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How is APRS used by most Hams?

Sep 9th 2011, 16:58


Joined: Jun 11th 2011, 06:39
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I'm looking for an HT for my first radio and would like to know the pros and cons of APRS and how the system is most often used. The new VX-8DR and VX-8GR by Yaesu include APRS and I like the rest of the features in these HTs but am wondering if I would need the APRS feature. Thanks from a newham, 73s. Steve KJ6QXK.
Sep 19th 2011, 16:21


Joined: Jan 11th 2011, 19:02
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Steve, the uses for APRS are only limited by your imagination. In this area (NE Ohio) APRS has proved very useful in public service events, both to keep track of where people are but also in sending messages. I'll bet similar uses are common in California as well.

Personally, in addition to what I mentioned above I use it for keeping track of ham friends (whether they are on the air and what repeater they are monitoring - the Kenwood rigs that do APRS have a provision to automatically include your voice operating frequency as part of the beacon packet. Not sure if the Yaesu VX-8 series will do that or not). Remember too that since the radio has a built-in TNC it can be used for other modes (like SSTV & packet) not just for APRS.

One of the guys in our local club has a VX-8DR and loves it, though he's a bit unhappy about how quickly the battery runs down. I'll bet a lot of that has to do with all the additional circuitry for the dual receive & the digital stuff. Before you decide take a serious look at the Kenwood TH-D72A as well.
Jan 25th 2012, 17:28


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I'll second the public service aspect of asset tracking using APRS.

We use APRS extensively in Central Indiana during bike rides, marathons, hiking events, parades, etc. For the Hilly Hundred bike ride, all of the SAG vehicles are operated by amateur radio operators and have APRS trackers. The SAG manager sits at Net Control viewing an APRS client program that maps the SAGs locations. With that visualization in front of him, he can have Net Control position the SAGs where they are most needed.

On running/hiking events, we try to put a ham with APRS behind the last runner or put an APRS tracker in the back-pack of the last hiker. This is very useful for letting Net Control and the event managers know where the tail-end of the event is located along the route.

But, there's certainly more to APRS than vehicle tracking. Messaging, local info (repeaters, nets, club meetings, hamfests, etc.), and weather data can all be delivered via APRS.

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