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Thursday 25 April 2019

Preparation for Blackpool and testing my Bluetooth GPS receiver for APRS use

Today the car went in for two new front tyres ready for my trip out to Blackpool, I aim to set off about lunchtime with an aim to be there for at least 2 or 3pm, all I have left to do is pack my things, including HTs, their charger bases, the Jumbospot and any other charger I may need for phones and the camcorders,  I will check the battery levels of all the batteries tonight and charge those that need it.

Now as I have ordered a replacement tablet to replace my current Android one that I destroyed the digitiser on, if you’re a regular follower of my Twitter feed you’ll know about this already, I have found no where in the specs for the replacement unit that is has any kind of satellite positioning receiver, commonly this is GPS with the addition of GLONASS and sometimes others such as Gallileo, as I want to use this in the car plugged into my FTM-400XDE in a similar vain to a video by Dallas Clements K7DCC I do need GPS at a minimum, the FTM-400XDE does have this as standard but does not, that I know, push it down the data lead at the same time as the APRS information, the test was two things, one to ascertain the receiver was working and could receive, it appears to be fine, the second was a Windows 10 compatibility test, not completely compatible as the SPP is used in the device and would thus have to present itself as a COM port (in my shack computer’s case this appeared as COM14 (there is a COM13 as well for Bluetooth that I have seen on the shack computer), this was done as the tablet in question certainly appears to be a Windows 10 tablet and therefore the setup done, albeit a few years ago now, by K7DCC can be replicated with changes made to accommodate British use, the differences are as follows:

  • K7DCC uses a service called “freedom pop” to get the Internet to the tablet in his video, as that does not exist in the UK I will use my phone, with its 5GB data allowance, for APRS-IS at the tablet
  • The APRS frequency here is 144.800MHz (this is a change I don’t need to make as my radio is set up for APRS already)
  • The FTM-400XD is XDR in the US, it’s the same radio just configured for a different market, in the case of K7DCC he uses the older FTM-400D model

The tablet I ordered has a micro-USB and a USB-C port, the latter doubles as the charger connector so the tablet can be kept powered in the car, I will be ordering a mount at the end of May shortly after I get paid.

After it goes live in the car it will be tested on some journeys.

Also hope to see you at Blackpool this coming Sunday

73 de 2E0EIJ

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