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Author Topic: APRS - What do you use it for?  (Read 4208 times)

cockpitbob

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APRS - What do you use it for?
« on: September 06, 2014, 10:52:30 AM »
The September issue of QST has an article describing a simple cable to connect my UV-5R to my Android phone and doing APRS with an app using the phone's GPS.  Sounds great; cheap and no new gear.
 
I want to do this, mainly just to do it and see it work, but I'm not entirely sure what use I would make of it.  I don't have a bunch of friends using it.  It would be for "normal life" only as I certainly wouldn't be broadcasting my position during a SHTF situation.
 
Anyway, what do you use APRS for?

Quietguy

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2014, 04:50:33 PM »
It's a convenient way to send simple data like weather data.  If you have the proper sensors and data interface it can be used for monitoring things like voltages, temperatures and, of course, position.  Our ACS group uses it to monitor river levels in an area subject to flooding.  Other people have used APRS to track progress in bike races or marathons (how soon will they get to a checkpoint?), track SAR dogs, etc.

The format of the data stream is predictable and is easy to parse to extract the data.  Free software is available to receive the data and it isn't hard to write scripts to upload results to a web server.  Or, the data can be pulled from sources like aprs.fi using their interface.  You don't have to include GPS information; it can be set up with static coordinates that you enter.

I think it is worthwhile getting familiar with it just to understand what it is and how it works.  You can take a look at http://aprs.fi to see what's out there.  Search on your zip code and you'll see what people in your area are beaconing.

Wally

KK0G

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2014, 07:20:08 PM »
Several years ago, APRS was all the rage in my area, of course I had to see what it was all about so I set about collecting equipment and building a station. After all was said and done I had a working APRS set up, very shortly thereafter I asked myself - what exactly is the point of it? I could see where other stations were located, they could see where I was and I could see the windspeed and temperature at Joe's house,  NO ONE was using the messaging feature which is what really interested me. Since I don't participate in public service, I had no actual use for it so for me it was about as exciting as watching paint dry. Maybe it's different in other areas of the country but here it seemed pointless so I tore down the station and sold it at the next hamfest. To each his own.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

gil

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2014, 08:20:26 PM »
Same here... I can't see the point of it if you're not part of some organization that requires it. It is a solution looking for a problem. I can see some limited usefulness as described in the previous posts, but we don't really need to broadcast our position to everyone.

Question..: Can you do APRS through HF? I can see how that could be useful for sailors...

Gil.

cockpitbob

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2014, 09:56:02 PM »
This answers a  lot of questions for me.  I can see a very practical use if I needed to monitor something a few miles away, or was part of some mobile team where we needed to track each other.  For me, though, I guess it's as Gil describes it.  A solution looking for a problem.  I think this saved me from going through KK0G's process of buying, learning then selling.

gil

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2014, 10:28:03 AM »
A good way to know your buddy's location is to press the PTT button and say "where are you?"

Gil.

cockpitbob

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2014, 10:44:45 AM »
Now, when my kids start driving......

KK0G

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2014, 10:52:22 AM »
Now, when my kids start driving......
That's a whole different story ;D
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

Luigi

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2014, 03:37:19 PM »
Someone once mentioned that APRS is like Twitter for radio. There were a lot of chuckles when that was mentioned.

I used APRS for bike rides to track progress publically.
Luigi

madball13

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2014, 07:54:50 AM »
I use APRS all the time in my mobile. Sometimes i choose to broadcast my position and sometimes i don't. IT has a messaging feature linked with winlink that works pretty well. I was on vacation recently w/o cell service and was able to get messages out to friends. I have a kenwood D710 in the truck and have one side on APRS and the other on a local repeater or the national calling freq. The radio will give my potion report and also what channel the other side of the radio is on. So if you looking for a random QSO on 2m that's an easy way to get it done. I also do EMCOMM for the town and i see a need for it there especially if we have a short grid down situation like we did this past Saturday when a microburst tore through town.

Yes APRS works on 30m HF.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 08:00:18 AM by madball13 »

gil

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Re: APRS - What do you use it for?
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2014, 03:20:31 PM »
Quote
Yes APRS works on 30m HF.

That is interesting, thanks. I'll have to look into using my computer and a USB GPS to send position reports, when I go sailing, if it ever happens...

Gil.