[aprssig] Really CHEAP Puck-type USB GPS Receiver

Joe Della Barba joe at dellabarba.com
Sun Jan 22 10:12:21 CST 2012

This isn't even APRS issue. All my nav programs on my boat map to the
virtual serial port as well.
Joe Della Barba
joe at dellabarba.com


From: aprssig-bounces at tapr.org [mailto:aprssig-bounces at tapr.org] On Behalf
Of Stephen H. Smith
Sent: Saturday, January 21, 2012 2:24 PM
To: TAPR APRS Mailing List
Subject: Re: [aprssig] Really CHEAP Puck-type USB GPS Receiver

On 1/21/2012 1:00 PM, Larry McDavid wrote: 

Steve, would this GPS unit work immediately stand-alone with PM V9
(non-APRS)? That is, would PM V9 recognize its USB connection? 


Again, for the umpteeth time,   virtually *NO* standard mapping or APRS
application program recognizes USB devices natively.   They only interact
with classic SERIAL com ports.   You  MUST-MUST-MUST install the appropriate
driver to intercept the USB stream and create a virtual (simulated) serial

This is OUTSIDE of any particular application.  The (simulated) serial COM
port then outputs a standard NMEA-0183 data stream (even if the GPS itself
outputs some sort of proprietary binary format) that "fools" applications
into thinking they are talking to a classic NMEA GPS connected to a classic
RS-232 serial COM port.  This will be true of ANY USB GPS device.

Once that is done, there is absolutely no difference in how this GPS would
work with an APRS application vs a non-APRS "civilian" app like Precision
Mapping (or MapPoint, or Street Atlas or TopoUSA or Streets & Trips, etc).
As long as you can make the USB device "quack like a classic RS-232 serial
COM port", it will work with ANY of them.  

Note that is this also true of APRSpoint, despite the borderline-fraudulent
claim on it's web site that it "works with USB GPSes".  You MUST have a
vender-specific USB-->serial emulation driver installed first.

[There is ONE exception to this general statement.  Current Delorme programs
such as TopoUSA and Street Atlas WILL work directly with Delorme's own
USB-connected EarthMate GPS units.   Delorme offers offers, as a
downloadable freebie from their website, a Serial Port Emulator driver to
allow their proprietary USB GPS units to work with non-Delorme programs.]  

In fact, you might want to follow up the USB-->Virtual Serial driver with
the FREEware utility XPort.  XPORt can intercept a serial port (either
physical or virtual) and create up to EIGHT more virtual com ports so  that
more than one program can use the GPS at the SAME TIME.     

With XPort, I have routinely had USB GPSes plugged into my mobile laptop,
feeding serial port inputs on UIview, APRSpoint, TopoUSA, MapPoint and the
Visual GPS monitor utility simultaneously.   (This is on a Panasonic
Toughbook laptop with 1GB RAM and a 1.6 GHz Celeron CPU.)

Get the FREEWARE XPort here:

.     <http://www.curioustech.net/xport.html>

On 1/21/2012 7:57 AM, Stephen H. Smith wrote: 

On 1/20/2012 10:56 PM, Steve Noskowicz wrote: 

Note that he says "a computer-based APRS or mapping program" 



Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at) aol.com 
Skype:        WA8LMF
Home Page:          http://wa8lmf.net

*****  NEW   Precision Mapping 9 For UIview Released! *****

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