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Nishnabotna

APRS Uses

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I'm a new ham - KD0FQX. So, of course I need a radio, the one with the most doo dads possible attached :D . Was thinking about a VX8R because I'm pretty interested in APRS. The question is: do the GPS functions on these radios act anything like a GPSr you'd use in geocache? IE, can you store way points or anything? Or is it pretty much narrowed to sending packet functions. I'm pretty sure that's the deal, but thought I would check here anyway since you folks would know more than anyone :D

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I'm a new ham - KD0FQX. So, of course I need a radio, the one with the most doo dads possible attached :) . Was thinking about a VX8R because I'm pretty interested in APRS. The question is: do the GPS functions on these radios act anything like a GPSr you'd use in geocache? IE, can you store way points or anything? Or is it pretty much narrowed to sending packet functions. I'm pretty sure that's the deal, but thought I would check here anyway since you folks would know more than anyone :cute:

 

Doesn't look hopeful. I should start by saying I don't own one of these - I'm just looking at the user's manual via the Yaesu website.

 

GPS input to the VX-8R appears to be provided by attaching the accessory GPS unit to the main radio - either directly or as part of the hand mic. This unit appears to be a stand-alone GPS providing NMEA 0183 sentences. (Which begs the question of "why can't I just hook up my eTrex?" Dunno.)

 

The main radio can display position, including speed and bearing of travel. Also, you can store up to ten locations in the unit, set the time and the map datum. But strangely enough, there doesn't seem to be any way to show distance and bearing to those stored locations.

 

Sad. In my opinion ham radio companies seem to be in the same mode as automakers were years ago - looking for the next "killer feature" and then rushing it to the market poorly implemented to see if the community would love it or hate it. Some times these things are well received (dual VFO's - how did we ever live without them!), and sometimes they aren't, and as a side effect, kill development in that area (anyone have a pushbutton transmission in your car? I think that would be a natural for the Toyota Prius, don't you?)

 

I should also say that I have used a Yaesu VX-5R as my primary HT since 1999 or early 2000, I think, and love it. I only use about 10% of the available features, but the ones I use are rock solid and it's never let me down.

 

Have fun! DE KF4BAL

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I'm a new ham - KD0FQX. So, of course I need a radio, the one with the most doo dads possible attached :) . Was thinking about a VX8R because I'm pretty interested in APRS. The question is: do the GPS functions on these radios act anything like a GPSr you'd use in geocache? IE, can you store way points or anything? Or is it pretty much narrowed to sending packet functions. I'm pretty sure that's the deal, but thought I would check here anyway since you folks would know more than anyone :cute:

 

The Kenwood D7A is a tried and true APRS HT. I don't know much about the VX8 other than I seen it at Dayton. The big advantage that I know about with the D7A is that it has a built in TNC. I don't believe that the VX8 does.

 

If you are looking for a HT as a first radio, I advise against it. You would be way better off buying a mobile unit. The HT's are nice but you'd be happier with more power and better antenna system. Unless you are in a large city with plenty of repeaters around you might limit your range with a HT.

 

Jon KC9AXZ

www.kc9axz.com

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Well, it's true that it doesn't have a TNC, but it doesn't really seem to need it. It does have a modem of some kind built in and the instructions say that I could transmit and receive a APRS beacon, as well as an APRS message. Maybe I'm missing something though, cause alot of it doesn't really make sense to me yet :cute:

 

I thought that I would choose the HT over a mobile because I mainly envision myself on foot rather than in a vehicle or stationary. We're a small city here and there is a few repeaters in a small area so I think that I will be OK.

That doesn't mean that I won't be purchasing a mobile pretty shortly afterwards though :)

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Well, it's true that it doesn't have a TNC, but it doesn't really seem to need it. It does have a modem of some kind built in...

 

Actually, that IS a TNC. (TNC is short for Terminal Node Controller, but "radio modem" would be just as correct of a phrase.) Presumably what Yaesu has done here is the same thing Kenwood did with the D7A - build the APRS code into the firmware of the modem/TNC. It's really not too hard as long as all you're doing is transmitting reports. TAPR came up with a kit doing something similar for a mobile unit as early as '97 (was called the Mic-E).

