[aprssig] APRS demo

Herb Gerhardt hgerhardt at wavecable.com
Sun Sep 14 10:51:02 CDT 2008

Well Joel, I for one disagree with your comments.  One size never fits all.
We must think out of the box.

It is a proven fact that during real emergencies, cell phones won't work,
period!  That was proved during the Nisqually earth quake in Western WA a
few years ago.  If the towers don't go down, they just get so overloaded
that no one can use their cell phone.  I am sure that similar problems exist
on the East Coast during hurricanes.  Bottom line is:  Don't count on using
your cell phone during an emergency.

Now regarding the I-Gate statement, the beauty of APRS is that it uses RF
and even if the local I-Gates are down, the radio signals, at least in our
NW APRS network can reach out over 100 miles via RF.  Emergencies generally
effect a local area and not all areas within 100 miles, so generally, you
will be able to still hit an I-Gate to send and receive APRS and WinLink
Email messages via your APRS radio like the Kenwood D7A, D700 and D710 or a
home APRS station if it is still operational.

I use this method for sending emails from the mountains in Western WA where
there is NO cell phone coverage but if you know how to make the APRS system
work, you can generally get a digital message out even when it is not
possible to make any voice contact!  I regularly go hiking or hunting for
more than a week at a time and do want to "keep in touch" with my wife.

No if you don't have enough I-Gates or APRS stations in your area, that is
another problem which your local hams must resolve in a cooperative effort.
Fortunately we have quite a few APRS stations and high mountain digipeaters
set up in our network that we can cover our area fairly well and that covers
several states including portions of Canada.

Herb, KB7UVC
NW APRS Group, West Sound Coordinator
Our WEB Site:  http://www.nwaprs.info

-----Original Message-----
From: aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org
[mailto:aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org]On Behalf Of Joel Maslak
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 7:44 AM
To: TAPR APRS Mailing List
Subject: Re: [aprssig] APRS demo

On Sep 14, 2008, at 7:25 AM, Bob Bruninga wrote:

> Remind them we have had this capability for over 10 years... in ham
> radio why aren't we using it?

I can't speak for others, but I don't use it because I generally have
easier ways to send email - like the previously mentioned
blackberry.  It's easy to send multiline emails, I don't have to
worry about people being able to reply, I can tell when I look at the
main screen of the device that my email will go through, there is
delivery (to the Internet, anyhow) confirmation so I know it got sent
and received by the blackberry internet gateway, it has a keyboard
rather than a touch tone pad to enter characters, it has a full
address book, it has a better method of alerting me to email
received, if I am out of coverage it will queue the message (for
weeks if needed), etc.

Would I use APRS email in a pinch?  Sure.  But there are generally
easier ways of emailing on a routine basis.  And in a disaster, to be
honest, I have a lot more faith in the cell tower being working than
an igate - I know of very few IGates that are on anything more than a
desktop UPS power supply.

I *DO* see a use perhaps with an embedded device - when a telemetry
value gets out of range, send an email to whoever can do something
about it.

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