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Author Topic: What's the THRILL in APRS???  (Read 63822 times)
WA2ISE
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« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2016, 07:11:07 PM »

Maybe it takes some thinking about it, but it can be a thrill that you could communicate with someone on the other side of the planet using only equipment in your house and back yard and not using any other man made infrastructure (telephones and such). 
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KB0OXD
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« Reply #31 on: July 06, 2016, 11:59:48 PM »

Speaking of upgrades to APRS, how about these.....

* Frequencies set aside for Narrowband FM & Digital modes (Even if it means picking frequencies on 440 Mhz to do it)

* Linking to commercial social media sites for posting (Send only - NO receive option)

* Perhaps some APRS via HF (For those who prefer the HF bands over the world above 50 Mhz)

* APRS on the microwave bands (We already have it on the ISS & a few satellites)

Thoughts ??

Cheers & 73 Smiley
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Pat Cook, KB0OXD
Englewood, CO
WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | APRS TRACKER
K6MFW
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« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2016, 02:13:30 PM »

Parachute Mobile, https://parachutemobile.wordpress.com, makes extensive use of APRS. I also wanted to get myself a tracker when I'm mobile (I don't worry about burglers, outside hams nobody knows what aprs is). I also got a $20 pakratt TNC connected to spare XP and 2-meter radio running APRSISCE to see various hamsters running around the SF bay area, kind of interesting. Also shows problem of 144.39 getting overloaded. From knowledge gained working PM, my APRS tracker has a pulseox sensor to send heartrate and SpO2 data along with GPS position. Interesting to see where my pulse increases in certain places along the highway.

APRS is invaluable for tracking amateur radio balloons such as the K6RPT-12 launched from San Jose last month, flew around the world (I-gate stations in Russia and China relayed position data). Last data point was over China, team hopes it will make it across Pacific to complete 2nd lap. This is a very lightweight balloon, one big storm and it's history. http://aprs.fi/#!mt=roadmap&z=11&call=a%2FK6RPT-12

I found another site (forgot to save URL) where someone from New Zealand put a tracker on a buoy and sent it out in the ocean. Floating in South Pacific with occasional APRS beacons on HF.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2016, 02:19:06 PM »

Here in VA we keep hamsters in cages  Wink
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
G4HDU
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« Reply #34 on: November 20, 2016, 10:08:01 PM »

For me the thrill is in learning something new
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KG6QGF
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« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2017, 05:16:52 PM »

I like the concepts but feel it is not being supported or built out to nearly its capability.  I hear all the time about how new or younger folks are not joining or getting ham licence, yet with specific areas like APRS it is not appealing to youth (yet) and if someone gets new idea or uses it out of typical use method they get chewed out by old timers.

Why is BaoFeng UV-5R or similar low cost not have APRS built in for TX location?  Should be virtually free to integrate!  Why does rx side not have simple low cost option?  Why is txt msging not 10 key like old flip phones and messaging from ham to ham VERY simple and integrated?  Why no VHF or UHF product that looks like the OLD Palm VII wireless device with developers OS-in fact, palm had these "Web Clipping Applications" that utilized the old Mobitex narrow bandwidth radio networks to "browse" the internet, I would think the PACKET people would have built this out by now using same idea!  Why do I need my smart phone to fully utilize SainSonic AVRT Tracker (if need smart phone, why not simply use aprs.fi-better yet, if I need smart phone, why use ham radio)?  why not a >$100 product with built in screen for tracking?  Why not full featured ham tablet >$150 with VHF, UHF built in with APRS?  Where are Wearables or head worn in this mix?


I feel like a well built hand held should do voice, data, msging, psk31, email, maybe photos as easy as a smartphone without need of having smart phone!  That would be the THRILL!

For that matter why is there not a really low cost >$200, full featured, SMALL, HF rig with Winlink built in?

Want to get kids involved?  Want the thrill back??  Where is the arduino or Ras Pie dev platforms specifically designed for HAM with built in radios?  Where are the peer to peer games?  Where is treasure hunts?  Start doing this!

