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Author Topic: What's the THRILL in APRS???  (Read 85810 times)

Posts: 180

« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2015, 07:31:37 AM »

Ok, I'll join in.  I don't think too many people thing of APRS as thrilling although I do enjoy digipeating APRS across most of the USA via the ISS.  And I do like using to track my travels sometimes.

The "thrill" in APRS is the utility that it provides.  I was in a part of Utah this summer off-roading for 4 days and APRS was the only means of communication from me to my wife at home.  No cell phones work where we were at - Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all useless.  Nonetheless I was able to get my position reports out and send messages to my wife's e-mail and SMS messages to her phone via APRS.  She was "thrilled" to know everything was OK.  

I'll chime in with a variation on that theme.  I don't off-road, but I do spend a lot of time on the road on business between my QTH and points East to DC.  I used to text my wife when I got to various checkpoints so she knew I was OK and where I was.  (Yeah, she worries a lot.)  Now I just digipeat and she watches my progress on, and I don't have to text anything.

(I'm seriously considering putting an APRS beacon on my 87-year-old mother's car.  Just for my own peace of mind.  She's still driving and doesn't look like she's going to stop any time soon -- I dread taking the keys away from her and I think that time is drawing near.)

Posts: 166

« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2015, 07:20:09 AM »

I've always wondered what the THRILL of APRS really WAS or IS???
What's the thrill in CW? What's the thrill in QRP? What's the thrill in rag chewing? What's the thrill in DXCC, or WAS, or WAC, or any of the other awards?

Most importantly, though, my God wouldn't this be a boring world if we all had to get our thrills in all the exact same ways? The amateur radio tent is big enough to fit a whole bunch of different people, with a whole bunch of different interests.

Posts: 285


« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2015, 07:55:25 AM »

Don't forget APRS via satellite (NO-44, ISS, and some of the newer satellites like NO-84).  Also, APRS is useful for sending messages back and forth.  With an I-Gate, you can even send a brief email...handy when you mail a phone directly via its "email address).

A few local hams and I have kept in touch when I work in NYC via APRS. 

It's a cool mode that doesn't require a ton of cash to do a LOT of different things with.  If the $25 Chinese HT crowd knew it!

Springbrook, NY

Posts: 46

« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2015, 05:45:12 PM »

When Commander Bruniga developed it at FLENUMCEN Monterey it was a excellent way to track Russian submarines and ships using GPS. Used to drive Ivan crazy.

Posts: 7

« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2016, 08:24:01 PM »

When Commander Bruniga developed it at FLENUMCEN Monterey it was a excellent way to track Russian submarines and ships using GPS. Used to drive Ivan crazy.

I kind of like the James Bondian thought of idly walking past a random car in the mall parking and sticking a magnetic APRS beacon under the wheel arch...

But in reality, my son (also new ham, ZS6HMB) and I will be participating in the running of a 100+ km (60+ mile) cycle event next month. We'll be sweeping a sector for stragglers and injuries (HMB is an EMT) and the dozens of vehicles will all either have APRS beacons on VHF or be using a phone app like aprsdroid on GSM. Control will know where we all are in real time and we'll be in 2m contact through the local repeater and simplex to the nearest water table.

Not a "thrill" really, but nice for me as a new ham to do something useful not just talking nonsense on the local repeater net.

The amateur radio tent is big enough to fit a whole bunch of different people, with a whole bunch of different interests.

Hear, hear. That's what appeals to me....
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 08:37:42 PM by ZS6JMB » Logged


Johannesburg KG43at

Posts: 6

« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2016, 09:13:12 AM »

As with ALL Ham ventures; the thrill is in the what the operator finds the thrill to be.  Your an FM RPTR guy; but there are HF guys that want nothing to do with it.  AMSAT; ARISS; HF; VHF; EME; CW; etc etc...  Each ham finds their own joy..

For me:
Tracking = Meh... I can take it or leave it.
MSG = Fun
Telemetry = Fun
APRSIS = Very fun
Digi's = Fun
iGAte = Fun

Disemmination of information is what I love. iGating critical (or often not critical) information to the network; gating IS to RF.  APRS Object Management is neat.  Basically information , information , information.   

Posts: 816

« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2016, 03:15:29 PM »

Very little in amateur radio is thrilling.

Maybe for you.

But I've been at it for nearly 40 years and still get a thrill out of lots of things -- like busting a big Dxpedition pile-up for an ATNO, getting the last section for a Clean Sweep in Sweepstakes, seeing our club at the top of it's category in the Field Day results, and on and on...  Wink

Posts: 30

« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2016, 04:48:22 PM »

With APRS, you could be in the middle of nowhere, way back in the boonies without cell phone coverage, an Internet connection or a reliable power source and still send a short email message by bouncing it off the ISS digipeater. That may not be thrilling, but it sure is fun.

Posts: 217

« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2016, 11:40:11 AM »

What's the thrill?

When i know a packet of mine was digipeated, my vision gets blurry, my heart races, my toes tingle, classical music runs through my mind and I recall every roller coaster I've ever ridden simultaneously.

