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[aprssig] An amusing aside (Text Pagers)

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Fri Jan 29 22:50:07 UTC 2010

>> I have been trying for a few years to get 
>> Echolink to add DTMF callsign decoding 
>> (with then a copy sent over to the
>> APRS-IS each time somone checks in using it)
> Furthermore, [APRStt] has always been marketed as 
> "kludgy thing for this local grid in the event area".

Thanks for the feedback. I need to find out where that old
impression is coming from.  For the past three years the
emphasis has been completely on CALLSIGN encoding only.  And
that requires the user to store his DTMF callsign in his DTMF
memory once.  Then he can report his "position" anytime,
anywhere by pressing at most maybe 2 buttons.  1 to call up DTMF
memory and the other to selct the memory.  Done.

For the purpose of the global APRS system, a DTMF callsign is
all we need to hear.  It gives us this info:

2) Date and Time of availability
3) Location (to nearest RF area)
4) Frequency he reported in on
5) Type of system, and range
6) Echolink or IRLP or other call-back node nuumber or other

For the purpose of facilitating comunicaiton between hams, the
callsign, heard by an APRStt system is all we need.

And doing this two-button thing, and have the APRStt engine come
back with "Welcome WB4APR" is just as efficient as me picking up
the microphone and saying "WB4APR Mobile".  But the big
difference is that the 2 button DTMF report is MACHINE readable
and goes locally and globally.  Where the voice report falls on
mostly deaf ears on one mostlly inactive repeater and goes

>> I am frustrated because these are trivial additions 
>> that could seamlessly crossconnect info between these 
>> two very powerful ham radio systems!
> Sometimes your "trivial" is far from it.  Next thing 
> is that you will hotly cry out and want bi-
> directionality for that "trivial" thing.

Absolutely.  Once the report goes in, I want VOICE response.
Heck, I did it in 2000 and 2001 using BASIC and I had
synthesized voice using only 8 resistors on the parallel port.
These days DTMF decoding by sound card and Voice synthesis by
sound card is something that lots of programmers can do.  I just
need to find someone that wants to do it. And is motivated to
stick with it...

> Sometimes old e-waste junk is just that, and 
> not worth to turn specifications into prezels 
> to try to support them.... but without a supply 
> of hundreds of pagers and all that device 
> programming support hardware I see
> absolutely no point to spend time on it.

Yes, the pager idea is just one more potential side project.
But the DTMF keypad is never going to go away and 99% of every
mobile or handheld operators has one.  That is why I think that
APRStt is well worth the investment of time for someone that can
do it.

> I do not see APRStt as IMPROVEMENT of any kind.

Ah, too bad.  Every kid with a cell phone can use a keypad to
communicate,  Every ham radio has one.  I simply canot see why
in 9 years it is so hard to find someone to tie the DTMF keypad
to the local/global APRS communication system.

Still looking for talent...
Bob, Wb4APR

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