Wednesday, August 31, 2011

APRS weather station?

I have been looking around the web to find an inexpensive aprs capable weather station kit. It seems to me that the only options are the FD-WX1 from Fox Delta and the µWeather from RXComm. The FD-WX1 looks like a nice kit but it's not currently available and the µWeather is not a kit as they only sell the bare PCB without any parts.

Any suggestions?

Friday, August 12, 2011

More APRS and a trip to LG5LG

A couple of new gadgets has arrived my shack this summer, both of them APRS related. The first item to arrive was a Yaesu VX-8GE handheld with GPS and APRS. I have tried it on some of my SOTA activatons and except from the battery life I'm very pleased with it. I use it to send self spots to when I'm qrv from the summit. I have already ordered a FNB-102LI Li-ion 1800mAh and a rapid charger for it.

The other gadget is a Argent Data Tracker2 (OT2m) to go with my Garmin Nuvi 350 car GPS. The two makes a great pair for mobile APRS as I'm able to both send and receive APRS messages and watch other stations on the GPS. The tracker is connected to a Puxing PX-777 two meter handheld.

I'm now able to receive messages to LA1TPA, LA1TPA-7 and LA1TPA-9

Tomorrow I'll head for the ham meeting at Morokulien on the border to Sweden. There is a radio shack right on the border of this "Land of Peace" with both a Swedish and a Norwegian callsign (SJ9WL and LG5LG). You can read more about Morokulien here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS)

For the last month or so I have taken up interest in APRS. A couple of years ago I purchased some trackers, one TinyTrak3 and a two Opentracker+ units. They all worked great but just running a tracker in my car started to bore me very fast. I remember thinking that it has to be more to APRS than just tracking. Now I can tell that Bob Bruninga, the father of APRS, agrees. APRS was never intended to be a vehicle tracking service! He wanted it to be a single point of information on what's going on in ham radio in the area.

The main reason for my newly gained interest is the ability to selfspot to Sotawatch via APRS. The APRS coverage here in Norway is rapidly improving and I think I can reach a digipeater from virtually any of the LA/TM sotas these days. I'm now waiting for a Yaesu VX-8GE to arrive from Germany. This HT has built in GPS and APRS possibilities and will let me send and receive both APRS beacons and APRS text messages.

Automatic Packet Reporting system by Bob Bruninga
APRS2SOTA Spot Server
SpotAPRS Gateway

Monday, May 2, 2011

Linux or not

Hi all! I'm trying to decide whether I should install Ubuntu on my Asus Eee PC or if I should keep Win 7 on it. I have tested Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal in a VirtualBox and I'm impressed with the Unity GUI. Another option is of course to dual boot between the two operating systems. I use the mini-pc mostly at school but also sometimes to radio related tasks when away from home. I use Logger32 as my main log and I haven't found an equally good logging software for Linux yet. Any thoughts?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Emergency Communications with the Polaric system

Last night I attended training on an emergency tracking system based on APRS and the Norwegian Polaric Trackers and the Polaric portable Map Server. The intention is to give APRS trackers to voluntary search teams and emergency vehicles and provide a detailed map with tracking data to the people in charge of the operation. The system relies on both fixed digipeaters as well as a number of portable digipeaters that can be placed on any suitable hilltop to provide APRS coverage in the area of the emergency. The map server can run offline so you don't really need Internet to show maps and tracking data.

The system is tested in several real life situatons.

Links in Norwegian:
Polaric Tracker and Polaric Server

Links translated with Google Translate
Polaric Tracker and Polaric Server

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mobile operations

Recently I have taken up mobile operations again. I use a FT-857D at 5w and an ATAS-100 antenna. My external loudspeaker is not very good so tonight I tested the Heil Traveler Single sided headset. I worked EG5CI on 17m, UR5IFB on 20m and LA1BNA on 10m. So far I have worked CT9, E7, S5, UA4, 9A, 5B, LA, I, UR and EA on SSB QRP from the car this year.

The ATAS antenna is mounted on triple magnet base but I'm not really happy with this solution. I have tried to find a SO-239 antenna mount for roof rails suitable for HF antennas. Any suggestions? I use a counterpoise magnet mat as antenna ground.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

QSLs, 10m contest and N1MM Logger

Today I have spent some time printing QSL cards and QSL labels. On my old card (to the left on the photo) I print directly on the card and for the new card I print on labels. I use the new card (to the right) for QSOs made from foreign countries. The two stacks contain 220 cards.

Tonight I planned to join the NRAU 10m Activity Contest but I guess the conditions were not right for QRP as I only managed to raise one single QSO with EA7IQQ! I could hear Argentina and the Falklands but was not able to work any of them. I have e-mailed the N1MM Logger development team and asked them to add the contest to N1MM Logger and Nick NA3M replied within minutes to let me know it was on his to-do list.