[aprssig] The PropNET Project (ACDS 1/2)
w2ev at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 10 10:09:54 CDT 2015
The PropNET Project is built on a variation of a well known saying (and a call-out to Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU who first used it). In our case, it is a variation that is worded, "If the band is open and nobody is transmitting, can anybody hear it?"
To answer this question, software was designed that configures PSK31 stations to automatically ID to announce its' presence (like an FM repeater does) AND be available to be "engaged" by a human operator (like OSCAR satellites used to do on CW)! The software creates a "Robot" for this purpose!
Hams use these features for many reasons (like knowing that the band is actually supporting PSK31 links), and assuring that their OWN rig is transmitting a clean enough signal for others to decode (because the Robot needs to be able to decode it before it can respond).
As an added benefit, the software reports what it hears to our website at www.PropNET.org.
Since this software provides services well beyond simple propagation tracking, all of this happens under the rules governing Automatically Controlled Digital Stations in the USA's FCC rules, part 97.221. These are not "beacons" (those are different rules), they are ACDS' (and were originally based on an APRS tenants!)
This means many things, including the fact that (in the USA and countries with similar provisions) you can run this software without being physically present at your station. If your country does not have this provision...then "just be present".
The newest iteration of "the software" is about to be released to PUBLIC BETA. I can tell you that it is the product of a V-E-R-Y long development cycle by a group of dedicated volunteers who have put in countless man-hours. It includes M-A-N-Y new features that bring excitement to Probing (IDing) and Lurking (RX-only) participants (people who USE the software themselves, rather than simply rely on the maps generated by others).
This new "software" has a new name: ACDS. It serves as a foundation to a new class of Automatically Controlled Digital Station operation.
Over the upcoming few days, you will see more "ticklers" about the PUBLIC BETA. These will lead up to the actual release.
PS: have I mentioned this will be a PUBLIC BETA? ;-)
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