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Old 11-16-2017, 04:50 PM
GV27 GV27 is offline
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Default APRS Setups

What are people using for APRS setups around here?

I'm a fairly new Ham operator - got my license in the summer and have been playing with a little Baofeng HT. I'm shopping for a rig for my truck and want to do APRS and cross-band repeating. Unfortunately I'm on a budget and finding a radio that will do both built-in and cheaply seems to be impossible.

I had my eyes on the Yaesu FTM-100DR with it's built-in APRS but then figured out that it won't do cross-band repeat. I don't think there is anything that can add repeat capability to a radio so now I have in mind to get a radio that will do x-band repeat and cook up my own APRS solution using a phone or a Raspberry Pi or something.....but that's where it gets very vague in my head....

Can anyone offer some ideas and/or guidance?

Thanks,

Chris
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:33 PM
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https://www.byonics.com/tinytrak4/
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:48 PM
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for those features, your going to have to pay either way. Your easiest, cleanest method would be to buy a radio with everything. Then you only have one radio to install, one antenna, etc.

Absolute cheapest aprs option - link an android phone to your baofeng. There is a cable for I think $20 or so. There are some big drawbacks to this though. It is not self starting. Requires using your current or an old phone or tablet. So more messing around, power cables, mounts etc. If you just want to mess with it once in a while it will be fine.

A complete stand alone, out only aprs unit from TinyTrack will cost $220
for two way capability the cost goes up another $100 or so. This would be a separate unit from your communications radio.
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:18 PM
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You can link U/V or V/U with the old FT-8800R and FTM-350 and the current FTM-400. The FTM-350 and FTM-400 both do APRS built in. The FTM-400 can do Yaesu's Fusion digital modes.

The Kenwood TM-D710G will do cross band repeating and APRS as well.

One thing to mention about cross band repeating, it's technically against the rules to do this if the station does not self ID, which none of the radios can do.

I have an FTM-350 and it's OK, but thinking about selling it to get a digital radio. If that happens I have a little 10W data radio with an Argent tracker built in. I would miss the full APRS capability, though, which is being able to do messages, see stations, etc.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:12 AM
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Thanks for the replies, everyone.

Actually shopping some more with cross-band repeat now at the top of my list instead of APRS I've discovered that radios that will do repeating are not nearly as ubiquitous as I had first thought. You see so many discussion threads where people offhandedly remark "just get a cheap Baofeng HT and do x-band repeat with your mobile" I just thought everyone had it. I was over at HRO the other day and didn't even ask! D'oh!

Well, 'tis the season to be shopping!
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:16 PM
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What's your intention with cross band linking? I've had several radios capable of it and have used it maybe a couple of times and even then it was just messing around.

The use the manufacturers intend is to range extend a low power radio, so you have to use UHF<->VHF. It's not a substitute for a real repeater where you using an input frequency on the same band as you listen.

You have to leave your radio on, which is a battery drain equivalent roughly to leaving your dome light on, so keep that in mind. Practically speaking if you're hiking with an HT it's more effective to walk to a higher spot to achieve better coverage and range.

The use I've found is walking around camp or the house with an HT set to the very lowest power and still getting into a repeater. But when you do this you have to make sure to ID both frequencies that you're using, so it's kind of a PITA to be honest.
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Old 11-17-2017, 01:44 PM
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I agree with Dave, I've had a few "that would be neat" scenarios in mind where I would use the cross band, but have never actually done it.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:55 PM
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Yeah those are exactly the scenarios I have in mind. Primarily hiking but was also thinking of around the house. I don't have a base station so it would be nice to use the HT in the house with the truck sitting out in the driveway.

I've been thinking along the same lines as you guys - will I really do it? The hiking idea sounds great but I'm not sure how practical it is. I've already been on a couple of runs where I was easily within hiking distance of everyone but there were people not hearing me around a corner - but I bet where we were I could have gotten into a repeater with the HT. Plus you have to setup the truck radio every time you go out like that which would be a PITA.

OTOH I would use APRS for sure. I do a lot of solo wheeling and it would be great to have my wife be able to track where I am if I don't show up on time (just gotta remember to turn it off when I don't want her tracking me! ) plus I want to get involved in the 4x4 Recovery group and they're trying to go to all APRS for their recoveries.

So that's where my thinking is now. Get a radio that does APRS builtin and worry about other things later. My budget limit isn't so much that I can't afford an FTM-400 or TM-D710G but rather a matter of principle: I'm new to this hobby and I made it a rule long ago not to go out and buy the fanciest most expensive equipment for new hobbies. I'd feel embarrassed to have a top-of-the-line radio and be still learning the basics. Ya look like a tourist that way! So if this time next year I'm sitting here thinking "wow I really love Ham but gee I really wish I had repeating capability in the truck" I can get a new radio and turn this one into a base station or sell it or whatever. But if this time next year I'm sitting here thinking "that was neat but I really don't use it much" then I've only invested $300 (forgetting antennas, etc.).
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:11 PM
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I think getting the FTM-400 or D710 will automatically get you cross band.

My ham process

baofeng
added mag mount for range.

Cruiser Mounted:
TM-281A ~ $140
added a second TM-281A along with a TT4BT and additional antenna/mount $140 + $232 + $40

So I'm $552 into the radios in the truck, with no 70cm or cross band.

One thing I do really like about the TT4 is the ability to use my phone aprsdroid with it for maps, and being able to send text messages over 2m. I'm not sure if you can do either of those with the FTM-400

So I have
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:36 PM
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You can send APRS messages with both the FTM-400 and TM-D710. It's painful to do this since you're spinning the dial to write the message letter by letter. You can store set messages.

But to send SMS message you point your APRS message to callsign "SMSGTE" with "@3035551212" leading the text in the body. The APRS/SMS gateway will strip the phone number and send the rest of the message to the phone number.

http://smsgte.wixsite.com/smsgte

You can apparently use APRSdroid with the FTM-350/400, although I don't have APRSdroid to test how flexible the TNC in the Yaesu might be here. I was able to get an old Nuvi 350 working with my radio, which puts APRS stations on the map as waypoints. Problem with that old Nuvi is it's not a very good GPS receiver anymore, low rez, limited features. So I just use a handheld that is completely ignorant of the APRS setup.

https://aprsdroid.org/kenwood/

http://tlcfaq.com/main/2017/02/ham-radio-aprs/
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