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[aprssig] Really CHEAP Puck-type USB GPS Receiver

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Sat Jan 21 19:23:57 UTC 2012

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?
> Larry

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 port.

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

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