APRS on the hills

I know this was mentioned a few weeks ago, about following stations up mountains with aprs, I have never done anything like this before, so can anyone tell me what i need to start aprs from a portable side of things and from homebase, From a mobile side of things i have a Yeasu ft857 & ft8900, From portable Yeasu vx-150 (if can use aprs).
All information welcomed on reflector or by personal e-mail m0sgb@yahoo.co.uk

Steve m0sgb

In reply to M0SGB:
Hi Steve,

I use a Kenwood TH-D7 & a garmin GPS (Foretrex). I am tempted by the new VX-8R but it’ll probably be too expensive for a while yet.

If you don’t want to use a dedicated radio, I believe the ‘tinytrak’ kits are good http://www.byonics.com/ but I have no personal experience of them.

All the best,

In reply to M0SGB:

It’s something I want to have a play with aswell Steve.

You need the following bits: GPS receiver, ham transmitter, APRS encoder. Normally you connect the GPS to the APRS encoder and the encoder to the transmitter. The GPS then sends its position to the encoder, that converts the data to packet tones and the transmitter sends them out. That’s it in a nutshell.

That all becomes a bit messy when you think of all the cables and settings and whatnot that is needed. So… life is easier if you use something like a Kenwood TH-D7E which is a handy and packet TNC in one package. Then you only need to select a suitable GPS receiver and connect it to the D7E. I don’t think Kenwood make the D7E anymore so if you haven’t got one you’d need to find a secondhand one.

Or you can buy “trackers” which consist of an embedded GPS receiver and encoder in a tiny package. All you need to do then is connect that to your handy’s mic and ptt connections. There are many people selling trackers, these people seem to be well respected http://www.byonics.com but a Google search will throw up lots of info. Likewise searching Google for APRS will provide you with more info than you may want.

One thing you need but you can’t carry with you and that’s an APRS network. If there’s nobody with range of you on the hill to receive your APRS transmissions and feed them onto to other APRS users (and eventually the internet) then you’re stuffed.


EDIT: Aha, I see Dick mentions Byonics too. Is the VX-8 on sale in the UK yet?

In reply to M0EIQ:
Hi Richard, Long time no hear i was going to buy the Kenwood tm-d710e but went for the yeasu ft 8900 insteed, when you say you use a garmin gps i have two, garmin nuvi t610 and garmin c60 csx, and also have a tom-tom 1, would i need anything else to go with it ???
Steve m0sgb

In reply to MM0FMF:
And then the fun bit will be programming things to work in your area (or the one you are visiting). At present the APRS system has become quite fragmented in this country due to some trying to push through ‘the new EU paradigm’ (basically the same settings as presently in use in the USA). Unfortunately, the UK doesn’t have the same infrastructure as the US. Good parts of EU, despite some believing everyone has changed to the ‘new’ system, are also not following the new system.
In parts of the UK it’s all a bit of a mess really and has led a number of people to stop transmitting APRS, and others, like me, wondering whether to bother with it any more, and maybe just wait for D-Star to become effective in their area…
If you want more info, try trawling through the myriads of messages on the APRSUK group on Yahoogroups.
Good luck,

Graham, G4FUJ

In reply to M0SGB:

I don’t know about the Nuvi & I’m fairly sure the Tomtom won’t. The 60csx definitely will. You need to set the interface menu on the Garmin to NMEA and the baud rate to 4800, you will need a serial lead for the GPS.

The 8900 doesn’t have a controller in, so you will need something like a tinytrak or similar…look on Ebay they’re often on there. If you want to try out a ‘proof of concept’ I have a Tiny2 TNC you can borrow but as Andy says, that would be far from elegant…and I’ve forgotten how to programme it so you’d have to read the manual.

As for coverage…as you drive about monitor 144.800 (FM is fine) & you will soon discover any dead spots, there’s fairly good coverage in the NW…can’t comment on the rest of the country.

It has been a long time Steve, I haven’t heard you on 2m for a while. Have you changed shifts, or changed bands?


In reply to M0EIQ:
Thanks to everyone for your input on APRS, im going over to Leeds on monday so will have to see what they got in the shop then,
I will also have to see if my lead that i use on garman 60scx, will fit on my transiever or buy another radio, (dont tell her in doors)
Yes Richard i have been off radio for sometime, As problems like devorce have got hold, still working nights, earning the money hi hi.
Steve m0sgb