NWAPRS serves: Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories,Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana
NWAPRS Best & Better Solutions
PORTABLE: One of the best portable solutions
for APRS is a handheld dual-band radio with APRS components
including a GPS. The components take the GPS output, then based on
your configuration settings, send the output on a pre-determined
path and time setting. Kenwood first developed the TH-D7A, which
required an external GPS, then improved on it by adding a GPS in
the TH-D72A and TH-D74A follow-on radios. Other manufacturers
eventually caught on to the popularity of a radio with
APRS-functionality. Yaesu and Alinco are two manufacturers that
now have APRS-ready radios. With the 2021 announcement by Kenwood
that production of the TH-D74A is discontinued due to a fire in
the chip plant in Japan, the last of the TH-D74s have been cleared
off the shelves and disappointingly higher prices. Yes, we should
have all bought (another) Kenwood TH-D74A back in February 2021
before the price went up. You snooze, you lose.
MOBILE: One of the best mobile solutions for APRS is the (you guessed it) Kenwood mobile dual-band TM-D710GA. The latest model features a built-in GPS, where the TM-D700A and TM-D710A did not, and required an external GPS (like the Greenlight Labs www.greenlight.com) or the AvMap G6 APRS GPS with 4" display. Whatever APRS stations are received by the radio, are plotted by icons on the map. Perfect mobile solution. And finally, Yaesu came out with the FTM-300 and 400 series fully supporting APRS, along with Alinco.
HOME STATION: You can purdy-much use any 2M or dual-band transceiver, along with one of several manufacturers of Terminal Node Controllers, or TNCs for short, to convert the AX.25 packet from noise to data processed by your computer. Kantronics has been the stalwart of TNCs modified specifically for APRS use, either on mountaintops as digipeaters, to desktop TNCs for home APRS stations. Tune the radio to the USA national simplex frequency 144.39Mhz, run the cable to the TNC that has been properly configured (recommended settings included elsewhere within these web pages), and fire up your favorite computer program UI-View32, PinPointAPRS, Xastir, SARTrack, or other.
MOUNTAINTOP DIGIPEATER: For years, the default APRS Digipeater included a 2M mobile radio (amateur or commercial), a Kantronics KPC-3 TNC, a power supply with hookup to emergency power, a can for filtering out everything but the 144.39Mhz frequency, a bunch of coax, and a good quality 2M antenna capable of surviving harsh winter weather conditions. Times have changed, but much of the equipment has remained the same, adding an internet connection so APRS signals heard at the digipeater site are uploaded to the APRS-IS. Here is Lookout Pass APRS Digipeater location, along I-90 at the ID/MT state line. The site is owned by the Mac Pass Repeater Group (MPRG) and the initial work was completed by Bill/K7CTS(SK), Jim/WA7RVV(SK), and Dave/K7GPS. Initially there was no power at the site, so we installed a 2ft x 6ft solar panel that powered the site pretty well until we could arrange ground power to be run and hooked up, the following year. The site now has full time "shore power" along with a number of other ham installations/repeaters/etc.