Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where's Eric?

I recently investigated CB radios for use on an upcoming Jeep Jamboree. On the forums I saw some folks also using ham radios. This looked interesting, so I studied for and obtained an amateur radio license, and got a Yaesu VX-8GR 144/430 MHz handheld. This handheld also has a GPS, and supports APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System). With APRS enabled the radio will regularly broadcast its current position and status to nearby APRS enabled receivers.

My last reported position and status is available mapped at

While the web display is similar to position displays enabled via smart phones, it differs in fundamental ways. APRS is peer-to-peer over radio, so each station is communicating directly with other nearby stations. Each handheld is able to directly generate and display the list of nearby stations, without using internet connectivity. This means a group of APRS users outside cell range can operate independently.