APRS

Automatic Packet Reporting System Discussion

APRS

Postby VK2XSO » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:55 pm

Time to start an APRS thread. Yes I know there are yahoo groups or some other place that I don't read and neither does anybody else.
I've noticed APRS has a bit of a publicity problem. Everybody seems to have heard of it but not many have seen it in action or even understand its capabilities.
For years I'd know that something called APRS existed but never paid any attention to it. It didn't grab my attention.
Then one day VK2TV showed me APRS in action. Like a spark in an oil refinery, my mind filled with ideas as it grasped the concept and started subconsciously writing code in my head. A week later I'd written enough PIC code to have a functional tracker. And it only got worse from there !

So time to rock the boat. Something I have no trouble doing.
The APRS network is growing and growing fast. More and more people and clubs are getting on board and helping build the network.
Regional NSW was a bit slow to get going but now the gaps are being filled.

VK2RCC at Coonabrabran covers West to Naromine and Walget, North to Burren Junction and Narrabri, East to Gunnedah and South to Mudgee.
VK2RTM at Tamworth covers West to Gunnedah, North to Armidale, and South to Muswellbrook.
VK2RMM at Tenterfield covers West to Texas, North to Stanthorpe, East to Casino and South to Deepwater.
VK2RAP near Legume covers West to Tenterfield, North into Warwick and VK4, East to Kyogle and South to Grafton.
VK2RPL near Lismore covers the entire far North coast of NSW into VK4. As far west as Tenterfield and as Far south as Grafton.
VK2JUB-1 at Grafton covers the Clarence Valley south to Ebor.
VK2XSO-1 at Armidale covers West to Manilla, North to Guyra, South to Bendemeer and East to Ebor.
VK2KOF-1 fills in around the Tamworth area.

There was a gap around Coffs Harbour which has now been filled in.
VK2RDO at Coffs Harbour covers west to Ebor, North to Grafton, East to VK9 :) and South to Kempsey.

VK2RNW near Narrabri is next. The coverage is expected to cover Brewarrina to Goondiwindi to Armidale.

Other digipeater sites we're looking at are Glen Innes, Walcha, Merriwa and Bourke.
And we're still looking for more.
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Re: APRS

Postby VK3ALB » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:54 pm

Still waiting for the spark - sell it to me?
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2XSO » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:31 pm

http://aprs.fi
I guess I have a lot of use for tracking.
Flying hang gliders flight logs, both live and recorded are useful and interesting.
The network is capable of more than just position reporting. It's potential for RDF is just getting going.
A short message and broadcast service and telemetry.

I do think it has potential for many other types of data reporting including things like bush fire tracking and alerts and other sorts of real time
on the fly reporting.
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2JDS » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:29 pm

Hi Ashley, i have plans to put a fill-in digi on the mountaintop here. it will be very handy for this black spot we are in and give good coverage out towards mudgee, north towards coonabarabran etc as the south is covered by vk2rlh and vk2rao

i have done one test carrying the radio on a rfs truck, and want to do some more experiments soon. the kenwood handheld with tnc built in defaults to wide 1.1 wide 2.2, so i reset that the wide 1.1 wide 2.1.
the problem here is the garmin gps keeps stopping and waiting for a response when it looses satellite signal. if you arent looking at it you end up with no data for hours hence the next option is to mod up another of the 5 dollar gps heads that were for sale at wyong last year and see how that goes.

what i need now is the procedure to setup a opentracker+ as a fill in for the mountain... i found this

DIGI ON
ALIAS 1:WIDE 1:TEMP 3:SAR
HOPLIMIT 1:1 2:7 3:7 4:0 5:0 6:0 7:0 8:0
PREEMPT 1:OFF 2:OFF 3:ON 4:OFF 5:OFF 6:OFF 7:OFF 8:OFF
USEALIAS 1:ON 2:ON 3:ON 4:OFF 5:OFF 6:OFF 7:OFF 8:OFF


usefull ? have you implemented something like this on an opentracker+ ?

73 Dave
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Re: APRS

Postby VK3WAM » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:56 am

The APRS network is growing and growing fast. More and more people and clubs are getting on board and helping build the network.
Regional NSW was a bit slow to get going but now the gaps are being filled.


How much APRS coverage is there in VK3, in Melbourne, in rural areas and in the high country? Are there people leading any VK3 effort to expand APRS coverage.

