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[aprssig] Objects vs real stations..

Keith VE7GDH ve7gdh at rac.ca
Tue Dec 30 19:32:34 UTC 2008

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, none are digi-peating.

Objects are usually "here is something" rather than "here I am" but what
the object represents is really determined by the person that created
it. They also determine the path if any to be used. Many go out with no
path at all because they are intended for local use... e.g. repeater
objects that announce the location, frequency and tone if any and
callsign of the repeater. Very useful for visitors travelling in the
area, but no need to digipeat them out of the area where the repeater
can be used. You would really have to look at each object around you to
learn what its intention was and if it was not optimized.

> 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.

That's a real shame. Groups like that could really benefit from making
good use of APRS. If you are a part of any of those groups, perhaps you
could educate them how they could get a zillion percent more out of it
than they currently do with an EOC object... although there is nothing
wrong with having that object there all of the time so local hams and
visitors know where it is.

> There are several APRS weather stations so we can monitor the 2-3
> degree difference but essentially the same weather, between them.

How many WX stations are "enough" really depends on their location, the
beacon rate and the paths they are using. During some disaster, having
many WX stations could be very useful for watching shifting wind
patterns. During "no disaster" times, less could be better.

> Others appear on the map as home stations but are actually only
> objects being placed on the map via internet only operation.

Hmmm... are they WX stations or objects? There's a big difference. If
they are on TCPIP only, you won't even see them on RF unless someone is
gating them to RF. IGate operators should only be gating something out
to RF if it's really necessary.

> 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's nothing wrong with questioning, but to be honest, your comments
seem to be based with what you see on the map without really analyzing
exactly what it is you are looking at... and possibly whether it is even
on RF at all. You imply they are on RF because you are "learning a new
APRS capable HT" but you do also comment on WX stations (or did you mean
objects?) that are "only objects being placed on the map via internet".

> There must be a bunch of ancient 2-meter radios, and old TNC's that
> can become a WIDE1-1 and be put into service.

I'm sure there are, but the most important decision in placing a digi is
determining if it's really needed.

> Is it me, or is this faux-APRS operation become the norm in other
> areas?

What do you mean by "faux-APRS"? I don't want to second guess your

I see that N9IJ is using UI-View with a path of WIDE2-2 but you seem to
be making an IGate direct most of the time. A "good" path depends on
your beacon rate, ALOHA circle and how busy the frequency is around you,
and the location of the adjacent digis.

N9IJ-7 is using a four hop path of WIDE1-1,WIDE3-3. That would be
considered abusive in many areas. Guess that's the VX-8R that you are
trying out. I'll eventually be getting one.Give WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1 a try.
I'm sure you will have good success with it.

N9IJ-10 is your Kantronics based digi. Is it beaconing every 10 mins
with no path, except once each hour with a one hop WIDE2-1 and once each
hour with a two hop WIDE2-2?

N9IJ-9 was most recently beaconing with an abusive 4 hop path of
WIDE1-1,WIDE3-3. It looks like it was beaconing every minute or two and
indicted that you were listening on 144.390 with 100 Hz CTCSS.

73 es cul - Keith VE7GDH
"I may be lost, but I know exactly where I am!"

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