[amsat-bb] SATme for Blackberry

Clint Bradford clintbradford at mac.com
Fri Sep 10 09:18:57 PDT 2010

Just has a pleasant conversation with the author - Andy, K0SM/2 - on his  satellite tracking program for the Blackberry, SATme. 

I do not own a Blackberry device, so I asked him what kinds of hurdles users were reporting.

"I hear from John, LA2QAA, fairly often.  He uses SATme on a Nokia phone for his portable ops, so you may be able to talk to him.  I'm sure he wouldn't mind that I passed his name along.

"There are two main "issues" that I have come across in the last few years: one is one imposed by the phone carriers, and the others is the non-standard implementations of the Java platform across devices.  For example, all the US carriers (except Sprint, and most Blackberry devices) will restrict their low end devices not to allow access to the local file system and/or the Internet without a (sometimes several) thousand dollar certification fee.  This is obviously prohibitive for a niche product like this.  

"The second issue is device fragmentation that can cause it not to run on some platforms.  Here the issue becomes a problem of support from my perspective.  There's really no way for me to keep up with all of these devices and do comprehensive testing on everything out there."

Andy wrote SATme back when he was studying for his comprehensive exams in school as a way to earn some pocket change. The phone technology, though, has moved beyond the CLDC 2.0 spec for which this was designed, though there are several people using SATme on newer Blackberries and other smartphones, so it is still being made available. 

"It is nice to have a satellite tracking program that runs on my "free" phone ... and we hams are notoriously cheap," Andy chuckles.

"The device fragmentation notwithstanding, the software has been stable for more than a year without any new issues cropping up ... I have two children now and only get on the satellites once or twice a year (FD usually), so I really don't have a pulse on the satellite community like I used to ... "

Nice guy. If you have a Blackberry device, please try out SATme.

Clint Bradford

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