New to APRS or new APRS gear?

REDONE

[s]hard[/s]MEDIUM Core!
#1
Hey all! With my other Jeep/Overland group forums I play "Where's REDONE?" whenever I take a trip. Part of this is to introduce others to the magic that is APRS by following along on aprs.fi, but it's also a chance for others to try out their APRS setup if they (or their gear) are new before they use it on an adventure.

Thursday (Mar.22) I'll be headed over the mountains from Lakewood to Fruita, driving from 8ish to noonish. Friday (Mar.23) I'll drive from Fruita to SLC, also from 8ish to noonish.

Sunday I'll be coming back from SLC to Lakewood, but depending on how the weekend goes I may or may not turn on the radios.

If you're APRS-curious then during those mornings, you can go to aprs.fi (it's a website built on google maps), type in my callsign (KE0LSU, that's a zero, not the letter "O"), and it should show you on the map where I last sent a packet, and also the info I include in the packet, like freq I'm monitoring and a little message.

If you're testing new gear, feel free to shoot me an APRS message (not email), and if I get it, I'll reply! Just let me know that you are from "ExPo".

I've got the kinks pretty well worked out of my gear, and haven't had issues with connection in Eastern Utah, or receiving and sending messages. If you've never messaged with your aprs gear, here's your invitation to try! I'll likely be behind the wheel Thursday, but making frequent stops due to toddler on board, when I'll be able to reply to messages.

73! :ylsmoke:
 

REDONE

[s]hard[/s]MEDIUM Core!
#3
Yes, that's the last time I had it all powered up.:sombrero:
Next Thursday I'll have it all hooked up again for the road trip.
 
#4
@REDONE Can you send messages from your ham radio to an email? I have a D710G and I can transmit my location but haven't figured out if I could message outside fo the HAM network.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
#5
@REDONE Can you send messages from your ham radio to an email? I have a D710G and I can transmit my location but haven't figured out if I could message outside fo the HAM network.
Search, there's several references to the SMS and email gateways. If you can send regular APRS messages then getting them to and from text and email is fairly trivial but does takes a little bit of upfront work to get your call sign set up in the gateway servers.
 
#6
@REDONE Can you send messages from your ham radio to an email? I have a D710G and I can transmit my location but haven't figured out if I could message outside fo the HAM network.
I am not familiar with the D710G so I can't walk you through it step by step but the concept is the same.
Go to Msg, like you are going to send an APRS message to another ham also using APRS.
Instead of entering a callsign you enter EMAIL-2.
For the message you put the email first and then the message you want to send, be aware you can only have 67 characters including the email address. That's worse than twitter..... which you can also do via APRS. :rolleyes:
You can set up an alias for the email address (or cell # if sending SMS) so that you can have a few more characters for you message.
 
#7
I am not familiar with the D710G so I can't walk you through it step by step but the concept is the same.
Go to Msg, like you are going to send an APRS message to another ham also using APRS.
Instead of entering a callsign you enter EMAIL-2.
For the message you put the email first and then the message you want to send, be aware you can only have 67 characters including the email address. That's worse than twitter..... which you can also do via APRS. :rolleyes:
You can set up an alias for the email address (or cell # if sending SMS) so that you can have a few more characters for you message.

Thank you so much!! This was piece of the missing puzzle. I have been trying to figure this out for months.. between the manual, a number of training videos and this post, i finally got it to work!! The manual for some reason says to enter EMAIL and does not mention the -2. I wonder if the was an update in the APRS transmission policy after the manual was written?

Question. If I want to message back and forth with my wife. Can I have her reply to me from email/text using my call sign? Basically, can i message back and forth from my ham to cell/email with the same call sign from both ends?
 
#8
Thank you so much!! This was piece of the missing puzzle. I have been trying to figure this out for months.. between the manual, a number of training videos and this post, i finally got it to work!! The manual for some reason says to enter EMAIL and does not mention the -2. I wonder if the was an update in the APRS transmission policy after the manual was written?

