HHAMS Field Texting

Welcome to HHAMS Field Texting. This text notifications system is meant to be used only by paid members of the HHAMS. It only responds to text messages sent from cell phone numbers registered in the system. It ignores everything sent from unknown cell phones. Field Texting is one of the three components of the HHAMS Communication System.

This system is designed for field communication. Safety Officers (SO) and Examiners (Ex) broadcast short messages indicating the status of the field. Members subscribe to these notifications when they are actively flying. Members may turn off notifications any time, and re-subscribe later.

The system does not reveal an individual member's email address nor cell phone number. When a broadcast is sent to all subscribers, only the sender's name is shown.

One-time setup of your phone

Ask a club officer to register you in the system. You can also talk to the system admin. If you don't know who the officers are, or who the system admin is, you probably aren't a member of the club. Bye...

At the same time, ask for the phone number of the system. The actual number isn't shown on this help page. You should add this number into your phone's Contact List. Name this number HHAMS. From now on, messages sent to you by the system from this number will show up as HHAMS on your phone.

Also note that we do have a field cell phone for voice calls at the field. As your officers for the field phone number. When a safety officer is at the field (i.e. the field is open), the field phone is turned on. If you hear a few rings tones when you call, even if no one answers and you get the voice mail, the field is most likely open. If your call is redirected to the voice mail right away without a ring tone, the phone is probably turned off, and the field is probably closed.

Getting help

Think of the system as a graduate student the club hired to man the notification system. You can text whatever to this poor graduate student, and he will text back to you stuff. As a starter, try texting HELP to wake up the grad student.

HELP command

You see. The grad student quicky cobbled together a short help, and sent it back to us.

In this guide, special words that pique our grad's interest are shown in bold, uppercase letters. Let's call these special words commands that the grad student understands. When you type these commands, you can use lowercase or mixed cases, as shown in the picture above.

Do not block the HHAMS number on your phone

As it happens, the grad student sometimes texts you, while you are not in the mood to receive field notifications. Do not use your phone to permanently block this number. If you do that, the grad student will continue to waste time and money trying to deliver stuff to you, only to have your phone discard them.

Instead, please just text a single command, OFF, to the grad student. Again, you can use uppercase, lowercase, mixed-case, or any other combination of cases that suits you.

OFF command

Some members prefer to receive regular field updates, without the usual sound effects from their phones. Unlike personal chats, field updates do not usually require your immediate attention. Some members find it useful to set up the HHAMS number on their smartphones so that incoming texts to this number (and only this number) do not ring the phone.

Is the grad student still there?

Let's say that you wake up on a Sunday morning, and you feel like flying today. But, er... you've told the grad to stop sending you field notifications the other day. So you don't know if someone has opened the gate, or has forecasted the opening of the gate.

No problem. Just text HELLO or HI to wake up the grad student again. He'll remind you that you are currently unsubscribed, and that you've missed a few messages while you were off.

OFF command

Don't fall asleep, grad student!

As instructed by the grad student, you simply text ON to see these three missed messages. At the same time, the grad student writes your phone number on a Post-It note. As long as he doesn't fall asleep, the next time an SO broadcasts a field message, the grad student will text you.

ON command
ON command reply

So you are a Safety Officer?

Are you a safety officer (SO) or an examiner (Ex)? If so, you can broadcast field messages to the world using a special POST command. Now, if you are Pablo, then you are known as a CSO/Ex, whatever that is, and you may have other powers in the future.

Let's say that you are SO Ricardo. And suppose you are the first person to open the gate today, and you want to broadcast your royal presence to the world. If you send your message properly using the POST command, the grad student will send back a confirmation message.

POST command

Your royal broadcast will now be delivered by the grad student to all members who are currently subscribed. On Elisha's phone, a new message from you appears.

Broadcast received

Note that your name and the time of the broadcast is automatically added to your one-line message "Field open 9am-2pm". So... don't lie to the system (aka the grad student). Don't try to pretend you are Pablo, or to make up a broadcast time in an attempt to set up an alibi. In this particular case, officer Ricardo changed his phone's time to 9:01AM in a futile attempt to fool the grad student. That didn't work.

Once an officer broadcasts a message using POST, the system will turn on updates for this officer, even if the officer was previously unsubscribed. The idea is that other officers may also post updates, so everyone who has recently sent a broadcast should monitor additional broadcasts for a while. Turn off subscription after POST, if needed, by texting OFF.

The grad student failed to understand my broadcast

The grad student is not very smart. If you text him a random message without POST, he gets very confused. If that happens to you, and you are sure you do want to broadcast a rejected message, simply text a single word, POST, to confirm broadcast.

