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APRS WOES

Discussion in 'Digital Radio, DMR, Fusion, Wires, DSTAR' started by KD8NSY, Nov 12, 2021.

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  1. KD8NSY

    KD8NSY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for all the tips above Good way to track down if the service even works in spots I might want it.

    my little Yaesu has an uncanny range I often talk 30 plus miles in my car (nice Ground plane :) But I never really tested it out on lake Michigan.
    I simply know it is better than a cell phone after about half a mile LOL

    I don't think i would cross the lake without an EPIRB. or for that matter go out too far. (It is nice to have wind and waves always trying to push me home :)

    It reminds me of a documentary I saw a few years back about a trio of men attempting to sail the northwest passage in Canada. I think it was episode 3 the captain said he felt they were over prepared. My wife and I literally had to pause the program so we could finish laughing and clear our tears. (in the end They did not make it LOL)

    As a sailor I feel that an over prepared boat would not float LOL.
    The beauty of sailing is you discover there is no perfect boat, only good boats for certain conditions. There always seems to be a give and take for the situation. But I do feel like there are some things that are essential. Communication is one of them so thanks for your opinion and help with this

    Thank you also for your time.
     
  2. KD8NSY

    KD8NSY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok I just drown in acronym soup LOL

    In my naivete I thought that APRS was about as digital as radio gets. What whole section of ham stuff am I missing?
    And where would be a good crash course on it?

    Also is there anything I can do with my Yaesu vx-6 or do I have to wait until I can afford other tech?

    Thanks again for introducing me to a whole other corner of this hobby I never knew about

    Peter
     
  3. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are several 'proprietary' DMR formats, and you may wish to note that MotoTRBO(tm) Motorola(Mfr.) systems are similar ( but not the same as ) Yaesu (Mfr.) and/or Vertex (Same source, more commercial name until latest ownership changes). Another DMR format for 'APRS' ( actually was/is a trademark ) C/O Bob Bruninga ( spelling may be incorrect ) would be seen as the D.P.R.S. function of D-Star(tm JAARL). Both Icom (Mfr.) and Kenwood(Mfr.) have had offerings of D-Star(tm) enabled radios. In this context, I ask folks about to comment to remember that AX.25 is designed with checksums which make it almost 'error-free'. That is why EMCOMM ( Emergency Communications, such as interface to the American Red Cross / Satern / Etc. and public safety ) used AX.25 yet also might use D-Star(tm). A look at APCO P.25 Phase II should be taken if you really want to know all about digital radio systems. That one (P.25) is the post 911 ( Patriot Day ) response to varied formats, yet expected to be the realm of government and utilities- encryption may be added. Peter, there is no one course for amateur radio operators new to digital modes- there are many. Depending on the time you have, a good (recent) book from the ARRL might be a way to avoid some confusion with 'alphabet soup'. It might explain bandwidth and modulation better than other interpretations for your purpose. If you can find an 'elmer' in the two-way radio business and an amateur radio op- you could get the information needed to better understand "D.M.R." compared to A.P.R.S. ( Automatic Packet Radio System ) AX.25. Old books on the X.25 system ( basis of AX.25 ) might leave you confused.
     
  4. DL2JML

    DL2JML Ham Member QRZ Page

    I realize that you may not have the funds now, but the Yaesu FT-3D, which is on sale now as a new model (FT-5D) is out has built-in APRS capabilities. It will also report your position using Yaesu own digital modulation, Fusion/c4FM. It is a great little device to test how these systems work. My findings are that analog APRS needs a considerably stronger signal than a direct digital system.

    Obviously, all these systems will only work when there is a receiver around. Your little hand terminal will transmit its position, the signal needs to be received by some station and then fed to a database of some kind. Therefore your first task should be to look for what receiving stations / relais there are where you want to trail or sail...
     
  5. KD8NSY

    KD8NSY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great Recommendation thank you.

    Yeah I misses the opportunity to get a yaesu vx8 about 5 years ago and have been kicking my self ever since LOL (love the waterproof for sailing)

    Thanks again
     
  6. N8MLP

    N8MLP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Like others have mentioned APRS is very clunky and I would absolutely not relay on it in an emergency situation.

    I however love playing with it. Tracking balloons, "dx'ing" when propagation is good, local pilots beaconing while they fly, weather reports... you get the idea. Others are also correct about it being a strong signal mode. Ive had the best luck when connected to a portable Log periodic.

