Just recently I have witnessed the interesting power of APRS. APRS stands for Automatic Packet Reporting System. APRS combines packet radio and GPS (Global Positioning System) so that at any given time, any person who has APRS capabilities can see exactly where you are. Basically, the APRS software accepts an input from the GPS receiver, converts the signal into location and then sends that location out in a series of packets over the airwaves. Without further adieu, follow this link to see what APRS looks like:

What you need

So why should I get into APRS?

Why not? APRS is something new to add to your already crowded shack. What are the practical applications, though? I mean, what should I tell my wife or significant other as a good excuse to get APRS? Well, here's the deal. APRS is not merely a novelty. It has several very good practical uses:

The list is by no means endless, but the amount of information that is passed just by knowing where someone is located is extremely valueable. It is much better to relay exact locations than descriptions. Furthermore, one does not have to actually get on the air to transmit those locations, so it is a silent method of transmitting location information.
Realistically, APRS is very useful only when there are others there to use the information. It really depends on the situation. That is, if you are the only ham around for many many many miles then it is probably useless, unless you just want to have another claim to ham fame.
Questions? Mail them to [email protected]

Last modified: 4/20/98