[amsat-bb] A frugal approach to portable space APRS ops
framirezferrer at gmail.com
Thu Jun 23 03:24:02 UTC 2016
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been "experimenting” by using an Icom IC-2820h, an Elk Antenna, a Mobilinkd Bluetooth TNC and APRSDroid on my phone, to work the International Space Station digipeater (and PSat). I am happy to report that it works! I have made several contacts, some that have provided me with new grid squares.
Besides the radio, the rest of the setup can be a budget friendly alternative to $500+ APRS-ready equipment. The Mobillinkd TNC, plus cables, can be obtained for less than $100 dollars. I prefer the Icom transceiver due to local RF sources that overwhelm the front end of cheap Chinese handheld radios. I am positive that better handheld devices will work just fine. The TNC is connected to the radio via the audio or data port and connects to the Android device via Bluetooth. The 2820h uses a DIN6 connector cable, compatible with other radios such as the Yaesu FT-817 and 857.
APRSDroid acts as the main interface and has features that you will find on an APRS radio. Just enter the correct path and you will be able to work terrestrial and space APRS.
The TNC can also be connected to your Bluetooth capable computer (dongles will work). I tried it with UISS and AGWPE and it worked perfectly.
Today, I was able to work a simultaneous ISS and PSAT pass and heard packets from both spacecrafts. I saw messages from stations from Canada to Mexico and worked WD9EWK in Phoenix, 259 km north of my QTH. I also heard double-hop packets from K5UBQ in Texas and XE2OCM in Monterrey, Mexico.
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