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explanation of position reporting problem

Posted by on July 2, 2014

Over recent weeks, it has come to our attention that our position has disappeared from the map.  Several of our good friends and readers have become concerned as to our whereabouts and our well-being.  Rest assured, we are still on the globe and all doing quite well.

Every time we are sailing on a major passage, or even just moving across an anchorage,  I remain dedicated to reporting every important change in our position via Winlink.  However, lately there have been some technical issues that are beyond our control.  We received the following email which explains the situation.

To all Winlink maritime users:

We have received reports that position reports you have posted through Winlink are not displayed on Shiptrak.org, Yachttrack.org and perhaps other services. In addition, the 14300.net Position Reporter and other web input tools used by net control operators to manually enter position reports from voice contacts are inoperative. If this affects you or others who need to keep track of your position and well-being, we want to explain.

Your position reports posted using RMS Express or Airmail go directly in to the Winlink system’s database and are displayed using our web application, available from a link at

http://www.winlink.org or http://www2.winlink.org:8081/maps/positionReports.aspx.

A history of one user’s position reports can be viewed by using this variation:

http://www2.winlink.org:8081/maps/positionReports.aspx?callsign=[callsign]

Additionally, when you post a position or WX report, we echo it actively to MAROB (the US Weather Service marine weather report intake program), YOTREPS (http://www.pangolin.co.nz/yotreps_reporting_boat_list), and the APRS internet network (view at http://aprs.fi and on other APRS sites and software).

Winlink, YOTREPS, and APRS displays continue to work properly.

Independent services who pull or post positions from/to the Winlink database may temporarily miss data until their authors can make upgrades to their software. We recently upgraded our database interfaces for security, and although we have provided all upgrade technical information to the various third-party program authors not all have completed the needed changes. We have no control over these systems, but please be assured we are providing help to the authors who request our assistance, and are attempting to motivate their work. Keep in mind most are volunteers like ourselves.

Meanwhile, we encourage you and your correspondents to use the working display services mentioned above. We thank you for your tolerance of any service interruption our third-party partners have experienced.

73,

The Winlink Development Team

I have played around with the suggested sites mentioned in the above email.  While the system still seems to be a work-in-progress, I have added APRS and Yotreps links to the “see us on the map” section on the right side of our blog.  These positioning maps don’t show as many positions as Winlink, but at least you can see our most current location.

As for the SPOT, their positioning system doesn’t cover the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Therefore, the SPOT reports probably won’t show up again until we near Hawaii.  (OOPS!  Let that cat out of the bag!  For those of you who didn’t know . . . Yes, we’re working our way towards Hawaii.  More on that at a later date.)

Also, in case some of you are wondering, I want to clarify another important issue.  Due to the fact that we only get occasional internet, and that we spend a lot of time having fun and exploring our surroundings, the actual blog posts are way, way, way behind.  (Someone even told me that it was a disgrace to be so far behind!)  I wish I had it within myself to shortcut the posts and only touch on the highlights.  However, I can’t bring myself to leave out information or good stories.  Therefore, I continue to write more informative posts, and when we have internet, I use Twitter feeds in the “up-to-date tweets” section to keep everyone apprised of more current happenings.

Hopefully, questions have been answered and worries have been calmed.  Most importantly, and to the best of my ability, I pledge to keep the blog posts coming . . . even if they are sporadic and way behind.

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