Response to Jer's Comments on the Papa System
Fred Curtis, KI6GRO
In response to Jer’s comments regarding the Papa system, here is my response. When the decision was made to switch to the Papa system, I had no views one way or the other. I was neutral on the matter until I was unable to adequately prepare for the net and and emergencies that might arise. I am not a member of the Papa system, more on that below.
- This is a new website for the PAPA System. There will be teething pains. One of the challenges is locking down the site so that bad actors can't hijack it. Not unusual for a new website design to require
password changes, especially if the old site was less than secure. FWIW IMHO the Internet is no longer the Wild West - it's beginning to have a more "Escape from New York" vibe to it. Organization wishing to protect their digital assets act accordingly. As a result there may be some additional restrictions on the content.
Redesigning the website is fine but has nothing do with the visibility of a given page. The Papa system made the conscious decision to make that page only visible to members. I do this with websites I manage; there are pages only open to members and pages accessible to the public. If they are having issues with security and site hacking, they need to consult with their ISP and/or the person(s) doing the site design. Since they charge a membership fee, they should have robust website. Keeping repeater information private will not prevent people from finding their repeaters or otherwise hacking their website. Radios of today simply need the receive frequency. Once the PTT is pushed it will populate with the correct PL tone and offset. Unfortunately, my older radios do not have this feature.
- The PAPA System is very supportive of the Red Cross - the fact that they allow several Red Cross embers access to their "control room" underscores this. Red Cross volunteers who are not members of the PAPA System have access to their repeaters. A number of Red Cross volunteers including Bob and myself are members - we will ensure Red Cross volunteers will have access to the latest repeater information. BTW consider joining PAPA if you can swing it. Great coverage throughout Southern California - the group is very active in maintaining/expanding the system - the care and feeding of mountaintop repeaters is not cheap so I'm sure the PAPA folks would appreciate your support.
I have no doubt that the Papa system is supportive of the Red Cross. WRT to access to the control room, I have only heard 3 people actually change the board. Perhaps there are others that have access to control board. If it only three of you, I would not consider that several members. You mentioned membership in the Papa system. Philosophically, I am against groups such as the Papa system, charging members for access. It goes against the spirit and tenets of amateur radio, of being open to everyone. The Red Cross DST team is cautioned to tread lightly in regards to membership in the Papa system, as it is teetering on the appearance of a pay to play system. We are all volunteers and should not have to have a paid membership in order to view something as basic as a repeater frequency pair, offset and PL tone.
- Which brings me to PLs. Most of the PLs where changed in calendar year 2020. The latest code plug (05/12/2021) reflects all applicable changes to date. IMHO#2 I don't believe we'll see additional UHF PL changes unless a new interference issue raises its ugly head. This is one of the downsides of the large number of repeaters we have in Southern California.
On Tuesday before the net started, I went to Papa system repeater page as I always do. First to check on the status of the repeaters. On more than one occasion I have been on Papa 11 (Otay, the closest to my QTH) only to find out that the repeater is working but the link is down, resulting in me being missed on the roll call. Secondly, I go to the repeater page to see if there are any changes such as PL tones, input/output frequencies, etc. As you are aware, the Papa system has gone through several changes to their repeater settings. So, on Tuesday evening when I went to the repeater page, I find it locked and, in the description, there was mention of changing PL tones (once again). That mention of PL tone changes has since been removed from this page (analog repeaters page). Now, maybe you will understand my frustration. So, it is not a matter of Nat posting a static picture of the repeater page for all to see. That information is snapshot in time and since things change daily on the Papa system, not current.
For whatever it is worth, those are my thoughts on Jer’s email regarding the Papa system.