[aprssig] New VARA-HF Softmodem A Spectacular Improvement For HF APRS

Stephen H Smith WA8LMF2 at aol.com
Mon Jan 9 13:30:42 EST 2023

On 1/9/2023 12:30 PM, Eric H. Christensen wrote:
> ------- Original Message -------
> On Monday, January 9th, 2023 at 00:18, Stephen H Smith via aprssig<aprssig at lists.tapr.org>  wrote:
>> Over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of January , I conducted a road test comparing the performance of APRS over traditional HF 300-baud AX.25 packet vs APRS using the VARA modem on 60 meters. This was a 500-mile round-trip from central Michigan (East Lansing area) to west suburban Chicago and back. VARA was overwhelmingly superior - by least an order of magnitude!
> Are you planning on doing a comparison between VARA and PSK63 or MFSK16?
> 73,
> Eric WG3K

Yes,   I plan to try this on an upcoming road trip to the Traverse City 
Swapmeet on Feb 11.  This is about 150 miles / 240 Km to the northwest of my 
home location, so should be a good test of medium-distance NVIS propagation.

Before then, I need to re-jigger the serial-KISS to TCPIP-KISS connections on 
my main HF APRS webserver.

Currently, the KISS-over-IP port of FLdigi is being bridged to the 
KISS-over-serial port of UIview with a kludge of the open-source com0com 
utility combined with it's companion COM2TCP utility.

I am now replacing this setup with the comport tools in Eterlogic's VSPE 
(Virtual Serial Port Emulator). These freeware tools allow you to construct a 
variety of virtual COM port devices including null modems, one-to-many 
splitters (useful for sharing a GPS data stream to more than one application at 
a time), serial<-->IP bridges (both client and server TCPIP), and a unique 
device -- the "serial connector". The "connector" is like a virtual null-modem 
except that both ends have the SAME com number.
     This allows two serial-using applications to connect to talk to each other 
by both selecting, for example, "COM8" - thus conserving COM numbers in complex 
setups. Especially valuable for older legacy software like UIview (and many 
others) that only know the first 8 COM numbers.

VSPE has a complete GUI interface that lets you create, modify or destroy these 
various "widgets" without editing command lines, .ini files, or endlessly 
rebooting to make changes effective. You can save your multiple constructions 
into a " .VSPE " file that can reload your setup on demand with a single 

Finally, I have found that VSPE widgets are really  bullet-proof stable, and 
have far better error recovery that widgets built with com0com. With com0com, 
startup sequence of the various apps in my setup was critical.  With VSPE, you 
can start stuff in any order, and they just "take off and fly".

Download "VSPE" here:


The 32-bit version is free, and will work on 64-bit Windows systems.  The 
native 64-bit version (USD $25) contains Microsoft-signed drivers for Win 
7-8-10-11. This allows you to configure widgets as Windows system services that 
load at boot.


Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at) aol.com
Skype:        WA8LMF
EchoLink:  Node #  14400  [Think bottom of the 2-meter band]
Home Page: http://wa8lmf.net

-- APRS over FLdigi Modes  --

60-Meter APRS!   HF NVIS APRS Igate Now Operating

Flying Digipeater!

11 Copies of UIview in Action on One Computer!
Live Off-The-Air APRS Activity Maps

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