    I use a FT3 and in general it is a great HT. (I might mention if your only going to get one HT, I would look really hard at the FT3.) Ive taking it backpacking beaconing the entire way. when I get home and check APRS.fi there are huge gaps where my signal would just not get out.

    The other feature of APRS; messaging... forget about that too.. its frustrating try to type out a message on a HT. Reminds me of texting on a cell phone in the early 2000s!

    I think APRS is only dying because the industry is not utilizing it. To be honest that is what I find the most frustrating about this hobby in general. For being a technology rich hobby it sure is slow to catch up to the times! Our modern HTs should be linking with your phone to send messages and data(photos?), rig control? maybe I am too much of a dreamer.
     
  7. KD8NSY

    KD8NSY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I totally agree with you that we should have the coolest tech around. and lord knows Yaesu can fold an amazing amount of tech into a small box LOL

    It is sad that I just discovered APRS and esentially also discovered it is a beached whale:( I thought it was kind of like an Idea I had about 15 years ago to keep communication going even if the internet failed.

    Looks like LoRa is more what I was hoping for and longing to discover


    Maybe I will look into that. Too bad it is not in the Ham wheel house. i think there is better quality and comunity and teamwork here. And a little less wild west lol

    Thanks again for your input and suggestions.
     
  8. N8MLP

    N8MLP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know if I would call it a beached whale..lol. Its just very much under utilized. I see it as a monitor only kind of thing. I had a Kenwood D74 for a few months and it had a feature called "Auto Tune". It basically would add the info to YOUR beacon what freq your were monitoring on A Band. So if someone received your beacon and (I assume) had a Kenwood radio they could have a QSO with you with on click of a button. Pretty cool! not sure why that tech is proprietary to Kenwood?

    Icom is doing it half way right with their DStar/D-PRS implementation. there is a app that can pair to the BT in the radio or use a cable that you can do everything I mentioned... EXCEPT its android only! I am a heavy Mac user... :( And not to mention that D-PRS is even more limiting that APRS. Ive said it for years, if Icom would use APRS instead (or simultaneously) on their HT. I think it would be the best selling on the market by a huge margin.
     
  9. KD4UPL

    KD4UPL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have to disagree with the posters saying that APRS is VHF only, that it's only relevant to mobile stations, and that it's dying.
    APRS can be and is used on HF, mostly 30 meters. APRS can also be digipeated thru certain satellites.
    I have a Yaesu FTM-400 that I use for APRS, I got it because it has a touch screen keyboard for typing in messages. I also have a Mobillinkd TNC that I can plug into various radios. I have a cable to fit the 6 pin DIN plug on my Yaesu FT-7800 and my Icom 2720 as well as a cable to fit a Yaesu FT-530 HT. Any of these radios, when connected to the Mobillinkd, and my Android phone make a very effective APRS station.
    My FTM-400 will add into my beacon the frequency of the other band on the radio. This way, anyone receiving my beacon can know which repeater or simplex frequency I am monitoring and call me. I have established contact with another station this way. I received his beacon on my home station which was a computer running APRS software hooked to the build in TNC in a Kenwood TS-2000 radio. I then set my 2 meter rig to his beaconed frquency information and gave him a call. We had a nice QSO.
    When I'm working places with no cell phone coverage, which happens about once a week, I use APRS to send text messages directly to my wife's cell phone thur the APRS SMS gateway. I can also send short emails thru the APRS email gateway. My wife can reply to my text messages using her phone. Sometimes they make it back to the radio, sometimes not. There are apparently some very uniformed and unhelpful hams who operate "receive only" APRS stations. If my text messages travels to my wife's phone on a path thru a receive only digi guess what happens when her reply tries to come back on that path? It won't transmit and the message is lost! Take down those "receive only" stations please!!
    As nice as all this is it is by no means 100% reliable. This is a hobby after all and all this infrastructure is only there because lots of generous hams put it up and maintain it. I don't know that I would really "depend" on it in an emergency.
    If you're looking for a "substitute" for the internet you might look into Winlink. Also check out mesh networks. Winlink is an HF based email program used by hams all over the world. Mesh networks are basically wide range wifi networks put up by hams to link their computers together.
    If you're new to ham radio save yourself a lot of trouble and stay away from Chinese radios. They are cheap but you get what you pay for.
     
    N8MLP likes this.

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