January, 2011
The APRS Adventure Begins...

After receiving a TH-D7A from a friend during the winter of 2010-11, I thought I would dabble with a little bit of APRS.  I purchased a Byonics GPS2 along with the D7 power adapter and started tracking myself (well, you guys track me.  I usually know where I am... ;-D).

Byonics GPS2 for TH-D7A
The D7 works well for driving around town where there is good APRS coverage, but it was very sketchy in the rural areas.  I had a FT-8800R, and I decided to sell it and purchase the new Yaesu dual band model, the FTM-350AR.  APRS is a breeze on the 350, especially with the internal FGPS-1 installed.  Here is a picture of the installation:

FTM-350AR Head on dash

Radio under pass. seat

Station listing

 Here are the current SSIDs that I run:

KD8KSN-7:     TH-D7A HT
KD8KSN-9:     FTM-350AR Mobile
KD8KSN-12:   APRSIS on laptop
KD8KSN-1:     My digi (see blog on digipeater setup) 

Useful APRS links:

APRS Homepage:  http://www.aprs.org/    
Real Time ARPS Tracking:  http://aprs.fi/

APRS Digipeater Installation
January, 2011

After I received the TH-D7A and got into APRS, I began to notice a void in the APRS network in my area.  In all of Licking County, Ohio, there were a total of 3 digipeaters, in a 688 square mile county.  The terrain is very rolling/mountainous (we call anything over 1,000 ft a mountain) which doesn't help.  Along with my good friend and elmer, KB8TZE, we installed a digi on my 1,100ft hill - I mean - mountain.  Equipment is a Kenwood TM-271 w/ 25w output, Kantronics Packet Communicator 3 Plus (KPC3+) TNC, a Jetstream PSU, a Diamond F22A ground plane 6.7db antenna, and the setup also has a battery backup. 

Stage #1 - Jan 19
I began ground breaking yesterday (1/18), and dug the hole for the 4x4 (pic #3) and the trench (pic #2) for the Bury Flex 400 coax (direct bury and very low loss). The coax runs about 50ft. to an outbuilding (pic #1), and the box with the radio, TNC and PSU will be inside. You can see a couple pictures below of the digging.

Pic #1
Pic #2

Stage #2 - Jan 20

The Diamond antenna went up today (1/20), and the receive capabilities were amazing on top of the hill! The coax is laid (pic #1), antenna up (pic #2&3), now the fun part - hook everything up! I am waiting on the radio to get here, so it may be a couple weeks before it is all ready to go.

Pic #1
Pic #2
Pic #3

 Stage #3 - Jan 28

Here are a few pics of the radio, TNC and PSU all hooked up and ready to go. Just a few minor hookups and it should be on the air!

Kenwood TM-271
Radio, TNC, PSU in box, battery for backup power behind.  The PSU keeps the battery at full charge via the current limiting posts on the back of the PSU.
Jetstream PSU, TM-271, KPC3+ TNC