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AdventureTaco - turbodb's build and adventures

Discussion in '1st Gen. Builds (1995-2004)' started by turbodb, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Nov 10, 2017 at 9:55 PM
    #261
    Blackdawg

    Blackdawg Dr. Frankenstein

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    So can you get aprs Droid on your Android head unit?
     
  2. Nov 10, 2017 at 10:33 PM
    #262
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it's a fully functioning Android OS and APRSDroid is installed on it - as backup. While I thought I'd use the head unit for navigation when I first got it, it turns out to be too low in the dash for quick-style-navigation-glances (getting oriented, etc.) so I use the head unit mostly for music, bluetooth (phone, podcasts), DashCommand, and Waze-style nav (traffic/flow monitoring). Additionally, the head unit powers off with the ignition, so it's a bit of a pain if the ham radio and TNC are still on, but APRSDroid is off.

    So, my primary use of APRSDroid has been and will continue to be on the tablet, which I've always used for navigation - primarily because it's better positioned at the top of the dash. Plus, like the TNC, it's "always on" as long as it's charged. And, since my usage of APRSDroid is generally via Back Country Navigator, it's a natural place to run it. Oh, and I recently built a custom "cradle" for it so it sits slightly lower now - it doesn't block the windshield at all from a normal driving position!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
    Crom likes this.
  3. Nov 10, 2017 at 10:49 PM
    #263
    Blackdawg

    Blackdawg Dr. Frankenstein

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    Cool. Good to know. My dad has been thinking about getting one for his aprs. Much easier to in a 2nd gen
     
  4. Nov 10, 2017 at 10:55 PM
    #264
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yah, will be much better positioned on a second gen. The one thing to be aware of is that it's not quite the same size as a US double-din. It's a few millimeters wider and taller (they all have dimensions on their web sites). So he should be sure to measure to make sure it'll fit. I had to file a little bit of plastic on mine.
     
  5. Nov 10, 2017 at 10:59 PM
    #265
    Blackdawg

    Blackdawg Dr. Frankenstein

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    If there's one thing we aren't afraid of..it cutting something to fit lol
     
    jubei and turbodb [OP] like this.
  6. Nov 11, 2017 at 4:18 PM
    #266
    Explor

    Explor Don’t take the trip ... let the trip take you

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    TRD valve stem caps , A Chimney & Back up camera. , Cooper STMaxx 255/80/17, SCS Dark Bronze wheels, , bed matt, weathertech floor liners and bug deflector , flyzeyez dash and glove box light , Best Top supertop, Brute Force Sliders , Bumpers ,KC back up lights, vent shades, tinting, superwinch 9.5 , Factor 55 winch thimble , KC ditch lights , BAMF IFS skid plates , Tepui Ruggedized RTT , Awning , Bed light kit , Hood Struts , Camburg UCAs ,Bud built gas skid , all pro differential skid , cbi jerry can holder , 15lb CO2 Tank , URD short shift , Defined engineering shackle bolt crossmember, Clazzio seat covers , 4:56 Nitro gears , ARB rear locker, CMKA12 compressor. Super Bump Stops, Bushwacker Flares , CBI bed rack , king resi front 700# , OME Dakar, Bilstein 6100's 10" light bar diode dynamics , AV monster fogs , TC bed reinforcement brackets , TC spindle gussets w swaybar Yeasue Ham , cb
    I've been checking your post here turbodb and must say it's helping me get started in aprs. Very nice write up !

    I'm wondering what tablet you use ?
    I have a windows based laptop for programming my radio and wondering if I can use that ?
    Monte helped a bit awhile back , telling me I needed a TNC , but ham outlet told me I don't because my Yeasue FTM 400 dxr has everything I need for aprs ?
    I'm very new to ham (1 year) and I'm confused as heck as to what I need and don't need. Still going through growing pains , and don't have anyone around to help. Heck I went to a ham fest last year and asked around about aprs , people looked at me like I had two heads !

    Basicly im trying to get aprs , maps, navigation , pretty much what you guys are doing.
    The next step will be learning about sending and receiving messages , but for now just maps and users location.
     
  7. Nov 11, 2017 at 5:25 PM
    #267
    Digiratus

    Digiratus Adventurer

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    APRS is cool.

    We all use Android based devices, tablets and phones. They are readily available and relatively inexpensive. It is also convenient that there are Android apps available for these devices that manages the APRS and the GPS navigation stuff.

