[aprssig] RE: SmartBeaconing (was: TM-D710A Control Program - New Goodies on D710)

Steve Bragg steve at hamhud.net
Fri Aug 3 18:38:08 CDT 2007

Interesting responses on this topic.   I'd like to answer both Dave Baxter G0WBX and Scott Miller N1VG,

Dave G0WBX asked,

>Who actually developed or owns the Smart Beaconing algorithm?

I did.   SmartBeaconing was originally developed for the HamHUD II, before the THD7a came out.

See: http://www.hamhud.net/hh2/smartbeacon.html

Credit also goes to Tony Arnerich KD7TA, who was instrumental in the development and refinement of SmartBeaconing.

SmartBeaconing as I define it has been implemented in the following devices and software, roughly in order of implementation:

- HamHUD II (reference implementation)
- APRS+SA (Brent was the first adopter)
- jeAPRS (Gregg W5GGW)
- TinyTrak
- SmartPalm (Joel N7XUC)
- Xastir
- OpenTracker
- TNC-X tracker
- APRS Deluxe (Andy SP3LYR/AB9FX and Radic SQ2FOA)

> is it in the "Public domain" etc...

Strictly speaking, in dark-suited lawyer terms, yes.  The only way I or any of the HamHUD guys have made any money off SmartBeaconing is by selling HamHUD kits. The source code has always been open. 

Kenwood certainly has lawyers that could have told them, "we can just take this SmartBeaconing thing and put it in there; we don't owe Bragg or anyone else anything."  And that would be true; companies can only charge license fees if they have an army of lawyers to enforce them.  Which I don't.  Which they could have found out with an email.

> If it isn't, then that maybe is why it's not implemented in the new radio?..

It's a mystery.  Kantronics didn't implement it either.  Maybe they don't see the value.


In another message, Scott N1VG called me to task on this wording, to wit:

> > [Kenwood] didn't contact me or anyone 
> > else connected with HamHUD, which they would have had to do to use the 
> > protocol for a commercial enterprise. 

>Well.. I'm not an intellectual property lawyer, but I don't think they'd 
>need your permission to implement the CONCEPT, only to use the NAME, 
>since you've got a trademark and not a patent. 
<copyright definition snipped for brevity>

Yes, I agree, see above.

I probably should have said something like this instead (change in all caps):

"[Kenwood] didn't contact me or anyone else connected with HamHUD, LIKE OTHER INDIVIDUALS/COMPANIES WHO IMPLEMENTED SMARTBEACONING DID."  

Asking them to contact me is pointless, anyway, I realize now.  Surely Kenwood knows the score.  If they wanted to, Kenwood could take the HamHUD II SmartBeacon code verbatim and implement it in their closed-source D710, and all they'd be violating is GPL2.  Big deal.  Tell it to the nerds on Slashdot.  Or do their own implementation, as Scott suggested (below).

Point is, I don't think they think SmartBeaconing's valuable enough to implement.

Scott also said,

> In short, a trademark is a brand name."
> So if they called it a 'dynamic beacon rate' option and wrote their own 
> implementation, they'd be in the clear.

No argument.  And who knows, they might do just that.

Here is a question: why didn't everyone else that implemented SmartBeaconing take that tack?  Why not a proliferation of "dynamic beaconing", "corner pinning", etc, etc, etc.?  I'll tell you why I think they didn't:  ham radio operators like to give credit where it is due, especially to other amateurs.  My point is that large companies tend to operate differently, that's all.


Steve Bragg KA9MVA

More information about the aprssig mailing list