Found myself on APRS

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RoarinRow

Rank V
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Influencer I

2,301
Elk Grove, CA, USA
First Name
Rolando
Last Name
Nispiros
Member #

17011

Ham Callsign
KN6JJS
Over the past month I've been trying to track myself on APRS. After fiddling around with the TNC3 settings and APRS iOS app and my Kenwood TM-V71A, I finally found myself in real time. While looking at the map I could see a red trail following my GPS point. I went to the dentist and came back. Got to my computer and now I could see my trip on Google Maps APRS, which I wasn't able to do before, maybe because I was not near a digipeater or what have you. When I went to the last OB it sorta kinda worked but because I was messing with the configuration I did not get a consistent line/beacon like I did today.

DentistAPRS.JPG
 

Mike W

US MidWest Region Director
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Off-Road Ranger I

3,151
Ankeny, IA, USA
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538

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KE0GCN
I kinda hope as more younger folks get into HAM that they pick up on APRS. I feel like the network is too incomplete to make good use of it. Don't get me wrong, it still helps once in awhile, finding repeaters and WX stations, but for group location and messaging, its way too spotty. I've done cross country trips before with fairly aggressive APRS beaconing going and it sad how big some of the gaps are.

Here is a particularly large gap between me and Denver that I always have to endure. Basically nothing there anyway I guess, but still. Screenshot 2021-03-11 150051.png
 
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RoarinRow

Rank V
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Influencer I

2,301
Elk Grove, CA, USA
First Name
Rolando
Last Name
Nispiros
Member #

17011

Ham Callsign
KN6JJS
I kinda hope as more younger folks get into HAM that they pick up on APRS. I feel like the network is too incomplete to make good use of it. Don't get me wrong, it still helps once in awhile, finding repeaters and WX stations, but for group location and messaging, its way too spotty. I've done cross country trips before with fairly aggressive APRS beaconing going and it sad how big some of the gaps are.

Here is a particularly large gap between me and Denver that I always have to endure. Basically nothing there anyway I guess, but still. View attachment 190833
That's a long stretch without visibility of your caravan. I agree it does seem spotty. Not sure how to overcome that, e.g. more beaconing, better positioning of comms, etc.
 

Prerunner1982

US Southwest Region Member Rep
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Traveler III

2,902
Navina, Oklahoma
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Jon
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B
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16274

APRS still works among a group without the igates so tracking other members of your group (if you travel with others) is still possible though as a solo traveler we do like to utilize the online tracking aspect that does require an igate.
I have experience large areas of little to no coverage here in Oklahoma as well. And you can see that the only reason I have beacons noted in the SE of my route because I hit digipeaters at about 100 miles away.
APRS 3.PNG

Found a guy making a trip to AK running APRS, mainly tried to to message him a few times to see if we could and then looked at his track after he had made it to see what areas were bare of igates.
APRS.jpg
 

KyleGrant

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Off-Road Ranger I

662
Wichita, KS
First Name
Kyle
Last Name
S
Member #

2565

Ham Callsign
KSØTOR
I kinda hope as more younger folks get into HAM that they pick up on APRS. I feel like the network is too incomplete to make good use of it. Don't get me wrong, it still helps once in awhile, finding repeaters and WX stations, but for group location and messaging, its way too spotty. I've done cross country trips before with fairly aggressive APRS beaconing going and it sad how big some of the gaps are.

Here is a particularly large gap between me and Denver that I always have to endure. Basically nothing there anyway I guess, but still. View attachment 190833
Recently began playing with APRS-IS on my Surface and tied to my FTM-400. If you haven't checked that software out, may give it a shot as you may find it useful. With a relatively simple interface cable it'll decode APRS packets received by the FTM locally. As mentioned here, that would allow for tracking outside of typical iGate coverage. Now.. the cool part is I've experimented with a 'portable' iGate using the APRS-IS software. So, if a local packet is received by my truck it's displayed 'offline' if you will, on my map. "If" I have my WAN connection with my phone tethered the APRS-IS will beacon that packet to the APRS network. Unfortunately Yaesu in their infinite wisdom did not allow for full TNC control via the interface port, so I can't configure this as a digipeater, just a receive iGate.

Could be a solution to track group progress just between you all outside of typical iGate/digipeater RF coverage locally on a laptop or windows tablet.

Can't take credit for the idea, but check this video out. Applicable to other radios I'm sure.

Also toying with an old Garmin that has fleet integration. Using an external TNC it'll display received APRS packets on the Garmin with zero WAN connectivity.
 

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RoarinRow

Rank V
Member

Influencer I

2,301
Elk Grove, CA, USA
First Name
Rolando
Last Name
Nispiros
Member #

17011

Ham Callsign
KN6JJS
Recently began playing with APRS-IS on my Surface and tied to my FTM-400. If you haven't checked that software out, may give it a shot as you may find it useful. With a relatively simple interface cable it'll decode APRS packets received by the FTM locally. As mentioned here, that would allow for tracking outside of typical iGate coverage. Now.. the cool part is I've experimented with a 'portable' iGate using the APRS-IS software. So, if a local packet is received by my truck it's displayed 'offline' if you will, on my map. "If" I have my WAN connection with my phone tethered the APRS-IS will beacon that packet to the APRS network. Unfortunately Yaesu in their infinite wisdom did not allow for full TNC control via the interface port, so I can't configure this as a digipeater, just a receive iGate.

