Sunday, December 2, 2012

New EMail Reflector for NWAPRS

Update 12/6/2012 - The list of email addresses has been collected and invites will be be sent starting today. There is a large number of participants and it remains to be seen how Google handles a process like this.   Yahoo had a limit on the number of invites per day and we may seem something similar with Google.

There is no way to differentiate on the types of email addresses.  Some were digests and others were no-mail.  As a result everybody will be sent the same simple invitation and you can adjust your settings accordingly.

This new system should be more maintainable and with a richer selection of other tools.  It will keep us going as we build an even better portal.



We're tentatively going with the NWAPRS Google Groups forum as a replacement for the NWAPRSSIG mailing list.!forum/nwaprs

Members of the old list will be sent invites but you can sign up directly at any time.    As before, the Yahoo group will be used as a message archive.

Bill - WA7NWP

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

www.nwaprs update

Stay tuned.   The static website is back.  We have a link to the blog.   I'll upload a blog posting today with a summary of the 2012 Summer Gathering presentations.   Then over the next couple days we'll get the email and email list back on line.

In the future -- lets work towards a full cloud based wordpress portal for the community...

Bill - WA7NWP

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2012 Summer Gathering - Presentations - preliminary

Friday September 7th:

  • 5:00pm grill going – Cook something!

Saturday September 8th: 

  • 7:00am to 8:45 Breakfast hosted by the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club
  • 9:00am Introductions in the Pavilion including identifying any topic or issue anyone needs assistance with this weekend & Overview of Your 15th Annual Summer Gathering - Curt Black, WR5J
  • xx am  Packet Radio calling channel by Brian
  • HSMM-Mesh use by Bryan/KY9K
  • Microwave Amateur Radio network by Bart/AE7xx
  • Lunch - hambergers by Bryan/KY9K and many others
  • APRS-Messenger overview by Bill/WA7NWP
  • Low Cost Computing and Net-44 update by John/K7VE
  • Missed Subjects:
    • Other Packet in the NWAPRS region:
    • P9 (Packet Plan 9) update
  • Dinner
  • Bats by Curt/WU7J
  • Movie - Star Crash

Sunday Sept 9th:

  • Summer Gathering Review, Future Plans, making APRS Better
    • Brian ..  volunteered

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 Summer Gathering - Approximate Schedule

Friday September 7th: Objective: Socialize/Try Things Out/FUN!

Participants Arrive/ Demo Stations Setup on South Side of the Pavilion
3:00pm Free Beer for Trying Each New Digital Mode Chest Opens
5:00pm grill going – Cook something!

Saturday September 8th: Objective: Informative Talks with Time for Q&A/Discussion/Flexibility/FUN!

7:00am to 8:45 Breakfast hosted by the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club
9:00am Introductions in the Pavilion including identifying any topic or issue anyone needs assistance with this weekend & Overview of Your 15th Annual Summer Gathering - Curt Black, WR5J
9:30 Morning Technical Sessions (not to exceed 66% duty cycle - that is, we build in time for discussion and exploration)
12:00 LUNCH BREAK Social/Technical Demos and Discussion/
12:50pm Reconvene for GROUP PHOTO
1:00pm Afternoon Technical Sessions
5:00pm Open Discussion of APRS Applications and Hardware / Digital Radios Setups Demos

Dinner BREAK Dinner/Social/Technical Demos/Play Radio and Open Discussions

7:30pm Optional Talk – What Northwest Digital Hams Might Want to Know About Northwest Bats
8:30 – Movies and Popcorn – Buckaroo Banzai/Last Star Fighter/Who Killed the Electric Car? What Else?

Sunday, September 9th: Objective – Making APRS Better / Planning for Future Summer Gatherings / More Fun!

7:30am to 9:30 Breakfast hosted by the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club if you didn't eat it all on Saturday

Thanks and See you at the Summer Gathering near North Bend!

