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  #21  
Old 02-15-2008, 01:49 PM
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Four things I like about this over the Spot besides that it's cheaper:

1. You can control when the reports go out. With the Spot they are hard-wired to 10 minutes. And that's only with the more expensive subscription. It's not nearly often enough to make a track out of it when you're cruising at 170 knots. The reports are 30 miles apart!

2. This thing can be built in to the plane and attached to ship's power. Hook it up to something that's always on and you can pretty much forget about it. The Spot needs batteries and you have to turn it on/off and find a place in the cockpit where it can see the sky (i.e. the glareshield).

3. You can share your track with other people. So far Spot hasn't implemented that yet, although it has been promised.

4. Altitude.

This list started out as only 2 items. Hmmm. I might be going this route and selling my Spot.
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  #22  
Old 02-15-2008, 02:03 PM
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petehowell petehowell is offline
 
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Location: MN
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Default Brian Wizards

The brain wizards that came up with APRS also provided for something called "smart beaconing". It senses when you are turning from GPS data and sends out a position report. You control the turn parameters that trigger the position report to fire. That is how it tracks the turns well on the web interface.

It really is pretty cool stuff, tailored nicely to what we want to use it for.

Geeky Coolness here:

http://www.hamhud.net/hh2/smartbeacon.html
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Pete

Amateur Plane - RV-9A N789PH - 2050+ Hrs
Amateur Radio - KD0CVN
Doggies Delivered - 25+
St. Paul, MN
  #23  
Old 02-15-2008, 03:23 PM
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Default Geeky Coolness

Speaking of Geeky Coolness, APRS was written by Bob Bruninga at the Naval Academy. There are around 20,000 APRS users on the air at any one time, and not all for vehicle tracking. There are real issues with frequency saturation in some areas of the US. If you want more technical info, try these two sites:

http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/aprs.html

http://www.frars.org.uk/cgi-bin/render.pl?pageid=1212
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Noah F, RV-7A

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous menů for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. -T.E. Lawrence
  #24  
Old 02-15-2008, 05:26 PM
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Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petehowell View Post
The brain wizards that came up with APRS also provided for something called "smart beaconing". It senses when you are turning from GPS data and sends out a position report. You control the turn parameters that trigger the position report to fire. That is how it tracks the turns well on the web interface.

It really is pretty cool stuff, tailored nicely to what we want to use it for.
In case some are wondering about the Technician license needed to operate an APRS rig, I bought the Gorden West tech study guide last evening and read it all the way through. There is an exam pool of 392 multiple choice questions, all of which are word for word in the study guide. Today I took three sample tests online and scored 90 or above on all of them (passing grade is 74). This is no proof of any particular prowess on my part, just an indication that many aircraft builders already have a decent grip on a lot of the information needed to pass the exam. The exam is a selection of 35 questions from the pool.

I'm looking forward to getting the ticket and putting an APRS rig in my RV-6.
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  #25  
Old 02-15-2008, 05:54 PM
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I concur Sam, anybody with the fortitude to build an RV can get their No Code Tech License without too much trouble. "No Code" means no morse code, it's not required anymore.

I'll tell you this, if Steve Fossett had had one of these on his aircraft beaconing every minute, he wouldn't be missing today...
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Noah F, RV-7A

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous menů for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. -T.E. Lawrence
  #26  
Old 02-15-2008, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah View Post
I concur Sam, anybody with the fortitude to build an RV can get their No Code Tech License without too much trouble. "No Code" means no morse code, it's not required anymore.

I'll tell you this, if Steve Fossett had had one of these on his aircraft beaconing every minute, he wouldn't be missing today...
I just saw on the news that Steve Fossett has been declared dead.
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  #27  
Old 02-15-2008, 06:34 PM
PaigeHoffart PaigeHoffart is offline
 
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Default APRS isn't perfect

I hate to be a kill-joy but...

I did a little experiment with APRS during a trip from North Dakota to LOE. I got about three hits that eventually made it to the internet. If there isn't a ground station anywhere near you, it doesn't do much good.

Frequency congestion isn't your friend either. There's a very good chance that your data packet will be stepped on by someone else in a congested area. If everyone transmits more frequently to get through, it just gets worse.

There are a couple of amateur satellites in low earth orbit that can relay APRS packets, but unless you're at the north or south pole, you're only going to see one a couple of times a day.

Paige
RV-8A
  #28  
Old 02-15-2008, 08:06 PM
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Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaigeHoffart View Post
I hate to be a kill-joy but...

I did a little experiment with APRS during a trip from North Dakota to LOE. I got about three hits that eventually made it to the internet. If there isn't a ground station anywhere near you, it doesn't do much good.

Frequency congestion isn't your friend either. There's a very good chance that your data packet will be stepped on by someone else in a congested area. If everyone transmits more frequently to get through, it just gets worse.

There are a couple of amateur satellites in low earth orbit that can relay APRS packets, but unless you're at the north or south pole, you're only going to see one a couple of times a day.

Paige
RV-8A
Guess that's why it's called "Amateur Radio".

Some of the reading I've done suggested that congestion and coverage can be a problem in some areas, but the technology is so promising I think I'm gonna try it. Time will tell..........

If I can get good results within a 100 miles of the home 'drone, that will cover most of my flying. I'll feel better launching with no destination in mind if I know the spouse can look at the monitor and have a good idea of where to send the search party. Just a two or three county area would be really difficult to work with if nobody knew which direction we were headed.
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  #29  
Old 02-15-2008, 09:13 PM
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You got it, Sam. It's never intended to be a replacement for an ELT or PLB. It's simply there for fun. Just some of the data is actually helpful besides fun.

My kit should be here soon.

Phil - N5QCN
  #30  
Old 02-15-2008, 10:58 PM
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petehowell petehowell is offline
 
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Default North Dakota

Hi Paige,

I wondered about the Dakotas. When we flew over to go to Montana last year, there is a whole lot of nothing but beautiful land out there. We might need to fund some remote digipeaters......

We get what we pay for. I've got good Coverage in Minne and on the way to both grandmas - that is 90% of my flying.

Maybe a better antenna or a few more watts would get the signal out? I'm still learning - it is fun.

I plan to launch at 10:30 tomorrow CT for some chili at Aitkin. Let me know if anybody watches.
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Pete

Amateur Plane - RV-9A N789PH - 2050+ Hrs
Amateur Radio - KD0CVN
Doggies Delivered - 25+
St. Paul, MN

Last edited by petehowell : 02-17-2008 at 10:20 PM.
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