ON our sailboat, Deep Playa, I operate Maritime Mobile. This summer we’re going to back to the states to RV around the country. So I need a mobile setup appropriate to RVing.On the boat, we use the radios (SSB and Marine VHF) to report our position and contact other people locally. We almost always have found internet access either via TelCel or WiFi. This is exactly how I think we’ll be using things in the RV as well.

With that in mind, I wanted to be able to send and receive APRS. I want to be able to see APRS reports in relation to my current position. I want to be able to do Voice contacts for general information sharing and rag chewing via 1 to 1 contacts and nets. Finally I want to be able to make Data mode connections for email as well as logging contacts.

Here’s what we need at a feature level.

  1. An APRS device for sending and receiving position packets and messages
  2. A 2M FM VHF Radio for voice contacts and Nets
  3. A TNC for data mode connections
  4. A GPS and Display for providing location to the APRS device and displaying other APRS packets in relation to our current position
  5. Antenna and Mount for the RV
  6. A PC for use with the Radio and TNC for data connections and Winlink VHF email

1 thru 4 will be covered by the AvMap G5 APRS and Kenwood TM-D710 I just purchased used from KD8FRE. The AvMap G5 is not the latest model which makes it cheaper and available used. It will provide the GPS input to the D710, the display for APRS reports from other stations ands it can be used for general vehicle navigation as well. the Kenwdood TM-D710 is a dual Band VHF (2Meter) and UHF (70cm) Radio with a builtin TNC and APRS ready. With the AvMap supplying the GPS data to the D710 APRS is ready to go! That will allow the RV be tracked just like the boat, but more frequently and in real-time when we’re moving. The TNC will allow me to make digital mode contacts and I can still control the radio via the PC and do soundcard Digital Modes not supported by the TNC directly. The fact the radio is dual band also means I can APRS and other contacts on the other tuner at the same time. One additional feature of the D710 is that the APRS Packets can send out what FREQ I’m listening on so other D710 owners can tune to my FREQ and contact me with a keypress if they so choose.

I’m really excited about getting this all up and running and getting on the road!