Repost command

Over time the grad student did pick up a few more variations of the POST command, after being screamed at by angry officers whose mal-formed commands were rejected. You can now add punction marks after the POST command, like this: "POST. The field is open now", or "POST- Ricardo Ace manning the field now". If you realize that you forgot to add the word POST, only after you laboriously typed your message on a numeric keypad, you can now end your notification with the word "POST". For instance, the grad will accept this notification: "Gate's unlocked. Darn, forgot to add post. Post", or "dude, I mean to broadcast this - post."

Shortcuts for safety officers

The majority of field notifications look like "Field open 10:15" and "Field closed". For this type of notifications, the grad student will recognize messages beginning with the word FIELD from security officers, as a shortcut.

Field notification shortcut

On clamshell cell phones, you may find it quite challanging to type letters using a numeric keypad. To make it easier for you, the grad student has learned a few numeric shortcuts. On your clamshell, the 6 key doubles as MNO and the 2 key doubles as ABC. You can use these mnemonic numbers to represent field "Open" (6) and field "Closed" (2) respectively. Enter a time after the number 6 or 2, in the form HHMM (H for hour, M for minute). Here are some examples:

Field notification shortcut (open) Field notification shortcut (closed)

You can also use ":" or a space to separate hours and minutes. Here are some examples:

These shortcuts simplify routine broadcasts. If you are posting other types of notifications, please continue to use POST.

The Field Phone

We have a field phone in the shed at the field. This phone number has been entered into the system. Anyone can use this field phone to broadcast messages in emergency. The field phone is registered in the system with the same privileges that safety officers have. When posting from the field phone, follow the help sections for safety officers earlier in this document.

You tried to insult the grad student

Let's say you are a member, and you haven't received updates for a while. You think either officers forgot to broadcast, or the grad student has dozed off. You are too lazy to text HELLO to check your subscription status. So you try to insult the grad student. This is an unprofitable gestures, of course. The grad student simply ignores anything he doesn't understand, and reminds you that you can use INVITE for private chat, if that is your intend (see next section).

Silenced message

Private chat with other club members

Sometimes you need to get in touch with another member. If you are a safety officer, you may be tempted to broadcast your personal messages using POST. Please don't do it. The grad student is not smart enough to catch your chit-chats. He will simply broadcast whatever you type after POST.

Instead, members and officers alike should use INVITE to send private requests to other members. Let's say you need to talk to Ricardo Ace. You simply ask the grad student to pass your phone number along to Ricardo Ace. If Ace cares about talking to you, he'll call you or text you on private channels, so that the other thousand members of the club need not watch the two of you talk on the HHAMS channel.

Invite Ricardo Ace

Officer Ace will now see a private message with your number.

Ricardo Ace gets the invite

Officer Ace's phone number is not revealed to you, however, until he calls or texts you back... if he does it at all.

I don't remember that guy's name

You want to talk to someone. But you don't remember his full name. The grad student can help you. Just type part of this person's name after INVITE.

Invite disambiguation

Sending a request to all safety officers

In special cases where you need to get attention from all safety officers, any member may use the REQUEST command to send a mesage to all safety officers. Try not to abuse this command, else The Chief will bring his wrath upon you.

The way this works is very similar to how POST works. The syntax is the same. The difference is that POST can only be used by safety officers to broadcast a message to ALL members. The REQUEST can be used by anyone, and the messages are ONLY delivered to safety officers.

Federico sends a request to all safety officers

Safety officers will now receive your request. If they respond by POST, they'll be posting to all members, not just you. The officer is effectively rebroadcasting this situation to all members.

Soy Cognito rebroadcast this to the world

If a safety officer chooses to follow up with you in private, they'll use the INVITE command to invite you to talk to him.

Soy Cognito invites Federico to talk

Summon the genie

When all else fails and you really need to talk to the grad student, text ADMIN to summon him. He doesn't promise to call you back, or text you back. But, hey, it doesn't hurt for you to try.

Summon the genie

This is what the grad student sees.

Genie receives the summon

The genie does have a full-time job elsewhere. And while he mans the notification systems at night, he often zones out. Some folks have reported hearing back from the genie. Your mileage may vary.

That's it for now, folks

Who knows what the future might hold? Perhaps we'll integrate emails into the system so you can broadcast and receive updates via emails instead of texts, if that is your thing. Perhaps there can be a chat number for general member chats. But that'll have to wait until your genie figures out free texting.

Administrative commands

There exist adminstrative commands. These only work when sent from the admin's phone. For documentation purpose they are described here. Use ALERT text... to broadcast a message to non-subscribers in the system. Usual subscribers won't receive these alerts - they can be reached using the usual POST command. There is also a SUDO {11-digit-number} {single-word-command} which can be used by the admin to execute commands on behalf of a user in the system. Use ADD {11-digit-number} {first name} {last name} to add a new user. If the phone already exists in the system, the user name is replaced. This user entry is reset so that it is OFF. The user must text ON to activate field notifications.