I see daily many stations using PinPoint APRS as a sidekick to VarAC and a discussion has arised that for more APRS activity, maybe it's not good to have that ongoing on the VarAC calling QRG.
This topic is not related to VarAC per se, but this might be a good place to start the conversation and thoughts of more dedicated VARA-based HF APRS frequency?
PinPoint APRS with VARA-HF is dependent on VarAC as it is the actual application keying the radio, but of course there could be other solutions for that, for example ask the author of PinPoint APRS to implement it.
I see that there is currently an issue with KISS-based traffic besides the VarAC traffic as it looks like the VARA-HF does not implement DCD for KISS-based traffic but just keys that on top of ongoing QSO or other detected traffic.
Erik OH2LAK TF3EY
Any news on VarAC APRS? I think this would be great to have it integrated into VarAC including a APRS IS forwarding. Also for EmComm purposes …
Peter DL9DAK / N9DAK
I think APRS will be a good feature to have. Set it up as an option under Beacon's for those who don't wish use it.
I like the messaging over RF. Paul, HB9AVK and I used it on occasions for quick messaging across the frequency without the process of reconnecting via Varac.
The grid tracker type mapping is a good idea. And have an RF option only for those that are not connected to the internet or portable.
Pinpoint is great but a bit buggy. I have to disconnect and reconnect to the Software TNC regularly.
Great work on Varac Irad, I like it very much.
PE4BAS is who I had a long chat with and neither of us saw the other's APRS Beacon.
It's a good idea, but needs to be a part of the VarAC Beacon system.
Over the past couple of days here are the callsigns I have decoded their APRS Beacons:
Keep in mind that APRS is beaconing at VARA SL5 and VarAC does it at SL1, so SL1 will have better SNR and decoding vs SL5. Being able to APRS beacon at SL1 (or SL2) will help a lot.
I have PinPoint setup, but rarely hear any APRS beacons. It's not been useful to me. It seems PinPoint is not as sensitive to beacons as VarAC. I have been chatting in VarAC with someone running PinPoint, but never see their beacon and they not see mine. I think this functionality as a built-in feature in VarAC would be more effective, useful.
We are using APRS on 14.105 just as a proof of concept. If this sort of geospatial feature can be incorporated into VarAC then there will be no need for APRS.
I studied a bit about the existing HF APRS allocations and many recommendations do exist but they all use the legacy AFSK 300bps mode and I don't know how much there is traffic on these globally. Australia seems to have quite active net at least based on their webpage and other online activity. Some seems to be on the "105Network" as well on 14105kHz LSB, and some other activity QRG's exist as well but it would be maybe good to establish globally approved and allocated VARA-modem based HF APRS -frequencies.
Erik OH2LAK TF3EY
I would love to hear some thoughts of the community. I just wanna let you know that we are working on a BEACON/CQ frame that will include a Grid locator so I believe this will eliminate some of the APRS need. Although APRS has other interesting layers such as messaging, icons, exact locations and such.
The plan is that once we have a GRID locator, I'll work on placing all beacons on a graphical map providing the users with a nice visualization of everything.
As this will take some time an certainly not replacing Pinpoint which is a fine software, I believe there is a room to continue this discussion and hear some opinions.
thank you for bringing this up!