with the new
recommended digi settings?  If so, and the county doesn't want to pay for
that then surely there's a few HAMS down there that can pass the hat and
collect the amount need to purchase new EPROMS.  Just a thought...

Or, is it the sysop(s) don't want to make the change.  And I say sysop(s)
plural because over the years I've seen different callsigns on those weather

Bottom line here is just as Bob mentioned - it would be *nice* if the
stations were updated to the latest standard.  If they're not it's not a
major deal it's just they won't be as user friendly to visitors along US 1.


-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Dimse

On Apr 29, 2007, at 2:48 PM, Paul Zawada wrote:

> On 4/27/07, Steve Dimse <steve at dimse.com> wrote:
>> On Apr 27, 2007, at 10:06 PM, Richard Sharp, KQ4KX wrote:
>> > Perhaps "the county" should be using a 150 MHz frequency then...
>> Why? Having it on APRS is nothing but a benefit to amateur radio.
>> Maybe not as much of a benefit as Bob would like, but a benefit
>> nevertheless!
> Maybe because it's getting really close to violating FCC rules.  If
> amateur radio operators are not maintaining or actively using the
> stations,

Where did you get that from? The stations are operated and maintained  
by KQ4AZ in full accord with FCC rules. There is absolutely nothing  
in the FCC rules that says that APRS equipment must operate in  
exactly the manner Bob Bruninga dictates! Just because Bob issues an  
edict does not make it the only legal way to operate.

The Florida Keys is not like anyplace else in the US. It is a small  
town of 70,000 stretched out over 125 miles. If you generously figure  
it a typical town is 5 miles in diameter, it would equate to the  
density of towns with 2500 people. Do you really think you or Bob  
have a right to dictate system requirements in every town of 2500  

On top of the low ham density, no place is over 10 feet in elevation,  
and there are no monster towers to place digis because of the danger  
of hurricanes. What works great here is not what works anywhere else.  
Fix your own problems, there is no problem here!

Steve K4HG

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