Curt Black

2012 Summer Gathering - Rules Of Engagement

YOU MUST HAVE A GOOD TIME – if at anytime you are not having a good time please find Curt Black – WR5J, – 206 755-4541c - and let him know what the issue is and we will work to fix you up

Please wear a name tag. Please meet your fellow participants. If you don't know someone, go find out what makes them tick. There is a treasure trove of interest and experience here –make sure you check it all out. If you are willing to act as a subject/topic resource, please put your interests/areas of expertise on your name tag.

This Year we would like to reserve the whole north side for presentations. Please don't set up equipment on the north side. Please set up demos and equipment on the south side tables only;

Please socialize anytime, but during presentations, please move conversations to the South Side with the Demos – we want everyone to be able to hear our brave presenters;

If you have a QUESTION you would like answered during the Gathering, please:

  1. write it out and put it on the Kiosk, and/or
  2. bring it up during the introductions, and/or
  3. grab any of the presenters or other participants anytime during the weekend.

Don't leave without getting help or setting up future help!

Please DONATE to Valley Camp to keep this beautiful venue available to us for events like this. The Mail Box for donations is on the railing of the main pavilion on the north side cleverly labeled, "Donations" We are hoping the day folks will help with $10, more if you are so moved, if you enjoyed the free breakfast, maybe add more and $25 for overnight stays – Thom and Teena and the SG Team Thank You!

2012 Summer Gathering - Additional Information

Please join us for the 15th Annual Summer Gathering. It looks like we will have perfect weather for this weekend event.

If you haven't heard of the Summer Gathering, shame on us. If you miss it shame on you.

This is a very social and very educational event right here in the Pacific Northwest in North Bend, WA. It is always the weekend after Labor Day.

The Summer Gathering is lots of fun and a great opportunity to learn and practice just about anything you can do with a computer and your ham radio particularly focused on the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS)

Many folks arrive on Friday for socializing. The presentations are on Saturday - Breakfast from 7:00 to 8:45. Presentations start at 9:00am. Soldering irons are hot through the event starting on Friday afternoon.

Tradition has it that there is one free beer with every new digital mode you try during Friday or Saturday night.

Here is the link to Valley Camp - it is located in North Bend, Washington 10 minutes off of I-90 at exit 34. At the bottom of the Exit 34 ramp, turn north and continue 1/2 mile past the convenience stores and truck stop and watch for and take the right turn onto SE Middle Fork Road (County Road sign says Valley Camp 2.2 miles). Continue to the "Y" and take the left on SE Middle Fork Road (lower road). Follow until you come to the stop sign. The entrance to the camp is straight ahead across the small intersection.

GPS Coordinates for the entrance of camp: 47.4680 -121.6808 (Don't forget the minus on the longitude or you'll end up in Mongolia!)

Our hosts at Valley Camp are: Thom/K7FZO and Teena/K9HAV Proehl Contact them for reservations for RV and Bunkhouse spots at:

K7FZO 425 888-1852

The location is a beautiful camp with hot showers and a bunkhouse or camping or RV opportunities. The event runs on donations and we encourage you to shoot for $10 for the day or $25 for the overnight experience - there is a donation box at the event and I mention this only because we ran under last year. This venue is made available to us at no charge but it can't continue to happen without your participation and support.

Bring your thirst for knowledge, some warm clothing for the evenings and some food and drink to eat and share. There are grills going and coffee early each day...

It is an incredibly beautiful place - lots of nature trails and birding opportunities for the family along the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

Contact Curt Black, WR5J
206 755-4541


Thom Proehl, K7FZO
425 888-1852

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tucson Weather at the Summer Gathering

Forecast for the 15th annual, yes we've been doing this for 15 years now, NWAPRS Summer Gathering: Sunny and warm. Temperatures could be in the high 70's or low 80's. It would even make Dave feel like he was home. (we'll miss ya good-buddy)

We have a few RV sites still available, lots of tent space and for those wanting to sleep inside we still have bunks available in our lodge. RSVP for accommodations ASAP at

If an overnight trip is not in the cards, come out early Saturday and join us for breakfast and a full day of presentations and time to get all your APRS questions answered. We will be making available to anyone that wants to join us for lunch burgers and hot dogs. Coffee will be available all day. For those of you wanting to gather around the grill and cook your dinner together we will have the BBQ going Saturday evening around 6PM.

