[aprssig] APRS radios

Pentti Gronlund pentti.gronlund at tut.fi
Sun May 25 16:04:04 CDT 2008

Bob Bruninga  writes:

> Strict specs?  Since no one has implemented all of the protocol since the oriiginal APRSdos written in BASIC no less, it doesn't seem that one can call them strict....
> > Maybe the other companies thought that the APRS 
> > radios were just too complicated to manufacture? 

I'm not a programmer either, but based on the comments from the 
ones that are, this might be the reason. There simply hasn't been 
enough cheap embedded processing power until now. Good, maybe Icom 
will come with APRS/D-STAR radios one day, too. And maybe also
some new companies besides the Big Three.

> APRS is really quite simple.  There are only 4 types of packets, 
> position, status, message and queries.  All one has to do is cap-
> ture them and display them.  And provide a simple user interface...

Eh, actually APRS is the Hack of the Century, or both Centuries :)

There is nothing "simple" in a protocol where you have to do
multiple guesses to find out the type of the packet, and the
compression type used. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to
undermine your efforts, but it really is not easy to write new
APRS software.

> > Of course the other features like messaging would 
> > be nice to use,  but most of the mobile equipment 
> > isn't yet up to it.  And the ones that are, have a
> > user interface dated back to the birth of short-
> > message services in the GSM mobile telephone network 
> > in early 90's.
> Interesting to hear you complain.  Teenagers have no problem text messaging using their phone pads and in fact, seem quite happy with it.  We have had local/global text messaging and email built into a ham radio APRS HT since 1998 (the D7).  

I am not a teenager, and having been with the GSM/3G industry since
1989, I have some experience in text messaging with a 4*4 keyboard.
In my opinion it is one of the slowest ways to exchange information,
even slower than fast CW with manual pen copy.

> And in that same 10 years have seen text messaging capture the world of youth as the hottest commodity, yet we still have old fud hams complaining that they would never use a tone-pad to send messages.  How archaic...  And those same old fuds are still waiting for somthing better...
> In the mean time, I have sure had 10 years an a lot of fun with it...

Although being one of the burt-out early sysops in traditional packet
radio, I don't consider myself an old fud yet at 45. And I have had 
lots of fun with APRS because it is one of the few old-fashioned parts 
still remaining in our hobby, where there can be real specialists.

I sincerely hope that the time will come when we can use all features 
of APRS. In the meantime, let's use the resources we have, and let's
plan for a realistic future :) A specification of an APRS radio would
be nice for starters, divided in compulsory and nice-to-have features.
Let's start with a compulsory keyboard connection.

Benjamin OH3BK
		Live Reports from the Taxman's Paradise!

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