    IIRC, there is Windows based software available for APRS so you may be able to use your Windows tablet instead of an Android device for that. As for navigation, does your Windows tablet have GPS capability? It will have to have that to be able to run a navigation app on it.
     
    turbodb [OP] likes this.
  8. Nov 11, 2017 at 5:49 PM
    #268
    Explor

    Explor Don’t take the trip ... let the trip take you

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    I don't have a tablet .... yet , I just have a windows based laptop Mike
     
  9. Nov 11, 2017 at 6:10 PM
    #269
    Digiratus

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    Yes, I was responding you saying you wanted to use that Windows device.
     
  10. Nov 11, 2017 at 8:38 PM
    #270
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Welcome! Let me start by saying that I'm no expert - but I'm happy to tell you the little bit that I know :)...

    Easy question first: What tablet do I use?
    I use a Nexus 7 (because I had one laying around; it was free).

    There are better tablets to use. Mine only has 16GB of storage, and no SD card. For offline maps, you want a lot of storage, so I recommend something that's cheap, but with a micro SD card slot.

    The only requirement is that it can communicate with the TNC via Bluetooth (if you're using a Mobilinkd, the only TNC I have experience with). That really means that it needs to be Android or Windows based (iOS doesn't support the necessary protocols over BT). I prefer Android since there are apps that work well on it (APRSDroid, Back Country Navigator). Windows should work too though, since it has APRSISCE/32.

    Whew, even the easy question had a complicated answer.

    What is APRS, and what's needed to "do it"?
    OK, before I mention how to get APRS setup with maps/nav, it's important to realize that APRS and maps/nav are seperate things. You don't need maps/nav to "do APRS," and "doing APRS" doesn't get you maps/nav. Think of APRS info as data that can be overlaid on a map - just like an address, or GPS track might be overlaid on a map. Also - APRS does more than just position beaconing - it allows you to send/receive messages and data - but let's stick with the position stuff for now.

    To "do APRS" via your ham radio you need three things:
    1. A GPS - APRS is about reporting your position, and so you need a GPS to get the lat/long coordinates of your current position
    2. A TNC - You need to convert the lat/long coordinates into sounds (tones) that get sent over the ham radio, and to convert the sounds you receive from others back into lat/long coordinates that your device can display. The TNC does these conversions for you (it's a modem).
    3. A Ham radio - Needed of course to send out the tones that the TNC generates to other ham radios/repeaters/iGates, etc.

      ---
    4. Optionally, you can have a 4th thing - a map application that understands APRS data - where you can display the GPS/APRS information
    These four things connect like this (either as seperate devices or internally in a single device)

    [​IMG]

    Can I "do APRS" with just my ham radio (in this case an FTM-400XDR)?
    Yes. But it may not be as useful as if you also run some mapping app that understands APRS.

    Now, you're Yaesu FTM-400XDR has all three of the required things built into it - there's a GPS and TNC inside the control head, and of course it is a ham radio :). That's why Ham Outlet said you can "do APRS" with just your radio. Essentially, the picture becomes this:

    [​IMG]

    The inclusion of the GPS and TNC is unlike most mobile ham radios, which require an external TNC and GPS - which is why Monte said you need a TNC. So, if what you want to do is send positional beacon information so that people can track you on http://aprs.fi, then all you need to do is configure your radio and you're set. I don't know how to configure your radio since I don't have one - but it looks like there's an entire manual (in addition to the normal manual) about how to do it. Of course, I can give you detailed instructions if you want to send me a 400XDR so I can figure it out! :)

    The thing is, if you "do APRS" via just your radio, then you're limited to displaying that information in the way your radio displays it - which is on the control unit (likely as a list of beacons you've received, and your distance/direction to them) - as opposed to overlaid on a map. That's why we generally all use external TNCs and GPSs - because those allow us to do the map overlay.

