[aprssig] Compaq iPaq for APRS ?

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Sun Jan 22 20:06:40 EST 2006

wa4tkg at yahoo.com wrote:
> Maybe this question has been posed hundreds of times,
> but I have not been on here for quite some time:
> Is there any way to get my iPaq 3600 series Pocket PC
> to run on APRS?
> What would I need to get it talking to my MFJ 1270C or
> PK-900 ?
> I need ALL necessary info for this thing, cuz I know
> virtually nothing about it/them.  My brother sent me
> this old one of his when he bought a new model.
> Any help appreciated.  Also, I need to know how to
> configure it to get it talking to my Wireless Router.
> Tx. 
> Matt; WA4TKG
> __________________________________________________

1)  Pocket PCs are not Windows PCs.   They operate on one of several 
non-Intel -X86-type processors and run an operating system that 
superficially looks like Windows but isn't.   No normal Windows programs 
will run on a Pocket PC.   

2)  There is (or rather was) an APRS application (APRSce) that ran on 
Pocket PCs but it hasn't been updated in over two years.  The web site is:

Downloads at:

Don't confuse "APRSce" with another orphaned program,  "Pocket APRS"  
which, confusingly, runs on Palm devices but not Pocket PCs.

I don't think the author is supporting APRSce anymore, meaning you can't 
register it.  Without registration, you can't
     a)   log onto the APRS Internet system
     b)   save your settings in the program; i.e. you have to set 
everything up every time you start it.

A further problem is a lack of current maps usable by the program, 
especially for areas outside the 30 or so largest US cities.  However, 
even without a map loaded, the program can display the relative position 
of APRS stations correctly against a blank background on a display that 
is zoomable over a wide range of magnifications.  It can also 
send/receive APRS messages.

3)  Because the program hasn't been updated in over two years, it 
doesn't support the current APRS symbol set. (Major changes and 
additions to the symbol set were implemented about a year ago.)

4)  Does the iPaq 3600 even  have a serial port?   It's a big enough 
hassle trying to get USB-to-serial dongles to work properly on "real" 
PCs, let alone on pocket devices if it doesn't. 

5)  Does the iPaq have built-in WiFi connectivity (or Ethernet)  that 
you will need in order to connect to your router?  If not, you will have 
to decide whether you want to plug a GPS receiver or a WiFi interface 
(one or the other -- not both) into the single compact flash slot on the 
iPaq.    (I assume that like most Pocket PCs, the device has a single CF 
slot. )

Overall, I doubt if it is worth trying to use the Pocket PC in a fixed 
station with Internet connectivity. 

If the thing does have a serial port, it might make sense to use it,  
running APRSce, connected to a Kenwood TH-D7 or D700 since the Kenwoods 
resolve the problem of only one serial port.  (You plug the GPS into a 
dedicated serial port on the Kenwoods.    Local GPS data, along with 
received  packet data, is then echoed out a  second serial port on the 
Kenwood to the attached computer.  You only need one serial port on the PC.

 (I have a registered copy of APRSce, and have actually operated it on 
an HP Jornada Pocket PC,  along with a TH-D7 and Garmin ForeTrex 201 
wrist-wearable GPS receiver as the ultimate man-portable APRS mobile 
installation. )

Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at) aol.com
EchoLink Node:      14400    [Think bottom of the 2M band]
Home Page:          http://wa8lmf.com

"APRS 101"  Explanation of APRS Path Selection & Digipeating

Updated APRS Symbol Chart

New/Updated "Rev G" APRS     http://webs.lanset.com/wa8lmf/aprs
Symbols Set for UI-View,
UIpoint and APRSplus:

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