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15527Re: [tracker2] Tracker3 / OT3m - next steps for a new owner (after the manual)?

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  • James Ewen
    May 2, 2013
      On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 9:18 AM, wmacris <wmacris@...> wrote:

      > I feel like I'm past the "how do I turn it on" stage but I'm a bit stuck when
      > comes down to the next step which is putting it to use.
      > I know my tracker is functional and I know it's sending & receiving packets.

      So you know that it's working, and you're good to go.

      > Could use some help with the recommended settings for a new user's typical scenario.

      The default settings are a good starting point for a new user's
      typical scenario. That's why they are the default settings. Many
      people barely get past setting their own callsign in the equipment, so
      it is best to have the equipment in a usable configuration by default.

      > My questions are as follows:
      > 1 - How do I know what digipeater settings are "good" for a given environment?

      You probably mean path settings for your station, not digipeater
      settings, which would be the settings for a digipeater. Again, the
      default parameters are the recommended settings.

      > I am not comfortable using it longterm until I better understand the config.


      > 2 - Part of why I ask for item #1 is because I would like to see my own station
      > on aprs.fi. This is the second mystery - none of the websites docs have clearly
      > explained how your symbols appear online.

      You're not looking hard enough! :)

      This wiki page explains what it takes to get APRS messaging working.
      It is beyond what it takes to be able to see a station on the
      internet, since it also talks about messaging coming back from the
      internet to RF. Position reports, messages, and every other APRS
      packet all need to take the same route to get to the internet, so the
      first half explains your query, and the whole thing will probably
      answer an upcoming query.


      Go look at the aprs.fi page for your station:


      Zoom out so you can see Minneapolis, and then hover the mouse over
      your station icon. A line will appear showing where the signal from
      your station had to travel to end up on the internet. Right now it
      shows me you got heard by N0QVC-1 in Faribault, 40 km away, and then
      W0YC-10 in Minneapolis 76 km away heard the packet and gated it to the
      internet. Those are fairly long hauls, and if at any time another
      packet clobbers your packet, you're not going to see the result on the

      > 3 - Interfacing the tracker to other software - e.g. APRISCE/32 - is a mystery.

      Why is it a mystery? Connect the OT to a computer and follow the instructions.

      > When I had it set to MONITOR ON (not KISS mode) then APRSISCE/32
      > complained about badly formatted packets.

      If you get in your car and select the R position on the gear shift,
      would you complain about going backwards? You have to select the
      proper mode for the program to be able to get the packets from the OT
      in the right format.

      > When I went to USBKISS ON, then it received no packets (even though when
      > on monitor mode I see them repeatedly). It would be great to have a bit more
      > clarity on the exact steps to get success. I've tried a few other programs with
      > similar lack of results.

      There's something else going on... If you are receiving packets that
      you can see with a terminal program connected to the OT, then when you
      disconnect the terminal program, and connect APRSISCE/32 (with the
      proper settings), you'll get packets showing up in APRSISCE/32.

      You ARE disconnecting the terminal program from the port, and allowing
      APRSISCE/32 or other programs access, aren't you? If you have a
      terminal program connected to a serial port, no other program can gain
      access to that port.

      > 4 - As part of making the module appear online, do I need to set my OT3m
      > to have a specific symbol type such as digi?

      No, the icon simply tells other stations what little picture to draw
      on the screen to represent your station. Typically people don't use
      digipeater symbols for their house or car. There are conventions that
      most people stick with, such as a picture of a car, truck, van, jeep,
      or similar for their vehicle, airplane symbols for aircraft, balloon
      symbols for balloons, houses to depict houses, etc. If you want to
      track yourself while on horseback, there's even a symbol for that.

      > Wondering if that affects how the module's packets are processed by other
      > recipients.

      Yes it does... whatever you select as your icon will show up on other
      people's screens.

      > Are there specific data item contents that should be provided in the output?

      Yup, there are all kinds of different packets out there, and each one
      has specific requirements.

      > I have not yet found what I would call a good beginner's guide that addresses such questions.

      Here's your beginners guide:


      Be aware, it's a little dry and technical, and if you manage to make
      your way through it from front to back, and are able to ingest and
      retain all the information, you will be an expert.

      You're making this much too hard for yourself. You seem to be fixated
      on knowing the minute details at the outset. Get an APRS program up
      and running, and start out by learning the application layer... just
      start learning what to look for on the screen, how to send messages to
      people, and how to interpret what you see on the map.

      Once you get comfortable there, you can start digging into the details
      of how packets are put together, and other things like that.

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