It’s fairly common knowledge that I possess an amateur radio license, callsign W4JDH. As such, I have this innate interest in things radio, and thanks to my overwhelmingly powerful interest in computers… I like things like packet radio and something called APRS, or the Automatic Position Reporting System, developed by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR. APRS itself isn’t all that interesting, but when you put it into actual practice, be it at a public service event like a parade or marathon, a weather station, or merely just plotting the position of mobile trackers on a map, it becomes an “ooh neat!” thing. It’s a cool way to have a visual demonstration of what amateur radio can do.

The most common use for it are mobile tracker stations in vehicles. This is corroborated by the nearly constant traffic on 144.39MHz (national APRS frequency) around most metro areas. Kenwood developed two radios thatthat are plug-and-play solutions for APRS, the TH-D7A and the TM-D700A. Both have ports on them to plug a GPS’s serial line directly into (by way of 2.5mm stereo jack) for appending position information to the APRS packet. I personally own both of these radios, so I’ve got a little bit of experience with them. I’ve never actually “fully” installed the D700 in my car yet (i.e. with GPS connected for real time plotting of my position) due to being lazy and also just not making time to do the install in “optimal” weather (i.e. not 100 degrees and raining). It’s kind of a “back burner” project that I’ve had going for a year or two now, but I’ll eventually finalize it, probably this spring.

That said, I spent a ton of time the other day looking at various GPS-oriented software for the PalmOS after finding out this old site I looked at a few years back, TheSupplyNet, a supplier of various cables for PDAs and cell phones to connect to one another, was still around, and they had a cable to go from the Tungsten T|2, the PDA I have, to a dead-end serial port… for connecting to something like a GPS, or maybe a TNC, but we’ll get into that next. A light went off in my head and I went in search of PalmOS 5 HiRes compatible software… although Garmin, has released Palm-compatible software for their GPS 10 Bluetooth GPS receiver, I’m kinda skeptical at the price they list. If they’d release a PalmOS viewer for MapSource maps, I’d be more inclined to drop the cash for that, as I have some MapSource software now.

Anyway, having turned up essentially no luck in the hunt for PalmOS GPS software, I turned my focus to another… APRS, or even just general packet, software for Palm. The quintissential Palm APRS client is PocketAPRS, but sadly that seems to have vanished off the web. Another solution I thought of using is APRS/CE, a client for Windows CE PocketPC. I have an old HP Jornada 520 P/PC, and I can verify that APRS/CE runs on it. So I might use that as a solution, if I can find a combo serial/DC cable for the Jornada… SupplyNet doesn’t sell one, so I’ll need to look elsewhere.

Of course, all these things are a few months down the line as I need time to figure out just how the heck I’m gonna do this.

And on top of all of this, I want to go HF mobile again! Somehow, I find ways to spend money even without trying. -_-;