We have an added treat for anyone staying overnight; the local elk herd has returned this week and is very vocal early in the morning along with the chorus of owls.......You might even see the large bull that is following the herd of cows and calves around at a distance.
If anyone is interested I could be talked into discussing my work trapping, collaring and tracking the Middle Fork elk.

We no longer have an IGATE here at Valley Camp, so if someone wants to bring their portable system along that can use WiFi for your Internet connection please do, we are to far away from the nearest digi for units running less than 10 watts to get messages or position reports into an IGATE.

We also lost our EchoIRLP node, but I am hoping to have one on the air by September 7th.

Our schedule this year will allow lots of time between presentations so please bring your projects and ideas as well as questions to share, that is what this event is all about!

Cost of this event? A donation to Valley Camp to help us keep the place running.
That's all the news from Valley Camp for now.  See you all in a week!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

NWAPRS Gathering - Save the Date: September 7, 8 and 9th

Greetings Northwest APRS users and fans of the Summer Gathering!

First - Save the Date: Friday through Sunday, September 7, 8 and 9th with the technical / educational / discussion content on Saturday the 8th. Breakfast will be 7 to 9am on Saturday - talks will start at 9:30am. I would stay longer if you have available time...

Second - plan to attend. The parts folks like have been retained. The social interaction, the access to knowledgeable people, the chance to mess with new radios and software and the beautiful setting at Valley Camp near North Bend all remain the same. The focus remains on APRS - the whole expanding universe of tools, techniques, software and hardware for tracking, messaging, and resource announcing.

Third, if you gave a talk last year, please consider updating us on the tool, software or technique you shared. There has been much development of new hardware, and considerable progress in passing APRS data across many systems from packet to D-Star to HSMM. If you didn't have a chance to share last year, please consider this as your invitation to talk this year. Either way, please send me a title, brief abstract of your topic and your phone and email contact information. That is all it will take
to get you onto the Saturday agenda.

We remain possibly the friendliest group in amateur radio and continue to strive to be the place to come for help getting started and staying abreast of all things "Automatic Packet Reporting System." ---

We continue to meet at the most laid-back, natural and lovely venue available to amateur radio: Valley Camp on the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River, King County, Washington, near North Bend. Valley Camp, 49515 SE Middle Fork RD., North Bend, WA 98045

We share a number of meals and libations during Summer Gathering - more info will follow on bringing potluck items and/or grill-able food items.

Saturday breakfast will be hosted by the West Seattle ARC.

Contact our hosts, Thom or Teena for arrangements for RV parking, camping or possible access to the bunkhouse/lodge by calling 425-888-1852 or email

More information can be found on the web about Valley Camp or the NWAPRS Group website or on the NWAPRS Blog page.

Thanks! I look forward to seeing everyone again for the 15th Annual Summer Gathering.

Call or write with any questions or comments, to get onto the agenda or to offer to assist with planning.

vy 73 de WR5J,
Curt Black
West Seattle Amateur Radio Club

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

15th Annual NW APRS Summer Gathering - Call for Presentations

Greetings everyone,

Here we are with less than two months to the 15th annual summer gathering, so it is time we get our collective acts together and begin planning our event.

With so many new things happening in the APRS world we ought to be able to fill the weekend with great presentations and discussions.

What we need is about 5 key presentations, 4 or 5 demonstrations, and some Subject Matter Experts to circulate between presentations on Saturday. If there is enough interest we will expand the entire program over into Sunday.

  • What are you doing with APRS that you would like to share?
  • Are you running APRS on a new platform such as the Android?
  • Are you using any of the new hardware?
  • Have you become an expert with the Kenwood hardware?
  • Are you using messaging within APRS?
  • Do you know how DStar and APRS work together?

What would you like to know? Do you need something fixed? Other thoughts?

Please share with the group here at the nwaprssig what you can offer as well as what you might like to see demonstrated.

The event is once again the weekend after Labor Day, September 7th, 8th & 9th 2012, at Valley Camp east of North Bend Washington.