    How do I get the APRS data overlayed on a map?
    As I mentioned, APRS data is (for the sake of this post) just position information from a GPS displayed on a map. So, that means you need a few things:
    1. APRS data for both your position and the position of others (think of this as GPS data)
    2. Offline map software that also knows how to consume the APRS data and overlay it on the map
    Now, Yaesu, Kenwood, and the ham radio manufacturers generally want you to use their stuff, so it's not always easy to get the GPS/APRS data out of the radio (usually it's possible but it's so radio specific that you have to spend a lot of time in the guts). But, if you have an external TNC that can communicate with a device that has a built-in GPS, then things get "simpler" because you can use the ham radio as a "dumb transmitter" and do all the heavy lifting of APRS outside the radio. This is what we generally do. It makes the picture look like this:

    [​IMG]

    Getting this setup is what I covered in my previous post on my Kenwood D710G, using a Mobilinkd TNC and an Android tablet (Nexus 7 in my case, but any tablet will work) running APRSDroid. The configuration for a Yaesu 400XDR is similar since you turn off all of it's APRS functionality and just use it as a "dumb transmitter" (I'm sure, but I've never done it myself - again feel free to PM me if you want to send me one and I'll be more than happy to try it! :)).

    The tablet/laptop communicates GPS/position data to the Mobilinkd TNC via Bluetooth, which in turn communicates via a cable with the ham radio.

    Can you do maps on your Windows laptop?
    Yes, absolutely - but with caveats. To do it, you need to get an offline (assuming you go places without internet) APRS+map application that you can run on your laptop, and you need to be able to get your own GPS information (which usually means you'll need an external GPS that plugs into your laptop, since I've never seen a laptop with GPS). The only software I know of that can do offline APRS+map is APRSISCE/32. I've never used it, but there are a bunch of YouTube videos, and of course info on their site. Spend some time looking through it - you won't understand everything at the beginning, but it'll sink in over time.

    Lastly - a bit of soapbox :sorry:
    I think that there's a tendency to think about APRS or even just ham radios as "critical" - some thing that earns super-mega-expo-points. In my experience, that's not the case at all, and it's important to understand why you're doing it. If you regularly go out with others who have APRS capability, then it's a nice thing to have. In that case, you should emulate their setup, so that you can help each other troubleshoot/share parts/etc. - it's just another thing on your rig which you should think of as community property when you're out exploring. If you don't regularly go out with others who have APRS, then you should really think about why you want it. There are good reasons to have it - safety reasons even, but it's not necessary (there are other ways to overcome the safety reasons that are both safer and easier - e.g. a Garmin InReach)

    Much more important IMO is having offline maps and GPS, which you can get working super easily on a cheap Android tablet with Back Country Navigator - I've explored for 18 years in my Tacoma, and that was by far the single biggest improvement in my experience. Being able to have a satalite map (vs. paper maps or just "directions") available offline, and even a pre-run GPS track telling you where to go - that's 1000x more valuable than APRS.

    ---

    Hope that all helps. For me, the ah-ha moment in understanding it all was realizing that I could think of the TNC like an old dial-up modem. All it does is convert digital<>analog, and send that converted data either to the ham radio for transmission or to the APRS+maps application for display.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  11. Nov 11, 2017 at 9:30 PM
    #271
    Digiratus

    Digiratus Adventurer

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    This write-up is your best yet. Nicely done. :thumbsup:
     
    Explor and turbodb [OP] like this.
  12. Nov 11, 2017 at 10:14 PM
    #272
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! :cheers:

    I've always found myself in an interesting position when writing about truck stuff. On the one hand, my usual audience (family and friends) want something light, fun and filled with pictures. On the other hand, I love details, data, and "how + why" (perhaps not surprising given my professional background). It was definitely nice being able to write the later in this post! :)
     
  13. Nov 12, 2017 at 3:33 PM
    #273
    Explor

    Explor Don’t take the trip ... let the trip take you

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    Wow ! Wow ! Wow !
    Great write up , this is the most useful help I have ever recieved.
    I feel indebted that you were willing to spend the time on the write up.
    Thank You so Much !!

    This will get me going and keep me busy learning for awhile now. Definitely going to have to absorb and implement, as I've always been an iOS user .

