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Old 28-09-2007, 04:33   #16
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um, why do you want to allow other people to have the ability to track you?
I thought sailing was the last great freedom. Now were giving that up with paranoia about boat theft?

buy insurance and always be ready to walk away and find another boat.
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Old 28-09-2007, 10:30   #17
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Pat - reasonable question; I should be more clear about how I use APRS. It is entirely selective, and not on all the time. I have it in my truck and use it maybe 5-10% of the time I'm driving. Normally I see no reason to tell random unknown people that I'm not at home, or that I can be found at such-and-such a location.

When it *is* useful is when I'm on my way to someone's house and I want them to be able to time their activities to my arrival (I don't have a cell phone, mostly for privacy reasons). And occasionally, if I'm doing something public like a speaking tour, then it is interesting (less and less so in the truck, though).

The same will go for my boat; I keep a pretty public presence and often post track logs after the fact (there are some partway down the page over here). In most of those cases, it's just my own on-board non-broadcasting GPS datalogger as there is no reason to send real-time data. But if things get scary and I might be in trouble, then I turn on the tracker, and of course it has security value as well.

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 28-09-2007, 11:10   #18
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Steve, since you've got the real world experience with it...How much power have you needed to push a reliable APRS signal out on 10MHz? With what kind of range and coverage?
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Old 28-09-2007, 12:27   #19
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Hi...

It's not bad, and can use a dedicated rock-bound single-bander (or an old and otherwise retired rig; I'm dedicating the Icom 725 that used to be on my BEHEMOTH bicycle to this and some other automatic operations). The APRS hardware can be any of the tiny dedicated trackers (a few mA) and it's a simple matter to tweak the firmware to power-cycle the rig if the posit schedule is infrequent (as it should be). It is tempting to use a QRP rig (some very sweet and cheap ones out there now), but I would rather use low-duty-cycle and a more powerful transmitter for such a critical application, as there's no processing gain in this mode (unlike PSK 31 and other "sound card modes").

There's a good article here about boat tracking using HF APRS. Range is highly variable depending on propagation and antenna, but mid-ocean tracking is entirely reasonable with inexpensive hardware. The channel is busy, so many packets get lost (this is not closed-loop like normal packet radio), so you just leave it on and play the odds.

73,
Steve
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