[aprssig] Kenwood APRS Display Paradigm Shift

Bob Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Mon May 23 11:26:19 EDT 2011

The new D710 Firmware was available at Dayton!

This release represents a PARADIGM SHIFT in the display of APRS data on
mobile radios.  What they added were two instant-awareness features:  1) an
INTERRUPT ALWAYS mode. And 2) a display of your OWN path each time you are
digipeated so you can not only see that you got out, but by what digipeater.
These are invaluable to the real time situational awareness of the mobile

When INTERRUPT ALWAYS is set, every packet heard now flashes its data on the
screen for a few seconds so that the APRS junkie is continuously aware of
what is going on around him.  He does not have to use any hands to see the
APRS situation...  It was a joy riding back from Dayton and seeing
everything going on in the areas I passed through.

The reason this is a paradigm shift, is because all Kenwood radios going
back to 1998 would only flash the data on the screen the FIRST time that
station was heard, and from then on, it would only flash the callsign and
"DP" meaning duplicate packet.  Basically, unless you were watching the
screen all the time and were memorizing in your head everything going on,
you basically did not have the tactical picture unless you used your hands
and SCROLLED down the entire station list periodically.

I never realized how debilitating this was because I live in the middle of
the highest density APRS activity in the world (Wash/Baltimore area).  In
any such high density area and with all the older radios only having a list
depth of 40 stations, the 300+ stations on the air would quickly cycle down
the full list, and a few minutes later, if a station beaconed again, he
would be off the list and so now he was a NEW station again, and his data
was FLASHED on the screen again.  In otherwords, I got to see plenty of
fresh info and did not realize what I was not seeing.

BUT!!!  If you lived in a small town area where there were fewer than 40
APRS stations EVER, then you would only see your local APRS stations flash
on the screen ONCE and never again!!!  This is because only NEW data
flashes, not any copy of old data, even if it was yesterday.

This problem was therefore not noticed by most heavy APRS users until the
D710 came out with a depth of 100 stations in the station list.  Then I
began to see even this effect in the Baltimore area.  All I would see would
be "DP W3AXY" meaning it was a duplicate packet that I had heard sometime
before maybe even days ago, and so it would not flash the info!  ARGH!

For the APRS junkie that wants to be immediately informed on everything
going on in ham radio around him, that is on the air (what is in those
packets???) then this had to be fixed.  SO now it is.  Now you can see
EVRTYHING the instant it comes in.  This is how the add-on text displays on
the Tinytracker and other trackers have been working for a while.

The only down side is when you want to use the radio for actual radio and
the screen is being interrupted so much, it is hard to see what you are
doing.  This is easily solved by momentarily just hitting the CALL button on
the A side of the radio to QSY off the national channel for a few moments of
peace while you play radio.

I love it!


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