[aprssig] Iridium humbles APRS

Russ Chadwick russ at wxqa.com
Mon Apr 9 00:15:34 CDT 2012

On 4/8/2012 2:18 PM, Jason KG4WSV wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 8:45 AM, Russ Chadwick<russ at wxqa.com>  wrote:
>> large delays sometimes caused by I-gates when using APRS-IS.
> Why not get the packets off the air with, I dunno,

We do know!

> a _radio_ ?   :|

No, when public safety is involved, multiple radios are needed.  We use 
5 or more radios for redundant I-gates.

> solution 1: use a radio

See above for a better approach when public safety is involved.

> solution 2: if APRS-IS is critical, use your radio from (1) to put up
> a correctly operational igate.

We operate two I-gates from the launch site and have for many flights.

> solution 3: find the dysfunctional igate and fix it, or replace it.

That is the reason for the report that I referenced.  After a flight, we 
check if there were I-gate caused problems and notify the operator.

> -Jason
> kg4wsv

So, we have been doing much more than your solutions 1,2, and 3 for the 
past several years and that is why the FAA grants us a COA each year to 
fly balloons with heavy payloads.  In fact, this weekend we will be 
flying a balloon with 25.4 pounds of neck load.  The payload plan is here,


The position reports will be sent through our I-gates to APRS-IS and to 
the findU Balloon Report Page for access by FAA ATC at Denver Center and 
Denver TRACON as required by the COA.

The Iridium work is the next step beyond this and was done for balloon 
flights with heavy payloads this past January in Oklahoma.  In those 
flights, the position reports went through Iridium, to a server that 
relayed to APRS-IS, and on to the findU Balloon Report Page for access 
by Kansas City Center, Fort Worth Center, and Vance Air Force Base as 
required by another FAA COA.  In this case, we did not have to worry 
about delays in any I-gates, which simplified the operation.  The point 
being that if the program has the necessary budget, Iridium is a very 
good way to get balloon position reports to the FAA to meet public 
safety requirements.


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