Email at Camp!
- Authors & Scouts
WHile experiencing CUB scout camp this week I had two thoughts.
Notification of "HAMS at camp", and using APRS as an "email" connection.
EMAIL: The camp is 60 to 100 miles away from the metro areas and very
rural. There is no way for parents to call in, and kids must hike a ways
to find the only pay phone for miles if they want to "touch base" with
home. Snail mail works, but not for real-time coordination of pickup and
changes in plans.
I thought how neat it would be to just leave an old $5 lapttop and APRS in
a HAM Radio Kiosk for kids to send "email home" if they needed a bit of
touch with the outside world. THis gave rise to two requirments:
1) CONTROL-OP: Statistically, there is always a HAM somewhere at camp,
but there is no mechanism to know who they are and to let them know about
the system. I think that ALL scout camps should include in ALL materials
AND have a SIGN posted during check in that says "All HAM radio operators
should "CHECK IN" at headquarters. Then on the wall at HQ or ADMIN or at
the station, a PLACKARD SIGN always will have a list of operators at camp.
2) EMAIL: Currently with APRS, the campers could send Email, (under the
suprervision of the Control OP), but we need to think about the mechanism
and the legalities of the return path.
FIrst of all, for HAM parents, the sending of a message to back to camp
using APRS is already fully functional. But how do we do 3rd party
traffic for other parents? and also have them understand that "HAM Radio"
is the working mechanism? Is there a way for the outgoing EMAIL using
something like WU2Z's "Emailer" to include a RETURN Email path to a
responsible APRS HAM in the area to then forward the return Email by APRS
back to camp? Actually, APRS may not even be the best or more appropriate
mechanism. But PACKET radio sure is...
Again, the terminal at camp, MUST be trivial and run on a cheap-leave-it-
at-camp-all-summer (lap-top). (any modern machine will have "game"
capability and so will be commandeered away from its mission). I'm happy
to tailor a version of APRSdos to do this. Or even a BBS style user
interface...... I do think that multiline capability must be considered.
But what we need is the HAM RADIO TO EMAIL LINK figured out that runs on
the BASE station computer linked to the interenet back home by someione
within RF range to do the link. THe goal is to satisfy the legal
requirements for the operators to handle the 3rd party traffic, and to
make it as user friendly as possible. In BOTH ends, automatic "content
checking" filters should be included to make the SYSOPS jobs easier for
ANyway, just a thought. ANyone want to work on the Internet Email link?
Ill happily write the CAMP end packet software for the $5 laptop (solar
AND this application is not just limited to SCOUT camps, but is just a
anotehr way for us to show the public the "reach" of HAM radio in
de WB4APR, Bob
DETAILS? My thougts are that APRS protocols be used so we can take
advantage of the existing infrastructure anywhere.
The TO ADDRESS would be TO APRSLINK. The FIRST Line must contain an Email
address. THen all additional lines (up to 5 or 6) are forwarded as Email
until receipt of a pre-formatted line indicating END OF MESSAGE. The
EMAIL engine includes a LEADING paragraph informing the rece[ient that
this was all done via HAM radio etc... and its limitations and the general
rules of the service"..
THen the REPLY address would bring back any EMAIL back to the APRSLINK
engine that would then forward it back to camp. AFTER some form of 3rd
party "approval" process by a "control op" somewhere...
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