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I'm a new ham - KD0FQX. So, of course I need a radio, the one with the most doo dads possible attached :rolleyes: . Was thinking about a VX8R because I'm pretty interested in APRS. The question is: do the GPS functions on these radios act anything like a GPSr you'd use in geocache? IE, can you store way points or anything? Or is it pretty much narrowed to sending packet functions. I'm pretty sure that's the deal, but thought I would check here anyway since you folks would know more than anyone :rolleyes:

 

Here is a link to some info on a VX8R My guess would be that the built in GPS option would only be an all in one package APRS HT. (cool!) The built in GPS module's (non-screen) purpose would be only to output NMEA data to the built in TNC. With the kenwood HT or even the D700 (I own two of them) you have to plug a separate GPS unit into the transceiver. Not a big deal in a car but kinda cumbersome hiking. I also own two VX7R's but they don't even have the built in TNC. The VX8R would be my choice if I was serious about APRS while hiking.

73, Eric

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I'm thinking the Kenwood THD-7A with an external GPS engine would work fine. I use a Garmin GPS 35 (discontinued) which works reasonably well but was build before WAAS. Here are the new OEM Sensors

 

 

I'm a new ham - KD0FQX. So, of course I need a radio, the one with the most doo dads possible attached :D . Was thinking about a VX8R because I'm pretty interested in APRS. The question is: do the GPS functions on these radios act anything like a GPSr you'd use in geocache? IE, can you store way points or anything? Or is it pretty much narrowed to sending packet functions. I'm pretty sure that's the deal, but thought I would check here anyway since you folks would know more than anyone :D

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GPS input to the VX-8R appears to be provided by attaching the accessory GPS unit to the main radio - either directly or as part of the hand mic. This unit appears to be a stand-alone GPS providing NMEA 0183 sentences. (Which begs the question of "why can't I just hook up my eTrex?" Dunno.)

 

I have been making Garmin to Kenwood D7/700 cables for about 6 years now and when I saw the VX-8 for the first time at Dayton this year, that was my first question. "What is the GPS interface?" The folks at the booth told me that the unit they had for show had just been given to them that morning and they had very little info on it. I am still trying to find out what the interface is. The Kenwoods use a simple three wire serial interface that I use with my Garmin>Kenwood cables (http://www.rpc-electronics.com/kenwood.php)

 

So far, Yaesu has really been pushing their GPS/spk/mic that allows you to feed GPS NMEA data into the radio, but there has to be a way to do it without their overpriced version. That is what I am looking for because I want to provide that cable to Garmin users that own a VX-8 and wish to run APRS with them together.

 

Jason KE4NYV

RPC Electronics

www.rpc-electronics.com

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I have been making Garmin to Kenwood D7/700 cables for about 6 years now and when I saw the VX-8 for the first time at Dayton this year, that was my first question. "What is the GPS interface?" The folks at the booth told me that the unit they had for show had just been given to them that morning and they had very little info on it. I am still trying to find out what the interface is. The Kenwoods use a simple three wire serial interface that I use with my Garmin>Kenwood cables (http://www.rpc-electronics.com/kenwood.php)

 

So far, Yaesu has really been pushing their GPS/spk/mic that allows you to feed GPS NMEA data into the radio, but there has to be a way to do it without their overpriced version. That is what I am looking for because I want to provide that cable to Garmin users that own a VX-8 and wish to run APRS with them together.

 

Jason KE4NYV

RPC Electronics

www.rpc-electronics.com

 

Yeah, I agree. I think the handmic's a pretty cool idea, but in the end I'm all about simple. And cheap.

 

Actually, the BEST APRS setup I ever ran was using a Handspring Visor Prism. Had a TNC "module" (plug in) that allowed me to plug in both a GPS and a HT (a cheapy Alinco) and the software ran an APRS client. Assuming I didn't bugger the connections up, it Just Worked. But that was SOOOO 5 years ago. ;)

 

Seriously, I gotta think the gps unit must be a basic serial data stream (I think that may even be part of the NMEA standard) - why reinvent the wheel on that? But you're right. I have no data to confirm that, and I'm not likely to run out and buy one.

