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[aprssig] An amusing aside (Text Pagers)

Wes Johnston, AI4PX wes at ai4px.com
Sat Jan 30 01:08:13 UTC 2010

Looks the like Jason's beat me to the punch.

With a cellphone, I have an LCD display and can correct my boo boo's.  When
I played with APRS TT back in 2001 time frame, I got mic-fright with it.  I
had to really concentrate to figure out what I wanted to type in before I
keyed up and started.  It was very intimidating. (honestly).

If we had a way to see the numbers we've entered, or somehow compose a
message / posit packet offline, then have a pic processor spit out the DTMF
string for us, we'd have a winner.  But then again, why not have the little
pic processor spit out a normal packet?  the answer may be that a 1200 baud
AFSK packet can't be squirted in by holding a small device close to a
microphone... the DTMF's can. So I could use this little cigarette sized
black box with an lcd display on it to compose a position report "off
line",then it would build the DTMF tones needed to convey my info.  I would
hold this near the mic of any radio or HT and vollia.  This would be the
deal maker.  Preprogramming DTMFs in one or two memories is close, but no
cigar.  Along the same lines, we *could* compose aprs packets by hand, but
we all use software to build the packets for us.  This should be no
different.  The true "hacker"/ "uber geek" types can certainly punch all the
right DTMF sequence, but to reach the masses, a helper device would go a
long way toward general acceptance / useage.

God help those who do not help themselves.

On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 17:50, Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:

> >> 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
> info.
> 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
> nowhere.
> >> 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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