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APRS

Joined
Jul 25, 2004
Messages
3,675
#3
Can some one point in the right direction for getting info on APRS for Ham and such.

Major thanks
This --> APRS: Automatic Packet Reporting System <-- would be a good place to start.

There are several routes to operate APRS on the ham bands and like many things, the easy way probably costs the most and the harder ways probably cost the least.

The easiest way is to purchase a radio with build-in APRS (especially those with built-in GPS). One example (there are others but since W9BU posted the Kenwood .pdf, I'll use their radio as my example) is the Kenwood TM-D710GA. You unpack the radio, connect the pieces together (base, head, and microphone), connect a dual-band VHF/UHF antenna, connect a 12v DC power supply with at least 10 amp continuous supply (often that will indicate one rated for at least 15 amps), make a few menu settings (like your call sign, and a few APRS specific settings detailed in the .pdf), tune your radio to 144.39 MHz (simplex, no tone*), set the radio for APRS12 as the TNC option, wait for the GPS indicator on your control head to start flashing (indicating it has a good signal from the GPS satellites) and your radio should start beaconing (this may depend on those APRS specific settings as to if and how often to automatically beacon). Wait a bit and check Google Maps APRS for your station (you'll need to search for your call as you entered it into the settings) to find your station (note: you must be in range of an iGate station for your information to appear, but in most areas with significant population there are several). Also (depending on those settings) you can watch the display to see what APRS beacons your radio is picking up.

* I said "no tone", but there's an option that can be set in those pesky settings where you can set a tone for 100 Hz to allow a station to call on the APRS frequency and allow you to hear them without hearing the digital APRS signals. This isn't often used, but can be good while traveling. Details of this operation should be in that .pdf as well.

On the other extreme, you get a 2 meter radio (it can be a low end since you don't even need tone) and antenna, a Packet TNC (this can be hardware or software), a GPS unit that interfaces to your PC (optional for a base station since you can hard-code your location information), and APRS software for your PC (think Windows PC here for the largest selection, but if you hunt, you can find versions for Linux or Mac). Connect all of the hardware to your PC. Load all the software on your PC. Configure the software and hardware with the needed settings and try your new mode!
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2018
Messages
299
Location
CO, USA
#5
Speaking of aprs, seems a lot of equipment it's easy to accidentally bump the transmit frequency? Or is it?

Seeing (or rather, hearing) people sending APRS packets on a voice repeater...gets annoying fast!
 

W9BU

Lead Wiki Manager
Super Moderator
Joined
Jul 18, 2004
Messages
5,729
Location
Brownsburg, Indiana
#6
Here's what I think happens:

You have your APRS radio, such as a Kenwood or Yaesu dual-band radio with APRS, set up to transmit APRS beacons on one "side" of the radio and you have that side of the radio set for the local APRS frequency. Then, without disabling the APRS beaconing, you change that side of the radio to a local repeater frequency. The radio isn't hard-coded to use the local APRS frequency, so it just beacons on whatever frequency that side of the radio is set for.

It boils down to operator error caused by not really understanding what the radio is doing or simple carelessness.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
197
#7
There are a number of ways to get into APRS. Maybe the simplest is a radio that's dedicated to it, an el'cheapo 2 meter radio? Set the thing up and let it go to town. And then it get's a bit more complicated. A two-sided radio with one side that's only APRS. I think all the manufacurers make one, take your pick. Then you can use almost any 2 meter radio (for instance) and do APRS though a conputer connected to that radio. There are too many different ways for me to even think about laying them out, so do some digging and decide for your self...
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2010
Messages
155
#8
If you would like to play around with APRS before buying equipment, download the free computer software at www.pinpointaprs.com. (You will have to type in the address, for some reason the link doesn't work.) I use it to broadcast my position via the internet so I don't tie up my HT.
 

W9BU

Lead Wiki Manager
Super Moderator
Joined
Jul 18, 2004
Messages
5,729
Location
Brownsburg, Indiana
#9
I use it to broadcast my position via the internet so I don't tie up my HT.
To which I will ask, why? Why does the Internet need to know where you are via APRS? If you have a smart phone that includes a GPS receiver, the Internet already knows where you are.

Why tie up the APRS-IS with information that provides no value? Using the Internet to put your location into the APRS-IS does not help local hams who do not have Internet connections. Most I-gates do not transmit Internet-sourced APRS position reports back out over RF. While you may be injecting your position report into the APRS-IS, it goes no where beyond the Internet.

APRS is supposed to provide local, tactical information transmitted over amateur radio so that other amateur radio operators, who aren't connected to the Internet, can glean information about the local situation. Local amateur radio operators who can be contacted via amateur radio, local weather, local voice repeaters, local club meetings, local nets, local hamfests.

You do what you want, but I don't understand the need to clutter up the aprs.fi map with Internet-sourced position reports.
 
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