[aprssig] Questions about Callsigns Used in APRS

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Mon Sep 26 14:47:50 CDT 2016

On 9/26/2016 12:17 PM, Kenneth Finnegan wrote:

> I'm talking about APRS station callsigns which aren't using TNCs but are
> directly attached to the Internet. Pete clarified offline that my
> interpretation was correct; seven character callsigns with one character SSIDs
> and eight or nine character station callsigns with no SSID are acceptable.

Since APRS is (supposedly) primarily an RF activity constrained by the 
limitations of AX.25, why are we trying to create special conditions or 
exceptions for non-RF activities that will then be incompatible with RF operation.

>     > 5. Is GATE still a valid special handling token worth documenting and
>     > supporting?
>     Only a dual Port TNC or other VHF to HF gateway needs to handle it.
> Woah... I thought VHF to HF digis weren't at all allowed.

Legally, they are allowed, just not advised since any significant amount of 
1200-baud traffic on VHF will more than saturate the slower 300-baud HF channel.

The other way, however (HF-to-VHF) normally doesn't present a problem since the 
traffic volume on HF is far far lower than on VHF in most places.

>     > Do HF stations requesting GATE actually want to land on everyone's VHF
>     > LANs...
>     Aboslutely not.  That would be the worst operating practice.  Unless someone
>     is calling MAYDAY, etc...  so leave it in.
> So we don't want regular HF to VHF traffic either? Only for MAYDAYs seems like
> an incredibly small use case for developers to write in support for GATE on
> multi-port digipeaters.Any of our 30m operators want to chime in with what
> they want these days?

In the beginning there were few igates of any kind, and far fewer on HF.   The 
idea was that a vacationing traveler in the boondocks 100's or 1000's of miles 
from home (or beyond VHF range at sea) could get his posits and messages back 
to his home area VHF network, so the guys with VHF-only capability at home 
could see his whereabouts.   This was all before the APRS-IS even existed.

Now there are numerous HF igates passing traffic directly to the APRS-IS. 
Further, anyone interested in your whereabouts in the boonies is far more 
likely to look you up on the Internet, than listen for imported beacons from 
afar on two meters.

Today, there is now very little point in the GATE function.  [Note that it will 
never totally go away. The GATE function is actually embedded in the firmware 
command processor of Kantronic KAM and 9612 dual-port TNCs. I.e. these TNCs can 
cross-band digipeat ("GATE") running stand-alone with no computer attached at 

Programs such as the AGW Packet Engine, DireWolf and the "UZ7HO Soundmodem" 
soundcard "soft TNCs" can create dual port TNCs when used on soundcards with 
stereo inputs and outputs. (One radio on the left channel and a second one on 
the right channel.)

Standalone, AGWpe can route packets appearing on one logical port out one or 
more others on transmit.  UZ7HO can do the same thing if used with applications 
like UIview that can "cross-patch" traffic flows arriving at different logical 
ports of it's internal digipeater function.

Of course, there are still those that have the urge to be seen in as many 
places as far away as possible that will try to be gated into as many VHF 
networks as possible.  I.e. the same types that beacon WIDE7-7 on VHF.....

> --
> Kenneth Finnegan
> http://blog.thelifeofkenneth.com/ <http://blog.thelifeofkenneth.com/>

Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at) aol.com
Skype:        WA8LMF
EchoLink:  Node #  14400  [Think bottom of the 2-meter band]
Home Page:          http://wa8lmf.net

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