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Hello And A Geocaching/aprs Question ??

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my wife and i have developed an interest in geocaching. i'm also an amateur radio operator. i'm here trying to get an idea of how others integrate ham radio with geocaching. it seems like APRS may play a role, but i'm not sure why one would want to transmit their location unless working an event like a marathon race or something.


sorry if this sounds like i need to read "APRS for dummies" but i appreciate any input!

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I'm looking to get started on APRS myself, though really only for the coolness factor. I haven't quite figured out how it would tie into geocaching, unless you could make your vechicle a mobile cache that somehow you could manage to get an approver to allow. Otherwise I thought it was a neat way to show your friends/family/geocaching people where you are at any given instance.


Safety wise it'd be a nice thing for me to have. Say I go solo caching for a day, I bring my trusty HT and the interface to the GPS (looking at ordering tiny trak for that, see another thread in here for the link), every park I stop at I transmit my coordinates via the link to the HT, and my location gets updated on the APRS network. I just tell my friends/family to check my location out on either a page I make up on my website, or find a way to directly link them to findu.com so they can see where I last updated my position. That way if the unthinkable happens, at least they knew where I was at my last transmission.

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thanks for the reply!


yes i thought of the safety aspect, but figured that having an HT along would be about the same as one could call for help and not have to be concerned about having connecting cables and other gear to run APRS.


coolness factor definitely ranks high!





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Well true, coolness factor is probably one of the bigger things.


My thoughts saftey wise might be more along the lines of a quick transmit of coords at my vehicle when I get to the park, anything beyond that would probably be just using an HT to call for help. But if you couple a call for help with the last known coords via APRS, then anyone coming to aid will know where you're at.


I'm not sure if you've seen it yet, but there's Pocket Tracker from the guys that make tiny trak (www.byonics.com). It incorporates a 2meter radio and the tracker in an altoids tin, just hook up an antenna and your gps. Often thought for the cross between caching uses of altoids tins and HAM radio uses of them, that in itself would be cool.

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I prefer the term "geek factor". It takes a geek to understand why it is cool. Most people won't figure it out. I run mobile APRS using the TinyTrak and my Yaesu FT 8800R, while geocaching. Why do I do it? Just because I can. I figure I already have my ham rig and GPS in the car why not connect them. There really isn't any good reason to do it. People can make excuses why it can be useful, but lets face it I'm a geek. :o


I always get a kick out of looking at the satellite images of where people are at.




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Quick thoughts about APRS and Geocaching ideas.


Two hams geocaching at same location both with trackers and APRS receiver hooked to GPSs could see each other going for the caches.


I suppose at a Ham/Geocaching event where there were temporary caches to hunt. You could sent them out on APRS at the start and instantly they would pop into your GPS/radio to be hunted.


Again at Geo/Ham event you could have that Altoids/tracker (non website listed temporary)cache where each finder then moves and hides it and tracker would allow others to find it and see it move. But this would only work if terrain allows low power signal to be received well thru out park.


BUT hooking up a radio and GPS and carrying with associated cables can be annoying. Now if Kenwood would just get a GPS partner and make the TH-D7 GPS that would be cool. Be like a Rhino 110/120 but better. But ham market just does not have the volume to make this for a competitive price.

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I just got back from a trip to TX. Flew down and drove a U-Haul back.


While on the way back, had my Rino 130 attached to my D7A(G) via homebrew cable. Email me for recipe and resources.


I had a dual band (2m/70cm)mag mount Larsen on the top of the cab. Unfortunately all I had was 5 watts to play with, and my signal was attenuated as the 'mom's attic' was in the way of the antenna to the rear.


I updated infrequently - TX, OK, Kansas, Wyoming, Montana, probably due to the fact that my signal just didn't get out.


My 500 waypoints maxed within 15 minutes while in TX as the D7A also sends other APRS users to my Rino as waypoints. I gave up on deleting them. they came in faster than I could remove them. There is no obvious setting for NMEA OUT ONLY on the Rino, so I had to accept the waypoints as clutter. Maybe there's a setting on the D7A that I overlooked. Research time!


I had many co-workers and family watching the FindU sight, as well as another that I don't have available for posting.


From experience, my recommendation is to have at least 10 watts of power behind your APRS signal if only to reach those slightly distant digipeaters. Updating will be more frequent than mine. I haven't had a problem in town updating every minute.


Just wanted to share that experience!

OddTodd of Cadence


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