The Kenwood TM-V71 Mobile Radio
At my QTH I can barely make it to the local APRS digipeater from my Yaesu FT1DR walkie using 144.390Mhz. The local iGate shut down so that left me with no APRS coverage (other than my phone) while taking the dog for a walk 🙁 What to do? Well, I haven’t been very active on FM voice lately. My walkie can use APRS on any frequency – even UHF – so I thought I thought I’d press an old TM-732 into service as a cross band repeater (5 watts). Low and behold, this worked!
Sort of. It digipeats about 50% of the packets. Oh well, there’s lots of packets right? It works pretty good. Today I thought, “hmm. I wonder if my TM-V71 would work better?”. So I tried it. Yes, it works better. Much better. About 90%+ are passed now. And an extra bonus, my TM-732 was kind of bonky on UHF receive anyway and my walkie’s squawk range is 30% more! Need to send a text or email? Forgot your phone? No problem, APRS is there!
I discovered that 440.390Mhz is the UHF APRS frequency so I’m using that and ID’ing every 10 minutes on the UHF frequency using Morse at 20 WPM. I use a computer to squawk my ID (a STATUS really) over the APRS channel to be legal.
If you’re looking for a low cost solution to an APRS “extender”, this might be the way to go for you. The only issue is squawking on UHF. But, if you’re using a TinyTracker and an external radio, just swap out the VHF radio for a UHF radio – or use BOTH 🙂 – and Bob’s yer Uncle.