Thursday, July 17, 2008

Publish Hamfests with APRS (updated)

Come on APRS!

Surely we can put HAMFEST objects on the map to help alert and remind our fellow hams of such important upcoming events! I just checked, and not a single HFEST is showing. There is one HAMFEST object, but it is in New Zealand!

Please use this format for the name of your HAMFEST object:


Use the "\h" symbol which is a bright red object...

This not only makes them stand out on the map, but also includes the DATE (dd) in the object name to make it clear this is a future object. The "x" on the end makes it unique so that FINDU
can find them all:*

For details of this format, see the LOCAL INFO page about 30% down the slider:

It's the season, lets show what APRS can do...



APRS EVENTS application for generating this info... Thanks to Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf


The application, APRS Events, is available from M0CYP's UI-View add-on pages

It actually doesn't depend on UI-View or it's settings at all. It is a standalone application that uses the AGW Packet Engine as an interface to access one or more TNCs. You specify a callsign and path completely independently of UI-View.

Currently at my station, AGWpe is arbitrating access to both the HF and VHF ports of a classic original KAM, and access to a second KPC3+. It allows 4 copies of UI-View, UI-Traffic Monitor, UI-Network Analysis and APRS Events to access/share both TNCs.

APRS Events is controlled by a text file "APRSevents.csv" that contains lines like these (these are single lines that may wrap in email):

#2008-07-11 15:05:00#,#2008-07-12 10:00:00#,"Inland Empire ARC Swapmeeet 8AM Sat - Cable Airport in Upland",28

#2008-07-21 15:05:00#,#2008-07-22 21:00:00#,"Pasadena ARC Meeting 7:00 PM Tuesday at Kaiser in Pasadena",28

#2008-07-25 15:05:00#,#2008-07-26 10:00:00#,"TRW Swapmeet Saturday 8:00 AM Manhattan Beach",28

The final set of digits is the repetition rate in minutes. I purposely set the rep rate slightly faster than 30 minutes so that if my "half-hourly" beacons happened to coincide with someone else's, the beacons would gradually drift out of phase over time.
The application has a fill-in template to add events, but the user interface is so clumsy and erratic when it comes to editing existing events that I find it easier to edit the .CSV file directly outside of UI Events. (On most Windows systems with MS Office installed, double-clicking the APRSevents.csv file makes it open in an Excel spreadsheet where it is neatly columnated and easy to edit. )

The application is hardwired to transmit in bulletin format. (I wish it could transmit objects as well -- perhaps in a future revision it will). It stores it's own path and originating callsign independent of any other application using AGWpe.

I have set a single-hop path using the actual callsign of a single digipeater (N6EX-1) that covers the area of interest (the San Gabriel Valley -- the area between 5 and 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles that includes Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, Arcadia, Monrovia, El Monte, etc). This avoids setting off 4 or 5 digipeaters all over the greater Los Angeles basin simultaneously with the generic WIDE2-2 path normally used around here.

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