Could be a solution to track group progress just between you all outside of typical iGate/digipeater RF coverage locally on a laptop or windows tablet.

Can't take credit for the idea, but check this video out. Applicable to other radios I'm sure.

Also toying with an old Garmin that has fleet integration. Using an external TNC it'll display received APRS packets on the Garmin with zero WAN connectivity.
Cool, I"ll have to check this out!
 

El-Dracho

Mid Europe Member Rep Germany
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3,653
Lampertheim, Germany
First Name
Bjoern
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Eldracher
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20111

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DO3BE
When I started to get into HAM radio, I was immediately interested in the possibilities of APRS. In the last few days I found the time to take a closer look at it and started to configure my Yaesu FTM-100 to sent an APRS beacon for the current position.

I tried a lot of things, even read the manual (haha) but I don't see myself on aprs fi for example. Transmission is set to automatic, interval is set, APRS callsign is set, right frequency is selected (in Europe 144.800 MHz), digirepeater should be sufficiently nearby. I also see that its sending out the beacon accoridng to the interval set. But no indication. Also I do not see any raw data for my callsign in aprs fi whenI log in. So it must be a configuration problem on my side, I assume.

What did I forget or overlook? I'm sure it's a small thing, as it often is. Does anyone here from the experienced HAMs have a tip for me please?

Any help is welcome! Thanks!
 

M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
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La Grande, Oregon, USA
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Rose
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When I started to get into HAM radio, I was immediately interested in the possibilities of APRS. In the last few days I found the time to take a closer look at it and started to configure my Yaesu FTM-100 to sent an APRS beacon for the current position.

I tried a lot of things, even read the manual (haha) but I don't see myself on aprs fi for example. Transmission is set to automatic, interval is set, APRS callsign is set, right frequency is selected (in Europe 144.800 MHz), digirepeater should be sufficiently nearby. I also see that its sending out the beacon accoridng to the interval set. But no indication. Also I do not see any raw data for my callsign in aprs fi whenI log in. So it must be a configuration problem on my side, I assume.

What did I forget or overlook? I'm sure it's a small thing, as it often is. Does anyone here from the experienced HAMs have a tip for me please?

Any help is welcome! Thanks!
Bjorne,
Do you hear the APRS packets coming into the radio? It should sound like an old 56k dial up modem sweeping at you for about a second... the packets here in the US come in every couple of minutes. I would turn the radio on and just listen... don’t try and transmit your APRS location just to make sure you are reaching the digipeter.
Also I think the frequency is universal world wide. One of my clubs launches APRS balloons once a quarter and we track them a crossed the globe. Once they launch we have zero way of changing frequencies but we can fallow them over most European Countries.
 
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El-Dracho

Mid Europe Member Rep Germany
Member
Supporter

Member III

3,653
Lampertheim, Germany
First Name
Bjoern
Last Name
Eldracher
Member #

20111

Ham Callsign
DO3BE
When I started to get into HAM radio, I was immediately interested in the possibilities of APRS. In the last few days I found the time to take a closer look at it and started to configure my Yaesu FTM-100 to sent an APRS beacon for the current position.

I tried a lot of things, even read the manual (haha) but I don't see myself on aprs fi for example. Transmission is set to automatic, interval is set, APRS callsign is set, right frequency is selected (in Europe 144.800 MHz), digirepeater should be sufficiently nearby. I also see that its sending out the beacon accoridng to the interval set. But no indication. Also I do not see any raw data for my callsign in aprs fi whenI log in. So it must be a configuration problem on my side, I assume.

What did I forget or overlook? I'm sure it's a small thing, as it often is. Does anyone here from the experienced HAMs have a tip for me please?

Any help is welcome! Thanks!
Bjorne,
Do you hear the APRS packets coming into the radio? It should sound like an old 56k dial up modem sweeping at you for about a second... the packets here in the US come in every couple of minutes. I would turn the radio on and just listen... don’t try and transmit your APRS location just to make sure you are reaching the digipeter.
Also I think the frequency is universal world wide. One of my clubs launches APRS balloons once a quarter and we track them a crossed the globe. Once they launch we have zero way of changing frequencies but we can fallow them over most European Countries.
Thanks! So you mean if I hear APRS packages from other stations incoming?
 

El-Dracho

Mid Europe Member Rep Germany
Member
Supporter

Member III

3,653
Lampertheim, Germany
First Name
Bjoern
Last Name
Eldracher
Member #

20111

Ham Callsign
DO3BE
Bjorne,
Do you hear the APRS packets coming into the radio? It should sound like an old 56k dial up modem sweeping at you for about a second... the packets here in the US come in every couple of minutes. I would turn the radio on and just listen... don’t try and transmit your APRS location just to make sure you are reaching the digipeter.
Also I think the frequency is universal world wide. One of my clubs launches APRS balloons once a quarter and we track them a crossed the globe. Once they launch we have zero way of changing frequencies but we can fallow them over most European Countries.

So, your tip was really good. Thank you! I drove around a bit and listened in. On the 2m band I hear here in the area really only very sporadically the screeching of the data packets. And that only when I take out the squelch. OK, so this region is really a white spot on the repeater map...