Posts Tagged ‘Rigblaster NOMIC’

APRS will be back soon

October 1, 2015

Actually it never left…

You might remember that over the years I have “dabbled” in APRS.  I have used it in the Amateur Balloon Events way back in 2008 and before then with CASARA (Search and Rescue)back in 2005/2006.

The rig of choice back then was a laptop that was running Windows XP along with UI View APRS Software and the AGWPE Packet engine.



This along with a Yaesu FT 2400 2m mobile radio and a rigblaster NOMIC interface did the trick.

Along with a power supply and a copper J pole this was the APRS setup that I used for years whenever a balloon flight needed to be tracked or CASARA had an exercise….

VX8GRLater on after I got my Yaesu VX8GR I started carrying it with me on SOTA events and on occasional road trips so Liz could track me while I was away…  It also functioned as an APRS I Gate when there was a need for a fill in in the APRS network locally.Well over the years the need for APRS declined.  My knees were not strong enough for SOTA anymore, the Amateur Balloon Group were no longer active and CASARA had chosen to follow a different communications path….  The VX8GR was sold at a hamfest and the collection of wires, and components that made up my home APRS station along with my FT 2400 got shuffled off to a box in the basement.

Now a few operators are starting to use APRS for their Canadian Island Activating and so my interest has once again been growing…  I looked through the basement and found the whole station sitting in the box in the basement….  That is the whole station without the XP Laptop which died a noble death a few years ago…

However I did have a Netbook that runs XP still kicking around and so after downloading the software (AGWPE and UI View) and trying to remember how I configured it so many years ago….


VA3QV re appeared on the APRS Network over RF…

Its not up full time yet as I have to get a dedicated antenna outside for it.  I have the antenna and the coax…  Its just doing the install.  Right now it shares the antenna with my Yaesu FT 7800 which I use for the local repeaters…


So whats with the sudden APRS Revival?

You might remember that recently I mentioned about the new Yaesu Fusion Repeaters that are springing up all over the place?


Well all those Fusion handheld and mobile units also do APRS right out of the box.  Built in software and built in GPS.  I am expecting that these new radios will add to the interest in not only Digital Voice but also APRS.

Its in my best interest to show the APRS Network in  a positive light and add to the beacons a newbie can see when they are looking at getting their new gear on the air.

As I replace my current 2m/70cm FM only rigs I will be doing it with the new Yaesu Fusion radios.  Not rushing out to do it… but when my Handheld FT60 needs replacing it will be replaced by the Yaesu FT1DR handheld and when I buy a mobile rig for the new camper it will be the Yaesu FTM100DR.  Till then my FT7800 will serve me fine.

Thanks to Radioworld for the links to show you the gear.  Over the years I have been a happy customer and don’t mind saying nice things about them.  As long as I stay happy… I keep saying nice things….


This will be a relearning process for me… stay tuned to see how much or how little I can remember



Revisiting ECHOLINK

December 26, 2010

As a few of you know back in 2006 for a few months I sponsored the ECHOLINK Node VA3QV-L which was operating on the VE3TWO (Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club) Repeater Frequency of 147.300 (+).  The idea of the node was to see how many people would use it to link back into our Club Repeater and say HI to us while they were out of town.

It was a fairly simple setup consisting of a Rigblaster Nomic interface, a Yaesu FT2400 2m mobile radio along with a simple JPOLE antenna (10 foot mast) and a power supply strong enough to run the radio at the 5w setting.  The computer was an old desktop that was strong enought to run whatever version of windows that it had on it along with the ECHOLINK Software…


Its main purpose was to see if there was the interest in such a service and if there was then the Club would set things up and run it themselves.

I ran the Node for about 4 months and then the Club took over the project which let me use the same equipment without the ECHOLINK Software as an APRS station once I had configured the AGWPE and UI View to work with the Rigblaster interface and the desktop.  This carried on for years until I replaced the Desktop with the Dell Laptop I am still using as the shack computer now…



As you know the Dell although its getting tired has been operating on APRS as VA3QV for a few years now and doing great…  With the arrival of my new Android Smart Phone (as it has an ECHOLINK APP) I decided to get my old ECHOLINK Node of VA3QV-L back up and running just incase the need ever came up that I would want to link into my node from my Droid or from my Netbook using my Internet Stick.


Right now the link radio is set up on 146.550 while I do the testing but its not on unless I am sitting there watching it while I am trying to get the configuration correct.

So far I am pleased by my attempts.  I have been able to get the software to key up the radio and even more importantly able to off key the radio.  From the Droid to the computer to a vhf handie being used as a monitor the audio levels seem to be fairly good.  From the vhf handie to the computer to the droid the audio levels seem to be be a bit high and so far I have not been able to get them set correctly yet.  Lowering the audio levels at the sound card and also lowering the volume on the radio has not seemed to fix it yet.  Its only a matter of time till everything gets set up right


I wish I could remember how I did this 7 years ago…  Perhaps it will come to me…

More on how this works out…