Monday, February 17, 2014

Mic-E mangled packet parsing improvements

One of my APRS transmitters
using the Mic-E packet format.
Fresh photo for the blog.
Mic-E encoded packets, as commonly transmitted by Kenwood & Yaesu radios, Byonics trackers and others, are often corrupted by broken APRS igates. The speed/course bytes in these packets,  which often have binary values in the 0x1C - 0x1F range (unprintable control codes in the ASCII table), or the 0x7F DEL "character", are commonly removed or replaced with spaces (0x20, space bar) by certain iGate setups.

Mangling packets in transit is wrong, and by default it would make these position packets, which are completely valid according the protocol specification, fail to decode, and fail to plot on aprs.fi. To get around this aprs.fi and many other decoders try to detect these broken packets and extract whatever information is left in them after the broken igate.

Yesterday evening I fixed a few bugs in the Mic-E packet decoder used by aprs.fi. This improves the handling of mangled packets a bit further.
  • The correct symbol table identifier (primary or secondary) is now successfully decoded from mangled Mic-E packets. The table identifier byte was incorrectly extracted before the demangling trick - from the wrong offset due to the mangling. Thanks to KD0KZE for the bug report.
  • Speed and course information is no longer decoded from Mic-E packet if demangling was applied. That information has been lost in transit when the packet got mangled by the igate.
  • Mangled Mic-E packets are now indicated with a mice_mangled flag in the decoded raw packets. Switch from Normal to Decoded mode in the raw packets list to see it in action. Expect to see broken igates highlighted on aprs.fi later on.
Today I released version 1.20 of the open source APRS packet parser, which contains the above improvements. There are a few other fixes in there, which were already installed on aprs.fi earlier last year.

2 comments:

Steve Buchan said...

PIs this what you mean? my handheld VE7ORA-8 gating through VE7ORA.

http://aprs.fi/?c=raw&call=VE7ORA-8

I am using a WX3in1 2.0 GPRS appliance. Firmware version v1.00/12.01.14 should I be filing a bug report with the developer of the gate?

Heikki Hannikainen said...

Steve, no, that's not what I mean, those packets look good and not mangled at all.

(I deleted all but 1 of your comments, all 6 of them had the same content.)