Sorry to rant on my very first ever eham post, but been watching from shadows for years and see all of the possibilities and no action.  The Boafeng was the most Thrilling product in years, but big splash, then NOTHING!!!  Get the costs down, features up, development platform easy and highly integrated.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 05:23:19 PM by KG6QGF » Logged
KG6QGF
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« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2017, 05:49:01 PM »

Lastly, why is UIVIEW still the staple of Igate and no one picked up gauntlet to update program or replace in 10-ish years?
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W4KYR
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« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2017, 07:54:12 AM »

I like the concepts but feel it is not being supported or built out to nearly its capability.  I hear all the time about how new or younger folks are not joining or getting ham licence, yet with specific areas like APRS it is not appealing to youth (yet) and if someone gets new idea or uses it out of typical use method they get chewed out by old timers.

Why is BaoFeng UV-5R or similar low cost not have APRS built in for TX location?  Should be virtually free to integrate!  Why does rx side not have simple low cost option?  Why is txt msging not 10 key like old flip phones and messaging from ham to ham VERY simple and integrated?  Why no VHF or UHF product that looks like the OLD Palm VII wireless device with developers OS-in fact, palm had these "Web Clipping Applications" that utilized the old Mobitex narrow bandwidth radio networks to "browse" the internet, I would think the PACKET people would have built this out by now using same idea!  Why do I need my smart phone to fully utilize SainSonic AVRT Tracker (if need smart phone, why not simply use aprs.fi-better yet, if I need smart phone, why use ham radio)?  why not a >$100 product with built in screen for tracking?  Why not full featured ham tablet >$150 with VHF, UHF built in with APRS?  Where are Wearables or head worn in this mix?


I feel like a well built hand held should do voice, data, msging, psk31, email, maybe photos as easy as a smartphone without need of having smart phone!  That would be the THRILL!

For that matter why is there not a really low cost >$200, full featured, SMALL, HF rig with Winlink built in?

Want to get kids involved?  Want the thrill back??  Where is the arduino or Ras Pie dev platforms specifically designed for HAM with built in radios?  Where are the peer to peer games?  Where is treasure hunts?  Start doing this!

Sorry to rant on my very first ever eham post, but been watching from shadows for years and see all of the possibilities and no action.  The Boafeng was the most Thrilling product in years, but big splash, then NOTHING!!!  Get the costs down, features up, development platform easy and highly integrated.

Interesting Post

I have also suggested an HT with smart phone capabilities that could do text messaging, sending images, files, send and receive mail. Think of the conveniences and possibilities in using it for field day, camping, emergency communications, disaster relief, weather spotters..etc.  Surprisingly some hams were against the idea. I guess they were close minded or stuck in the FM only mode apparently.

The radios that DO offer something in the way of that are cumbersome, very expensive and VERY poorly implemented. For instance, the modems inside the Yaesu FT1DR and the FT2DR are software based and CANNOT be accessed to use as a packet radio modem.

Other Yaesu sophisticated radios like the VX8-DR and VX8-GR can not send pictures, files, mail because the inboard modem CANNOT be accessed for packet. You can send some text messages over APRS as I understand it, but it is very cumbersome. There is no QWERTY keypad.

Icom's D-Star IC- 51a plus CAN send pictures, files and text. But that requires the use of an optional $65 cable and an Android tablet or phone using the D-RATS program.

(The Kenwood THD-72A and the older THD-7ag HT's CAN access the builtin  packet radio modem as can the their mobile TM- D700 and TM-D710G models. The new Kenwood HT, the THD-74A model is actually a step backward with an KISS only modem which means that simple terminal programs like PuTTY and HyperTerminal won't work with it thus limiting the usefulness of this very expensive....$649....HT.)

The Yaesu FT1DR can take pictures with the optional expensive $140 ! mic. Then you take the picture and it downloads the file to a removable chip which you can transmit out. But you can't see the picture! You have to take the chip out and and plug it into another computer to view it!

