FreeTrack 2.02 – GPS to APRS Tracking Encoder
“This encoder will turn serial NMEA data from a GPS receiver into APRS format AX.25 data packets.
By using this hardware with a 2 meter ham radio and the freely available APRS computer software, you can track the location of the GPS on a map in real time. Latest release now supports the mic-e compressed data format for much smaller packets.
The unique aspect of the design is in how it creates frequency shift keying (FSK) tones with the PICs built in 4 bit voltage reference instead of a modem chip.
FreeTrak's built in configuration routines allow you to enter all it's parameters with any serial terminal program.”
I struggled to get APRS working with my Kenwood TH-D7A/G. The following things were done. I haven’t confirmed all of them were necessary…
On the GPS… (Magellan Meridian GPS)
- Set speed to 4800Bps from GPS to radio.
On the Radio…
- Made sure that GPS was sending information to the radio by using the POS button
- Made sure that the radio was set for waypoints to be “….MGN” to work with the Magellan Meridian GPS I am borrowing.
- Set Band A freqency to 144.390
- Set Band A as the data band
- Set Band A offset to “0.00” (default was .600)
- Set CTCSS tone to ON for Band A (This is to squelch all the “modem” noise.)
- Set My Callsign
- Set My Icon
- Set Data TX as AUTO
- Set TX Interval to 2min
- Set POS LIMIT to 150mi (help eliminate information I don’t care about)
- *IMPORTANT* Set Packet Path
- Pressed TNC so that ONLY TNC appeared (No “packet”).
- Last but not least… pressed the “BCON” button.
I’ve been told that many people misunderstand the proper etiquette behind ham radio. Many people think that it is a hobby which involves a lot of talking. In reality, I’m being taught that it is more about listening. This makes a lot of sense, and is indicative of the culture I’ve found in ham radio.
As a new ham licensee, I obviously want to learn the proper procedures and protocols… as well as follow the above suggestion. I wanted to find a way to be able to quietly listen to Kenwood TH-D7A/G without annoying my co-workers. I found a great adapter to go from the 3/32″ mono phone jack on the Kenwood, to 1/8″ stereo headphone (RadioShack PN# 274-381). What I really like about the adapter is that it takes the mono and makes it stereo… so I can listen with either side of the headphones… or both.
This should help me learn more about the hobby, and discover which repeaters match my interests!
I purchased a Kenwood D7A/G at Ham Radio Outlet today. The built-in APRS and TNC should make it a useful rig to learn amateur radio technologies.
I finally found my callsign in the FCC ULS database! I've been assigned KI6ETL. I think its a pretty good callsign. I don't see the need for a vanity callsign yet. I might consider one if/when I get my General Class License.
I passed the Technician Exam with a 35/35! I never thought I'd actually get my license. I called the family and shared the news. I had kept it a secret, so they were all pretty shocked. My dad (W6SYW) has been nice enough to ship an old rig of his… an Azden PCS-3000