[aprssig] APRS Event Data (success)

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Sun Jan 21 15:58:59 CST 2007

Our use of APRS D7's to enter scout troop scores at our Klondike
Derby this weekend was an outstanding success.  See the web
page: http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/aprsevent.html

A D700 remote contol head on a clip-board at NETCON was used to
collect scores from APRS operators with D7's at each station.
This was not all inclusive and was just a  back-channel method
of reporting that was added seamlessly to the existing event.
It is imporant to note that most of the 20+ ham radio volunteers
that show up to support these kinds of mundane events, show up
with their 20 year old IC-2AT's  with no real incentive to do
anything new.

And that is why APRS in many cases just is not used to its full
potential, because too often, the APRS aspect often tries to
automate everything and either cannot get a large enough user
base to support it, or cannot field enough equipment to make a
usable comprehensive  system.

In this case, however, we were an oh-by-the-way addition.  We
showed netcontrol how to hit the two buttons, OK and DEL to read
the message scores as they came in on the front panel of the
D700 on the scoring clip-board.  And told him to use it if it
would help, otherwise we wold make our reports verbally as well.

Turns out, the non-data-savy operators at net control were very
positive about the experience,
because it removed the stress of having to be responsive to
voice traffic on call, whereas they
could view the APRS scores at any time at their convenience.  In
fact, they could turn the D700
front panel over to a non-licensed volunteer to take the data.
THus conserving ham voice operators
for other tasks.

Anyway, APRS is not just vehicle tracking.  It is a great data
entry system too.

It would be trivial to add the APRS data directly into the
scoring computer for the event, but again, the volunteers that
have been doing this even for dozens of years have been happy
with the way it has always been done.  It's the typical "we
don't need APRS" response...  So, our low-key add-on approach
was not a threat and yet, turned out to make a few converts
along the way.


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