I tested out my Wouxun KG-UV3D on APRS on Thursday, Sept 1st. The equipment went into my Blazer with a mag-mount antenna. As you can see from the following GPS track, the equipment performed well. This post describes my system, shows how well it works, and provides costs.
I used the Wouxun KG-UV3D dual-band handheld on 144.39 MHz, the national APRS frequency, to see how well it would work. The APRS unit itself is a Byonics TinyTrak4. Normally I use this with an Icom handheld, but as it happens I have a set of Kenwood cables for the TinyTrak4, and the Wouxun KG-UV3D uses the Kenwood cables. So, without any adjustments, I just substituted the Kenwood cable and the Wouxun KG-UV3D. I used vehicle power for the TinyTrak 4, but let the Wouxun power itself using its own battery. As you can see from the tracks above, I got good results, even in canyons and up over the pass. The track points you see were collected on www.findu.com; I downloaded them and put them into DeLorme Topo North America. That means that my APRS packets were picked up by the various APRS nodes in the area and fed into the Internet. Not bad for such a remote area! The photo below shows my complete APRS setup using the Wouxun KG-UV3D, minus a PS/2 keyboard that can be plugged into the display unit to control the TinyTrak4 and also send and receive APRS messages. Each part is described below the photo. (See a previous post for what this setup looks like when used with my Icom IC-T7H.)
The various parts are these:
- The Wouxun KG-UV3D dual band (2 mtrs, 70 cm) handheld, using its own battery pack. It’s obtainable from its U.S. importer, PowerWerx, and from many other sources. Note there are several models to choose from—be sure to get the one you want. Cost: $120. Be sure also to get the programming cable, cost $16. The programming software can be downloaded for free. I describe in a previous post how to use this software.
- Reverse antenna adapter for Wouxun, from SMA to BNC adapter (also can get their reverse adapter for SMA to PL-259). Note this is a unique style as the Wouxun radio uses the opposite type of adapter from everyone else. I really encourage you to get this adapter at the same time you get your radio as it will avoid lots of frustration further down the line. Cost: $6.
- Standard PL-259 to BNC adapter, used because my mag-mount antenna has PL-259. I have several of these in my junkbox. I searched in vain on the HRO website, but am guessing you can get one of these common items for less than $10. Note that if you get the reverse SMA to female SO-239 adapter, you don’t need the additional adapter. In addition, mag-mount antennas are available with various connectors.
- Mag-mount, dual-band antenna, that goes onto vehicle roof, held there magnetically. These are commonly available. One example is the MFJ-1412, which I think is the one I have, which retails for $30.
- Byonics TinyTrak4, is the “smarts” for the APRS. As you can see, there are several ‘parts’ to this, and Byonics offers various combination offers. I purchased the TinyTrak4 already built in combination with the Byonics GPS2, which is on their website today for $140. Also, I purchased the TT4 Display with adapter, already built, for $40. Also, there’s the adapter cable which connects both to the radio and also to a 5 – 12 VDC power source. I got the one with the PowerPole connector, the HTKP, for $19. You’ll want to check out the Byonics web pages very carefully to ensure you have everything. I also purchased the TinyTrak4 Serial Splitter and Null Modem Adapter cable for $15 that allows connecting both to a computer using an RS-232 (hard to find on some modern computers) and to the GPS at the same time. This is one way to set all the parameters on the TinyTrak4. (Another way is to use a PS/2 keyboard and the interface unit—either works. But note it must be a keyboard with a native PS/2 connector, not a USB connector with PS/2 adapter, which does NOT work.) Let’s see, adding up all that Byonics stuff is $140 + $40 + $19 + $15 = $214. Note that the Byonics items can be used with multiple radios.
And there you have it! A complete APRS tracker plus the ability to receive APRS information from other stations, plus exchange APRS messages. Total cost of such a setup, purchased new, is radio, $120, programming cable, $16, plus special reverse SMA adapter, $6, plus standard male BNC to female SO-239, around $10, plus mag-mount antenna, $30, plus all the Byonics items, $214. (I’m assuming you have an old PS/2 keyboard laying around somewhere.) So the total investment is just shy of $400, plus whatever tax and shipping you might incur. Plan for $450. Note: in comparing these costs against APRS-capable mobile radios, consider the entire system cost, including antenna, any adapters, programming cables, power cables, and so on.