[aprssig] Displaying Operating Frequency
Stephen H. Smith
wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Wed Aug 1 11:15:02 CDT 2007
Robert Bruninga wrote:
>> You mentioned "EVERY ham would monitor APRS to see
>> what was going on locally, and EVERY ham's station
>> would beacon on the APRS channel a STATUS packet
>> about what he was doing on any other frequency or
>> band or activity so everyone would know."
>> The $6 word for that is "Presence", and it's a shame
>> we DON'T have something like that for hams now.
> Actually, after Katrina, the ARRL made it an initiative to come
> up with a mechanism for determining and distributing the
> OPERATING frequency of all stations on the air, so that they
> could easily be found when needed. It is called WOTA for "Who
> is On the Air". Since we have always encouraged the addition of
> Operating FREQUENCY as a standard field, we tried to make APRS a
> big part of that initiative. But I got little support. But we
> have now formalized a standard for including FREQUENCY in APRS
> packets to improve this situation down the road...
> What I want to see are PIC processors connected up to Home
> stations that will MONITOR the operating frequency of the main
> RIG in the hamshack and automatically insert that frequency in
> that station's APRS *local* beacon.
> I do not want to see these beacons all over the state, but
> simply locally, so that if the need arises, that person can be
> In fact, I think it would make a nice set of Add-on's to many
> client software so that that software could monitor the stations
> other radios and include their operating frequencies in that
> stations beacon.
> IN fact, a TinyTracker or OT tracker or any PIC device could be
> made for the major CAT interfaces for Kenwood, Icom and Yeasu.
> Plug this device into the shack radios and plug it into an
> unused HT on the APRS channel, and there you go...
> Bob, WB4APR
This scheme assumes you are using one of the "DC-to-light" multimode
rigs with CAT-enabled serial ports (i.e. FT-100, TS-2000, IC-706, etc),
that are more likely to be on HF than VHF/UHF. I am far more likely to
be monitoring/operating VHF/UHF bands with FM-only radios that don't
have CAT ports.
As a mobile, are you really interested in what HF frequency a fixed
station is on? Wouldn't the current VHF or UHF frequency be of more
interest since you are far more likely to have a VHF or UHF radio in the
car than HF? Further, even if you have HF in the car, you are FAR more
likely to be heard on VHF/UHF than on HF from the far side of town.
(80M or 40M groundwave without the benefit of repeaters doesn't go very
If the fixed station is using a dual-band FM-only rig or several
mono-band FM rigs on various bands (i.e. FT-1500s, TM-G707s, TM-742s,
etc) to monitor VHF/UHF, this scheme won't work since most of these
FM-only rigs are not CAT-capable.
Further, is there going to be enough space in the comment field for all
this stuff? [In my own scenario, I would have to somehow fit
Echolink on 438.150MHz (Node 14400), voice on 146.52 and on 147.09,
APRN on 146.700 and voice on 52.525 into the beacon.]
I suppose one could have a processor-based gadget with a keypad and
serial ports, that could interrogate some rigs via serial CAT, and
provide keyboard data entry for other radios. It would then generate
APRS packets to be beaconed by a dedicated radio on a rotating basis;
i.e. comment field info about a different radio on each successive
beacon. This gadget would probably also have to have some sort of
serial port splitter/feedthrough functions since the CAT ports of radios
so equipped are often already in use for automated logging, antenna
selection/control, remote control, ALE or other functions.
Just a thought: The Kenwoods would be simpler for this application
since their CAT ports can be set to "auto-reporting". In this mode,
they spit out frequency info periodically on their own with no
command/response two-way interaction required. As a result, the APRS
status-reporting box can just passively bridge any existing hookup on
the CAT port, just listening and never talking. (This would be similar
to the way one connects the input of a D700 GPS port, and a laptop
serial port, in parallel across a GPS receiver.)
Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf (at) aol.com
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