Tuesday, July 16, 2013

K4KPK's guide to the Yaesu VX-8GR

Since I am still new to the whole APRS setup I have been researching how to setup my VX-8GR.  I found this great writeup on K4KPK's (Kevin Kleinfelter) blog.

 You can see his blog here, CLICKY! 

 So a little about the VX-8GR

      Description       Accessories       Files

VX-8GR – A Devoted APRS® User Dual Band Version of the VX-8R Series of Handheld

• Full 5 watts FM 144/430 MHz.
• RX 108-999.90 MHz
GPS unit included with radio!
• Water spray resistant - meets IPX5 - 3 feet for minimum of 30 minutes.
• 7.4 V 1100 mAh Lithium Ion battery included. 1800 mAh LI Battery & 3 x AA battery case optional.
• Small (2.4” x 3.7” x 1.1”) without knob & antenna
• Simultaneous independent 2-signal dual receive function. Both V + V or U + U
• Weather receiving with Weather Alert.
• Dot matrix LCD display provides up to 16 character Memory tags, High-resolution Spectrum Analyzer with ±50 channels indication, Wave monitoring of received/modulated signal.
• DCS and CTCSS ENC/DEC included.

Key Addional APRS® Features of the VX-8GR include:
• APRS® 1200/9600 bps data communication (B band only).
• Smart Beaconing ™ Function: When using APRS® for position tracking, the beacon timing is automatically adjusted to your traveling speed and location to plot a smoother trace to match your position and movement on a map.
• The number of Station List memories increased to 50.
• The number of APRS Message memories increased to 30.
• DIGI-PATH route indication function: The APRS® Packet data includes Digipeater routing info.
• Heads up compass display to the GPS Screen: Traveling direction is always toward top of the display.
• The Message received LED flashing rate is selectable.
• The number of DIGI-PATH route settings is increased to 7.

The VX-8GR APRS®/GPS Handheld Transceiver is a Dual Band version of the VX-8DR.  The VX-8GR includes most of of the solid features and specifications found in the VX-8DR, plus a built in GPS and new expanded APRS® capabilities to meet the needs of even the most active APRS® user.

Yaesu VX-8GR Set Up for APRS Beaconing

  • Note: Circle with dot in upper left, on Station List indicates that beaconing is active.
  • Enable GPS ++
  • Set call sign, SSID, icon (One time, when new.) ++
  • Enable APRS modem ++
  • Enter APRS (144.390) into the B frequency:
    • Tap <Bv> to select the B-band.
    • Use the digit keypad to enter 144.390
  • Enable Beaconing:
    • Access APRS Settings Menu ++
    • <turn> to 14: BEA- CON TX.
    • Tap menu
    • <turn> to Auto
    • Tap menu
    • to 12: BEACON INTERVAL.
    • Tap menu
    • <turn> to select interval
    • Tap <PTT> to save

Enable APRS Modem

  • Access APRS Settings Menu ++
  • Turn to 3 APRS MODEM.
  • Tap <menu>.
  • Turn to 1200bps.
  • Tap <PTT> to save.

Enable GPS

  • Tap <menu> until GPRS screen.
  • Hold <menu>.
  • Turn to select 18 GPS Power
  • Turn to toggle On/Off
  • Tap <PTT> to save On/Off
  • Note: <mode> toggles North-up/Heading-up. White arrow = heading-up; black arrow = north-up.
  • Tap <menu> to return to non-GPS mode.

Set call sign, SSID, icon:

  • Access APRS Settings Menu ++
  • Turn to select 22 My Call Sign.
  • Tap <menu>.
  • Tap <mode> until pointer is in 7th call sign column.
  • Turn to select SSID -7 (unless you used -7 on other HT).
  • Tap <menu>.
  • Turn to 24 My Symbol.
  • Tap <menu>.
  • Turn to select running man.
  • Tap <menu>.
  • Turn to 23 My Position.
  • Tap <menu>.
  • Turn to GPS.
  • Tap <menu>.

How to Use the Keypad

  • Multi-press the digit keys as you do on a cell phone, to cycle through the characters assigned to that digit.
  • Special characters: *
  • <Band> is cursor-left
  • <Mode> is cursor-right
  • <Hm/Rv> appears to be select (and it stands for Home/Reverse)
  • To append an SSID to a destination address, complete entry of the base call sign and then rotate.
  • Lock/unlock = tap Power. Lock icon in bottom center shows lock status.
  • V/M is the Delete key (sometimes)
  • To enter "@", press 1 and rotate clockwise 15. (It is right after "?".)
    • Or press 0 six times for "?" and rotate clockwise 1.
  • To enter ".", press 0 eight times or press 0 and rotate counter-clockwise 2.
  • Space is 00.

Access APRS Settings Menu

  • Tap <menu> until Station List.
  • Hold <menu>.

Send APRS Message

  • Tap <menu> until APRS MESSAGE
  • <Hm/Rv>
  • Enter call-sign-with-SSID (destination)
  • <mode>
  • Enter msg up to 67 char
  • Press TX/PO (the 'atom' key)
  • The radio tries 5x, one per minute. IF it gets an ACK, it puts an asterisk after the "TX" in the message display. Otherwise, it displays the remaining attempt count, or a period if it timed out.
  • To erase the current message buffer (to send a NEW message):
    • <Band>
    • A/B to select CLEAR
    • <V/M>

Delete APRS Message

  • Select the message
  • Press <V/M>

Yaesu VX-8GR Cheat Sheet

  • Volume - Hold_Vol + Turn_knob
  • Squelch - FW, Mon, Turn_knob, FW, Mon
  • MONI/T.Call = Suppress squelch
  • F/W = Alt (i.e. access the other function of the keypad)
  • Change transmit power = F/W + Atom
  • Check power level = L1/L2/L3/Hi in the lower-left on the display

  • "Tap" means a brief button press.
  • "Hold" means to hold the button about 1 second, until its secondary function activates.
  • "Turn" means to turn the only knob on the radio. (Since the knob is the only thing that turns, I don't say "Turn knob."
  • "++" means to see procedure defined elsewhere on this page.
  • "x+y" means "at same time"; "x,y" means "sequentially"
  • There's a key in the lower left, with TX/PO as its alternate function, that looks like an atom with revolving electrons to me. I call this the 'atom' key.

I hope this helps otherslike me that are just getting their feet wet in APRS


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