Maybe I should make sure the antenna isn't so close to my head...

Posts: 1

« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2016, 08:52:13 PM »

APRS is useful to me in a couple of ways. First of all as a county hunter, stations can monitor my progress when I am running counties and plan for my arrival in a county they may need. Additionally, as explained elsewhere, as a professional photographer I am often travelling 200+ miles a day round trip to and from a location. My wife can check online to determine where I am and, as stated before, know that I am OK and progressing toward a location or toward home.

Like many aspects of amateur radio operation, people find their own niche in the hobby and there are opportunities for variety.

Posts: 110

« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2016, 07:49:10 PM »

Tracking a weather balloon sent up 70 to 100 thousand ft in altitude is thrilling.
I participated in maybe 6 weather balloon flights and some traveled over 100 miles away and we always recovered them.  APRS was fabulous (and fun).
Richard - K4KRW

Posts: 3160


« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2016, 05:06:40 AM »

The thrill in APRS?

No way - the real thrill is WSPR.

Nodding off - head falling toward desk - OUCH!

Posts: 283

« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2016, 04:44:36 AM »

You can track strangers as they drive home from work!!!
I agree...pretty much useless.
But....when used for its strong points, it is pretty slick!!
I know NOTHING of the following subject, but gave it a whirl last summer.
With the scouts, we got a big latex balloon from amazon (6 feet or so), rented a big tank of helium from the
party store (my bad...paid for the whole thing, and used probably 1/6th of it!!).  We attached an APRS transmitter to the balloon,
and let 'er fly!!   Of course, in New Jersey, we pretty much knew the package would be a total loss....what with the big drink only a 1/4 mile away...But for the scouts to help filling the balloon, letting it fly, then running into the school cafeteria and watch it on the big TV with computer hooked to PRICELESS!!!  As far as Amateur balloon launches, it was a fail.  It rose too fast, expanded and popped....but we watched it for HOURS as it soured up and about 100 miles out over the ocean!!!   Too Cool!!

Posts: 69


« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2016, 11:26:22 AM »

As W8CMG said, it's a useful tracking tool

I mean look at what you can do with APRS nowadays that you couldn't do before.  As a HandiHam who just bought a Mobilinkd Bluetooth TNC (Only about $75 total from, I can combine this with an old Android device with no service running APRSDroid & a simple HT on 144.390, throw it all into the back pouch of my mobility scooter (After a little configuration of course) & what do you think I have ??


Add another USB cable to it to plug it into a PC & a Windows program like WinLink & what do you think I'd be able to do with THAT setup ?? 


Back when APRS first came out, you had to use a simple HT, an ACTUAL GPS (Smartphones weren't out yet as flip phones were still VERY mainstream) & a TNC (As in what you would use FOR A REGULAR PACKET STATION AT HOME) - ALL RUNNING ON BATTERY (Which doesn't last very long)

Hiding all that equipment in the back pouch OF A MOBILITY SCOOTER wouldn't be a very easy thing to do with all those CORDS & CABLES 

So next time you ask where the "Thrill" in APRS is, why not look at HOW FAR Ham Radio technology has come along to where it is now & see for yourself

I look forward to getting on APRS with the new toys I'm getting (Just awaiting the arrival of my new Baofeng HTs as one of them will be dedicated to APRS & Packet Radio) Smiley

Cheers & 73 Cheesy

Pat Cook, KB0OXD
Englewood, CO

Posts: 1717

« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2016, 02:02:01 PM »

Regarding messaging over APRS equipped HT's...

How many APRS equipped HT's contain built in QWERTY touch pads like current 2016 era smart phones do?

How many APRS equipped HT's contain built in QWERTY keyboards like the (now discontinued)  Blackberry phones did? They were introduced in 1999 by the way.

How many APRS equipped HT's allow connections to an mini QWERTY keyboard via an built in USB jack?

It would make messaging a hell of a lot faster (and simpler) if we were able to use an easily accessible  QWERTY keyboard/keypad than the (current) 1989 cellphone approach of selecting a menu, then selecting another menu then selecting 1 then press it three more times to get the letter C. 

And why is APRS SMS just limited to 60 characters? Can we have that expanded?

APRS has been out since 1992, at the very peak of Packet Radio's popularity.

APRS has been out for 24 years... Is it time for an update? Perhaps a new and improved APRS with more features? Like maybe 160 characters like modern smart phones use? An APRS-2 ? What about SMS message storing, forwarding and relaying via digipeaters? 

 Why can't we just send SMS messages on the fly instead of the archaic method of pressing several menus and the number 1 four times to get just a single letter? 

Commercial SMS is currently the most used data application in the world.

Why can't SMS be also used in APRS on a regular basis, the same way we use it with our cell phones? Why limit ourselves?  Overall, can APRS be improved? Can APRS be expanded?

It is 24 years old, is it time for a technological update? Can it be done without obsoleting existing equipment?


The internet and cellphone networks are great until they go down, what then? Find out here.,111948.0.html

Using Windows 98 For Packet...
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