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Getting SOTAwatch spots sent as SMS messages via T

Are you interested in having SOTAwatch spots delivered to your mobile phone as SMS messages? If so, read on.

I have just set up a trial system to gateway SOTAwatch spots into the Twitter social networking system. The reason this is a useful thing to do is that Twitter messages can be delivered free of charge to a mobile phone as SMS messages. Unfortunately not every carrier is currently supported, and at the moment in the UK you have to be on either Vodafone or O2. With luck, the service will be extended to other carriers in due course.

If you are on a suitable network, it means that you can get a text message within a minute or two of a new spot appearing on SOTAwatch, and it won’t cost you a penny.

To view the messages, you can visit:

http://twitter.com/SOTAwatch

If you want to get the SMS messages, you will have to register yourself on the site, and set up “device updates”. Obviously they need to know your mobile phone number but they don’t seem to do anything bad with it. Nobody else gets to see your number.

Once you’ve done all that, the messages should start coming through.

You can of course use the site for its intended purpose as well; there are a fair number of radio amateurs on. I am on with my callsign as username.

Now the caveats:

I have no connection with Twitter other than as a user.

I am running the gateway script on a machine at my place of work. I cannot guarantee that it will continue running, or that it will never miss a spot.

I am not convinced that the SMS side of it is 100% reliable, and I can’t control how long the text messages will take to get through. The odd message does seem to have reached Twitter but not my phone. However the vast majority do seem to get through quickly.

It’s a bit of a hack. If the format of the SOTAwatch web page changes, it is likely to stop working until I can update the script. The whole thing would be much better integrated within the SOTAwatch system itself, and if it proves popular, I would very much hope that this could be done one day.

Martyn M1MAJ

In reply to M1MAJ:
Thanks Martyn - works a treat.

Roger G4OWG

Can’t get it to work. Got reply from Twitter saying reply with your name but can’t send a reply.

In reply to GW7AAV:

Can’t get it to work. Got reply from Twitter saying reply with your
name but can’t send a reply.

Hmm… it’s ages since I registered and I’ve forgotten how it was done but I don’t recall any problems. Maybe somebody who has just done it can help.

In reply to M1MAJ:

I was hoping to try it out chasing on the way North tomorrow, but although I can send via the phones Internet capability I can’t receive the texts. Message said welcome to Twitter please reply with your name to 86444 which I tried but phone says “Unable to send”. Tried to re-enter my phone details and it now says “unable to verify” on the web site.

In reply to GW7AAV:

“Unable to send”

I take it that you’re on Vodafone or O2… Was the message FROM 86444? Only those two carriers support the shortcode.

You could try using their non-shortcode number +44 7624 801423. You can register a phone on any network for the purposes of sending messages into Twitter, but they will only send outgoing messages through carriers that they can afford to use.

In reply to M1MAJ:

Yep! O2 and the message came from 86444.

Problem now is I deleted my phone to try again but cannot verify it. :0(

In reply to GW7AAV:

http://twitter.zendesk.com/forums/10713/entries/15350

suggests you might have problems with a prepaid phone :frowning:

In reply to M1MAJ:

Something screwed up, but it is working now. I sent ‘STOP’ from phone to 86444 then I was able to get my phone verified. Happy now :0)

Two minute delay on my tests. Sorry if anyone was running for their 23cms hand helds to work me in GM. ;0)

In reply to M1MAJ:

Thanks Martyn, that’d be a great service, unfortunately it doesn’t work with me.

“Note: We currently don’t support sending SMS notifications to this number. You may still verify your phone and update Twitter, but we won’t deliver to your phone”

I’ve got a regular German Yodafone contract. Still not possible as we can see, but certainly been worth a try.

73 Bernhard DL4CW

In reply to DL4CW:

Seems to work on Tesco network as well (I think they use O2)

In reply to G1INK:

Many thanks Steve, I’ll give it another try with my daughter’s phone, she’s using O2… qrx pse…

73 Bernhard DL4CW

“Note: We currently don’t support sending SMS notifications to
this number. You may still verify your phone and update Twitter, but
we won’t deliver to your phone”

Same procedure with O2 here. Well then…

73 Bernhard DL4CW

In reply to M1MAJ:

Is there any possibility to deliver the SOTAwatch spots to an e-mail?

My e-mail box is capable to send a short new message notification to mobile phone. Maybe this could be a way how to receive SOTAwatch spots as SMS messages.

Jan OK1NF

In reply to OK1NF:

Is there any possibility to deliver the SOTAwatch spots to an e-mail?

It could be done certainly, but it isn’t something I particularly want to get involved in.

I could also send SMS via a commercial provider, but it would be prohibitively expensive.

In reply to M1MAJ:
Martyn,
Thanks for doing this, it works great on Sprint using my Palm Pre. I wonder can you send to @SOTAWatch to be able to self spot via twitter.

Andrew KC2EUS/GM1YMI

Twitter announced on Monday that users of Orange UK can now receive Twitter messages over SMS free of charge. This means that in the UK, users of Vodafone, O2 and Orange can now have SOTAwatch spots delivered direct to their phones.

http://twitter.com/SOTAwatch

In reply to M1MAJ:

Nice.

I have been experimenting with an APRS to Twitter gateway and it is working quite well.

So now I can send an APRS message to ‘TWITTR’ and my gateway will pick it out of the APRS-IS feed and post it onto my twitter page.

(It costs money to send SMS for me).

The next iteration of that project is going to be that I can send an APRS message to ‘SOTASP’ and my gateway will pick the message up and spot me.

  • Martin.

As of this morning, the tweets of SOTAwatch spots are geotagged with the location of the summit. It will take a while for support for geotagging to become pervasive (at present it is an API-only feature which is not exposed on the Twitter site itself).

Applications are encouraged to do “reverse geocoding” on the coordinates to present the location in a human readable form such as a street address. I’ve already seen some problems when the location is “in the middle of nowhere”. Doubtless these issues will get sorted out in due course.

In reply to M1MAJ:
This is ideal and what I had been looking for but can I offer a suggestion.
In addition sto @sotawatch could we have an @ SOTAwatch$REGION
e.g. @ SOTAwatchGW which would only tweet the GW summits.
This would let me have a message indicator for that account only so I could chase people.