[aprssig] Replacement for UI-View any one

Bob Burns W9RXR w9rxr_ at rlburns.net
Fri Jan 22 06:41:43 CST 2010

At 10:06 PM 1/21/2010, Peter Mallett wrote:

>>Ok I am not looking for a fight here , but reality is that we are 
>>going to need a WINDOZE APRS program along the lines of UI-View 
>>with some improvements  sooner than later !!!
>>Is there any-one out there working on something similar and if so I 
>>would be interested in hearing from you off list is fine ..
>  There is already, it`s called *Xastir* and it is* *under continual 
> development.
>Either run on a Linux box ( the best ) or Windows / VMWare ( yuk )

I have to disagree (oops, here comes the "fight" <grin>).

I don't discount Xastir's value to the APRS community. It appears to 
be a good program. However, we should face some realities.

First, we live in a Windows world. Like or not, the majority of the 
computers in U.S. homes and businesses are running Windows. Users are 
familiar with Windows. It's easy to find Windows support. And you can 
buy a Windows computer almost anywhere. Yes, you will counter that 
you can load some version of Linux on just about any Windows 
computer, but I will counter that the average computer user doesn't 
want to bother with trying to make Linux work.

Second, APRS is viewed by many in the amateur radio world as a 
"techie" mode. When I talk to other hams about APRS, some are 
interested and want to try it, but many just shut me out because they 
don't want to climb the learning curve. Kenwood and Yaesu have helped 
raise APRS awareness with their hardware solutions, but as we all 
know, that only takes you so far. Eventually, you need to run an APRS 
client on a computer to take full advantage of the mode. In order for 
APRS to gain more interest among hams, there has to be an easy way into it.

OK, some of you are sitting back there saying "Gee, Bob, you're 
talking about dumbing down APRS to the lowest common denominator." I 
suppose maybe I am. My fear, though, is that if we don't make APRS 
easy, it will eventually die due to lack of interest. Remember 20 
years ago when just about every town had somebody running a 1200 baud 
Packet BBS? Where did they all go? I write it off to lack of 
interest. Do we want the same thing to happen to the APRS digis? I 
don't think so.

Enough of my philosophizing. I think we need an answer to Phillip's 
question. We need a new APRS client program--one that is easy to set 
up for the ARPS newbie while fully implementing all APRS features for 
the more experienced user. Initially, I think it should be a Windows 
program, but a portable program that can run on MacOS and Linux would 
be a real plus. And it should have solid mapping support with zoom 
and pan. Yes, Xastir running under VMWare may be a viable answer, but 
the instant you mention something like VMWare or Cygnus to a newbie, 
they start to turn away. It has to be easy and it has to run in an 
environment they are familiar with.


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