Question. If I want to message back and forth with my wife. Can I have her reply to me from email/text using my call sign? Basically, can i message back and forth from my ham to cell/email with the same call sign from both ends?
Your wife could only reply to your APRS text if she has a license, since the reply would transmit over ham frequency. This post from last fall is quite informative regarding the APRS SMS options:
https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/sms-text-and-email-via-aprs-using-aprsdroid.187831/
 
#9
Thank you so much!! This was piece of the missing puzzle. I have been trying to figure this out for months.. between the manual, a number of training videos and this post, i finally got it to work!! The manual for some reason says to enter EMAIL and does not mention the -2. I wonder if the was an update in the APRS transmission policy after the manual was written?

Question. If I want to message back and forth with my wife. Can I have her reply to me from email/text using my call sign? Basically, can i message back and forth from my ham to cell/email with the same call sign from both ends?
EMAIL is another server but I like EMAIL-2 as it does allow the recipient to replay to your email and you receive it via APRS. It also allows the use of aliases and it will store messages for up to 24 hours so that you may retrieve them when you are able within the 24 hr time frame.

In order for someone to respond to your email/text they should be licensed as the message will be transmitted over RF, as 87Warrior stated.
 
#11
I recently bought a Byonics AIO and have been trying to get it to work. But it is so "spotty". I have tried it with both the rubber ducky antenna and an external mag mount antenna. Its supposed to put out 10 watts but for some reason, it will show up and then just quit. So, while I think it is great when it works, I would not want to depend on it to show others where I am when on a trip. In Arizona by the way.
 
#12
No I would only use that device in an urban area with a lot of digipeaters, as a fox hunting device, or on a balloon flight. I'd get a GPS interfaced with your radio and go from there. Honestly the best of the best for VHF/UHF APRS is the Kenwood TMD710GA. It is simple and works right out of the box. It will allow you to do many other things you cannot with the DStar or Fusion radios. Second place would be a Byonics TinyTrack type device with external GPS hockey puck and having that plug into your VHF radio.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
#13
I have a Argent T3-301, which is one of his Tracker3 boards stuffed inside a FC-301/D data radio. That's a 5 W transmitter, so similar in function to an AIO.

Clearly it's not as good as 50 watts but with an external antenna it gets the job done most of the time. The fringe performance is where the extra power would be handy of course. I wouldn't call it a major limitation since it's rare that you have line of sight but not range here in Colorado because digipeaters are placed on mountain tops where it's more about seeing the other station rather than being too far away. I normally run a 1/4 wavelength whip but out in Utah I'll use a NMO150 and the gain helps.

I used to have an FTM-350 in my truck and having built-in APRS was nice. I'm moving to a dedicated solution since replacing it in my truck with a DMR radio, though. If only there was a dual band, dual VFO, FM/DMR/Fusion/D-Star, APRS-capable radio. If only.

But if someone was looking for a radio now I'd agree with @Frdmskr, get the Kenwood. The FTM-400 is a nice radio and maybe the better ham radio (and you get a digital mode as a bonus), but the TM-D710GA is the best APRS-capable radio out there and being a full TNC and highly documented it's flexible.

BTW, I have a TinyTrack 4 and it's been a solid TNC when driving a radio. I have an old Motorola CM300 that I can use with it and that's a really great APRS radio combination. I'd highly recommend the TT4 if you're looking for a TNC. I also have a TNC-X that I use at home, also happy with it.
 
Last edited:
#14
My current APRS setup is a vx-8dr. I use it for APRS and 6m communication. I use APRS for positioning / Tracking, SMSGTE messaging, WXBOT weather updates.

The 60in tall black antenna on the passenger side is for my APRS and 6m Comms.



2018-05-04.jpg 2018-05-04 - 1.jpg
 
#15
No I would only use that device in an urban area with a lot of digipeaters, as a fox hunting device, or on a balloon flight. I'd get a GPS interfaced with your radio and go from there. Honestly the best of the best for VHF/UHF APRS is the Kenwood TMD710GA. It is simple and works right out of the box. It will allow you to do many other things you cannot with the DStar or Fusion radios. Second place would be a Byonics TinyTrack type device with external GPS hockey puck and having that plug into your VHF radio.
Thats what I have and you would be surprised where I have beacon from. I was able to beacon from Death Valley at multiple high peaks. It could be through other truck radios that have digi repeters? Also I was able to ping in Mojave in various areas. I would have to kindly disagree :)