(And you CANNOT connect your computer to your Yaesu radio and view the picture according to a Yaesu representative at a Fusion seminar in Ohio two years ago. You must take the chip out and plug the chip into the computer and THEN you can view it!)

Now the $400 FT2DR can also take pictures with the expensive optional $140 mic but at least on that model you can view it on it's built-in with it's display which looks like something from an early 1990's hand bar code reader/scanner with Windows CE.

Kenwood not surprisingly was well ahead of the curve back in the 1990's. They developed an optional device that took photos and could also display it on the device! It was called the VC-H1 communicator and it was designed to work with HT's like the THD-7ag as well as their mobile radios with built-in APRS/Packet modems.


To summarize:
 
Unfortunately none of the expensive and sophisticated radios today can send and receive files, text messaging, mail and photos without some Rube Goldberg approach! This is 2017 and even those lowly $15 - $25 smartphones have built in cameras and QWERTY keyboards. Our $500 - $600 HT's are still barely getting out of the 1990's technology wise.

All it would take is to have one of the Chinese companies like Baofeng/Pofung to marry the smartphone add a builtin packet modem in a dual band HT and sell it for $100 and the big three would be scrambling to catch up. I don't know why we aren't there already.

Thanks for your post. I been saying this for quite awhile...
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The internet and cellphone networks are great until they go down, what then? Find out here. 
https://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,111948.0.html

Using Windows 98 For Packet...
WG8Z
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Posts: 306




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« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2017, 11:36:35 AM »

Lastly, why is UIVIEW still the staple of Igate and no one picked up gauntlet to update program or replace in 10-ish years?

Because it works. My I-gates been running 24/7 on a pent-90 w/win95 since 2005. Was off the air for a couple hrs back in
2012 when a lightning hit took out the net card. Other then that it's serves me well. I do reboot the box every year or two just for giggles.
If it ain't broke why fix it?
73 Zed
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KD4EXS
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2017, 12:23:41 PM »

Lastly, why is UIVIEW still the staple of Igate and no one picked up gauntlet to update program or replace in 10-ish years?

I would love a legitimate answer to this as well.  I'm no programmer, but I would toss a few bucks at an APRS program written with a modern interface.  Multiply that money if you include access to maps that are still on the retail market or have the ability to use downloadable maps.  Even if it only worked with a live connection to the internet, I would thrilled.

As the developers I work with say: "Dumb it down, make it easy, and they will come".  Interpretation:  "Built it and they will come".

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KG6QGF
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« Reply #40 on: September 13, 2017, 12:16:05 PM »

Maybe it is coming soon.  This is approaching the product I am thinking about;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt5WRNXbdDI

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KG4RUL
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« Reply #41 on: September 15, 2017, 08:29:34 AM »

Maybe it is coming soon.  This is approaching the product I am thinking about;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt5WRNXbdDI



But it still doesn't replace uiView on a laptop/PC.
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NM0O
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« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2017, 09:45:14 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 APRS.fi to track my travels sometimes.

The "thrill" in APRS is the utility that it provides.

The Peoria, IL, Marathon (Oct. 8, 2017) gives us the opportunity to track the lead police vehicle and the tail police vehicle using a pair of Yaesu VX-8DR radios. Our voice communications will be on Harris P25 circuits. It seems an elegant solution to the question, "How can I know where the lead runner is?"

Come to the River City!
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NEVBEN
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« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2017, 10:29:47 PM »

I think APRS gets unnecessarily conflated with GPS tracking.  I was introduced to APRS as a way to track my offroad 4x4 adventures using my 2m radio, but APRS is an automated packet system that can be used to send all kinds of messages with X.25.

The most practical applications are GPS locations and weather data.  It should be obvious that if you have a radio and a TNC you can send some kind of data, and the data that is of interest to enough people to setup a ubiquitous network of gateways to bring that data from remote radios into the Internet consists of GPS coordinates and maybe weather data.

