APRS Packet Radio on the Ed Fong

Ed Fong on the Treehouse

Following up on my Ed Fong Antenna post, I don’t yet have a long enough cable to mount it to the house and use a base radio inside, so I borrowed Jordan’s – tree house. He was a good sport, but his visit was short, because it’s cold and wet today.

Jordan in the Treeshack

I’ve tried APRS before, to send messages over the radio and see where other operators are located, but with limited success. I’m running the APRSdroid app on my phone with the BTECH APRS-K1 Cable, an audio cable that goes from phone to the radio. I’ve got it connected to my BaoFeng BF-F8HP, but even with the Nagoya NA-771 15.6-Inch antenna, I couldn’t get much more than the weather station the next road over. At my office building in South Portland, I did just barely make a connection out.

Today, using the adapter cable that came with my car antenna, I connected the Baofeng to the coax cable that Rich from the radio club loaned me, which then connected to the 5′ Ed Fong antenna. Antenna size really does matter. I was getting all kinds of stations from Boston to Augusta, and transmitting my location via a digipeater in Hiram!

Android meets Baofeng, meets Ed Fong antenna

During my experiment, I sent an SMS text message over the air to Amy’s cellular phone, and tried the email gateway to send an email to my GMail address. It all worked brilliantly! Now that I know how it all works together, I’m certain I’ll have emergency communications with my family and friends available to me, when I’m hiking or camping or theirs a utility outage.

See my page on APRS Packet Radio, to learn more about the setup and what one can accomplish with it.

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