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geocaching and APRS

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I'm relatively new to ham radio (licenced in 8/09) and totally new to geocaching. Looking forward to getting started on the latter. At the same time, I'm discovering APRS. I'm wondering if there's a GPS unit out there that works well for the simple, paperless geocaching, and and also has some kind of port to hook up so that it can pass location info to a transceiver when I'm not using it for geocaching.

 

Thank you :anibad:

John

KF5CSW

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Many manufacturers offer radios with NMEA interface for adding GPS data to their TNC-equipted radios.

http://www.kenwoodusa.com/Communications/A...Mobiles/RC-D710

The Kenwood D710 is the most popular one used for that purpose.

There are even handheld radios that have GPS accessories. Your best source for information is Ham Radio Outlet's catalog. http://hamradio.com/

If you have money to spend, I'm sure they will be happy to mail you a copy of their catalog.

I suggest you read my reply to "Newbie has Questions" about different brands of radios to make sure you get a good idea of the strong-weak points of the various brands.

 

You will want a GPS that has NMEA output for connecting to a Radio/TNC.

I am a fan of the Garmin units. The other manufacturers are good too. It's just a matter of what you want in features and looks. Many years ago, a friend bought a (then new, now ancient!) Garmin model 100. He took it to the front steps of the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, San Diego. At the bottom of the steps in front of the museum is a NGS Benchmark with the co-ordinates labelled on it. My friend removed the Garmin from it's box, installed batteries, and turned it on. He then set it directly on top of the benchmark, and we stood on each side of it to protect it from unwary pedestrians. It took 12 minutes for the unit to do it's "First Power On Initialization". The readout was exactly spot-on with the co-ordinates of the Benchmark! The 'accuracy' was initially reading 10 feet, and dropped to 1 foot over 20 minutes. I have seen other Garmins tested this exact same way, and except for one, they were 'spot-on'! Of the Magellan and Tom Toms I have seen put through this 'Natural History Museum, First Power On Test' none were as accurate. The Tom Toms were the worst.

 

Off Topic:

Many GPS units also offer Differential Receiver capability. Using an external VLF receiver (200-500kHz) the old VLF "Letter Beacons" that transmitted one or two letters in Morse Code for Direction Finding Triangulation (before the days of GPS) have been up-graded to transmit a 'Differential Correction Code'. This digital stream is used to improve the accuracy of GPS units to "Gee Whiz!" levels. Accuracy of the 'Pick a window, any window' or 'Straight down the Ventilation Shaft' type. Because of the very good performance of the newer generation of regular GPS units, this type of accuracy for non scientific purposes is academic. The Differential Beacons are located along the coasts and major waterways throught the USA.

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I read your QRZ blog. If you can reach Berryville via UHF, N6WI has a machine on 443.800MHz, + shift, 100.0 PL. That machine is connected to the Western Intertie Network System (WINSystem) on IRLP-reflector #9100. There are many hams on that system that are knowledgeable about GPS/APRS-Packet type systems. If you cannot reach that machine, and have access to an IRLP equipted repeater locally that allows you to 'dial-out' ('Steerable'), you can connect to the WINSystem's reflector IRLP#9100.

http://www.winsystem.org/

QRP: HF or VHF/UHF, Tons of fun, loads of challenges. I suggest Doug DeMaw's "QRP Handbook". If you are not familiar with VFO constuction, start with a Crystal controlled transmitter and work on your constuction skills before attempting VFO construction. Mechanical stability is paramount to good VFO stability.

"Simplicity is the Ultimate in Sophistication". A Short-Wave Receiver with a 'Standby' switch or function will save your hearing. A simple slide-type switch will work for antenna TX-RX switching. Toroid-type coils are best for oscillator circuit coils because of their self-shielding qualities, less 'drift' and 'pulling'.

It is easier to transmit Mose Code than receive it. Keep your sending speed at or below your receiving speed.

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I'm relatively new to ham radio (licenced in 8/09) and totally new to geocaching. Looking forward to getting started on the latter. At the same time, I'm discovering APRS. I'm wondering if there's a GPS unit out there that works well for the simple, paperless geocaching, and and also has some kind of port to hook up so that it can pass location info to a transceiver when I'm not using it for geocaching.

 

Thank you :D

John

KF5CSW

 

You can do both at the same time! :P

Use a GPS on a Kenwood TH-D7 and start geocaching while QRV on APRS.

Try a Garmin Etrex for starters.

GPS for paperless geocaching are still expensive.

Good luck!

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I have used a Kenwood D7 with a Garmin GPSMAP 60, which worked well. Cables to connect the two are a bit hard to find, so we made our own, but you should be able to find one on eBay if you don't like soldering.

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I'm relatively new to ham radio (licenced in 8/09) and totally new to geocaching. Looking forward to getting started on the latter. At the same time, I'm discovering APRS. I'm wondering if there's a GPS unit out there that works well for the simple, paperless geocaching, and and also has some kind of port to hook up so that it can pass location info to a transceiver when I'm not using it for geocaching.

 

Thank you :ph34r:

John

KF5CSW

 

You can do both at the same time! :ph34r:

Use a GPS on a Kenwood TH-D7 and start geocaching while QRV on APRS.

Try a Garmin Etrex for starters.

GPS for paperless geocaching are still expensive.

Good luck!

 

My choice of radio is the VX-8R I take it with me when I GEOCache, it tracks my every move

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I use this radio in my adventures as well. An when I'm out in the boonies, I set up the D-710 in my Jeep to digi and I can track myself even further of the beaten path.

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I'm relatively new to ham radio (licenced in 8/09) and totally new to geocaching. Looking forward to getting started on the latter. At the same time, I'm discovering APRS. I'm wondering if there's a GPS unit out there that works well for the simple, paperless geocaching, and and also has some kind of port to hook up so that it can pass location info to a transceiver when I'm not using it for geocaching.

 

Thank you :laughing:

John

KF5CSW

For a paperless GPS, look into the Oregon or Colorado series. Set them up for NMEA In/Out & set up your tracker to output waypoints and stations will appear on the GPS!

 

The upcoming GPSMAP-78 or GPSMAP-62 series might also be good choices and have dedicated serial ports:

 

http://garmin.blogs.com/softwareupdates/2009/06/index.html

Edited by coggins

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I'm expanding my ham radio, APRS involvement into the Benchmark recovery efforts I'm pursuing as part of my physical therapy program as I recover from heart problems. The new Yaeesu VX-8GR handheld has a GPS built in, displays the location onscreen just like my eTrex, however it also transmits my location to the APRS network on 144.39 and is traceable on various mapping softwares. Benefit, my wife, or anyone else can see where I am and if I'm still moving, just in case. http://wa7hyd.net

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