HamRadioTweets is a service that was originally developed and operated by Bruce Sutherland KO4IN. The idea behind his work was inspired by conflicts overseas, it was meant to be a proof of concept on how to get your message out if your government restricts your internet access.
Mr. Sutherland originally created the software as a means to send messages over satellite such as the International Space Station and others that have on-board APRS Digipeaters. I am however getting ahead of myself.
Sometime in late 2014 I had begun learning to write software in ruby, an interpreted programming language, I had quickly found how easy it was to work with sockets allowing me to interact with servers on the internet. I wanted to merge my programming with my love for ham radio. This is when the APRS-IS network came to mind.
I wrote a small ruby gem allowing me to interact with the APRS-IS network, I could see all traffic on the network and filter it in any way I saw fit. Naturally I thought I could add some type of service to the APRS network. There was already a ruby gem that simplified posting to twitter so I figured an APRS to twitter gateway would be a good way for me to hone my new found skills.
After a little research I found that Mr. Sutherland had already developed an APRS to Twitter gateway and even presented it at a computer security conference known as Defcon, However to my dismay I found that it had been offline for some time with what seemed to be no sign of a return. I wasn’t able to find any source code for the software, all I knew was that it had been written in Python.
I thought to myself, if he can write it in Python then I can write it in Ruby. After just two short hours of work I found myself with a simple test server that did exactly what I wanted it to. It would register itself to the APRS-IS network with the callsign designator ‘TWITR’ this would allow anyone from any APRS gateway send a message to twitter by sending it to that callsign.
Later I had contacted Mr. Sutherland and asked him for permission to take over the website and development, which he greatly obliged to and gave me full access to the domain. I began running the server 24/7 on November 23rd of 2014 using the code that I published as an open source project.
The service is back online and available for Amateur use, I plan to continue development in my free time while working on additional services that we could add to the APRS network.