This month we will take a look at another version of APRS which runs under Windows 95/98. Up to this point, our discussion has been with the original version for DOS, which can run on a machine as simple as an 8088, as long as the computer has a color monitor. The advantage of the DOS version is that just about any old PC gathering dust can be pressed into service on this interesting mode.
WinAPRS is actually a rewritten version of MacAPRS for the Macintosh. (Mac users: most of this discussion also applies to you, but I write for the Windows users since there are many more of them!) All APRS flavors are compatible on the air with each other for the most part, and they also allow you to see APRS activity on the internet.
The advantage of WinAPRS is that it can run simultaneously with other
programs, such as your Dial-Up Networking routine. To have a look
at WinAPRS, you will need to get two files. For the program itself,
go to either:
...and look for WAPRS23x.ZIP. [As of June 2000, the current version is WAPRS246.ZIP]
To download detailed maps of every Wisconsin county, go to either:
...and look for the file WISCONSN.ZIP (note one "I" is missing in the file name). It's a large 21.8 MB file. You don't need this file to run APRS, but the detail in the maps makes it worth the effort.
[As of June 2000, neither of the above links were still active. Other Wisconsin maps can be found here.]
After you get the files, create an empty directory, and un-zip the WinAPRS file. Next go to the newly created MAPS directory and un-zip the WISCONSN.ZIP file. Finally, find the file APRSSERV.TXT, open it, and edit in a line at the end of the file as follows:
N9UUR.imc.mu.edu <tab> 14579 <tab> Milwaukee APRServe/N9UUR
Remember to use the TAB key instead of spaces between fields. This entry will allow you to tap into the Milwaukee APRS internet gateway if you have internet access.
Now you're ready to run WinAPRS. Start the program, click "OK"
once, then "OK" again if you're running a TNC, or "Cancel"
if you're going to connect to the internet. (Disclaimer: I have never
run WinAPRS on the air, only the internet. You're on your own on
2 meters!) You will now see a US map. If you're dialed into
the internet, select "Settings" and uncheck "Enable Sound",
then "Settings" again and "TCP/IP Connections", then "Milwaukee
APRServe/N9UUR". You should now begin to see icons plotting around
the Milwaukee area.
To zoom in on an area, go to "Maps" and select a new map. I made
a copy of my WISOUTH.MAP file from DosAPRS and moved it to the WinAPRS
maps directory to show southern Wisconsin.
Now let's choose the map for Milwaukee County. You can use the
mouse and Page Down to zoom in as shown here.
In this example, you can see four Milwaukee-area stations that are on the air on 2 meters and have made it through the N9UUR I-gate (internet gateway). I single-clicked on KB9RGD-9's car icon, and in the lower-left corner of the screen I can see that I have received 7 packets from that station. If you double-click a station icon, you will get more detailed information.
Since APRS is great at reporting weather statistics in near-real time,
WinAPRS allows you to see a page listing of just weather stations.
Click on "Lists" then "Weather Lists" to get a screen like this.
Clicking the title bars on these list pages sorts the data from all the stations. I clicked on the bar labeled "Day/Time" to sort the data from newest to oldest. You could also click the "rRain" column to see who had the most rain in the last hour or "pRain" for a sort of the last 24 hours' rainfall. Several different lists are available, such as a list of all stations received, or just mobiles running GPS trackers.
Check the help files for more detail on how to set up your specific brand of TNC for use on air, or how to send one-line messages to other stations (on the air or on the internet).
So who is on the air on APRS in Wisconsin anyway? I have a short
list of stations heard on 2 meters at my location in Madison. There
are many more, I'm sure, but they were not heard here. Recognize
N9MYK-7 WD9BBE N9IDH-4 N9IDH KA9VSZ N9MYK-9 N9UUR-10 KB9RGD N9LGD W9CWD N9UDO WX9MKX N9EAL-10 AE9A-10 N9UUR K9ABC-10 N9UNR N9UDO-15 N9MBG N9MKX-10 KB9RGD-9 N9PQJ
I hope you'll join the list soon. See you on 144.39!
More APRS information at: www.qsl.net/wj9h.
This article originally appeared in the October 1999
issue of Badger State Smoke Signals but
was updated 2000 June 14.
Copyright 1999, 2000, Thomas C. Weeden, WJ9H