[aprssig] What is APRS, really?

Michael Barnes barnmichael at gmail.com
Sun Oct 25 18:30:03 EDT 2020

A couple of "Way back..." APRS examples.
Around 2000 or so, a local business acquired a bunch of OTS ham TNCs
(forgot make) that had built-in APRS functions. He installed them in his
delivery trucks connected to his business-band commercial radios as
trackers. With a TNC connected to the base station in his office, he had a
map displaying the instant location of all his delivery trucks. This was at
a fraction of the cost of commercially available vehicle tracking products
available at that time.

Around 1999, I met a commercial OTR truck driver on 146.52 coming across
New Mexico. We met up at a rest area and he showed me his APRS setup. He
had a custom control head that showed his position and beacons from other
APRS stations. It was a small box with a dot-matrix type display of about
six lines. He had a set of status buttons that beaconed driving, out of
truck, and a few other canned messages. It also had a small thermal printer
that could print out messages. He said his wife (Technician licensee) could
send him a message and it would bounce around through digipeaters and print
out in his truck. He said he had it all hooked to a computer at home his
wife could look at any time and see exactly where he was at.

I am still hoping to get my APRS system fully functional with similar quick
status buttons and other easy features in my vehicles. I already have my
base configured with a large display showing only local RF based data
24/7.  All the fancy Internet sourced fluff  (airplanes, boats, non-ham
weather, etc.) is of little interest to me in this particular application.

Michael WA7SKG

On Thu, Oct 22, 2020 at 5:09 PM Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:

> Someone asked me for a quick summary of APRS and I had no answer.
> There is so much written it is a tidal wave not just a firehose.
> But I did point him to this page which I wrote years ago as a summary
> of what most people simply overlook in APRS.
> http://aprs.org/APRS-tactical.html
> It is a good thing to revnew now and the.  Speaking of firehoses.
> I just counted and I have about 450 web pages of info on APRS
> and now energy choices that even I cannot remember most of them.
> I once had a site map, but it has not been updated in a decade and only
> points to only 104 pages of the 450 pages.  Maybe I need to find the time
> to update it.
> http://aprs.org/sitemap.html
> Sorry
> If you find anything that is totally obsolete, please let me  know.
> Bob, WB4APR
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