2m w/APRS - and cheap?

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royldean

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Are there any mobile 2m radios with aprs functionality that are, uh, CHEAP? I'm looking to get into aprs, but don't want to spend $300+ for a radio (especially since I doubt I'd ever need 70cm, and they all seem to be dual band). Or am I missing something (just got my ticket a week ago, so I'm really wet behind the ears).
 

Sporrt

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One way to start is with APRSdroid, if there's a digipeater in your area, even an HT will get you on the APRS map. I sometimes use AFSK (audio frequency shift keying) to put out a beacon on 144.390, can also decode beacons.

And if you do acquire a dual band, you can hook up the phone, to use its GPS, and the APRS app. A phone without current service will still work.

A lot of material to read on the APRS site, and others.
 

royldean

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Hmm... my wife recently upgraded her phone and now theres a galaxy up for grabs. If I were to go that route, any particular mobile radio you would recommend? I don't want an HT for now....
 

Sporrt

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A friend uses a Kenwood TM-V71a, has APRSdroid on a $20 phone running on one side, and scans some 2 meter simplex frequencies on the other side.

Should be able to use a wi-fi connection to download the APRSdroid, if the phone doesn't currently have service.

Starting to recall.. I think he's using Bluetooth to connect the phone to the Kenwood. Good radio, true dual receive, U/U, V/V, or U/V, also has two separate speaker jacks.
 

mmckenna

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All you need is a basic VHF radio, a TNC capable of supporting APRS and a GPS unit.

Better yet, check into these guys for a fully packaged low cost unit:
https://www.byonics.com
Keep in mind that you don't need a 50 watt radio for APRS. Usually a few watts will do just fine. Many use a hand held radio to do APRS with excellent results.
 

W9BU

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Are there any mobile 2m radios with aprs functionality that are, uh, CHEAP?
Not that I know of.

I'm looking to get into aprs, but don't want to spend $300+ for a radio (especially since I doubt I'd ever need 70cm, and they all seem to be dual band).
If you want to talk and do APRS, a dual-band radio or two radios is the preferred arrangement. Any radio that you use for APRS really needs to sit on the APRS frequency full-time.

One way to start is with APRSdroid, if there's a digipeater in your area, even an HT will get you on the APRS map.
Digipeaters help the weak signal from your tracker with being seen by other APRS stations. In order to get your position report into the APRS-IS (which is the data stream that web sites like APRS.fi tap into), there needs to be an I-gate in the area.

At only one watt, this device is pretty much totally dependent on digipeaters and I-gates. In areas with lots of APRS activity, a 1-watt signal will have a hard time competing to be heard among all the other APRS traffic.
 

n5ims

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Are there any mobile 2m radios with aprs functionality that are, uh, CHEAP? I'm looking to get into aprs, but don't want to spend $300+ for a radio (especially since I doubt I'd ever need 70cm, and they all seem to be dual band). Or am I missing something (just got my ticket a week ago, so I'm really wet behind the ears).
Built-in APRS is a premium feature, so it'll be difficult to find a "cheap" radio that includes APRS. Don't let that discourage you though, there are other ways.

* Generally the lowest cost way to get into APRS is to find an old Windows PC (anything from XP on will do) and download UI-View. That will handle the APRS software part of the equation for you. The software is free (but you'll need to register it, also free). The PC is probably in your old computer stash but if not, ask around since your friend probably has one they'll be happy to donate to you just to get it off their hands.

* Next, find an old, but working 2 meter radio (a mobile radio is probably better, but you'll need a power supply with enough power for the radio during transmit and antenna, but nothing too fancy). You could use a handheld, but chances are that old handheld will need a new battery and that alone will exceed the cost for the much better used mobile radio). This radio doesn't need to be feature full, a single band 2 meter radio is fine, it doesn't even need to have PL Tone functionality!

* Next, find a working packet TNC (doesn't need much beyond the KISS standard so nearly anyone will work here). You could also download a "Soundcard TNC" that uses your computer's soundcard to act as the TNC, but there's a catch. You'll probably need to build an interface between your RS-232 serial port and the radio to handle the PTT functionality. This isn't expensive, but requires a bit of skill (minimal, but still). An old used, but workable, TNC is probably cheaper if you look (the last one I got was only $5) and easier to set up and operate.

If you must get everything on your own, and do a bit of hunting (a local hamfest is a good place to start), most can be found for next to nothing. Asking for help at a local ham club could cut this down to zero, or perhaps a few bucks for some cables since most repeaters need PL and many hams no longer need their old hardware TNC since they upgraded to those new dual band radios with built-in APRS.

My setup uses an old PC (from my junk stash) running UI-View. My dedicated radio is a very old Azden 2 meter radio (from my old, long since upgraded radio stash). My dedicated APRS TNC is that $5 special I found at a hamfest (had I waited until the seller was about to leave, it probably would've been free, but I digress).
 

