[aprssig] Pagers as part of the Text Messaging Initiative
steve at dimse.com
Mon Jan 26 19:45:13 CST 2009
First, an apology to all you outside the US, this of course only
applies to the USA APRS network.
Bob, the FCC does not give hoot about your "Universal Amateur Radio
Text Messaging Initiative". Even if it was the coolest thing ever in
ham radio (and it isn't), it still has to fit the rules as they exist
(or you need to get the FCC to change the rules).
Please remember that Part 97 is a legal document, and many of the
terms used within are carefully, and narrowly, defined in ways that
may be somewhat different from common usage. Interestingly, one-way is
not defined in the rules, so you have to infer the meaning. Your
statement about the network implies that if it is "aimed" at a bunch
of ham listeners, it is not one way. However, the rules specifically
state that beacon stations can transmit one-way. That means a station
aimed at a network of listeners is one-way. Auxiliary stations by
definition are point-to-point, and also are explicitly allowed one-way
transmissions. I think from all this the only definition I can come up
with for one-way is the common-sense one, specifically "a transmission
from one amateur station to one or more amateur stations which receive
the transmission and do not transmit a reply". If you feel you have a
better one, please feel free to share.
No one can realistically claim the APRS RF network is broadcasting.
Part 97 defines that as "Transmissions intended for reception by the
general public, either direct or relayed." So please do not use that
term, it just confuses things.
One way transmission is distinctly different from broadcasting, and
the rules directly reflect that. IMNSHO there are many one-way
transmissions on the APRS RF frequencies. If I send my position out
with MacAPRS, I do not get a reply from other stations. That makes it
a one-way transmission.
In general, one-way transmission is banned, but some specific
exceptions are allowed. The one that makes much of APRS possible is
telemetry, defined in the rules as "A one-way transmission of
measurements at a distance from the measuring instrument."
Certainly weather transmissions are telemetry under the rules. Only
slightly less certain to be legal is position, being a measurement of
the location of a station. Most the other kinds of information sent on
the APRS network can be stretched with very little effort to be called
measurements. Most messages appearing on RF can be justified as either
a two way communication if part of a QSO, or information bulletins,
another allowed one-way transmission (also with a specific definition
- "A message directed only to amateur operators consisting solely of
subject matter of direct interest to the amateur service."). These are
the rules that make APRS legal, not your general statement that there
are a network of participants, which nowhere appears in Part 97. Even
if this were acceptable, clearly pagers do not fit as that is by
definition aimed at a single receiver designated by the tones.
I don't think I could call a page I sent to Bob telemetry, nor would
it be of direct interest to the amateur radio service. There is,
though, one other allowable one-way transmission that you might be
able to say covered it "Brief transmissions necessary to establishing
two-way communications with other stations" If Bob is not on RF, and I
want to start a QSO with him, I could look the FCC in the eye and say
a pager transmission was legal. In this case, the content of the
message matters. If I page "Bob, meet me on 147.000+", I'm absolutely
covered. If I page "Bob, thanks for creating APRS", I'm not so sure
So my position is that pagers do not qualify as a group, but specific
content may make it possible to include paging as a component of your
Just please, don't argue that your idea is good, therefore it must be
On Jan 26, 2009, at 5:56 PM, Robert Bruninga wrote:
> God help us if the FCC cannot see the value of pagers to the
> Universal Amateur Radio Text Messaging Initiative.
> The APRS network and all pieces of it is no more one-way
> broadcasting as is any other form of amateur radio when you push
> the PTT. APRS is a network of participants, and they cannot all
> talk at once. But when they do transmit information, they
> transmit it to everyone in the network.
> Bob, WB4APR
>> -----Original Message-----
>> Is beaconing no longer permissable?
>> It was always in the eye of the
>> On Jan 26, 2009, at 14:36,... wrote:
>>> I wonder if some consider it one way so its broadcasting?
>>>> Older, working pagers are a dime a dozen
>>>> on the used market and there are some
>>>> people who have refitted them to work on
>>>> Amateur bands.
>>> ... there (quite literally) buckets full of
>>> working pagers at HamFests, why not have a
>>> "messagegate" that takes APRS messages to
>>> stations and translates them to a message
>>> destined for a POCSAG compatible pager.
> Yes!!! I have now added this category to the other DOZEN text
> messaging capabilities we alreay have... Now we just need the
> code and gateways to tie them all together...
> Bob, WB4APR
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