Dreamcatcher v3.02: Feedback Thread


Sorry, having some website issues. This will get fixed tomorrow. The price is $149 for the v3.03.


Good luck Syed and your Outernet team.

After all your hard work.

I hope version 3 sells well.


Konrad, you’re a good guy. I was taking the devils advocate in my post about the new 3.03.


Yeah … a bit harsh on our young entrepreneur :wink: He’s being eaten on all sides -
Sat Service providers, the part and assembly costs … and the experimenters on the other side.



@Konrad_Roeder Thanks for understanding. Trying to price the product too low too early materially impacts our ability to invest in necessary developments for the future.


I think I got overwhelmed by so many new ideas being mentioned by so many smart people lately. I felt we would have buy something once a month just to keep up. Probably an exaggerated statement. I think you know what I mean. And you too Konrad :grinning:


You are in a very delicate situation, Syed. I sometimes envy you. At other times, I realize how tough things are for you and your team. It’s a rough road, but I really think you are on to something.

You will need to provide increasing value while keeping the sales price about the same. This means that you will need to provide a larger and larger plate of product offerings so that you get repeat sales from experimenters like me. This means you will need to have plenty of new products in the innovation pipeline.

At the same time, you will need to negotiate more and more satellite bandwidth. The cost per user goes up as time passes because you will serve the low-hanging fruit markets first. Your marginal costs go up because you wont’ get nearly as many customers with each following satellite deployment.

I think having low-cost up-stream communications could also be on your plate. And, yes, I understand you need to continue developing the Datacasting idea from here. With a shorter distance to a LEO satellite, and keeping LoRa (which is very immune to doppler) you may have enough link budget for some really good high-speed two-way data.

BTW. Since you provide GEOstat service, one of the downloads should be an ephemerus table for LEO satellites … Now someone on the ground would be able to know when the next LEO comes overhead to send outbound e-mail messages and other traffic back up (about once every 90 minutes). Crowd-sourced ground stations pick up the LEO messages and pass them back into the Internet. There are quite a few issues that would need to be resolved, but the possibilities are there.

I still think that ground stations for Ku Satellites are too costly due to a variety of factors.

–Konrad, WA4OSH


Thanks … I was an engineer for over 30 years in telecommunications and have seen the development of cellphones from their roots in LMR trunking radio and evolve from analog FM through 5 generations of evolution over the last 30 years. Consumers have had to throw-away their incompatible phones on a regular basis, but had no problem doing that since there was more and more functionality. I think Syed and his team are going to have to undergo several generations of improvements beyond just software from here. But my best guess is that the DC3.03 platform will at least last 2-3 years.

–Konrad, WA4OSH


Grew up LA area. In 50’s built XTAL sets and 1 to 2 tubers. Then ham radio seized my brain. A great time: 10 meters open 24/7. We built Heathkits. Even built a color TV. Went in US Army at 22. Fort Ord, Fort Monmouth, Redstone Arsenal, Hawk Missile (Raytheon), Munich, Germany, Home: Pacific Telephone, PacBell, SBC, then AT&T. 35 yr, now retired. Age 81.

Think I’ll order! :sunglasses:


Do you mean for the OSCAR satellites?


Yes, it could be an AMSAT satellite, but that would limit the uplink frequency to a ham band. Or, it could be an uplink to one or more cubesats launched by a university or private research company (like that guy from Chincoteague Island) The uplink would be on some obscure unlicensed band. Disclaimer: I really have not thought this through completely, nor discussed the idea with anyone that could put it into action.

If the cubesat were ‘store and forward’ it could pick up the mail and then deliver it to known Internet connected ground sites.

The cubesats could be in an elliptical orbit so that they stay up over the northern hemisphere where more people live for a longer time. I don’t know enough about that aspect of satellites to know what is involved.

–Konrad, WA4OSH


:sunglasses: Cool! What I enjoy about Outernet so far the most so far (besides the tinkering) is reading the world news.

–Konrad, WA4OSH


Did you know that the ISS carries APRS? When the ISS comes over, you can send a APRS packet containing OUTNET to APRS.fi. It gets scooped up by Outernet and re-broadcast by the SES-2 satellite and within 5 minutes you can receive your own message via ISS.


–Konrad, WA4OSH


No, not exactly. I kind of shutdown for awhile, browsing but not reading much. Now that I have the DC being shipped, I have of lot of reading to do. And probably lots of questions. I think Ken’s User Manual should really help. Any of your pointers, Konrad?


I had provided him about a page or two of input for the DC3.02Q version. It pretty much “fixed” the bugs I could find with the initial install.

I have not looked through Ken’s updated document. I’m expecting my DC3.03 on Friday and was going to work through it then.

I had planned on working on a cron job that could run on APRS to listen for messages to me, but I’m a bit frustrated with the way that the JSON database was implemented in DreamCatcher / Skylark 5.x. I’m a bit tired of hearing how much of an “expert” Bob Bruninga and some un-mentioned software developer are. They are very capable of creating bugs that have long-term problems down the road. It’s not really my problem, but I’ve seen it so many times over the last 30 years. I hate having to say I told you so later.

Perhaps I will review Ken’s updated User Manual and provide him some feedback.

–Konrad, WA4OSH


I’m working on an updated User Manual for Dreamcatcher 3.03 running Skylark 5.2. I have run thru Skylark 5.2 on the 3.02Q board trying to break it, and need the new Dreamcatcher to confirm what I have found. Skylark 5.2 is solid.

The previous Skylark 5.1 problems have been accommodated. My focus has been to tell people how to get the Dreamcatcher up and running, not how to manipulate all the apps. Maybe one of you could attack that? Ken


That’s certainly something I can contribute.

–Konrad, WA4OSH


High five to that… Take a look at hams HF ALE (http://hflink.net/) Perfect example of when you get “experts” running the game… and a coding and a web interface that looks like a cross from Prodigy/AOL and 90’s HTML. :slight_smile:


@clavo A lot has changed since the days of teletypes and punch cards, and Prodigy/AOL and HTML 1.0. The software engineering community has learned a lot since.

The designers have made a good decision to use a JSON interface to expose their database. The beauty of JSON is that the database’s API and the tool querying the API don’t exactly have to match. They both can be updated independently. If they had picked XML, this would be a complete disaster.

With that in mind, it still matters what the database objects look like. All of this translates into the JSON structure. If the database is built so that each APRS message is one record, then the query does not have to return all of the records in one huge JSON block. They missed the boat and forgetting the hard-learned lessons the APRS database went through.

There’s a reason that current database/JSON courses demo APIs using the APRS database.

There’s no reason why the mini-APRS database in DreamCatcher can’t be structured the same way so that all tools developed for the APRS API will work. The heavy price of transmitting the data has already been paid, so why make it difficult to search? There’s a lot of storage space in 16 GB of flash for both the database and the software supporting the API, even if it’s a subset of the big APRS database. This is the much more profound point that I’m desperately trying to get across.

–Konrad, WA4OSH


Wow! I’ve been away from HFPack and HFLink for a while. It looks like things have really improved.