[aprssig] APRS needs...

Scott Miller scott at opentrac.org
Mon May 26 18:22:37 CDT 2008

Adding a keyboard port to something isn't difficult.  It's just a little 

> You seem to be a developer, so why the negative attitude?  We can if we 
> want to.

Because I'm a developer who's learned that just because a hundred people 
on the ARPS SIG say they want something, it doesn't mean they'll 
actually buy it.  I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic.

Yes, if Kenwood introduces something, people will buy it.  Name 
recognition counts for a LOT.  I think the OpenTracker+ is a more 
capable product all around than the TinyTrak3+, at a better price, and 
in many ways the TT4 is still just catching up with the OT1+, to say 
nothing of the Tracker2.  But Byon got there ahead of me, and by all 
indications still sells more units than me, because people know the name.

So don't expect us small developers to jump in and compete in a space 
where only a giant like Kenwood or ICOM is likely to be able to make a 
profit.  Those full-page ads they run in QST?  They run about $4k/month, 
per page.  More for back covers.  Not many small companies can keep up 
with that.

What I *am* doing, though, is working to get as many of the pieces as I 
can.  Lack of a good, affordable frequency-agile 2-meter transceiver 
module has been a problem for a lot of these projects, so I'm partnering 
with a company in China to develop and produce them.  The first 10 
engineering samples are being assembled now, and if all goes well the 
first production batch will be delivered this summer.

Even with a very modest markup, though, they'll only just be competitive 
with a new mono-band HT in price.  There's simply no way around it short 
of buying tens of thousands of units up front.


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