This is just the start of the planning so all ideas are open for discussion.
We also need someone to update the website as the event unfolds, any takers?

Please forward this on to other individuals or groups you think might be interested.

Thom / K7FZO

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Hi Group,

Greetings from Missoula, Montana.

 The Missoula Marathon was held this past weekend. There were 5000+ runners/walkers/handicappers participating. The Hellgate Amateur Radio Club, led by Elmer WG7P, did a great job directing efforts of the 25+ volunteers who provided voice communications and APRS support to the race. We had communicators at most of the 17 AID Stations along the two routes, which included a Full Marathon (26.2 miles) and Half Marathon (13.1 miles). As the three lead male and female runners passed each AID Station the assigned communicator would radio in the bib numbers and time of crossing to Jerry N7GE (also an avid APRSr) at the finish line. I manned the APRS finish line station, monitoring the trackers we had following three lead males and female runners, and two "tail end charlie" trackers bringing up the rear of the races. Both Jerry and I took turns radio'ing the leader updates to Eric NZ7S at the FINISH line crossing where the announcers broadcast the info over their PA system.

The trackers consisted of two Byonics MT-AIO "yellow box" units mounted on bicycles, a Byonics MT-RTG mounted in the half-marathon pace car, three Kenwood D7/D72's, and an Arduino tracker neatly mounted on a bob-trailer behind the tail-end charlie bike. We ID'd the trackers with tactical callsigns (MSLA*) and entered owner callsigns at the end of the status text comment, set them for 30 second updates with various offsets to reduce packet collisions. Battery life well exceeded our needs on all the trackers. The finish line station ran UI-View with two area specific maps generated with Precision Maps v9, one showing the entire race routes, and the other focused on the final four AID stations. The AID stations were generated as objects on UI-View, and were periodically announced onto the APRS-IS as MSOAID*. As my TH-D72 was being used as a tracker, the UI-View station relied on APRS-IS input only. A projector and screen displayed the race picture for others to see from our location just below the finish line in Caras Park.

The trackers and FINISH line station worked great, although there were some gaps in coverage and other technical difficulties along for the ride. It was nothing we couldn't deal with, and overall a very successful mission. This was the first occasion for using APRS at the Missoula Marathon, and race officials were very impressed. I've done about a dozen or more races, marathons, triathons and Ironman events over the years, so bring some experience with me to the Hellgate club as I'm summering in Montana to escape the heat of Tucson. Makes sense, right?

We had a debrief last night at the monthly HARC meeting, and along with increasing the number of trackers to cover the three leading males and leading females of each race, we intend to place a tracker with the 5 hour PACER runner, and perhaps with one or more of the SAG vehicles. We also talked about coordinating some other communication updates including "tweeting" the BIB numbers when they pass the AID stations, so others can stay aware, and using several iPhones or Android smartphones to broadcast streaming video to UStream and link it with a map of the associated APRS tracker. I have that capability now, using my Android Bionic and mobile tracker to the web page at, but it could easily have been adapted to U2APRS or APRS OpenTracker running on a smartphone and the UStream video simultaneously. Oh the possibilities are limitless.

There's another communications-related activity I'd like to expand for next year, that is in the "lost and found" arena. We had several people wanting to drop off lost and found items, or in two cases looking for separated parties, one of which was a runner/walker in the event, who should have, but had not yet crossed the finish line. We took the bib number, name and description of those folks and radio'd an attempt to locate to our people along the course, but unfortunately never made contact with the other parties. On the TV news later that night I heard a report of one runner who collapsed mid-way between aid stations, where we didn't have any communicators, was administered CPR and rushed to the hospital. His age and physical description matched those of the person we were looking for. We'll try harder next time to get the bib number of those who are administered first-aid along the course, and get that info to communications-central, so when concerned parties come looking we can provide them with at least some information, or which hospital they were transported to.

