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[aprssig] An amusing aside (Text Pagers) APRStt

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Sat Jan 30 21:08:30 UTC 2010

> Virtually all the Japanese radios sold in 
> parts of the world outside North America 
> come only with basic mics without tone pads.

OK thanks.  I had forgotten that.  I wondered why APRStt was
always met with such resistance overseas...

OK, I'll remember that APRStt then has more application in the
USA than in Europe.  Noted.  Maybe Europeans can then not be so
critical and let us continue with forward momentum since almost
ALL of our radios in North America do have DTMF.  And it is such
a waste not to be using them for text or data entry...

> but [APRStt] is really horribly messy way when 
> compared against small helper device squirting 
> a MICe packet with GPS supplied coordinates.

I agree, but the comparison is Apples and Oranges.  APRStt is a
system that takes advantage of a few million existing radios in
the hands already of a most North American Hams.  Conversly, the
Mic-E encoder that I first developed in 1994 and showed at
Dayton stuffed inside a standard mic has NEVER caught on for
more than 15 years.  Yes, I sure would like to see one.  But it
will never happen.  

Kenwood killed the mono-band APRS Mic-Encoder idea when they
introduced the dual band APRS radios.  It was easier to use them
split band on APRS and voice at the same time right
out-of-the-box, than to combine the Mic-E onto the Voice
repeater and then wait months or years for the repeater to be
modified for Mic-E reception so it could be used.

But I agree with you!  Maybe it is time for someone to come out
with real Mic-E's for embedding in microphones...?  I would
welcome someone bringing a Mic-E microphone to the community and
a cheaper repeater-mic-E-pick-off device.  But again, it is a
chicken-egg problem.... And just wont happen since both ends
have to be implemented before either end works.

> ... we hams are pack rats using any old junk 
> that possibly can be recycled to do the thing.
> The APRStt is calling for very lattest technology 
> at the receiver/gateway systems in order to let 
> the user devices to be oldest possible.

Exactly.  Letting hams use what they have (DTMF) is a great way
to make progress.  Only ONE new APRStt sound-card PC decoder in
an area and 100 existing users with 100 existing radios (NO
COST) can use it.  Conversly, the idea of having all 100 users
go out and buy 100 new one-of-a-kind mic-E devices so that they
can use a not-yet-built decoder at the repeater so that they can
interfacee to an -existing- APRS system will never happen (or at
least it has not happened in the 18 years of APRS so far...).

But I do agree that maybe it is time for a Mic-E for every mic
and it is time for an add-on Mic-E decoder too.

... AND at the same time, enabling all eisting users to get
their feet wet by at least getting on the APRS-air with a simple
DTMF callsign report.  Then they can upgrade to Mic-E when it is

> Where the MICe usually does not pass thru the 
> voice repeater, that DTMF "song" does, and annoys people..

Not at all.  I do not know of any modern voice repeater that
passes DTMF codes.  They are mutted from the output already.
Besides, for the initial introduction of APRStt, we have
abandoned the idea of applying them to existing repeaters
becasuse there is just too much concern over all the DTMF tones
that could mess up the repeater control circuits.  We hope to
use APRStt on a simplex channel so that it can operate
independently of any other hardware and politics.

Bob, Wb4APR

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