Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kenwood TM-D700 digipeating my Yaesu VX-8

While I'm very happy with my new Yaesu VX-8, I have noticed that even with an antenna better than the OEM, I rarely get my APRS signal into the local digipeaters. Well, today, that problem got solved. I set my truck's Kenwood TM-D700 to digipeat the VX-8 and it worked perfectly. Yes, I had a little path duplication that is now taken care of, but now the signal flow nicely. Of course, the purists will see a runner going quite faster than humans can, but with today's weather (rain and wet snow), I simply used it from inside the truck.

I now have a working system for SAR or other purposes where my VX-8 signal is digipeated by my truck and can be picked up by my Kenwood TH-D7ag/Garmin CSx at base etc. I can even leave the D7 on its charging stand and not worry about batteries going down.

The next step? Connecting the D7 to my laptop.

I've also noticed that I prefer having the GPS affixed to my radio and not use the remote mike. The package is much more compact without the dangling mike, with the GPS in a place where sooner or later it will get banged hard. In addition, APRS needs to be supervised to look for messages, etc., so I have to look at the display anyhow. For now my VX-8 is configured as in the second picture.

So what can you learn about me through APRS? Well below is a Google map you can access through the links of this blog. It will not always be the same map, depending on where I went and if I turned the system on. But here it is. You may notice that the lines do not do right on the roads. This is simply because they join points taken at two minutes interval, if there was reception and do not show exactly where my truck went. Being a Google map, you can also flick it to the satellite picture, well the real think, not the screen dump I put here.

And finally, you can see the data, mainly the last coordinates, the date and time, first and last heard and the location details.

Try it, either on this blog or on my website.