APRS working and update!

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Jun 18 , 2016

I have finally figured out all the bits for running APRS for tracking to and from my activations, worked well for my last activation of Webb’s Ridge. That’s a bit of a slower drive up via Blue Range Rd out in the brindies, good fun if a bit chilly towards the end!


I recently purchased an FT-897, mostly so that the car has a reasonable HF capable radio for bigger trips, and so I have a bit more power on the 2m and 70cm bands. Works well from that perspective! It’s also useful to have a bit more grunt for APRS tracking too.

So the rest of the setup is a BeagleBone Black which has a built in sound card, running Cubian, with Direwolf doing all the heavy lifting for the Smart Beacon. I have an Arduino thing that has a GPS chip built in that connects as an NMEA compatible device over the USB port. And finally a cheap chinese imported interface cable that does PTT over the DTR line of a USB Serial thingo, and audio in and out from the Data port on the 897.

The antenna is an Andrews Communications copy of a diamond apparently. It mostly works, but isn’t that much better than the 1/4 wave on 2m wobbly antenna that replaced the rubber ducky for my handheld, but it works :)

As you can see from the image, it works reasonably well, there are some obvious outliers of locations I was never at, not entirely sure what’s going on there.

I’m currently sitting listening on 144.2MHz for the VHF/UHF field day, nothing heard so far :( The weather is pretty horrible, maybe some more overnight or in the morning. I’m hoping to get up to Ginini for at least 8 hours for the November field day, on the 6,2,70,23 and 9cm bands! I have all the necessary bits for 6 2 and 70.

For 23cm, I have two upconverters, which were for ancient satellites that had 23cm uplink and 2m downlink, there should be enough to get a transverter going there. For 9cm I have two of the Geelong panels, and hopefully I know have enough components to get them going!

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