Exploring APRS

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.54.20 PMAPRS is a digital packet radio system for amateur radio. I have been wanting to play around with it. It  requires a Terminal Node Controller (TNC) and radio to transmit. I have a radio, and I have an iPhone with a GPS. So someone of course figured out you could create all the functions of a TNC.

So those of you that know networking, APRS uses a standard OSI mode AX.25. Sound familiar networking guys? Yep, it basically a X.25 protocol for amateur radio and it’s been around since the 80’s.

Of course with TCP/IP around these days it did not take amateurs too long figure out how to connected the two. So these is also APRS-IS (Internet Systems) which means a radio gateway to TCP/IP for APRS.

So one of the more common uses for APRS is to hook up a GPS to the TNC so that it broadcast your location on a regular basis.

IMG_4301So I tried a IOS application called PocketPacket and simply hooked it up to my Wouxon HT radio with a standard 3/8″ audio cable to my iPhone 5. Since I an located in small geological depression which can make it hard for an HT signal to get out, I also attached the HT to my UHF/VHF roof antenna. It worked!

So I then moved this set up into the Jeep and took a drive over the bridge to the UP area and voila a map of my movements!

There is a lot more you can use APRS for, like messaging, remote weather stations, there is even a ARPS email gateway. I can even use it for SOTA events to announce when I activate a peak!

When looking at the APRS.FI site fellow pacific north westerners may notice all the marine  stations. They are not amateur stations on a boat, they are marine vessels using APRS and APRS-IS. You can track Washington State Ferries along with cargo ships in port on this site.

So I think the next step will be to build an actual TNC and use an old Delorme GPS – or just maybe buy a APRS ready radio for the Jeep.


Posted in All, HAM | Leave a comment

Our Niece Dannielle has Graduated from the USN Academy

Our niece Dannielle graduated today form the USN Recruit Training at the Great Lakes training facility in Illinois. We were not able to be there, however we could be there in spirit via streaming. We are so proud of her.

The file it too big to place here on HAWS.NET. Since it’s over 15 min I cannot place it on my youtube channel either. If you want to see it, drop me a line and I’ll get a copy to you.


Posted in Family | Leave a comment

The NYPD Is Investigating This Giant Bust Of Edward Snowden Erected In A Brooklyn Park

Here I was just talking about Snowden earlier today. I’m hoping all this attention will raise awareness. I wonder could this all be part of media campaign?

The NYPD Is Investigating This Giant Bust Of Edward Snowden Erected In A Brooklyn Park.

Posted in Internet, Security | Leave a comment

The Red Blinky Thing!

195-0290I remember back in the 80’s when I started to noticed what I called the “Red Blinky Thing”. I use to even keep a list of what movies I saw it in. I abandoned the list long ago, because it was just showing up everywhere.

So when this episode of Cracked’s “Obsessive Pop Cultural” showed up in my youtube feed, the title made me think of the Red Blinky Thing. Well they called it out. The video is only 8 minutes long. If you need to jump right to  Red Blinky Thing… it’s at 2:41.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve actually researched it, and in the 80’s the internet was not there… so it turns out you can still rent this prop for $777 for the first week.

I knew about the re-use of the Ghost Buster prop, and some of the others. However a lot of these reused props I never knew about.



Posted in Movies | Leave a comment


I’ve been reading the book “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State“. It’s a fascinating and alarming book. It’s a complicated issue, and raises many questions on how to have a conversation as nation about privacy. I find it hard to explain to non-technical people just what this all means. Not because they don’t understand, I’m just bad at trying to explain things like this.

Well thanks to John Oliver’s style of comedy journalism, I think he has found a way. Oliver  traveled to Russia and interviewed a very calm and intelligent Snowden and put the issue in perspective – D Pics. As crude as they may be to some people, it really send the point home. If the government can access your D Pics it suddenly sheds light on how troublesome Section 215 of the patriot act is. I’m just going to let Oliver explain it to you. This segment from Last Week Tonight is 33 minutes long. So take the time to watch it, or add it to your youtube watch later playlist.  So the next time you hear someone mention Snowden, you’ll know what this issue is all about.

Note: If this video spurs you not looking for how to secure you email conversations – they are lots of way. Mine is just using PGP. You can get my public key here. If your a Mac user check out PGP Tools.

There is an even easier and way to secure email that came out of CERN. If PGP is too complicated for you, and trust me it is for a lot of people, then check out ProtonMail.




Posted in All, Internet, Security | Leave a comment

Rugged Justice

This gallery contains 7 photos.

I’ve been ignoring this on the blog and doing more on social media. However there is a show on Animal Planet that is showcasing the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. It’s called Rugged Justice and Season 1 just finished a … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Cats Do Recognize Their Owners Voice

I’ve been meaning to blog this for some time. Back in November we took a much needed vacation to Kauai, HI. I had recently purchased a DropCam so that we could keep an eye on the house.

Around that same time this study came out about cats responding to their owners voice. TLDR; They do hear us, they just choose not to react.

Well one morning, while having my coffee and waiting for Robin to wake, I peeked in on the house. To my surprise I was greeted by the sound of our papered Rag-Doll Otto making a mournful cry. We had already been gone for a week, and I suppose the sudden loss of all that human contact had gotten to him. Note: our neighbor was coming over at least once a day to feed them and take care of the litter box. Still, that is a big cut in their amount of human contact. It’s one thing leave them alone for a three day weekend. They never seem to know we were gone anyways, as most any cat owner will tell you. After a week of only seeing a “stranger” once a day,  I could totally understand the mournful cry Otto was making.

So one of the features of  drop cam is that can speak to the room via it’s built in speaker. So I decided to try and console poor Otto by speaking to him from 3,000 miles away. Well to my surprise, the sound he made in response to my voice was … well just hear it for your self. I think it’s proof that cats do recognize when they are called, but I thunk us cat owners know that already.

So the key moment it at :36.


Posted in All | Leave a comment

Protection for my KX3

This gallery contains 8 photos.

I did not bring my KX3 on my last hike up to Camp Handy because I do worry about how to protect it when hiking. Well I discovered the Side KX for my radio. A simple indigenous way to protect … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Signing up for a General Class

I found a General License class in Gig Harbor that, if I pass, I will have my general in time of Field Day. I will finally be able to use the power of the KX3 to it’s full advantage.

If you are in the Tacoma Gig Harbor area and interested in going to General, here is a link to the class info.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 1.06.03 PM






Posted in HAM | Leave a comment

Camp Handy

Though our new meet up group – Out of the Cube Adventures three of use went on a hike last Sunday on the Upper Dungeness River Trail #833. A gentle slope with little elevation gain and a round trip of 7 miles to Camp Handy and back.. Of course I took my Biolite stove and gill along. Grill a small steak and some red peppers. I have found for day hikes that it’s easier to bring a small back of kiln dried wood pre-chopped into little 4” bits and bring them in a plastic zip lock. It only weight a couple of ounces and the dry wood catch quickly. As a matter of fact on this trip I failed to pack any sort of fire starters for some reason. So I used some notebook paper to light stove. Since I had the nicely died wood it ignited quickly. Had I needed to collect rules from around the damp Camp Handy Shelter it might have been a bit more difficult.

The trail was in good condition. The section between the Royal Basin junction and Still Creek has a lot of running water in some sections. Still not bad at all for a early spring hike in the olympics.

Of course I made a small movie. I did not take as many photos/videos as would have liked to.


Posted in All, Hikes, Outdoors | Leave a comment