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!