WB4FAY.com -- Birmingham, Alabama
Last updated: 01/25/11 Copyright (c) 2003-2011
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APRS: Automatic Position Reporting System
An APRS server and internet gateway is online in the Birmingham area. It is operating under with the call of WB4FAY-5. This server provides for gating position reports and weather information received on 2 meters to the internet and also provides for gating weather information from the internet to the 144.39 MHz channel.
In addition to the APRS I-Gate, there is also a D-Gate online operating with the call of WB4FAY-8. This D-Gate has an input port listening on the local 145.410 MHz D-STAR frequency and it has an output port on the APRS frequency of 145.390 MHz. The D-Gate accepts DPRS position reports from the D-STAR environment and puts them out on the APRS channel. This makes information about the D-STAR mobiles available to APRS mapping programs.
Recommended Path Programming
-Mobiles in the Birmingham Metro Area should use "WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1". Outside the Metro area and in an area with limited digi coverage should instead use "WIDE1-1,WIDE2-2".
-Mobiles should beacon no more often than once every 2 minutes WHEN MOVING. If stationary (e.g. parked), beacon no more than once every 30 minutes (OR turn it off when parked).
Fixed Stations (including Home stations, Digi's & I-Gates)
-Fixed stations should use "WIDE2-1" or "WIDE2-2" if a larger coverage is necessary. A fixed station (home, digis, and I-Gates) should NEVER include "WIDE1-1" in the path.
-Home stations should only be configured as a "WIDE1-1 fill-in digi" after consultation with others in your area and if there is agreement that an additional fill-in digi will benefit as opposed to causing additional congestion on the channel.
NOTE: Several digipeaters in the area are configured to drop any packets with path entries larger than WIDE2-2. Therefore 'WIDE3-n' packets will be discarded.
Check the Network Analysis Report for Current Information on Path Programming of Local Stations
What is APRS? APRS is a beaconing digital mode system that uses encoded audio packets transmitted over the air to another station for decoding, parsing, and display on a map and/or for text based messaging. In the US, the majority of all APRS activity is found on 144.390 MHz.
What can be done with APRS? At the simplest, a person enters their latitude and longitude into the software which then gets beaconed out of their radio at definable intervals. The person can also send and receive text based messages, bulletins, and announcements. They can also receive weather alerts for watches and warnings which some software will use to highlight an affected county on the map. APRS has also become part of the National Traffic System (NTS).
APRS use can be extended even more through the addition of a Global Positioning System unit (GPS) which can provide latitude and longitude information continuously while moving. This lets someone watching the station on a map monitor there progress. You can also connect a weather station allowing people to see the weather information at your location.
What do you need for APRS? You need a computer system, a Terminal Node Controller (TNC), your latitude, longitude, and a radio. You also need the software. Currently one of the main programs is UI-VIEW32. This is a free download. UI-VIEW is a windows based program that used Precision Mapping 7.0 as the map database. It should also be noted that some are using additional (free) software to allow their PC's sound card to be substituted for the TNC. This eliminates a physical piece of the hardware and is typically more cost effective. If you want to automatically repor your position while mobile, then a GPS receiver can be connected to the computer to derive your current longitude and latitude.
Check out the following sample APRS displays