In the world of APRS, WA8LMF is a legend. Stephen Smith is an internationally renown expert on this most creative application of packet radio on the amateur bands.
APRS is short for the Automatic Position Reporting System, developed over the last three decades by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR. Emanating at 144.39 MHz on the 2 meter band, it sound like a series of short data bursts fired back and forth between originating stations, digipeaters and devices connected to the Internet via one or more of the over 1500 I-Gates that are deployed around the world.
Hook up a GPS antenna to an APRS radio and you can let the world follow your travels, wherever you may go. Load an APRS application onto your smart phone and, not only can you transmit your location, you’ll also be able to see what other stations surround you.
There are both fixed and mobile stations in the APRS network. Some fire out weather information, others delineate where FM repeaters are located, many are integrated into mobile rigs, making it possible to see how far your best friend may be away from arriving for that face to face QSO at a local hamfest.
There is a robust network of APRS I-Gates in Michigan and soon we’ll have one installed at W8SH. Thanks to Stephen’s generosity a robust APRS station will soon be installed in the alcove near the roof of the Engineering Building, tracking received signals and creating up to the minute maps that we can easily view on any browser, anywhere.
At a recent open shack night, WA8LMF brought the installation over so we could test it. Naturally, it worked perfectly. We are scheduling a time when can give it full Internet connectivity and move it up into the alcove for full deployment.
Stand by for updates!