Re: [30meterPSKGroup] PropNET and control operator?
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How does PropNET fit into the FCC regulations requiring a control
A very good question. The answer lies with how the operator chooses to operate and not so much in the technology itself. Here's the info that can help to guide participants. It's a bit of a long read, but each component contains a piece of the answer. Of course, folks who are simply looking to pick nits will still find reasons to challenge even this. Ultimately, the project has applied Good Amateur Practice as it has evolved (and continues to evolve). With that in mind, please read the following with an eye to engendering innovation.
PropNET has many very interesting features that come into play as the whole picture develops. Consider the following...
A PropNET station can be remotely interrogated. That is the QSO alarm and a developing function called the Robot. The QSO Alarm (if invoked by the operator) will page the control op when their station call sign being sent by another PSK31 station. The alarm can include relay-closure support (let you imagination run as to how this can be used).
A PropNET station RX's before sending its' Automated-ID. If it detects activity in the waterfall, it will delay TXing until clear (frankly, this will be interesting to watch this weekend with so many concurrent participants activating).
A PropNET station is capable of engaging in a keyboard QSO using the same PropNetPSK software that causes the station to periodically Auto-ID and decode/report RX's of others.
PropNET participants are encouraged to invoke watchdog circuits to assure that their stations don't stay TXing (locked up) for long periods of time. Most modern transceivers have the ability to set TX timers and PropNETers are encouraged to use them. Three minutes is a good default value as it turns out.
Interestingly, the PropNET Project operates under the same Part 97 rule set that APRS does (97.221). In that service, there are unattended digital stations that operate 24/7/365 on the 2-meter and 30-meter band and have done so for a very long time. Operators there take actions to assure their compliance with the terms of 97.221. In fact this is one of the reasons for choosing the operating frequency (to be within the sub-band reserved for such operation in the USA).
As one can see, the answers come in layers. Operators will invoke as many of them as necessary to feel comfortable in meeting both the letter AND the intent of 97.221.
Hope to see you on the air as either a TXing or Lurking (RX-only) station. The more the merrier. :)
Ev Tupis, W2EV
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