I'm interested as it may have some potential in Bush Search and Rescue Victoria (http://www.bsar.org) operations.

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Re: APRS

Postby VK2XSO » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:17 pm

Looking at http://aprs.fi
Melbourne has good coverage, the Hume hwy and the goldfields out to Horsham look well covered.
Gippsland and the east coast and the Southwest coast look a bit bare.
Mildura looks linked into VK5.

The highlands also look a bit bare. Though such locations are often hard to find repeater sites.

Foundation licences can use APRS out of band. Either via TCPIP (internet) or phone or PDA apps like iphone or windows CE.

South Coast NSW (south of Batemans Bay) is not covered either. Though there is a little interest down that way now.
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Re: APRS

Postby VK4YEH » Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:38 pm

VK3ALB wrote:Still waiting for the spark - sell it to me?


mmmmm have to agree with you Lou. I cannot see any need for APRS either for me or for me to know where someone else is.

Seems to me to be a bit of "use the technology because it is available" . But, I'd love to hear the alternative view, because if it is useful then I will use it.

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Re: APRS

Postby VK7JG » Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:27 pm

Hi Tim.
I think that it is great . Last year I attempted to cross the Simpson Desert with my brother. Unfortunately we did not get there , will try again this year if it stops raining. Have a look at VK7JG-15 select the last 7 days. The main reason for installing the APRS on this trip was so that the XYL could check on progress. Also we had no phone coverage in many areas we did have HF however in the event of something going wrong at least people had some idea of where we were . Two weekends ago we climbed a local mountain to repair a repeater . I had never been there before and it was an hour walk unfortunately the WX claged in and I had no idea where I was after the first 20 minutes except for what I assumed was the correct track . I had my VX8 with me APRS enabled VK7JG-7 so I called on the local repeater for guidance . Other amateurs we able to track my progress advise me of my whereabouts and tell me at what stage I was along the track . it was most assuring to know that I was on the correct path and not going in the wrong direction.
Likewise KarL VK7HDX recently was out Quad bike riding and after after several hours of hooning around the forest also became lost . A quick call on the local repeater and he was advised of his position and the way out to the nearest road . Yes there are many benefits of APRS . Especially if your car happens to be stolen . You can then go and track it down.

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Re: APRS

Postby VK1MA » Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:49 pm

VK2XSO wrote:Looking at http://aprs.fi

Foundation licences can use APRS out of band. Either via TCPIP (internet) or phone or PDA apps like iphone or windows CE.



Hi Trash, when you say that Foundation ops can use APRS using internet or phone apps - I presume you mean like http://ibcnu.us/ (one of our local F calls raised this query about a week ago). Because the data is not being transmitted over amateur frequencies by the F call, they are not breaking the regs. If it is then sent over amateur frequencies by a standard/advanced amateur, are they breaking the regs or is the data being transmitted considered to be content only and of no concern regulations wise. This is my take - interested to hear what your thoughts are.



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Re: APRS

Postby VK2XSO » Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:07 pm

Yep. All of the data is data is off air so that part is all ok.
In theory they could try to send data into the AX.25 network. This would be breaking the rules and I'm not sure it would work.
The reason is that AX.25 only has six bytes (7 bits each) allocated to callsigns, so the network would either reject or truncate the call.

APRS is like the internet. I can remember people saying, "But what can I do with the information superhighway ?" That was 1991.
I can remember my teacher saying that my Z80 computer was really nothing but a typewriter with a television screen.
Though I must admit, I had really dopey primary school teachers :)

I have all kinds of big ideas for APRS, and some of them are just pipe dreams for the time being.
Basically, Imagine it's 1990 and you've discovered UDP/IP ... that's where we are with APRS now.

RDF and remote position reporting are where I currently see some serious development.
Closed environment tracking is another and I have a couple of commercial spin offs of APRS which I just don't know how to get from
the concept to mass production.

But like all aspects of amateur radio, the more people involved the better they become.
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2JDS » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:01 pm

a quick reply to Tim,
hi. i lashed up a handheld, opentracker and a cordless drill battery to a gps and took it in my workbag to canberra a while back. we hadnt been to the worksite i was going to , we didnt have a map, just a list of instructions which were hopeless and we got lost.
i rang my wife on the mobile from the lake on the main rd through the middle of canberra , she quickly found us using the internet and told me which way to go , and what street to turn into etc over the phone. amazing stuff.
i was hooked from then on.
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2XSO » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:55 pm

I'll be calling in at the coffs harbour club tomorrow. I've got a few foxdelta trackers in the bag at the moment.
I suspect a few of them will be interested to see how simple they are.