I would note that APRS on the most practical mobile and HT radios is not better than those radios spotty propagation characteristics.  The overwhelming majority of APRS packets are transmitted to gateways with line-of-sight wavelengths that tend to work best on flat terrain or over coastal waters.  The local offroad community in my area is full of hams and many of them adopted the use of APRS over the last 8 or 9 years, and then moved on to commercial satellite tracking systems like Spot, Delorme, and Iridium.  Even though there are extensive mountain-top repeaters in this area, there are too many times one finds oneself in canyons without good coverage on VHF or UHF.

At first I liked the idea of radio transmission of GPS tracking data to an Internet gateway, because I felt it pre-empted the primary need or want for communication.  It seemed if I could communicate where I was, and where I was going, then there simply wasn't much of a need for communication via a phone mode as most of what I would have said was already conveyed.

But this was a mistake.  I was mistaken to think that accurate, detailed data was a better substitute for communication via meaningful voice conversation.  A lot more people than ever are making that same choice today -- choosing data streams over a conversation, or substituting messaging via data protocols for voice.  They are not only failing to communicate effectively, but they're also inhibiting the development or losing skill in effective communication by a poor substitution.

APRS can be used for messaging, although I have not seen a handheld or mobile TNC with a practical user interface for messaging.  Even ICOM's touchscreen HT's are wonky.  As such, APRS is used primarily for telemetry data.

It's a perfectly fine system and protocol, but I think it gets used overwhelmingly for "stupid and wrong" reasons.  It's not untypical of amateur radio in that its a solution looking for a problem.
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WD9EWK
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« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2017, 11:11:56 AM »

I think APRS gets unnecessarily conflated with GPS tracking.  I was introduced to APRS as a way to track my offroad 4x4 adventures using my 2m radio, but APRS is an automated packet system that can be used to send all kinds of messages with X.25.

Agreed. Most use APRS only for tracking stuff, which always frustrates WB4APR.

APRS can be used for messaging, although I have not seen a handheld or mobile TNC with a practical user interface for messaging.  Even ICOM's touchscreen HT's are wonky.  As such, APRS is used primarily for telemetry data.

And this won't change, until the ham equipment manufacturers move away from DTMF-based keypads to the LCD panels like we see on smart phones. Or the HTs would have keypads that look like the old Blackberry mobile phones.

As for touchscreen HTs, are you thinking of the Yaesu FT-2DR? It has a touchscreen, and I have heard reports about problems with that.

It's a perfectly fine system and protocol, but I think it gets used overwhelmingly for "stupid and wrong" reasons.  It's not untypical of amateur radio in that its a solution looking for a problem.

APRS is a useful tool, but may not be the best tool for all situations. If you aren't around APRS digipeaters, it isn't useful - go with a mobile phone or something that uses a sat-phone network instead. Messaging can work, depending on what you are needing to send.

My normal uses for APRS are:

1. Show my location, when I am out operating from different locations. I don't like running an APRS app on a mobile phone, especially in rural places where there may be very slow to no mobile data. Where I live (Arizona), there is a good network of APRS digipeaters on mountaintops around the state, and into neighboring states too. Then I don't have to constantly e-mail or tweet "Here I am" - it shows up on aprs.fi and other web sites. Look up WD9EWK-9 on sites like aprs.fi to see this in action.

2. For the orbiting digipeaters on ISS and NO-84, I can send my location that is visible on the same web sites like aprs.fi, and I can use APRS messages to make contacts with other stations. I normally use a Kenwood APRS-ready radio for this (TH-D72, TH-D74, TM-D710G), where I use the "phrases" (prepared messages) for my exchanges. This is like the macros used for PSK31 and other HF digital modes, which can be called up with a couple of keypresses instead of having to type out each character in the short messages I send.

It is nice to be able to use the APRS-ready radios this way, without having to also bring in an external TNC and some sort of computing device (laptop, tablet, smart phone) to work with the TNC. This was a big reason why I never did much with APRS in the past - having to get a TNC and GPS receiver (at a minimum) working with the radio for APRS in the vehicle. The APRS-ready HTs in particular are really nice for this, acknowledging the user interface issues.

73!
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Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
http://www.wd9ewk.net/ - Twitter: @WD9EWK
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