 

I've been considering tinkering with the following setup, personally.

 

*Bluetooth GPS (which I don't have yet, but Christmas is coming!)

 

*Asus eee running Linux and xastir

 

*a bluetooth to serial adapter

 

*to an adapter cable

 

*into a D7

 

Was thinking about trying to mount the eee on my left arm,the HT on my belt, the GPS on my hat, and going for "fully pedestrian mobile" :blink: (Do I get extra geek points for that?)

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Was thinking about trying to mount the eee on my left arm,the HT on my belt, the GPS on my hat, and going for "fully pedestrian mobile" ;) (Do I get extra geek points for that?)

 

Make the hat a helmet, get a bike and join the Bicycle Mobile Hams of America... Before I had GPS, I used to use a PacComm HandiPacket TNC and a Icom 2a on my bike for general packet... I'd ride with a local beacon and see who logged onto the mailbox while I was riding... I could check at the end of the day...

One trip was over 2300 km. over three weeks 5 provinces...

 

Wish we had Geocaching way back then!... Since I came out here, APRS has grown up, and true packet radio has faded away... I don't think that it ever was really popular in rural BC...

 

You really can geocache from a bike...

 

Doug

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I've been waiting for the VX-8R to be released. Yaesu keeps pushing back the release date, so I have to wonder if they are having some serious problems with the unit, which they are trying to correct? Each time I look at various stores to purchase one, the date has been pushed back another month.

 

The VX-8R seems like it will be a nice unit. The main feature I like, is the integrated GPS that you can attach to the Mic jack, or to speaker mic. This eliminates a seperate cord connecting your gps to the radio.

 

My ARES team has 4 of the Kenwood D7A's. I take them out from time to time and give them a shake down. They work fine in a mobile (car) application, but they are a pain to use for APRS when on foot. You end up with the GPS cable connected to a Kenwood cable, which is usually about 8 feet of cable. All this cable tends to snag and get caught on things, unless you have it all wrapped up together in a backpack or bag.

 

I too am looking for a APRS tracker that I can use Geocaching, hunting, fishing, or when I'm out on ski's or snowshoes. I don't want the hassle of all the cords. The VX-8R seems to be a good solution. If you use the attached GPS, you have basically a one piece unit. This would be easy to put on your belt, pocket, or bag. You should also be able to use the radio for conventional voice, and the packets will be sent out on the 2nd VFO (144.390) when it beacons it's position.

 

I have a Kenwood D710a in my truck. When I go portable APRS, I put the D710 on Wide1-1 digipeat, so the truck Digipeats my portable's beacon. This usually works very well.

 

Like I said, I've been waiting for the VX8R to be released, but I think I will sit back and see the reviews on the radio before I buy one. You are going to be shelling out about $400 for this radio, and close to $500 if you get the GPS and Mic with it.

 

There are cheaper ways to use APRS while portable, but I've had poor success with them. Devices like the Tinytrak are available for about $40.00, but they are very sensative to RF. When used in close proximity to an HT or other radio, they get overloaded with RF and start looping. I've only had success with the radios on low power.

 

There are also stand alone trackers that can be used while portable. Check out the MicroTrak by Byonics: http://www.byonics.com/microtrak/mtaio.php This device will put out 10 watts of power, has self contained radio transmitter, GPS, and TNC. These are transmitters, and don't have a receiver built in. That means they won't listen for an open channel before they transmit. Some of their beacons may be lost because they are transmitting at the same time as higher power beacons. This unit costs about $250, and it looks very promising. It would be easy to stick it in a backpack. You could buy a MicroTrak, and a 2 VHF HT for less money then the VX-8.

