AMATEUR MODES OF OPERATION
APRS - Automatic Packet

Updated 15 Dec 2009, 0200 UTC

What is APRS?
What can APRS be used for?
APRS Facts and Myths by George Boyd, N4NIV
Links for APRS
Links for Live APRS Feeds
Latest APRS Software
APRS & the ISS
APRS Station Locator
APRS Documentation
Kingston and Area Maps
Maps - General
KARC Map Listing with thumbnails
Weather Stations
APRS Overlays
GEO and INF Files


What is APRS?

APRS - Automatic Packet Reporting System. Frequency: 144.390 MHz, 10.151 MHz LSB

Automatic Packet Reporting System originally developed by Bob Brunigar,WB4APR. APRS is trademarked by Bob Bruniga,WB4APR. MacAPRS and WinAPRS is trademarked by Mark,KB2ICI and Keith,WU2Z Sproul.

Bob Bruniga,WB4APR on his web page "APRS Tactical real-Time Operations" states:

"In the middle years as APRS grew in user size, it seemed to deminish evey year from its original intent as a tactical real time information resource and fast 2-way communications system to nothing but a vehicle tracking system in many people's eyes. Its time to re-open their eyes!

APRS is not about vehicle tracking. It is a single information resource channel where everything that is going on in ham radio in the surrounding area can be announced and updated in real time. It presents to the viewer on his APRS radio front panel all that is happening right now, where it is, and all the info he needs to participate whether it is an event, happening, net, activity, announcement, future activity, or situation. The APRS channel is his one-stop look at everything that could be going on in the local area, and his one-stop place to post what he might be doing that might be of interest to others. APRS is not about GPS positions, it is about a situational map display of everything that is happening, and most of that is OBJECTS containing INFO on the activty and how to contact other operators. 

APRS is not about dumb-one-way-trackers. APRS was designed for the manual and automatic entry and management of large numbers of on-screen objects that would be a major function of the display of local information. . Further, Bulletins and Announcements would keep everyone informed of the SAME information at the SAME time. . Operator Messages would communicate important information in the background without encumbering voice nets. See Messaging. And finally, that all mobiles would have simple displays to keep them in communicaitons and aware of their surroundings
."

See his web page "APRS Tactical real-Time Operations" for APRS misconnceptions.

APRS combines the use of Amateur Radio packet systems, Global Positioning Satellites (GPS), Weather stations, and the Internet to make use of real time physical location and weather information.

APRS information can be obtained through the Internet, via a receiver or scanner, or to transmit your information a transmitter is required. APRS Software is available for DOS, Windows, MAC, Linux, Java, Perl, Windows CE devices, and the Palm Pilot. Using your current packet program you can receive the packets from the APRS system, you will not have the maps etc, but you can see the callsign, latitude, longitude, position reports, messages, etc.

The basic equipment to use APRS on air is a computer , TNC, and a radio (scanner, receiver, or transceiver).

There are many Internet sites that have live feeds from the APRS system so that you can see what is going on in the world without having to use a radio/TNC combination.

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What can APRS be used for?

An APRS system can be utilized in many ways, from tracking a mobile station, sending messages to each other, radio direction finding, seeing if satellites are within your receive footprint, CANWARN and storm warnings, tracking weather statistics, and using this information for weather prediction/analysis, moving map general purpose navigation.

One of the uses proposed is during emergency communications to keep track of the stations that you have deployed for communications. You can create objects on the display that is sent out via APRS, ie you can mark on your APRS map a station location, even if that station itself is not set up for APRS - great for event communication coordination and control.

You can use APRS for general navigation HOWEVER, be aware, depending on how the maps were created and accuracy of those maps and data, your position can be off. Case in point, one of our local Amateurs entered his Lat Long using a topographical map and GPS coordinates, and when plotted on some maps within APRS placed his house on the wrong side of a major highway, on the wrong side of a river and even out in Lake Ontario!! - watch out for that sand bar! Seriously though, it is accurate enough for most needs. GPS units are now very accurate themselves since the United States turned off Selective Addressing at 12:04 am EDT 2 May 2000. (SA - used to add a random error to the plotted position).

If you are running a mobile APRS station, with or without a radio, under WinAPRS, you can have the map scroll, as you travel, great for your right seat/back seat Navigator(s) when you're taking those scenic trips!!

WinAPRS supports the Baycom modem and sound card use through the use of SV2AGW's AGWPE

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Links for APRS
Maps, software, documentation, weather stations, almost live feeds

G0VRM's introduction into APRS
Joe Mahaffey &   Jack Yaezels GPS info page - excellent web site for info and links on GPS and GPS related questions
Tiny Trak - APRS tracker interface by Byon Garrabrant, N6BG
Tuscon Amateur Packet Radio (TAPR)
Bob Bruninga, WB4APR's APRS Web Site
Ottawa Region APRS Group - (June 2009 - Map downloads not working!)
KC7JR's Techmobile
G4IDE's UI-View (UI-View free registration) and download site: Roger Barker passed away on 9 Sept 2004 from cancer and UI-View registration is now free through several Amateurs looking after registrations.  Roger asked that you make a voluntary donation to your local Cancer Society in lieu of paying a registration fee. Roger's website for UI-View.
Jeff, N8NOE - Yahoo Group For Mac/WinAPRS

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Links for Live APRS Feeds
(some delay due to internet traffic, etc)

APRS Stations in the Kingston Ontario area using OpenAPRS-Google Maps
OpenAPRS - customizable
Google Maps APRS - customizable
Realtime Satellite Orbits using OpenAPRS-Google Maps
Stations digipeating through the International Space Station (ISS) - Steve K4HG
Locate Kingston/Quinte area APRS stations or other APRS stations by callsign - last reported position with maps, check weather conditions, area APRS activity.
Near real time APRS in the US - Java APRS Site


Latest APRS Software
(Right click and 'Save Target As' for those marked as Download)

DOS APRS version 
WinAPRS 
Xastir for Linux - (X Amateur Station Tracking and Information Reporting)
MacAPRS 
G4IDE's UI-View
APRSPlus
APRSPoint
APRS/CE
SV2AGW's AGWPE Sound card use

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APRS Documentation

George, N4NIV's articles on APRS Operation (N4NIV QTH was Belleville for a while)
The Automatic Position Reporting System, Compiled from a series of articles by Arte Booten, N2ZRC - (Very good reading especially for DOS and KAMs)


Kingston and Area Maps
Maps that are good for the Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and area.

KARC APRS Maps listing


Maps - General

KARC APRS Maps listing
TAPR's DOS APRS Maps


Weather Stations

Check weather conditions at APRS weather station locations.
Peet Brothers Ultimeter


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