Regards, Dave K7GPS

More information:

M-1, M-2, F-1, HF-2 trackers were all mounted on 10-speed bikes. We wrapped blue painters tape around the area where our tracker would be mounted, so as to not cause any scratches on some very expensive bikes. Dick W7XT fab'd a couple 19.5" metal mounting brackets to the bike to hold the mini-mag mount antenna and give some semblance of a ground plane. We also used:

  • H-1 tracker, the MT-RTG, was in a Subaru. Nothing fancy there.
  • TL-1 tracker, a D7 and Etrex GPS with 1/2 wave no-ground-plane antenna, was on Dick's BMW 1100R and worked just fine.
  • TL-2 on Dean's bicycle bob-trailer, the Arduino tracker, and a pole mounted Go-Pro HD camera. Perfect for the larger battery he had. Next year we may run a uStream-capable camera from it, and put him up front. This takes the limited tracker mounting options off the bike an onto a small, single-wheeled trailer that attaches to the rear. With as many biking events the HARC supports here in Missoula, perhaps the club will invest in a half-dozen of these to come up with a really-robust tracking capability. Think of the possibilities! 

It was a really fun event to support, and the race officials really appreciated the club's efforts. The club is moving forward to purchase several more MT-AIO trackers since they support a bunch of different events where APRS can supplement voice communications.

We're also recommending to the race officials to have the escort bike riders wear a brightly colored shirt with M-1, F-1 etc in big letters, so our AID station communicators can more-easily identify the leaders, and the riders call out the bib numbers of who they're escorting, as in some cases the bib numbers curl up or are tucked in, making them unseen to the AID stations as they come by.

Again, this was really a great event, and the people of Missoula and all involved are really super people. It's no wonder this smaller venue marathon was voted "most friendly marathon" in 2009. I think the trend continues today.

Dave K7GPS

Thursday, July 5, 2012

aprssig - APRS joins Operation ON-TARGET!

The annual Operation ON-TARGET consist of scouts and hams all over the country going to mountain tops and attempting to communicate by signal mirror (assisted by HAM contact to know where to point).  This is Saturday July 21st, 1100 to 1400 LOCAL TIME.


Take along an APRS HT or radio, since then everyone can see on their attached GPS where everyone else is and can globally text message in real time for coordination.  In addition, everyone back home can watch it all LIVE and see on maps where everyone is and what links are successful on

Operation on target has hundreds of participants out west because of the accessible mountains and clarity of distance.  The goal is mountain top connectivity across the entire US north to south.

Similarly, APRS has had an annual event (Golden Packet attempt) on the 3rd weekend in July to do the same thing but with APRS and packet.  We have been successful in linking 15 mountain tops from Georgia to Maine with APRS and will do it again this year.  But by joining with Operation On Target, at least out-west, the APRS folks out west get to leverage the many more hams that are involved already.  See all about the Golden Packet event:

At this time, we WILL plan on operating the APRS Golden Packet event out west on the 21st with the Operation on Target.  We are still trying to decide for the Appalachian trail group, originally planning on the 22nd, Sunday, to move to the 21st Saturday to match up our efforts with East coast Scouts that might be doing Operation On Target along the Appalachians.

So far, we have not found any east-coast OT plans.  So if anyone knows of any, please let us know.  We will carry mirrors if there are scouts watching...

Oh, and the CQ Worldwide VHF contest is that same weekend!  That starts at 1800z on Saturday (1400 EDT on the east coast).  The mountains will be crawling with hams! (and QRM)...

For the 4 hour event, APRS will use 144.34 MHz.  Please join the if you will participate so we can coordinate. And review APRS Details on the web page above.  We will all use the EYEBALL symbol to make it easy to identify participants.

Bob, Wb4APR

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

APRS to SOTA gateway

Stewart G0LGS has set up an excellent APRS2SOTA gateway to send your spots to via aprs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

PNW Amateur Activities

PNW Amateur Radio Events
Comprehensive List by N7CFO -

Moving from to blog pages

Some NWAPRS notes have been gathered at the site.  That's not real convenient to edit and is extra trouble when we can put everything we need here on the blog.   So today we'll move the data and archive the old wiki pages.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Data Flow...

We're moving the static data from the website to the 'pages' here...   The transistion has just started and much cleanup is still needed.   Stay tuned - and make packets.