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Old 01-13-2014, 04:44 PM
LettersFromFlyoverCountry's Avatar
LettersFromFlyoverCountry LettersFromFlyoverCountry is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: St. Paul, MN.
Posts: 4,722
Default Starting with APRS -- dummy side up

I've had an APRS antenna hanging around three different hangars for at least six years now. Pete Howell sent it along on the day I gave his wife and son a tour of Minnesota Public Radio. At the time, I believe, journalism was a possibility for the lad, who was still in high school. Last time I checked, he's in college now and, hopefully, the Howells successfully beat (metaphorically, of course) the idea of a career out of his head. No matter, I ended up with an APRS antenna anyway.

Then about two years ago, following the excellent instructions from Sam Buchanan, I ordered this gizmo, which has sat unused in that time.

I move slowly, though. Last summer when N614EF was down for the annual, I ran the power cable out to the wingtip, but you need a Ham Radio Technicians license to use one of these things and I didn't have one. So the wire dangles. Stupidly, I didn't run a data line from the GPS 296 connection at the same time. No matter, it's almost time for another annual.

I passed the ham test a week ago, and, so the next step was pulling out all the stuff I've accumulated for this project over the years. Ruh Roh. I didn't have any instructions and several of the online guides either aren't setting up the way I am, or have broken picture links, which kind of critical.

So I faced the usual dilemma that people building airplanes and APRS systems have: Where do I start?

What I want to do is pretty simple. I'll run ship power out to the wing tip. I'll bring a data feed from the Garmin 296 (I told you: I move slow), I'll ground it locally, and I've got the swell antenna the Howell clan made for me.

So far so good.

What isn't clear is how all of this will connect to this system. There is a DSUB connector (female) that comes with the Byonics kit, but I don't seem to have any instructions beyond that. I'm hoping someone has a nice picture somewhere that shows a nice closeup of how this interfaces with the kit itself. I assume wires are soldered -- somewhere -- on the unit to an assigned pin on the DSUB. But it's unclear to me where and how. Then there's the matter of programming this thing for my callsign; KD0YSO. I think Sam has put up a sticky on that though it's still not clear how I get the serial cable to interface with the unit itself. All in good time, I guess.

And, oh yeah, it feels good to be a clueless builder again.

It's just like falling off a bike!
Bob Collins
St. Paul, MN.
Blog: Letters From Flyover Country
RV-12iS finishing kit (stalled for winter)

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Last edited by LettersFromFlyoverCountry : 01-13-2014 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 01-13-2014, 05:16 PM
Kahuna's Avatar
Kahuna Kahuna is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Gold Hill, NC25
Posts: 2,385

Bob what you need is a diagram of the dsub connector.
You can find it here.

I did nt particularly like the way they wanted you to slide the ears of the dsub to the edge of the card to make contact with the card pins, so I soldered the wires I needed right onto the board locations. Made a pigtail of wires going to a simple molex connector. Since your not using their gps puck that has dsub, then this is a good solution.
You can see my soldered wires and molex here. Picture too large to post a link here. So go take a look.
6A, S8 ,
Facebook, Track Me
Gold Hill, NC25
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Old 01-13-2014, 05:21 PM
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petehowell petehowell is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: MN
Posts: 2,213
Default Bob's Wish....

Ryan still loves journalism, but had older friends who had crazy job offers with computer science degrees. He sold out to the man and will graduate next year from UW-Madison with a degree in bits and bytes.

A big thanks to Bob for allowing us all a peek into the his world in the newsroom. Those of us lucky enough to live in the Twin Cities get to read and listen to him on regular basis (we win!)

Bob - let's find a time and I can help you set that puppy up. It might be easier to steal power from the nav lights and I think I have an old puck GPS that can be purchased for a lunch at subway. That will save running a line out to the wing.

I have a cord for programming the unit with my PC.

Easy Peasy!

Amateur Plane - RV-9A N789PH - 2100+ Hrs
Amateur Radio - KD0CVN
Doggies Delivered - 25+
St. Paul, MN
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:36 PM
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humptybump humptybump is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia
Posts: 3,111

Bob, you are SOOO close! Kahuna's got you covered on the wire-up. Pete Clan antennas rock (I have two).

Pete, I succumb to the dart side (of bits and bytes) 22yrs ago. You'll be handful you have a son doing the dark work!

Also, bob, if you go with Pete's suggestion, it works "easy peezy". I stuck a tracker, a GPS puck, and Howell-er j-pole in my wingtip and run it off the nav light power.

You may want more power than the 300mw. The newer FA units are 10W (perhaps overkill but perhaps not)
- Glen, ESVA
RV-8 FP IFR | Track my RV-8 | 53VG
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:10 PM
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Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
been here awhile
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 3,910

Bob, congrats on the Tech license!

Your "legacy" 300mw tracker will work fine, many of us used them successfully. Get Pete to help you set everything up and you'll be ready to drop BB's before you know it.

There will be no hiding.....
Sam Buchanan
1999 RV-6
1918 Fokker D.VII replica
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:26 PM
VHS VHS is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Napa, CA
Posts: 293
Default MT--300

Hey, have you checked out what used MT-300's are selling for on E-bay? I bet you could double your money with a brand new in box unit, and we can set you up with an MT-400 or an RTG!

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