This past Friday (October 31st) I ran an APRS test on a short road trip. Surprisingly I was only picked up once on the entire 200 mile round-trip. While on the road I did monitor 144.39MHz several times and always heard other APRS beacons being sent by other HAMs. My setup could possible be limiting my ability to hit remote digipeaters but at this time it’s all I have available. Here’s my setup:
– Baofeng UV-5R 5 watt Handheld
– Motorola Droid Pro running APRSDroid
– Standard audio cable
– Browning Dual-Band Mag-Mount Antenna (not shown)
The APRSDroid software is very cheap (less than $5) and works great. I’m running it on this old phone just to avoid using my primary phone or tablet. I would like to try this again with a 50 watt VHF mobile instead of the handheld but don’t currently have one available other than my main mobile radio. I really expected more APRS digipeaters here in the southeast considering our record with severe weather and how useful they could be to storm spotters and the NWS. The station shown below is the only one that picked up my beacon Friday, just outside of Rome Georgia.
Later on I’ll be setting up my own APRS digipeater and weather station to learn more about the other modes and advantages APRS can offer. I’ll be using the Tinytrak4 encoder along with a Garmin GPS cx60.