1. What can APRS do ?7
  2. What do I Need ?
  3. PC Weather Station
  4. APRS mobile

What can APRS do ?

The Automatic Packet Reporting System was originally devised by Bob Bruninga (WB4APR) to transmit the position of mobile stations using a Mic Encoder - this device piggybacks a burst of packet data onto the end of a standard voice transmission. As the APRS protocol was extended, it allowed other information to be transmitted, such as:

  • Short Text Messages, either sent to an individual callsign, or with the ability to support 'nets'; general bulletins, reporting the availability of resources on the network.

  • Weather information from automated weather stations, typically reporting temperature; barometric pressure; wind speed and direction.
Other 'objects' of interest can be defined by any user on the network, These can be anything from waypoints, marking the route to a radio rally (showing up on the GPS screen of suitable sations); to real-time weather events such as snowstorms and tornados - making APRS an essential tool for the Storm Chasers in the US.

APRS also posesses the unique ability for a user to passively monitior network activity, making it an ideal introduction to digital modes for Shortwave Listeners.


What do I need ?

If you have ever been active on packet radio, then you probably have all the equipment you need already in your shack to set up a fixed station! The minimal APRS station consists of:

  • APRS Software - UI-View available from Roger Barker - G4IDE's site.
  • A PC - Anything from a 486/33 upwards will work.
  • A TNC - most TNCs will work (I use a 1988 vintage Tiny-2).
  • A 2m band Radio tunable to 144.800 MHz.
Information on how to connect a TNC to most rigs can be found on K4ABT's webpages.


Other Ideas

PC Weather Station

You could possibly extend your fixed APRS station, by interfacing it with a PC weather station - then by the addition of some software changes, make the weather data in your shack available via APRS to all local users.


APRS Mobile

Alternatively, if you posses a laptop computer you could add a GPS and take your station on the road. (Driving whilst operating a computer is not recommended and could result in the loss of more than your driving license!).

Several implementations of Mobile APRS stations are available, both commercially (such as the TH-D7 from Kenwood) and as projects, discussed further within this document.

All of the above developments are supported by Roger Barker’s (G4IDE) UI-View program, which is available via the Internet. Although the unregistered 16-bit version is not limited in its functionality, please consider registering it. Not only does it represent a considerable effort on his part, but is probably the easiest to configure!

The registered version of UI-View also supports the gating of APRS data via the internet (IGATE). However, the exchange of APRS data via the internet requires a Note of Variation on the Holders’ Licence.


Updated - 6/7/2000

A.D.Russell G0VRM/P.R.Sheppard G4EJP