Really Simple Basic Instructions On Getting APRS On The Air Now
Arte Booten, N2ZRC
In order to
start using APRS, you'll need the following equipment, much of
which you may already own:
I. A two-meter
transceiver. Neither CTCSS nor frequency agility is necessary.
Lots of older rigs, particularly HT's, can be had for almost nothing
II. A TAPR-2
compatible Terminal Node Controller (TNC). This covers practically
every TNC built for the past fifteen or so years. Kantronics,
PacComm and AEA are popular brands to choose from. Older ones
can also often be found on tables at a 'fest.
III. A computer.
There are versions of APRS written for Macintosh, Windows, Linux,
WindowsCE and the Palm OS. The DOS version, however, is able to
run on practically *any* PC-compatible computer ... even ancient
8086's! These articles focus on APRSDos (which runs just fine
under Win3.x, 9.x, NT and 2k and Linux (using dosemu), and the
following descriptions are for installing it and getting it running
on a PC.
cabling, power supply, antenna, etc.
V. The program.
Simply point your browser at the archives of The Tucson Amateur
Packet Radio organization (or use FTP), by going to: ftp://ftp.tapr.org/aprssig/dosstuff/APRSdos/
and look for the latest version. It ought to be just large
enough to be able to fit onto one floppy disk. While there, go
up a few levels, then burrow down into the Maps/PCmaps area. You'll
find a file there called "nynyc01.zip", which contains
street-level maps of most of New York City made by the
author of this article.
In this example
I'll use the non-existant APRS version 9.99, which would be called
"APRS999.zip." Substitute the appropriate file name
If you use
PkZip204, put the APRS disk into your floppy drive of choice (I'll
call it drive A) then expand the APRS files, using the following
commands on the hard drive of choice (C in this example):
the root directory C:\>CD\
Make an appropriate directory C:\>MD APRS
Change to this directory C:\>CD \APRS
Switch to the A drive C:\>A:
Run PKUNZIP with directories A:\>PKUNZIP -d APRS999.zip C:\APRS
to use that "-d" switch. This lets it create the neccessary
WINZIP, change to drive A and double-click on APRS999.zip, click
the expand button, tell it where you want APRS to live and follow
your TNC is in Terminal or Command mode (whatever it's called
by the manufacturer.) At the C:\> prompt, go to your chosen
APRS folder and invoke "APRS999.exe". If you're using
Windows, just double-click on that file. This brings us to the
LOGO screen. Enter your call and SSID, if any. Tell it which TNC
you're using. Answer the other various questions. When you're
done, the main map screen will appear.
the arrow keys (or use your mouse) to bring the cursor to your
approximate location (keep your eye on the upper left corner of
the screen which shows latitude/longitude of the cursor.) Then
press HOME to center the screen on it. Use the PgDN key to zoom
in a few screens and tweak the cursor to your EXACT QTH. Once
the cursor is at the right spot hit the HOME key again.
M(y) P(osition) and confirm your lat/long. Then pick a symbol
for yourself, type in a brief comment, and verify it. Once you
press that "Y" you're essentially ready to go on the
air. In it's most basic form, you're configured! Tune the radio
to 144.39, hook it up and see what you can see. It might take
a few minutes for other stations to appear (assuming there are
some) but if you get a little impatient, try pressing X(mit) Q(uery)
and give it a radius such as 64 to force position reports from
stations whose symbol is a green star. THESE ARE THE WIDE DIGIPEATERS!
Is there one near you? Now press the "D" key. If an
asterisk (*) appears next to a callsign (hopefully that nearby
WIDE), you hear it directly. Make a note of that nearby WIDE station's
going to set YOUR digipeater path. Press O(perations) E. If you
heard that WIDE station directly, enter it's callsign and its
ssid, if any. Follow this with a comma, then type in "WIDE".
For example: "N2MH-15,WIDE" would be how I might enter
it here in The Bronx, but the nearest WIDE to YOU is what YOU'RE
want to set your Power-Height-Gain figures. Press I(nput) M)y)
P(ower) and tell it how many watts you're using, the elevation
of your antenna above AVERAGE terrain (look at a topographical
map of your area,) it's gain in dBd and the antenna's directional
pattern in degrees or 0 (zero)for an omnidirectional antenna.
set your Status Text by pressing I(nput) M(y) S(tatus) and typing
in a short comment, different than what you used in your Position
Text earlier. At this point, you're about as far as you need to
go for now.
Booten (firstname.lastname@example.org) AEC for Digital Services, NYC ARES/RACES|
|Riverdale, New York [FN30bu] !4052.71N/07354.06WNPHG5370/A=00240|
PGP Key Fingerprint: D73E B889 C630 6F4A F31F 3083 56BD 0AAD 9996
article resides on the Technical Information
and Operations portion of the NYC-ARECS