Automatic Position Reporting Over HF Radio

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Whereas most of us carry cell telephones which have GPS and different location providers, they require a major quantity of infrastructure to be helpful. Drive from Washington to Alaska like [Lonney] did some time again, the place that infrastructure is basically nonexistent, and also you’ll have to provide you with another options to let family and friends know the place you might be.

A software known as the Automated Packet Reporting System (APRS) is pretty strong within the very excessive frequency (VHF) a part of the newbie radio spectrum, however this resolution nonetheless depends on a not-insignificant quantity of infrastructure for the restricted distances concerned with VHF. [Lonney] adapted a few other tools to get APRS up and running in the HF range, letting his buddies preserve tabs on him even from essentially the most distant areas.

The construct depends on a second piece of software program known as JS8Call which is a text-based mode that enables radio operators to speak “keyboard to keyboard”. It has numerous fascinating options past this primary performance although, together with message forwarding. The software program in [Lonney]’s construct permits a small laptop geared up with a GPS receiver to assemble its location data, compose a quick message in JS8Call, after which ship it to the APRS community within the excessive frequency (HF) portion of the spectrum which helps a lot additional communications distances than VHF usually permits.

The construct goes a little bit past the performance of widely-available radio software program, although. He’s additionally written scripts that automate a number of the difficult elements of coping with a automotive and getting radios set up in one for a road trip, together with computerized startup and shutdown. Initially this was constructed with a Raspberry Pi however he’s since switched to a laptop computer. He’s additionally completed some testing on numerous bands and located the 40-meter band to be the very best compromise between exercise and vary, with greater than sufficient of every to make the lengthy journey once more.

For these unfamiliar with JS8Call, we’ve touched on it briefly with a number of builds like this digital HF SDR transceiver which helps the protocol, however the brief story is that it’s constructed on one other software known as FT8 which was initially designed for fast contacts utilizing weak indicators. JS8Call primarily expands the performance of this fairly revolutionary method of radio operation.

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