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[aprssig] Text Messaging Radios (a simple use)

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Thu Feb 12 20:17:32 UTC 2009

> It would be better, to promote normal APRS 
> messaging than this TT kludge.

Been trying that for 10 years, yet only 3 of the 20 volunteers
that routinely show up at our public service events have an APRS
HT.  But EVEYONE of those volunteers shows up with an HT with a
TT pad on it.

I think it is more productive to find ways to use those 100% of
participants in a consistent trainable manner, than to have to
have two systems, one for all voice, and one for the 16% with
APRS.  APRS remains a side show.  Yet we have the capability to
send simple data from 100% of our volunteers, why not see if we
can use that for something?

> Expecting people to make old (15+ years) radios 
> work again - batteries, chargers, car cords, etc) 
> is silly.

I don't think I see it that way.  We only only need ONE at the
entire event, and it can run on an external 12v supply at net
control even without batteries..

> If a group WANTED to do this tt kludge, they 
> could not - because those radios are long out of 
> production.

I have asked around, and among our routine volunteers so far I
have found 4 in hand already.

> Sure, 1 or 2 may show on occasionally. 
> That's not going to cut it.

No, but imagine if it was added to the TinyTrack-4 which already
includes a big ALPHA NUMERIC display.  Then anyone could buy
one.  Or rather, the CLUB or EOC could buy one and that would be
enough.  I also hope some other microncontroller programmer on
this SIG with time on his hands (ha ha) would see this as a neat
club project.

> At least with APRS msging, there are 2 current 
> production radios ... which support it,. plus 
> several PC Aps - Xastir, UI-View, APRS+SA, and 
> others. Net control could use AGWPE and 
> not even have to invest in a particular radio 

Amen.  But first we have to help describe the applications and
the extreme flexibility that this system offers.  Having it as a
sound card application would be FANTASTIC!  But until someone
writes some code, then we have nothing but dreams.  With these
dozens of thousands of existing radios out there, we at least
have something right-now, today to begin experimenting with.

> ...use a client, AGWPE, and any 2m (or UHF?) 
> radio. There is also Hamhud, and the Kenwood 
> "APRS Head". Plus all the existing D-700's 
> and THD7A(G).

Yes, and outfitting net control with one of those displays is
trivial and something every event should do.  But when it can
only display data from 15% of the checkpoints and users that
have an APRS keyboard (and only 1/3rd of them even know how to
send a message), it just is not going to provide an all
inclusive solution that could revolutionise some events and the
way we handle simple data feeds back to net control.
> This TT msg idea is a waste of time. 
> I try new things, but just do not 
> get this. Likewse, the vaporware "APRS TT". 
> Time would be better spent promoting the 
> vendors (Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu) to each come 
> out with an APRS mobile and HT.

Yes, been doing that.  And it took 10 years to get the second
MFR on board.  I find that things in Ham radio become more
useful when one invests the initiative to find better ways to
use what 100% of us already have, than to waste too much time
dreaming about what some off-shore MFR should build for us.  Yes
APRStt is also a dream, but at least 100% of the volunteers that
show up at our public service events are READY TO GO with their
user end of that protocol when APRStt (for windows) is finally
written.  Or until then, use this text paging protocol.

> If there were more choices, it is likely 
> more folks would buy the "all in one" solutions.

Not from what I hear when I run in to random hams.  The majority
say, "APRS? Why would I want to do that.  I don't care if anyone
knows where I am".  Or, "but I have to buy a new radio"...  My
answer to that, is to find a way that they can text message with
what they already have.  And they can.  Right  now, today.

But I like your idea to start suggesting that someone add DTMF
decode to a sound card application and display and organize all
the potential incoming text messages at Net control or HQ, and
then we would really have something!


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