Which reminds me. I've included a simple APRS tracker which will convert any ordinary TNC into a simple tracker.
All that is needed is a 16F84A PIC chip, a handful of components like a crystal (4MHz I forgot) and a MAX232 chip.
Any old TNC. (I use a KPC2400) and a GPS with NMEA output and a 2m radio.

Connect them all together and you're on APRS.
Attachments
APRS simple.zip
APRS TNC PIC Tracker
(3.19 KiB) Downloaded 165 times
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Re: APRS

Postby VK4XA » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:58 pm

VK2XSO wrote:Any old TNC. (I use a KPC2400) and a GPS with NMEA output and a 2m radio.
Connect them all together and you're on APRS.

Hmmmm, now I am curious.......I have available a coupla Kam +3's and an IC22S here that I was wondering what I could use them for.
Any chance that someone could point me in the right direction for more info please?

TIA,
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2XSO » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:56 pm

Your Kam3's can probably already do APRS. If not check the website to see if their is a firmware upgrade for them first.
Set your IC22 up for 145.175MHz just like packet radio.
The last piece you need is a GPS to supply position information to the TNC/tracker.

If you're using the KPC3's as digipeaters, then you won't a GPS.
The position information for fixed stations like iGates and digipeaters is programmed into them.

Using a TNC as a tracker is a bit clumbsy as they are not really designed for mobile use.
Something like a foxdelta tracker http://www.foxdelta.com/products/foxtrak1.htm
or argentdata http://www.argentdata.com/products/aprs.html. There are a few others and plenty of different options.
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2FLAW » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:19 am

VK2XSO wrote:Yep. All of the data is data is off air so that part is all ok.
In theory they could try to send data into the AX.25 network. This would be breaking the rules and I'm not sure it would work.
The reason is that AX.25 only has six bytes (7 bits each) allocated to callsigns, so the network would either reject or truncate the call.


I had APRS set up a few years ago, solely as RX only, with my home QTH being reported via the internet.
I was directed to remove my self, as other stations would be sending my callsign, or something along those lines.

I don't know, maybe they considered it like using a crossband repeater, on a non F-call output.
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2XSO » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:30 pm

Sounds like a bit of bollox on the part of some fundamentalist ham.

If you're not transmitting, then you have no issues.
If somebody else is taking data you generate off air, and then they use it on air, it's their transmission.

It would be like me on 23cm hearing you speak on 2m and then passing information on through 23cm to another station, with or without you knowing.
Even if I took your audio from my 2m Rx and patched it across to 23cm, if it is my finger on the PTT, then it is MY transmission. The content of MY transmission is irrelevant as long as the content is not religious, political, informative, entertaining or otherwise interesting :)

If it is you causing another station to transmit or your own equipment transmitting, then there are issues.
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2HRD » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:56 pm

VK2FLAW wrote:
VK2XSO wrote:Yep. All of the data is data is off air so that part is all ok.
In theory they could try to send data into the AX.25 network. This would be breaking the rules and I'm not sure it would work.
The reason is that AX.25 only has six bytes (7 bits each) allocated to callsigns, so the network would either reject or truncate the call.


I had APRS set up a few years ago, solely as RX only, with my home QTH being reported via the internet.
I was directed to remove my self, as other stations would be sending my callsign, or something along those lines.

I don't know, maybe they considered it like using a crossband repeater, on a non F-call output.


There is also the option of upgrading to standard Lic than that particular problem goes away. :mrgreen:
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2FLAW » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:33 pm

VK2HRD wrote:There is also the option of upgrading to standard Lic than that particular problem goes away. :mrgreen:


I had to expect that to come, and you are right.
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Re: APRS

Postby VK2XSO » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:24 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AP ... #Australia

Anybody care to update the VK3 and VK4 lists ?
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Re: APRS

Postby VK5AJL » Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:21 am

vk2xso wrote:Anybody care to update the VK3 and VK4 lists ?


Fine, where do I get the latest complete and accurate list and I'll transfer it to Wikipedia? I'm not usually into that sort of digital myself.
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