Saturday, December 31, 2016

Oklahoma is Number 25.


On RepeaterBook, Oklahoma is listed as the 25th most active States.  That's a nice figure.  Looking at the list, one can realize there are other places that are less active.   

That said, please make it a plan to keep your local resource information current at Repeaterbook and Rfinder?  

During the Auxiliary Communications course, Homeland Security announced that the Oklahoma Field Operations Guide hoped to include amateur radio information when it is updated.  OHS is aware of these two resources and will mention them in the OKFOG.  

Also, please consider becoming an administrator for RepeaterBook.  Many hands make light work.  If the site becomes more active, more folks may be needed to keep the data current. 



Repeaterbook is hosting about 3.5 million visitors a month now. For the US 
admins, I thought you might be interested in where the activity is:
 
Most Active US States

State Hits Visitors Bandwidth (KB)
1 California 283,387 12,973 2,541,373
2 Texas 176,298 6,044 1,374,954
3 Virginia 65,809 5,969 655,768
4 New York 93,454 3,960 865,665
5 Washington 88,569 3,707 885,676
6 New Jersey 57,909 3,623 556,058
7 Florida 99,973 3,437 880,983
8 Pennsylvania 103,968 3,022 855,654
9 Ohio 93,425 2,999 883,121
10 North Carolina 78,077 2,903 846,175
11 Oregon 76,978 2,610 747,170
12 Michigan 52,421 2,224 580,197
13 Arizona 50,309 2,208 501,431
14 Illinois 56,887 2,101 555,377
15 Georgia 53,148 2,012 550,270
16 Missouri 35,049 1,995 355,457
17 Tennessee 59,276 1,703 540,028
18 Delaware 12,819 1,664 116,691
19 Massachusetts 25,165 1,415 279,231
20 Colorado 53,115 1,412 428,605
21 Indiana 32,862 1,289 353,799
22 Wisconsin 29,259 996 307,716
23 Alabama 22,472 978 266,850
24 Maryland 30,704 942 298,811
25 Oklahoma 23,922 901 254,946
26 South Carolina 25,019 889 250,921
27 Minnesota 31,206 858 273,062
28 Nevada 15,333 824 164,354
29 Kentucky 22,403 799 252,997
30 Utah 17,170 790 177,685
31 Connecticut 14,275 756 134,669
32 Iowa 12,810 740 143,477
33 Louisiana 24,830 652 191,777
34 Kansas 24,554 613 211,943
35 Arkansas 17,992 587 203,085
36 West Virginia 17,272 525 159,836
37 New Mexico 10,375 513 110,976
38 Idaho 13,974 468 147,551
39 Mississippi 12,861 352 129,939
40 Maine 7,035 308 84,309
41 Nebraska 18,459 298 115,289
42 New Hampshire 7,668 283 88,622
43 Hawaii 4,061 176 46,860
44 Montana 5,787 171 50,327
45 District of Columbia 5,788 169 47,003
46 Vermont 2,419 118 28,758
47 Rhode Island 3,247 104 40,891
48 Wyoming 3,309 86 36,647
49 North Dakota 2,974 84 33,196
50 Alaska 2,131 81 26,169
51 South Dakota 2,878 78 31,930
Total 2,081,085 84,409 19,664,304

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Here's help for participating in the Oklahoma Automatic Packet Reporting System Net

What’s APRS ?

APRS is a computer-assisted (digital) mode of amateur radio communication.
Accuracy is one advantage of this digital mode.
Without the correct software (which is trivial to get) the information is unintelligible to the casual listener.

What is an APRS net?

The OKAPRS net occurs from 1300 to 1400 CT on the 2nd Saturday afternoon of every month.  The purpose of the net is to test APRS stations and operating practices.  In the most basic form, amateurs check-in to the net by sending a brief APRS message to the net controller.  More seasoned operators are welcome to join the OKAPRS group on ANSRVR and exchange items of interest to area hams.

http://www.aprs.org/aprs.html
Participants with TNCs or Soundcard-based TNC emulation software (UZ7HO and the like) can use their PCs and radios.  Others can check in with PCs / tablets with Internet access.  There are also APRS apps for popular smartphones.

A particular advantage of APRS compared to other digital modes is that communications are usually backed up in the APRS-IS system of servers.  Websites such as findu.com and aprs.fi can help you easily mine those records to assemble a log of a particular net.

How can I participate?

We’d love to have you join us any way you can.
STEP 0: Get familiar with the system by exploring the web links for findu.com and aprs.fi
STEP 1: For your first check-in, use the web tools mentioned above!
STEP 2: Next time, consider checking in from your iPhone or portable device.  You’ll need an Internet connection of course.
STEP 3: After a few months, you’ve caught the bug.  Try APRSIS32 software on a PC with Internet.
STEP 4: You’ve added a rig interface and a VHF radio to APRSIS32.  You’re truly “on the air”.
APRS stations that include a radio are the most resilient and useful in a time of emergency.