    In Debt-full Gratitude , John :)
     
  14. Nov 12, 2017 at 4:06 PM
    #274
    Explor

    Explor Don’t take the trip ... let the trip take you

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    "Lastly a bit of soap box"

    In reference to the soap or the box ? this was a very Helpful side note.
    Iam by no means looking for Expo points , at my age I have plenty :)
    I started out with Garmin InReach for safety reasons , but , anyone I could send messages to can't help me. I've always been interested in Ham but with a career, kids , etc. I never got around to it. I retired a couple years ago and now have time. Monte , Mike , m3bassman and the crew picked my interest again. I got my license , partipate in nets now and then , learned the basics figured out problems etc. Ham is a bit boring ...IMO...except for when I have others using it on the trail. I also see it helping me by having the ability to call out for help in non life threatening situations and just the interest of learning something new.
    That little soap box was as much a help as the rest of the post !
    The whole write up gives me a clearer direction in which to move forward.
    My brain is defiantly much more clear as you have put the carts , horses and supply's in proper order for me :thumbsup:
     
  15. Nov 12, 2017 at 6:41 PM
    #275
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] Well-Known Member

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    No problem, I enjoyed writing it!

    Sounds great, glad this part was helpful too! Good luck with the APRS - I've still got a lot to explore in the space (like SMSLTE), but it's a fun rathole when you have the time! :)
     
  16. Nov 13, 2017 at 1:22 PM
    #276
    Crom

    Crom Outside

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    Nice use of diagrams to visually represent the various configurations for APRS. :thumbsup:
     
  17. Nov 16, 2017 at 7:09 PM
    #277
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I originally made just the first diagram, and then wrote everything else. It was a lucky happenstance that I realized at some point that a couple more boxes would really help to "draw the picture" as it were.
     
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  18. Nov 17, 2017 at 6:39 AM
    #278
    cynicalrider

    cynicalrider #NFG

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    Curious to why anyone you send messages to can't help you with the inReach? The inReach lets you send messages and coordinates to anyone you need in a non life threatening situation and SOS let's you get SARS in life threatening emergencies.
     
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  19. Nov 19, 2017 at 10:24 AM
    #279
    Explor

    Explor Don’t take the trip ... let the trip take you

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Member:
    #110853
    Messages:
    1,156
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    John
    Northampton County Pa.
    Vehicle:
    FUN
    TRD valve stem caps , A Chimney & Back up camera. , Cooper STMaxx 255/80/17, SCS Dark Bronze wheels, , bed matt, weathertech floor liners and bug deflector , flyzeyez dash and glove box light , Best Top supertop, Brute Force Sliders , Bumpers ,KC back up lights, vent shades, tinting, superwinch 9.5 , Factor 55 winch thimble , KC ditch lights , BAMF IFS skid plates , Tepui Ruggedized RTT , Awning , Bed light kit , Hood Struts , Camburg UCAs ,Bud built gas skid , all pro differential skid , cbi jerry can holder , 15lb CO2 Tank , URD short shift , Defined engineering shackle bolt crossmember, Clazzio seat covers , 4:56 Nitro gears , ARB rear locker, CMKA12 compressor. Super Bump Stops, Bushwacker Flares , CBI bed rack , king resi front 700# , OME Dakar, Bilstein 6100's 10" light bar diode dynamics , AV monster fogs , TC bed reinforcement brackets , TC spindle gussets w swaybar Yeasue Ham , cb
    ^^^
    Say I'm a 1000 miles from home , camping in the back country .
    Sometime in the middle of the night an angry critter chews my gas line apart to get a drink .... I wake up and smell gasoline.... I'm out of fuel !
    I can text my wife or my buddy Moe back home using the InReach for sure , but a comforting return text from them wishing me good luck is not going to be helpful. Ham , aprs can put me in touch with other hams in the area.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  20. Nov 20, 2017 at 1:44 PM
    #280
    Glenn_R

    Glenn_R The Unicorn Turd Gen

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2016
    Member:
    #201874
    Messages:
    960
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Glenn
    Vehicle:
    17 Tacoma DCSB OR Inferno
    Here is something interesting I found with the TM-D710G. I purchased the echo-link cable PG-5G to see if I could get the APRS waypoint data to the Ipad using APRS Pro and it worked. You need the cable above and a y splitter like this to connect to the tablets. The cable is connected to the data terminal. Then go into radio menu, select AUX #930 Int Data Band and change it to the same band you are using for APRS TCN. Don't change anything else. Then I just selected RX via audio in/Mic in APRS Pro. Turned everything else off; Cel and wifi so the only thing going to the Ipad was the radio connection and the waypoints are updated and displayed on the Ipad in APRS Pro.

    I do not have APRSDROID and would like to know if this works on it. APRS Pro doesn't support off line maps and I would like to see if this works prior to buying a droid tablet. I have an extra cable as they come as 2 each. Anyone want to try this and I will send them the cable?
     

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