Search Wikipedia via APRS?


How would you go about registering the tactical callsign? Is it a straightforward process?


You don’t. And that’s the issue with such calls. My callsigns (I have a few of them) are all exclusively registered to me by the various regional OfCom/FCC agencies. But there is no such agency for tactical calls. Plus, tactical calls are only valid in some regions and not others. In the UK for example you could not send a message to a tactical call. It would come under 3rd party rules and UK does not allow 3rd party traffic. Tactical calls are really only a solution for the USA.


Well then I return to my previous comment of just using an arbitrary recipient.

You could receive messages for Seasalt.
Seasalt could receive messages for you.

Other hams involved in Outernet and could also volunteer to receive messages?


There are several APRS auto reply servers that have been in place for years. The WHO-IS server is probably the oldest. Send an APRS message with a callsign to WHO-IS and the server responds with the name of the person belonging to that callsign. The actual data comes from, a commercial entity.

Perhaps a better example, is using ham radio via a telephone patch to order a pizza and have it delivered to me. This is legal in the US as long as the Ham or his employer doesn’t benefit.

In this case, the “Pizza place” is Wikipedia, and the “Delivery Boy” is Outernet.


And that’s what I was suggesting with the club callsign. Outernet Inc Radio Club, KD9ZZZ type thing.


But you do benefit. You get a pizza :slight_smile:


I like the idea of a bot… It would be good to get a notification that the message has got as far as the internet?

It wouldn’t have to do anything beyond replying ‘received’ (if you wanted to get fancy you could reply with the title of the Wikipedia page or [404 not found])

I guess to set up a bot you have to apply for a callsign for it?

This code might be a useful starting position?


A ‘Bot’ on the APRS-IS doesn’t need to have a “registered” callsign, it just needs to be unique. However, you must have a valid callsign and callpass in order to connect the 'bot to the APRS-IS.

For example, my weather forecast server is called WXBOT, which isn’t a valid callsign, but IS globally unique. In order to connect to the APRS-IS, it uses my callsign and callpass. If you look at the raw packets from WXBOT, you will see my callsign as the station that placed the packet on the APRS-IS.

An APRS message 'bot can respond with a “message received”, but more often than not, the return message doesn’t make it back onto the RF, because the i-gate is “receive only”. (This is a sore subject for those of use who are trying to do two way APRS messaging.)


I think we already have OUTNET set up as a APRS address. We do not need to change a thing. It works. I have tested it using APRSdroid and the messages got through just fine.

Now what I think we need to do next is come up with a HASH table of abbreviations we can use in the very very small APRS message space to request a Wikipedia or other information from the Web…

I do not think there is any need to reinvent the wheel. Hams have been doing this stuff for a while now , from morse code all the way to APRS so I am sure we can find some examples already in use.


Sam you urgently need to get a basic Ham License and Call sign,

In Britain I believe they have the foundation License. That should be enough to let you do APRS messages.


So looking at the FCC rules on one way transmission

Section 97.111(b) provides for one-way communications. In summary, auxiliary, beacon, space and stations in distress are specifically authorized to make certain one-way transmissions. Additionally, an amateur station may transmit the following types of one-way communications:
Brief transmissions necessary to make adjustments to the station;
Brief transmissions necessary for establishing two-way communications with other stations;
Transmissions necessary to providing emergency communications;
Transmissions necessary to assisting persons learning, or improving proficiency in, the international Morse code;
Transmissions necessary to disseminate an information bulletin; and

Where ‘Telecommand’ is defined as

(44) Telecommand. A one-way transmission to initiate, modify, or terminate functions of a device at a distance.

So a one way transmission is permitted, where it is used to modify the function of a device (lantern) at a distance?

In this case sending a message to ‘outnet’ with the intention of modifying the function of your lantern is permitted? (or the ‘device’ could be the internet server that’s running the Wikipedia script)


+1 @sam_uk, The server receiving the wiki script is no different than a remote airplane or repeater auto-dialer. Now this is only valid with US governed spectrum, but it is up to the operator to operate within the rules of the country they are operating within. If country X does not permit this type action, the operator is responsible for maintaining valid operation and being aware of any rules that govern them while operating.

In the US all valid license holders should be able to transmit telecommand APRS messages to OUTNET on VHF and UHF bands. Remember though that US Amateur Radio Operators can not conduct operations in the course of business. (example: A ham has a great idea to start making a bit of $ by requesting wiki docs with the intention to then sell to others. This is not a valid use of their license and could result in the operators license being revoked or fines being imposed.)

PS: I am a Amateur Extra who is also a Volunteer Examiner and registered trainer with the ARRL.


Just to throw in a curveball… Outernet, at this juncture, is not selling a service. Only hardware with preloaded software.

That a function of said hardware “can” be to receive WIki or other content that was requested via an entirely separate “public”, non-commercial network (ham radio), and that said content is served up in turn via a request from the platform provider to the content provider through an ISP, and is of non-commercial nature (Wiki), doesn’t seem to be illegal.

This is no different than Bob asking Dave over the repeater to email him a link to the Yaesu website. Bob uses the ham radio to make the request, and the request is fulfilled over a separate commercial entity, say, Gmail, and contains a pointer to another commercial entity, Yaesu.

Unless Bob charges a fee to provide said link to Dave, then there should be no foul.

Unless Outernet charges a fee for specifically for APRS amateur radio services that are advertised and by nature and intent designed to generate funds, there should be no foul, especially if the sole means of requesting said information over Outernet IS NOT ham radio APRS. Wiki pages are uploaded now via web.

If the owner of a remote DX contest site charges hams lots of money to use his gear for a DX contest, then there is a fee associated with using a ham radio station and the ensuing transmissions and receptions, especially if the station operators use the owner or club callsign. No? This has been found to be within FCC regulations, because the restriction on “pecuniary interest” only applied to the actual physical human act of relaying information over amateur radio, but not the infrastructure provided to do so. You can’t charge a fee to key up the radio and pass traffic for someone else. You can charge a fee for that person to use your facility Under His Own Callsign to pass traffic of his own. Apparently.


Let’s say Bob is interested to know what Wikipedia articles people want to know about for their own personal research interest, and they post any such messages to their twitter account as they think others might have been interested for academic reasons. And let’s say Outernet thinks, gosh that’s an interesting twitter feed that tells us what sort of articles from Wikipedia people might be interested in, let’s use it as a basis for selecting the articles that we filecast. Where’s the commercial interest there?


Take it a step further where there is no affordable internet and use a cellular phone to text the request in. Ken


take it even further & request a page by APRS - maybe via the ISS :slight_smile:


You can request a wikipedia page today via APRS using the email gateway to send an email request to [email protected]

Send an APRS message to “EMAIL” with the recipient’s email address as the first “word” of the message. You may only send one line messages (67 total characters maximum).

An example is:

KI6WJP-10>APRS::EMAIL :[email protected] wikipedia request Amteur_Radio_Satellite

The request mailbox will receive an email that looks like:

The people handling the request email inbox will not be able to reply, They just need to add the requested wikipedia article to the carousel.


Brilliant… I didn’t actually know about the “[email protected]” email address :slight_smile:
You just KNOW I am going to do that now LOL!

I knew of the EMAIL, EMAIL-2 & WLNK-1 email paths from APRS ( although I can never get past the password challenge for Winlink LOL!)


it doesn’t exist yet. but its a terrific idea (thanks @Martin_Nile) and I am going to set something like that up as soon as I get a chance.

Due to the limited bandwidth, there’d have to be a queue, so it will take a bit of work at my end. But its worth doing.


Oops, I thought the request email address was active, I read about it in another thread, so I assumed it was working.