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[aprssig] Objects vs real stations..

Jack Spitznagel frawg at frawg.org
Tue Dec 30 19:28:24 UTC 2008

Hi Len,

Len N9IJ wrote:
> I live relatively close to Chicago, basically an urban county, with
> many hams. While learning a new APRS capable HT, I realized that,
> though there is a plethora of objects on the county map, few are
> providing more than a "here I am" announcement. I am in the process of
> putting a stand-alone WIDE1-1 up at home because, though there are
> several objects shown near-by, non are digi-peating. 
The same is true in the Washington-Baltimore and Philadelphia metroplex
corridors. Many of the object do have useful functions.
> We have a very active RACES operation that excells in SKYWARN
> functions. They own many radios, at least one TNC, three repeaters and
> are located at a site that employs four hams. Their only APRS activity
> is having their EOC icon and repeater info placed on the map as
> objects generated by a home station. There are several APRS weather
> stations so we can monitor the 2-3 degree difference but essentially
> the same weather, between them. Others appear on the map as home
> stations but are actually only objects being placed on the map via
> internet only operation.
We also have Hospitals, the local ARC (Red Cross) headquaters, events
and club meeting places (on appropriate days), Satellite flybys, and
Signposts that show current traffic conditions on the major regional
interstates. All serve a purpose to users and were written into the APRS
"spec" as I read it.
> My intent is not to slam any of the above, rather to question the
> benefit of having much of the map or spectrum real estate populated by
> objects that are not "really" there. There must be a bunch of ancient
> 2-meter radios, and old TNC's that can become a WIDE1-1 andbe put into
> service.
Actually putting up additional radios and TNC's requires far more "cost"
in terms of maintenance time, locating sites, and in terms channel
traffic if you stop to think about it.
> Is it me, or is this faux-APRS operation become the norm in other areas?
I don't think "become" is the operant word... it is the norm. Unless I
read it wrong, these functions are written into the APRS spec... whether
the local users are setting up the appropriate WIDEn-N convention is
another matter. If someone from Winnetka is using WIDE5-5 so the folks
in Indianapolis and St. Louis can see the objects, then that is absurd.
The idea is to build local situational awareness.

I'd love to here one or more of the "masters of the APRS universe" opine
on the subject.

Jack - kd4iz

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