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:
- APRS net--this link has a realtime
APRS reporting system that shows all of the APRS stations that are in use
What you need
- 2 meter mobile or handheld radio--although the mobile is considered better suited
- packet modem
- GPS receiver
- laptop computer
- APRS software
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
- realtime location indication
- fox hunting applications (so you can see exactly where your cohorts are)
- emergency net uses (for location, as well)
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