 

Brian

KC9GMW

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There are also stand alone trackers that can be used while portable. Check out the MicroTrak by Byonics: http://www.byonics.com/microtrak/mtaio.php This device will put out 10 watts of power, has self contained radio transmitter, GPS, and TNC. These are transmitters, and don't have a receiver built in. That means they won't listen for an open channel before they transmit. Some of their beacons may be lost because they are transmitting at the same time as higher power beacons. This unit costs about $250, and it looks very promising. It would be easy to stick it in a backpack. You could buy a MicroTrak, and a 2 VHF HT for less money then the VX-8.

 

Brian

KC9GMW

I ended up just getting a Yaesu 2800 mobile to tide me over, but this Byonics deal that Grouse posted looks promising. OTOH, that ends up being 2 things to carry instead of one.

Edited by Nishnabotna

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I've been waiting for the VX-8R to be released. Yaesu keeps pushing back the release date, so I have to wonder if they are having some serious problems with the unit, which they are trying to correct? Each time I look at various stores to purchase one, the date has been pushed back another month.

 

The VX-8R seems like it will be a nice unit. The main feature I like, is the integrated GPS that you can attach to the Mic jack, or to speaker mic. This eliminates a seperate cord connecting your gps to the radio.

 

My ARES team has 4 of the Kenwood D7A's. I take them out from time to time and give them a shake down. They work fine in a mobile (car) application, but they are a pain to use for APRS when on foot. You end up with the GPS cable connected to a Kenwood cable, which is usually about 8 feet of cable. All this cable tends to snag and get caught on things, unless you have it all wrapped up together in a backpack or bag.

 

I too am looking for a APRS tracker that I can use Geocaching, hunting, fishing, or when I'm out on ski's or snowshoes. I don't want the hassle of all the cords. The VX-8R seems to be a good solution. If you use the attached GPS, you have basically a one piece unit. This would be easy to put on your belt, pocket, or bag. You should also be able to use the radio for conventional voice, and the packets will be sent out on the 2nd VFO (144.390) when it beacons it's position.

 

I have a Kenwood D710a in my truck. When I go portable APRS, I put the D710 on Wide1-1 digipeat, so the truck Digipeats my portable's beacon. This usually works very well.

 

Like I said, I've been waiting for the VX8R to be released, but I think I will sit back and see the reviews on the radio before I buy one. You are going to be shelling out about $400 for this radio, and close to $500 if you get the GPS and Mic with it.

 

There are cheaper ways to use APRS while portable, but I've had poor success with them. Devices like the Tinytrak are available for about $40.00, but they are very sensative to RF. When used in close proximity to an HT or other radio, they get overloaded with RF and start looping. I've only had success with the radios on low power.

 

There are also stand alone trackers that can be used while portable. Check out the MicroTrak by Byonics: http://www.byonics.com/microtrak/mtaio.php This device will put out 10 watts of power, has self contained radio transmitter, GPS, and TNC. These are transmitters, and don't have a receiver built in. That means they won't listen for an open channel before they transmit. Some of their beacons may be lost because they are transmitting at the same time as higher power beacons. This unit costs about $250, and it looks very promising. It would be easy to stick it in a backpack. You could buy a MicroTrak, and a 2 VHF HT for less money then the VX-8.

 

Brian

KC9GMW

 

Well it looks like some of the new HTs are being sold. Here are the first eham reviews.

If you have a fast Internet connection you can download this informative 6.92meg VX-8R brochure. It shows pictures of the two ways the GPS module can be mounted on the HT as well as screen APRS shots. The blue tooth option looks pretty cool too! I wonder if they will take my VX-7Rs as trade ins! <_<

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There are also stand alone trackers that can be used while portable. Check out the MicroTrak by Byonics: http://www.byonics.com/microtrak/mtaio.php

 

We were actually the first to market with an All-In-One APRS device called the RTrak http://www.rpc-electronics.com/trackers.php Unfortunately, the MicroTrak devices are backed by Byonics, so his exposure is much better than mine. I have managed to combat that somewhat with my frequent setups at hamfests in my part of the US (mostly VA, NC, SC and WV). We also sell all of our other products at the shows, as well.

 

We have a new SAR version of this coming with a built-in GPS helix antenna and runs on two 9V batteries. We have made som strides in current consumption and managed to stretch out the useable time on a set of batteries.