W9BU

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While UI-View is still a viable program and it still has an enthusiastic user community, it's future is not bright. The author of UI-View died 12 years ago. At his direction, the source code to UI-View was destroyed after his death. There has been no further development of UI-View since then. UI-View will run on Windows XP, but Microsoft is no longer supporting XP. UI-View can be made to run on Windows 7, but you have to take some steps to keep the operating system's security from getting in your way.

These days, I recommend that anyone getting into APRS take a look at APRSISCE/32 or YAAC. Both are still actively supported by their authors.

We have a thread discussing APRS software here: http://forums.radioreference.com/amateur-radio-data-transmissions/278917-aprs-software-choice.html
 

wrath

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I many ways a dual Bander is preferable because APRS will occupy one reciever well the other can be used for chewing the rag, I don't live far from you and in theory a mono Bander would be the rig of choice for lack of 440 repeaters however the other side of the radio can be used like I say for ragchewing,the Yaesu FT 2 DR is sub $300 currently , the Kenwood 72a may with additional discounts possable during the holidays come down into range also , both of these have everything you need all in one unit. Ultimately if your dead set on a mono Band radio you are going to have to source it from local club members used stash because we just had the last ham fest of the season, good luck with what ever you choose and welcome to the hobby.

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jonwienke

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I many ways a dual Bander is preferable because APRS will occupy one reciever well the other can be used for chewing the rag,
The number of bands a radio can TX/RX has nothing to do with the number of receivers in the radio. Many dual-band radios only have one receiver, and even if they have dual frequency displays, they may only have a single receiver that scans the two display frequencies. Conversely, some single-band radios have dual receivers and can listen to two different frequencies simultaneously.

Bands != Receivers
 

N8OHU

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Are there any mobile 2m radios with aprs functionality that are, uh, CHEAP? I'm looking to get into aprs, but don't want to spend $300+ for a radio (especially since I doubt I'd ever need 70cm, and they all seem to be dual band). Or am I missing something (just got my ticket a week ago, so I'm really wet behind the ears).
APRS isn't just "position tracking" (just ask WB4APR, the inventor of APRS), there is a whole lot more that you can do with that dual-band radio than most folks realize or want to accept. You can be transmitting position data from the second side of the radio (if it's one of the good ones like the TM-D710A/G) while chatting on the other, all using the same physical antenna. If you've set it up right, you can know if there is someone else running APRS that is in simplex range to talk to briefly while driving (a feature called Voice Alert) as well as knowing what repeaters and other communication options exist in a given area. I'm seriously considering adding either a TM-D710G or FTM-400 to my Trailblazer when I start working on the radio installation improvements I want to do to it over the next year.
 

wrath

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I have the 710g wonderfull radio, I have heard alot of negative on the Yaesu , one of the main complaints is in programming the APRS .

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N8OHU

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I have the 710g wonderfull radio, I have heard alot of negative on the Yaesu , one of the main complaints is in programming the APRS .

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I have a 710A in my go kit to handle VHF/UHF operations, even though the other radio has those bands as well.

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W9BU

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Big advantage to the Kenwood APRS radios over the Yaesu APRS radios is that Kenwood gives you full access to the TNC including the ability to communicate with the TNC in KISS mode.
 

royldean

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Wow, lots of good advice.

FWIW, the plan was to have a dedicated APRS rig, hence no need for dual receivers. But I guess if I'm spending $300 on a hypothetical rig to do that, AND probably another $150 for a dedicated 2m voice machine.... why not just spend the extra $50 for a kenwood 710? I'm going to rethink this....
 

prcguy

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I've had the tiny AP510 dedicated 1W APRS transceiver for over a year now and I love it, plus it was only around $110 new. I've tried it portable from a backpack using a 1/4 wave antenna and my best direct contact was 167mi from Palos Verdes, CA at around 600ft altitude to a station in Mexico on the coast. 1W will surprise you with how far it can go.

More recently I use it mobile with a small 30w amplifier and it really gets out. You can find used 30W 2M amplifiers for around $25.
prcguy
 

LongRange308

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I have the Yaesu FTM-400xdr and it is a wonderful machine. Programming is dead-simple and the big color touch screen display is a huge bonus. It also gets satellite lock in no-time at all. The digital features of this rig are nice as well. Last time I was in LA, I hooked into some fusion repeaters and was talking to people in NC like they were sitting right next to me. It was neat to see how many miles away they were from me, as well as displaying their callsign everytime they would key up.

Im sure the Kenwoods are great (I know my 281 and Nexus rigs are) as well as some ICOMs and such, but I have been nothing but pleased with my Yaesu.
 
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