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[aprssig] Automatic Voice Relay System, AVRS, LIVES!

Bob Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Sun Sep 18 19:53:12 UTC 2011


Another Digital Communications Conference is in the books, and wow did we
see some excitement!

The excitement for APRS was the Sunday Workshop on "Universal Connectivity
by Callsign" which continued with the APRS initiatives of the last several
years to make Universal Texting across all ham radio systems a reality.

And once we have Universal Texting, we can use it for Universal Signaling,
which then has the goal of being able to establish a Voice link between any
two hams anywhere, anytime, using any device only by callsign.

Among the highlights were these new things:

AB0OO, John Gorkos demonstrated his AVRS engine.  You can try it too!
http://aprs.org/avrs.html  Just send an APRS message from your APRS radio or
HT to AVRS with a ? and it will respond by telling you where is the nearest
VOIP node.  You can also ask it the nearest node to someone you want to
call.  Or you can do it all in one, by just sending the message to AVRS with
the other guy's call, and AVRS will do all the work, and then alert you both
on where to tune, Tone and node numbers to make your call!

WA4KFZ, Mark Braunstein, told us all how D-Star works and how there is
plenty of potential for expanding the connectivity and user interface for
D-Star.  He had several ideas for improvements.

KE4NYV, Jason Rausch demonstrated his YAGtracker that can be added onto any
radio (such as a D-Star radio to give it nearly the full APRS functionality
as the Kenwood and Yaesu radios).  Adding it to a D-Star radio gives the
users text, messaging and a better callsign connectivity user interface!
Don't forget that even the D710 Display head, the TinyTracker TT4 with
display and the Open Tracker with NUVI GPS can all also be connected to
D-Star radios to upgrade their APRS and end-to-end connectivity.

WB6NIL, Jim Dixon, (in absentia) the author of the AllStar - Asterix network
for Ham radio explained how AllStar and IRLP are already being
cross-connected to D-Star.  Please see the video:

Jim also reported that he has added the user-callsign-ID function of APRStt
to his AllStar code that now users of AllStar nodes can now be identified by
DTMF into the global APRS system.

K1RFD, Jonathan Taylor, EchoLink author (in absentia) indicated he too was
interested in adding APRStt DTMF callsign identification on the input of his
Echolink nodes.

WB4AKK, Ken Heitner, explained how HF ALE stations also have
callsign-to-callsign connectivity and also a global status internet data to
see the real-time connectivity.

PRESENCE:  At this time I finally revealed to the entire APRS community what
the "P" in APRS really stands for.  It stands for "Presence".  The Automatic
Presence Reporting System.  That was always the original goal, to have a
single channel where people could beacon their "Presence" to indicate that
they were on the air, what they were doing, and how to contact them.  And
that, my friends, is still what APRS is all about.  But now we have the
potential to tie it all together with global texting and voice.

I have to rewrite the http://aprs.org/avrs.html web page to catch up to all
this excitement.  But you can download the talks given Sunday from there and
try to catch up yourself.  Oh, Although AVRS is on line as demonstrated,
give John another few hours to get back to Atlanta and nurse it, befor
40,000 of you give it a try.

Oh, he also demonstrated a complete Igate-in-a-box.  He sat it on his seat
in the back of the room when he got up to talk, and then his HT in his hand
for his demo, then had full connectivity to AVRS running in his shack in
Atlanta for his demo.  More info on these $108 full PC's in a box later...


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