 

On top of that, we have a new RTrak-Lite that is close to production that is basically an RTrak, minus the built-in transmitter. This is for everyone that wishes to have more power and decode capability. It DOES include the GPS module, so one less thing to buy and hook up to your setup.

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I've been waiting for the VX-8R to be released. Yaesu keeps pushing back the release date, so I have to wonder if they are having some serious problems with the unit, which they are trying to correct? Each time I look at various stores to purchase one, the date has been pushed back another month.

 

The VX-8R seems like it will be a nice unit. The main feature I like, is the integrated GPS that you can attach to the Mic jack, or to speaker mic. This eliminates a seperate cord connecting your gps to the radio.

 

My ARES team has 4 of the Kenwood D7A's. I take them out from time to time and give them a shake down. They work fine in a mobile (car) application, but they are a pain to use for APRS when on foot. You end up with the GPS cable connected to a Kenwood cable, which is usually about 8 feet of cable. All this cable tends to snag and get caught on things, unless you have it all wrapped up together in a backpack or bag.

 

I too am looking for a APRS tracker that I can use Geocaching, hunting, fishing, or when I'm out on ski's or snowshoes. I don't want the hassle of all the cords. The VX-8R seems to be a good solution. If you use the attached GPS, you have basically a one piece unit. This would be easy to put on your belt, pocket, or bag. You should also be able to use the radio for conventional voice, and the packets will be sent out on the 2nd VFO (144.390) when it beacons it's position.

 

I have a Kenwood D710a in my truck. When I go portable APRS, I put the D710 on Wide1-1 digipeat, so the truck Digipeats my portable's beacon. This usually works very well.

 

Like I said, I've been waiting for the VX8R to be released, but I think I will sit back and see the reviews on the radio before I buy one. You are going to be shelling out about $400 for this radio, and close to $500 if you get the GPS and Mic with it.

 

There are cheaper ways to use APRS while portable, but I've had poor success with them. Devices like the Tinytrak are available for about $40.00, but they are very sensative to RF. When used in close proximity to an HT or other radio, they get overloaded with RF and start looping. I've only had success with the radios on low power.

 

There are also stand alone trackers that can be used while portable. Check out the MicroTrak by Byonics: http://www.byonics.com/microtrak/mtaio.php This device will put out 10 watts of power, has self contained radio transmitter, GPS, and TNC. These are transmitters, and don't have a receiver built in. That means they won't listen for an open channel before they transmit. Some of their beacons may be lost because they are transmitting at the same time as higher power beacons. This unit costs about $250, and it looks very promising. It would be easy to stick it in a backpack. You could buy a MicroTrak, and a 2 VHF HT for less money then the VX-8.

 

Brian

KC9GMW

 

Well it looks like some of the new HTs are being sold. Here are the first eham reviews.

If you have a fast Internet connection you can download this informative 6.92meg VX-8R brochure. It shows pictures of the two ways the GPS module can be mounted on the HT as well as screen APRS shots. The blue tooth option looks pretty cool too! I wonder if they will take my VX-7Rs as trade ins! :ph34r:

Well, my VX-8r has finally shipped. My wife ordered it for me for Christmas a month ago with the help of a few local geohams. There were so many backorders before hers that they just got to me. I should have it next week, but she didnt order the GPS module so it will be a bit longer before I can really try out the APRS.

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geohams.

 

 

Geohams.......

first i heard that one used.......its kinda is cool.

 

Harold

kd1zx

now a "geoham".

Edited by hvinelinux

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Ok all you GeoHams I have been selected to be the SAG chair of a local charity Bicycle ride called the Tour DE Cure http://tour.diabetes.org/site/TR/TourdeCur...&fr_id=6010

 

I need to Organize SAG (Support an Gear) Trucks, Vans, Motorcycles and Emergency Response Vehicles. I would love to us APRS to keep track of every one. Does any one have any experience in this sort of thing?

 

Any Links or advice is much appreciated.

