My First Confirmed Contact via APRS Messaging

This morning on my drive to work I was listening to a conversation on the PAPA system via PAPA 22 which is on Pleasant’s Peak.  The PAPA system has many repeaters interlinked throughout California.  A ham operator was hiking up to Strawberry Peak to do a SOTA activation (W6/CT-018).  I don’t know which repeater he was using, but it probably wasn’t PAPA 22.  I’m thinking maybe he was on PAPA 4.  Anyway, when I got to work I thought I would see if he was tracking his location via APRS and found him as N6MKW-7.  …

Continue Reading →

How to Build an APRS iGate with RTL-SDR, SDR#, Direwolf and PinPoint APRS for Windows

If you’ve been researching how to build an APRS iGate, surely you’ve seen quite a few articles on setting up a Raspberry PI or other Linux-based solution.  But what if you don’t have a Raspberry PI laying around?  What if you’re not a Linux geek?  Well, this is your simple Windows-based solution.  I’ll first provide the parts list and then get into the details.

Item Needed Description Source
Base Station Antenna and Cabling For receiving APRS audio Local HAM shop, Home Depot, Internet
RTL-SDR USB Dongle For connecting the antenna to the computer Internet (Amazon)
AIRSPY SDR# Your software defined

Continue Reading →

Mt Pinos W6-CC-002 SOTA

Last weekend, Julie (KN6AOC) and I hiked up to the Mt Pinos summit, W6/CC-002 at sunset and made some contacts on VHF FM 146.520.   Although our phones were indicating 5G coverage on Verizon there, we had no data service and couldn’t spot ourselves.  And also unfortunately, none of our contacts had any previous experience with SOTA’s and didn’t know how to spot us.  But despite those limitations, we made 5 contacts before the sun passed below the horizon and before our walk down under the stars.  

For the voice contacts, I brought my Yaesu FT-60 handheld, an Ed Fong DBJ-2

Continue Reading →