This guide is a living document.  Let me know if you have questions, comments or concerns…
kd5njr@gmail.com
Who is the Net Controller?
The Net Controller is typically KD5NJR.  He’d mostly likely be operating from his desktop portable APRS station (not handheld) with the callsign KD5NJR-6.  He’d use other rigs for backup and monitoring purposes; so don’t be alarmed to see a -7 or -8 out there too.  To double check, look for an APRS bulletin referring to the net coming from the NCO station.  Or look for a pre-net message.  That’ll probably be sent from the NCO.  See what station it is coming from.  You can also look for an APRS object referring to the net control operator.  He might identify himself !  See more about objects and messages later on.
Part 1 :
Instructions for the Net Controller
For ease of operations, the NCO probably wants to use a minimum of a laptop computer setup with Internet connectivity to the APRS network.  A radio connection is strongly encouraged.

For best results, the NCO should be able to easily hit an APRS digipeater on low power to make your battery last the duration of the net.  

I’d also suggest having a TX/RX digipeater (ex: AE5ME) within a couple hops of your QTH.
Having Internet connectivity at your QTH will allow you to see the APRS activity via the IGATES on your web browser (aprs.fi or similar) as a backup.  In particular, you’ll see the users with just APRS software.  This is a good thing if your nearby IGATE is not set to transmit and is configured “RF in to Internet “only.

Ask your IGATE’s trustee to upgrade from UIVIEW to APRSIS32 and enable “INET->RF”
Since the “audience” may be using a small screen like on a HT or flip phone, (see photos later on) you’ll want to keep transmissions short.  The focus of the net (with the exception of the portion on the ANSRVR chat group) should be around brief equipment tests.  They’ll check in.  You’ll acknowledge them.  Call for more checkins.  Repeat.  Close the net.
Pre-Net activities
Bulletins
http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/bulletins
Bulletins are recurring reminders.  
Think “Net SAT @ 1300”

Objects
http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/createobject
Objects are things like repeaters, Field Day sites, Bike Race water stops, etc.
http://www.aprs.org/hamfest.html
http://www.aprs.org/localinfo.html
The OKAPRS NCO could be an object.  Make it so!
Messages
http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/menu:messages
http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/doc:aprs-messaging-explained

QST Net Begins Shortly
Send a few messages similar to the above to QST or ALL or CQ.
I’m not sure what best practice here is.  QST and ALL seem to work on my FT-1 Radio.
I’d send messages sparingly.

Net activities
Net Preamble
something easy: “Reply to check into OKAPRS net.”
Joining the ‘chat group’ on ANSRVR
http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/doc:ansrvr
http://www.aprs.org/cqsrvr.html
send a message(s) to ANSRVR:
J OKAPRS
CQ OKAPRS QST de kd5njr, taking checkins for net.
CQ OKAPRS QST de kd5njr, taking checkins for net.
CQ OKAPRS QST de kd5njr, closing net.  73.
U OKAPRS
Also add to the log folks that chat in the ANSRVR group.
Running the net
Several times during the hour solicit check-ins using messages. Add them to your log.
kd5njr taking checkins for net.
kf5tvg tnx for checkin.  Ur in log.
Short and sweet!  Take notes so you can form a log.
Closing the Net
Send a message closing the net.
kd5njr, closing net.  73.
Do the same over on the OKAPRS group.
Part 2 :
Instructions for participating in the net…
A brief explanation of APRS:
http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/doc:aprs-messaging-explained

I have been using RF with a path of wide1-1, wide2-2 so that I can hit an igate.
To rely LESS on the IGATES, I have not been checking ‘BEST’ but instead choosing RF when possible.
(show screen shot)

http://www.aprs.org/aprs11/SSIDs.txt
May I suggest you communicate to others that you’re a computer using the -10 SSID ?
For smartphones, Bob WB4APR seems to suggest -5.
For my ’72 I’m using -7 and -9 for my FT-1.
Scott’s “net control” setup:
(seen at the TRO meeting , November 2016) : http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?call=kd5njr-6
Scott’s TH-D72 HT : http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?call=kd5njr-7
Scott’s Yaesu FT-1 : http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?call=kd5njr-9
He was at the Broken Arrow Christmas Parade.
Via the Web
the two most popular web sites for viewing the APRS-IS database are www.aprs.fi and www.findu.com .
( Aprs.fi is newer and perhaps a little more pretty.)
Findu.com certainly gets the job done.  It’s got a little simpler layout.
--Eventually I’ll have links and photos for both websites.
Findu.com is unique in its facility to SEND APRS messages.
Note: Your message’s recipient, if using ONLY a radio for his APRS setup, will have to be in range of a 2-WAY (bi-directional or TX/RX IGATE for best results) Otherwise, you maybe not receive back ACK of your messages.

