One of the thoughts that prevailed at the June EAGLE meeting in San Diego was that EAGLE needed an SMS-like "User Class-1" service (SMS = Short Message Service a.k.a. text messaging, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_message_service) that would allow small, hand held portable user terminals to have reliable satellite access. Many of us thought (in the back of our minds) that this is similar to one of the functions that WB4APR has advocated with APRS. After examining the link budgets, we concluded that this was a perfect Mode-B (70cm -> 2M) function and it fits within the Mode-B SDX concept very neatly (SMS on one SDX sideband and linear transponder on the other, with PSK beacon in the middle). Frank, AB2KT has already begun designing the protocol (and we are already planing to include it in our on-the-air Balto-Wash SDX demo station).
Related to this topic, this week's ARRL newsletter contains this item:
==>ARRL FIRST VP CHAIRS GLOBAL AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE
ARRL First Vice President Kay Craigie, N3KN, represented the League at the Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference 2006 (GAREC-2006) http://www.rientola.fi/oh3ag/garec/index.html. She also was chosen to chair the event, held June 19-20 in Tampere, Finland, concurrently with the International Conference on Emergency Communications (ICEC 2006) and the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications (WGET). GAREC-2006 participants primarily followed up on items first raised during GAREC-2005. Representatives of than 20 countries were on hand, and Craigie said it was beneficial to have a chance to get to know amateurs from other countries who are involved in emergency communications. (balance of the item deleted for brevity).
I just spent an hour scanning the presentations. Both the Turkish & Swedish presentations talk about the desirability of having interoperable reliable digital communications. Both APRS and PSK31 are included in the discussions.
We have long thought that the Europeans, especially with their 3rd party communications rules, had little interest in coordinated disaster response. But I came away from my reading of the GAREC-2006 materials realizing that our preconceived notions about the international situation was quite naive.
I suggest that we should start stressing the AMSAT EAGLE plans for SMS-like capabilities to the ARRL (note that several of us know Kay Craigie well -- she's from this area) and the IARU. IMHO, we want to have them DEMANDING this type of service from AMSAT.