APRS – I wanna be heard!

At an event last year I was one of a handful of amateur radio operators who used a smartphone application (APRSDriod in my case) to report my position to the operation control center via APRS (Automated Packet Reporting System, often erroneously yet somewhat more accurately referred to as Automated Position Reporting System). Other than draining the battery if unplugged, the smartphone aps actually do a pretty good job of mimicking an APRS radio.

As long as there’s cellular coverage, that is.

And that’s, indeed, where portions of that exercise stumbled. As it turns out relatively large areas of the routes we were covering were cellular dead-zones, depending on the carrier. As a result our position often wasn’t being updated in anything close to a timely fashion. While I was safely and calmly riding around in my vehicle, my understanding is that chaos and frustration resulted back at net control.

I resolved not to contribute to that problem this year and set out to assemble a “real” APRS radio.

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