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APRS and Ballooning. Slides by Rick von Glahn, NØKKZ Edge of Space Sciences, Inc. www.eoss.org. APRS. A utomatic P osition R eporting S ystem. Created by Bob Bruninga WB4APR. General APRS Concept. Exchange Location Precisely and Automatically via Radio

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APRS and Ballooning

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aprs and ballooning

APRS and Ballooning

Slides by Rick von Glahn, NØKKZ

Edge of Space Sciences, Inc.







Created by Bob Bruninga WB4APR

general aprs concept
General APRS Concept
  • Exchange Location Precisely and Automatically via Radio
  • Map Location of Active APRS Stations
  • Track Moving Stations
basic components
Basic Components
  • Transceiver
  • Terminal Node Controller (TNC/Modem)
  • Computer
  • GPS (Global Positioning System Receiver) optional
advanced components
Advanced Components
  • Currently Kenwood makes an HT that incorporates all basic components with the exception of the GPS receiver
  • Screen Shots

Bearing (arrow in compass) and range the Maidenhead Grid Sq shown too

The Latitude and Longitude of the received station

data transmissions
Data Transmissions
  • Each station programs their system to transmit their location
  • Location can be entered manually or automatically via an attached GPS receiver
ballooning aprs concept
Ballooning APRS Concept
  • Equip Balloon with an APRS station
  • Continuously beacon position and altitude
  • Ground stations receive data
    • Use to track balloon flight
  • I-gates Pass data into the Internet
    • Distant and non-amateur stations can track
    • Federal Aviation Administration Live tracking via Findu.com
data formats
Data Formats
  • APRS – Several Different Formats



  • GPS – Several Different Formats

GGA String


RMC String


aprs decoded
APRS Decoded
  • Plain Text Version




Symbol Table Switch



Time (UTC)14:00:03

Latitude (Degrees and Minutes) 39° 36.68 Minutes North

Longitude104° 02.55 Min West

aprs decoded10
APRS Decoded
  • Compressed Version


No embedded timestamp

Latitude = 40.593° N

Longitude = -104.03316° W

Altitude = 55,426.51 ft.

Speed = 86 knots

Course = 32.2° True

gps strings decoded
GPS Strings Decoded



Latitude 38° 42.0022’ North

Time (UTC)14:44:40

Longitude96° 48.8955’ West




Navigation Receiver Warning



Date 06-Jul-2002

Magnetic Variation 5.2° East

aprs data preferences
APRS Data Preferences
  • Plain Text over encoded unless time is critical
    • A human being can actually read and interpret the data without the further assistance of a computer
  • Embedded timestamps greatly assist in post flight computations
  • Altitude information is required
  • Many APRS programs are available
    • APRS-DOS
    • APRS-Plus (Aprs+SA)
    • UI-View
    • APRS-Point
    • WinAPRS
    • Many more
  • Tucson Amateur Packet Radio good source
    • www.tapr.org
examples of aprs sa
Examples of APRS+SA
  • APRS+SA by Brent Hildebrand (KH2Z)
    • Decodes Most Formats of APRS data
    • Exports data to Delorme Street Atlas (+SA) for mapping
    • Displays Messages and Bulletins
    • Displays Weather
aprs sa
  • Program Screen Shot
aprs sa16
  • Delorme Street Atlas Map of Data from APRS+SA
aprs sa17
  • Tracked Moving Station
combining aprs and high altitude ballooning
Combining APRS and High Altitude Ballooning
  • APRS systems are placed on board the balloon and at Ground Stations
  • Allows in flight tracking of the progress of the balloon (both its location and altitude)
  • Greatly enhances probability of quick recovery of balloon systems
using aprs sa to track
Using APRS+SA to Track
  • Screen Shot of the History Tab in APRS+SA showing the flight data
delorme street atlas map
Delorme Street Atlas Map
  • The track of a balloon flight (black line)
  • Track is updated LIVE during the flight
i gating into the internet
I-Gating into the Internet
  • Local Aprs Station with Internet connection must …
    • Receive APRS Data via RF packet radio station
    • Relay that Position data into the internet via I-Gate software
      • UI-View very good I-Gate
      • APRS-Plus can also I-Gate
ui view gating into the net
UI-View Gating into the Net
  • Stations being Igated are being displayed and recorded to a Log File
getting aprs data from the internet
Getting APRS data from the Internet
  • Computer with an Internet connection
  • Either
    • APRS software
    • Web Browser
ui view
  • While I-Gating UI-View can still receive data from both RF and the Internet
  • The CW#### stations are all on the internet only and are Citizen’s Weather Stations
browser display
Browser Display
  • Findu.Com display of N0KKZ-1
  • Note Raw Packet and time received data at top of window
faa display
FAA Display
  • APRS reported position relative to VORs
  • Must be pre-arranged with Russ Chadwick (contact EOSS webmaster for info)
  • FAA Loves this capability in the Denver regional center
  • APRS greatly enhances the flight experience for observers at the ground station and for anyone monitoring the flight via APRS enabled radio/TNC/computer systems or via the internet
  • APRS gives greater confidence to both Flight Controllers and Tracking and Recovery coordinators with a more precise knowledge of the current balloon trajectory information
  • APRS can be used to keep FAA apprised of your payloads location live via the web (findu.com)
  • APRS increases accuracy and speed in the recovery process
Balloon Systems Recovered Rapidly
  • Happy Tracking and Recovery Crew
  • Bob Bruninga (for APRS itself)
    • http://web.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/aprs.html
  • Brent Hildebrand (for APRS+SA)
    • http://www.tapr.org/~kh2z/aprsplus/
  • Roger Barker G4IDE SK (for UI-View)
    • http://www.ui-view.org
  • Delorme for Street Atlas
    • http://www.delorme.com
  • EOSS Tracking and Recovery Team
    • http://www.eoss.org/eoss_rdf/

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