Viewing Objects
Let’s say we think Scott is the net controller.
What interesting is going on around him ?
Is he sending any bulletins or objects ?
Try the link : http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?call=KD5NJR-9

Since Scott is at the parade, he isn’t sending a NET TODAY bulletin.
The APRS NET bulletin is coming from Jeff.  It matches the LAT/LON of his AE5ME-10 station.

Viewing Bulletins
TBD

Reading Messages
Edit this hyperlink below  to reflect the callsign and SSID of the net controller.
http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/msg.cgi?call=kd5njr-6

Cut ‘n paste into your favorite web browser and you should see the recent activity to/from that particular station.
You’ll need to periodically ‘refresh’ your browser.
You’re “receiving the net “ !!!

Sending Messages
Edit this hyperlink to reflect the callsign and SSID of the net controller.
http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/entermsg.cgi?fromcall=KC5SHE-6 &tocall=KD5NJR-6
Cut ‘n paste into your favorite web browser and you should see the recent activity to/from that particular station.
Check-in into the net!
Write them back (check in) with something like this:


NOTE: similar functionality is available on APRS.fi  See later on in this document.
http://www.aprs.fi
http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/doc:aprs-viewing-via-the-internet
You can try it out, but it’s pretty disorganized.  
Sorted by time.
And not really by topic.

Via a Smartphone App
I’ve found that www.aprs.fi works pretty well on the iPad.
But there is an APRS.fi app as well.  The app doesn’t really help you send messages or view them, but it can turn your phone into an APRS tracker.
Apple iPhone users may investigate iBCNU or another program in the App Store.
http://www.aprs.org/aprs-messaging.html
But that screen is awfully small to be tapping stuff on the map and otherwise navigating around.


Viewing Objects
TBD
Viewing Bulletins
TBD
Reading Messages
TBD
Sending Messages
TBD
ANSRVR
TBD
Via an APRS-enabled HT
While not the low-cost option, this method uses a lower overall number of “parts” and uses the Internet to lesser extent than other methods.  After all, it’s amateur radio.

Kenwood TH-D72
http://www.ssiarc.ca/TH-D72A_Notes.php
http://www.kenwood.com/i/products/info/amateur/pdf/TH-D72AE_IDM.pdf
(maybe you can get a steal of a deal on a used TH-D7 you can sure send messages with that one too)
Yaesu FT-1 series
http://ve3ugg.com/2015/03/ft1dr-aprs-messaging/
(watch for sales)

Viewing Objects
[F]+[0] is your friend.
Viewing Bulletins
TBD
Reading Messages

You can see that brevity is important.

Sending Messages
I need some more practice on the FT1.  I think I keep looking for the hyphen when entering the callsign / SSID.

ANSRVR
If you don’t mind the initial set up of subscribing to the group and typing the extra CQ OKAPRS (or finding an old message to edit that already has it ) ANSRVR is a more graceful way communicate in bulk.  It’s preferable to QST or ALL as those methods will activate a lot of radios depending on your path.

Participation via APRSIS32
This is probably the best way to fly.
APRSIS32 is still under development / support and has an active user community.
APRSIS32 can be configured to use the Internet and/or a radio setup.
(Some consideration should be paid to how you set the RF vs. IP tickboxes on the message composition screen.)
For initial setup help, refer to G4ILO’s YouTube video.
When it comes to setting your path, see this : http://www.aprs.org/APRS-docs/APRS.TXT

When possible, I try to use APRSIS32 to participate in the net.
(My backup plan is the use the TH-D72 to send messages because I’m pretty fast in those menus.)
Viewing Bulletins
I didn’t take a picture, but see link below.
I’d think the VIEW option would be appropriate.
http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/bulletins

Sending Messages
TBD
http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/menu:messages
Use the white TX box underneath the gray receive box.
Remember to experiment with the BEST or RF tickbox.
Don’t forget to press SEND.
  1. Address your messages to ANSRVR
  2. Join the group.  In the first message make the body J OKAPRS
  3. Send a message to the group.  CQ OKAPRS test test test
  4. Each additional message much start with CQ OKAPRS or ANSRVR doesn’t know how to route.
  5. Unjoin when the net concludes with U OKAPRS


Participation via SMSGTE gateway
http://smsgte.wixsite.com/smsgte
one can even use APRS with a simple “burner phone.”
But to configure the system, you must make some initial tests over RF.

Viewing Bulletins
TBD – I don’t think that feature is implemented in SMSGTE
Reading Messages
http://smsgte.wixsite.com/smsgte/userguide

ANSRVR
It could be unwieldy to use SMSGTE this way.
You’d get a flood of messages potentially.

Thanks to Scott Haley, KD5NJR for this information.

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