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Author Topic: SmartBeacon or Timed?  (Read 4822 times)
W0ALE
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Posts: 37




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« on: June 26, 2013, 10:34:21 AM »

For a cross country trip, would it be better to use SmartBeacon or just a timed xmit?
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3V8ESG
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2013, 12:46:52 PM »

SmartBeaconing for sure, it will save Tx power emitting packet only when needed, have a nice trip !
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K7RBW
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Posts: 386




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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 05:47:25 AM »

Smart beaconing requires the GPS receiver be powered the whole time (so it can determine when to transmit).  Depending on how you configure the "smarts," you can transmit much more in smart-beacon mode, than in timed mode. For example, if your course and speed change a lot.

Timed beaconing is more predictable, but can leave a less-precise trail. Timed beaconing is also more "friendly" to the shared frequency. Which uses more battery depends on the beacon interval. For a road trip, beaconing every couple of minutes should be sufficient.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 06:49:32 AM »

I pretty much agree with K7RBW.  I experimented both ways and determined that timed becons work better, at least out in the hinterlands.

Over the last few years I've taken some extended trips across several states using the same routes, so it was elementary to use a particular configuration going there, and a different one coming back and then compare the popcorn trail.

Without a doubt, timed was more effective on the highway routes.  I would attribute it to the sparsely distributed inodes out in the boonies.  At highway speeds it doesn't take long to pass through the range of a given station.  By beaconing at fixed intervals, I found my chances of being heard were better.

My current settings are to beacon once every 2 minutes.  At ~75mph or so, that's roughly one beacon every 2 miles, which is a conservative distance for 2M simplex range.

I think smart beaconing makes more sense when you are traveling in a localized area and desire to have granularity of the data in the turns and curves.  Out on an interstate that's not so important.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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W0ALE
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Posts: 37




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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 05:41:38 PM »

This is for my TH-D72A.  I haven't messed with the factory setting for SmartBeacon.  I was kind of thinking of setting it timed to 5 or 10 mins.

Not worried about battery since I have the battery delete battery pack that plugs in a cigarette lighter.

Thanks for the info!

Dave
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W5LZ
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Posts: 477




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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 07:55:50 AM »

Depends on your purpose.  If you want a fairly 'accurate' trail then the smart beaconing would be nice.  A not so accurate/comprehensive position report?  The timed reporting should work.  If you are power limited, take the timed option, saves battery usage.  So you decide your priorities and go from there...
 - Paul
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K7RBW
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Posts: 386




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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2013, 09:22:26 AM »

I think it's important to remember that the RF is the most limited resource in APRS. The single channel used for APRS can really only handle about 40-60 beacons per minute (if they are all synchronized not to collide). That means one person in range can transmit once per second or 40-60 people can transmit once per minute. Depending on how the smart beacon is programmed, one beacon can use up a lot of RF and either make it so beacons from others get overpowered (rude) or the collisions just cause both to get lost (rude and wasteful). Either way, I think the drawbacks to smart beaconing on the common APRS frequency outweigh the benefits.

If you are considering smart beaconing for the detailed tracking, better options are to keep an internal GPS track and download it later or set up your beacons (and receivers) to work on a frequency other than 144.39. For example, you could set up your system on 70cm and use 9600 baud beacons.
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