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Just a follow up on this thread. Picked up a VX-8R a couple of weeks ago. As a radio, it's awesome. I love the quad-band capability. Makes me wish I had never sold my VX-7R, but no biggie because this is a 7R on crack. More power on 220, built-in APRS function and thinner than the 7R. Not to mention, they got rid of that stupid cell-phone style swivel clip!

 

As for the GPS input question, so far my testing shows it uses some kind of Rockwell binary or similar format to talk to the internal TNC for APRS function. This won't keep me from looking for an alternative way to make it work, but for the time being, I am going to pick up the GPS mic and give it a go.

 

If you are looking for a solid HT with plenty of features, this is a great one to go with.

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My club has been doing this for years and I'm sure we're not the only one. Once you get a critical mass of trackers, it's fairly easy to get enough out in the field to do some useful tracking. When the civilians see our live map on a projector screen, they are blown away. We use tactical call aliases on the map, and also show rest stops, checkpoints and the route. We had one driver get lost, but we could see where he was and redirect him. If we overlay APRS on google earth we can tell what parking space the vehicle is in.

 

Get your tracker working so you can inspire others to do the same.

 

http://www.byonics.com/tinytrak/

http://www.argentdata.com/products/otplus.html

 

N2JAC

 

Ok all you GeoHams I have been selected to be the SAG chair of a local charity Bicycle ride called the Tour DE Cure http://tour.diabetes.org/site/TR/TourdeCur...&fr_id=6010

 

I need to Organize SAG (Support an Gear) Trucks, Vans, Motorcycles and Emergency Response Vehicles. I would love to us APRS to keep track of every one. Does any one have any experience in this sort of thing?

 

Any Links or advice is much appreciated.

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I'm a new ham - KD0FQX. So, of course I need a radio, the one with the most doo dads possible attached :) . Was thinking about a VX8R because I'm pretty interested in APRS. The question is: do the GPS functions on these radios act anything like a GPSr you'd use in geocache? IE, can you store way points or anything? Or is it pretty much narrowed to sending packet functions. I'm pretty sure that's the deal, but thought I would check here anyway since you folks would know more than anyone :blink:

 

Most ham radios that offer aprs need a GPSr connected to receive the signal, I think the VX8R offers a built in GPS for APRS use only.

 

KC2SPD

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Yep, Geotracking and APRS PE1NMS.

 

144.800 Mhz Kenwood TR751 PK232MBX

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Ok all you GeoHams I have been selected to be the SAG chair of a local charity Bicycle ride called the Tour DE Cure http://tour.diabetes.org/site/TR/TourdeCur...&fr_id=6010

 

I need to Organize SAG (Support an Gear) Trucks, Vans, Motorcycles and Emergency Response Vehicles. I would love to us APRS to keep track of every one. Does any one have any experience in this sort of thing?

 

Any Links or advice is much appreciated.

 

We do the same thing for the TOSRV (Tour of the Scioto River Valley) bike ride every May in Southern Ohio.

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I'm a new ham - KD0FQX. So, of course I need a radio, the one with the most doo dads possible attached :) . Was thinking about a VX8R because I'm pretty interested in APRS. The question is: do the GPS functions on these radios act anything like a GPSr you'd use in geocache? IE, can you store way points or anything? Or is it pretty much narrowed to sending packet functions. I'm pretty sure that's the deal, but thought I would check here anyway since you folks would know more than anyone :)

 

i own a vx8r the gps does not do waypoint functions, it will show you your location and the direction and distance to other APRS beacons and thats pretty much it. the gps does use alot of battery power even with APRS off because you cannot turn off the gps. i just take off the hand mic when im not using it and need the power. the vx8r is a very easy to use radio for APRS everything is built in besides the gpsr. i would recommend the vx8r if you want a simple APRS radio.the only real downside i have found with this radio is that it only has a 1.5 watt out put on 220.

 

73

k8gjp

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For a very practical APRS transmitter with GPS try the Big Red Bee

http://bigredbee.com/

 

Solid, compact, and lots of options. I will fly with BRB again.

 

KE7JNX

Edited by soup

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