Sunday, March 2, 2008


What is APRS?

A brief explanation on what Automatic Position Reporting System is.

Some newer rigs like Kenwood’s TM-D700A or TM-D710A has built-in APRS. Essentially what APRS does is, it sends out a packet of information at a fixed interval. This informs other stations with APRS enable rigs, who you are (callsign) and where you are. It knows where your current QTH is via a GPS module (usually optional) in your rig. If you have a Garmin or Lowrance GPS with map display, then you can hook it up to your rig, and location of other APRS stations will be displayed on the map. APRS can also be used for triangulation and get weather information from satellites.

APRS can also be used in base-stations and portables that do not have APRS built-in. For this to work though, you need:-

  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Echolink
  • APRS software
  • APRS hardware

The software can be downloaded from There is extensive help/info on the website as well as setup guide to get your APRS up and running. UIVIEW is now maintained by JA1OGS (Art), who not long ago came to Malaysia and gave a talk on APRS. You should visit his website for more info. If you don’t want to download and have a notebook, you can leave me a comment and I will upload it to your notebook when we eyeball. Please ensure that your have at least 400MB for free space. Software includes, APRS software (UIVIEW32), documentation, APRS module schematics, and hex file, PCB design for a serial port PIC programmer and much more. Thought the software is free, to use it, registration is required and you must be a licensed HAM member to register it. To see APRS at work live, click here.

Download schematics and hex file for the APRS module. But you will need a PIC programmer to “burn” the hex code into the PIC microcontroller. See my previous article on homebrewing PIC programmer. Alternatively you could pass the PIC to me and I will burn it for you.

On a final note, exploring the web, I found an excellent documentation on APRS, It covers the history, basics and advance use of APRS, and It’s called APRS101. Leave me comment if you are interested to attend a workshop on APRS. The one day I will get 9W2AXE to organize it.


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