VE6MVP's Beginners Guide To Setting Up An APRS Digipeater in your area.

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When setting up an APRS network in your area three things are needed.  Much more detail can be found at the NWAPRS website.  Once you're ready for this step join the NWAPRS mailing list and ask what your options are.  Those folks are experimenting with some very interesting and inexpensive devices.

But before you actually do anything talk to an expert in your own area.  Ask  A digipeater may not be needed in your area for a variety of reasons.  And if you don't setup your system properly you will only be contributing to the noise level in the area.

You need to have a unit such as the TinyTrak transmitting your position just to test things out.   Alternatives are the Kenwood D72 HT and D710 mobile radios as they have built in TNCs.  Alinco also has radios with built in TNCs.

You need a digipeater with an appropriately sized footprint.   At least at the top of a tower at your house.  If you are the only digipeater for many miles then the ideal location would be also using the area long range repeater antenna although this would require filters and cavities similar to what the repeaters use.    Given that long range repeaters are usually located on the tops of convenient hills just putting an antenna on a pole attached to the side of the radio building on the repeater hill may work quite well..  

Note that the TNC-X now has a X-Digi Digipeater Daughter Board for the TNC-X although it doesn't completely handle the APRS paradigm. 

Another very flexible solution is DigiNed but this requires a computer.  The WA8LMF DC-Powered Ham Radio "Super-Server" uses a 12 VDC Intel compatible 17 cm square PC on a motherboard at it's core.  Digined can also run on old 8086 DOS based systems.

The Kantronics KPC-3+ is the standard TNC if you wish to use a TNC solution.  

You need an IGate or Internet gateway.  This would be located somewhere which has high speed always on Internet and a radio which can hear the local digipeater.   Now packets transmitted on the digipeater will be gated to the Internet.  And messages and such for users on the local digipeater will be sent out from this system.  

If the digipeater is at an area long range repeater then the IGate could be located at a residence.   It could be as simple as an HT on low power with a mag mount antenna on a filing cabinet.  Or possibly a directional antenna pointed at the digipeater so as to minimize desensing while you are using a 2m radio at home.

Comments and suggestions by Curt WE7U, James VE6SRV and Bill VE5FN.

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