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cp140405

Ham Radio and APRS

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We're planning on a three week hire out of Chirk this time next year. I thought it might be interesting to take my APRS enabled radio with me to obtain a "route map" of where we were at any given time.

Anybody done this on a canal boat? I think a handheld coupled to a little mag-mount on the roof could provide some decent results although I do note that digis in the Four Counties ring are a bit scarce.

And.... FWIW, I hold the appropriate Canadian (and US) Amateur licences in addition to Marine VHF and Aeronautical licences

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A dfferent approach....

 

Navvygator (a  free download) can provide real time mapping of your progress, including things like speed, time to next bridge/lock/junction etc.

 

You would need a suitable PC, plus an appropriate GPS dongle (about £30, I think).

 

https://www.waterexplorer.co.uk/Brochure/Navvygator.aspx

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Am I the only one who's worked out that so long as you know where the junctions are and can read the signposts  you  can't  get  lost.

As for shops and takeaways, if you can't see them from the cut, then they're too far to walk to anyway.

I've always thought of my boating as a ….

"I like the look of that place, think I'll stop awhile" kind of activity.

Rather than a ...

"Does the screen think I'd want to stay here?" kind of subjective activity.

 

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1 hour ago, zenataomm said:

Am I the only one who's worked out that so long as you know where the junctions are and can read the signposts  you  can't  get  lost.

As for shops and takeaways, if you can't see them from the cut, then they're too far to walk to anyway.

I've always thought of my boating as a ….

"I like the look of that place, think I'll stop awhile" kind of activity.

Rather than a ...

"Does the screen think I'd want to stay here?" kind of subjective activity.

 

 

That didn't work for me back in 1973, when the BW guides showed the canal as a straight Iine. Whoever was navigate g us through Birmingham got their left and right muddled up so we accidentally turned into Typhoo basin rather than turning towards Asted locks 😣

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I use my Garmin sat nav which records the route and can be transferred to a PC and map software. Very useful if you are in an argument with CRT about not moving or where you were at a given time. I put the satnave in a plastic cover on the hatch slider with the Pearsons and take it in each evening. (make sure you set the routeing as off road)

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4 hours ago, cuthound said:

 

That didn't work for me back in 1973, when the BW guides showed the canal as a straight Iine. Whoever was navigate g us through Birmingham got their left and right muddled up so we accidentally turned into Typhoo basin rather than turning towards Asted locks 😣

….. time for tea?

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Thanks everyone for the replies. One of the (unstated) objectives behind using APRS is that family could see where we are on a day-to-day basis simply by looking for my call sign.

I'm not terribly interested in using GPS or APRS as an aid to navigation. They both only show you where you were when the machine last updated and not where you are right now. I think good map is sufficient on a narrow boat... plus a little bit of dead reckoning of course.

Just more ideas to think upon....

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2 hours ago, cp140405 said:

Thanks everyone for the replies. One of the (unstated) objectives behind using APRS is that family could see where we are on a day-to-day basis simply by looking for my call sign.

I'm not terribly interested in using GPS or APRS as an aid to navigation. They both only show you where you were when the machine last updated and not where you are right now. I think good map is sufficient on a narrow boat... plus a little bit of dead reckoning of course.

Just more ideas to think upon....

Have a great trip but I wouldn't get too concerned about navigation - personally, I wouldn't overthink it. You could let your family know your whereabouts by a simple email each day  - possibly with photos - so they could look up the position on a map - why not let them have a link to canal planner so they can see the gazetteer? As far as the dead reckoning is concerned I don't think you will need Traverse Table (or a compass for that matter). Just use the bridge numbers.:boat:

 

Howard

 

 

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Since I gave up offshore and stuck to canals I seem to have misplaced my sextant, parallel ruler, tide tables and dare I say it Decca/GPS. Using my trusty Nickolsons those nice BW/CRT people have put numbers on the vast majority of bridges which allow me to plot my position to within inches. And it's all done without electrickery!

 

:boat:  :boat::boat:

 

Slim

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3 hours ago, cp140405 said:

Thanks everyone for the replies. One of the (unstated) objectives behind using APRS is that family could see where we are on a day-to-day basis simply by looking for my call sign.

I'm not terribly interested in using GPS or APRS as an aid to navigation. They both only show you where you were when the machine last updated and not where you are right now. I think good map is sufficient on a narrow boat... plus a little bit of dead reckoning of course.

Just more ideas to think upon....

Using Navvygtor in conjunction with Water Explorer allows family to see where you are, (or at least where you were 10 minutes ago), which given typical canal travel speeds is probably more than sufficient.

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3 hours ago, cp140405 said:

One of the (unstated) objectives behind using APRS is that family could see where we are on a day-to-day basis simply by looking for my call sign.
 

To me that's even more curious, do you and your family need to know where, within 15 feet you all are all of the time?

That was a genuine question, and I accept I may well be the odd one here.  To the best of my knowledge I might have one aunty and perhaps nine cousins extant, but it's only a guess.  I wouldn't recognise any of them if they tripped over me in the gutter.

One of my objectives (happily stated) for going on holiday … anywhere … is to just be me, doing what I want and when I want, but not tagged and observable from a distance.

I am confident everyone I know is more than capable of handling anything that might befall any of us, except perhaps nuclear war.  Should that happen I probably wouldn't want to know anyway.

 

Not wishing to appear anti-social nor uncaring, I just carry a mobile phone in case I need to contact emergency services.

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12 minutes ago, zenataomm said:

To me that's even more curious, do you and your family need to know where, within 15 feet you all are all of the time?

That was a genuine question, and I accept I may well be the odd one here.  To the best of my knowledge I might have one aunty and perhaps nine cousins extant, but it's only a guess.  I wouldn't recognise any of them if they tripped over me in the gutter.

One of my objectives (happily stated) for going on holiday … anywhere … is to just be me, doing what I want and when I want, but not tagged and observable from a distance.

I am confident everyone I know is more than capable of handling anything that might befall any of us, except perhaps nuclear war.  Should that happen I probably wouldn't want to know anyway.

 

Not wishing to appear anti-social nor uncaring, I just carry a mobile phone in case I need to contact emergency services.

Exactly! Much nicer would be to give the family an evening of slide presentations when you get back home, just like the olden days!

 

Howard

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On 23/06/2019 at 04:19, cp140405 said:

And.... FWIW, I hold the appropriate Canadian (and US) Amateur licences in addition to Marine VHF and Aeronautical licences

Are they acceptable over here? From talking to my wife's cousin on Vancouver Island I got the impression that our Foundation licence wouldn't be over there.
For the canals you are proposing the Marine VHF would not be required.

And to be honest, if you really must track yourself so that the family can see where you are, then one of the runners/cyclists/walkers apps (Strava, etc) for a mobile phone would be just as good and just as accurate. And you can even add photos and videos to some of them.

Edited by Graham Davis

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Our

1 hour ago, Graham Davis said:

Are they acceptable over here? From talking to my wife's cousin on Vancouver Island I got the impression that our Foundation licence wouldn't be over there.
For the canals you are proposing the Marine VHF would not be required.
(snip)

Foundation or Intermediate aren't acceptable abroad, as neither fulfils CEPT ( European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations or HAREC ( Harmonised Amateur Radio Examination Certificate) requirements . A full UK licence does.

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11 minutes ago, Yellowback said:

Just do it, if it helps you enjoy your holiday, ignore the naysayers and just do it!

Who is telling OP not to do it?

Name and shame them, I'll certainly condemn their attitude.

 

I for one was answering his question and giving my opinion.  Isn't that the purpose of a forum?

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1 hour ago, Yellowback said:

Just do it, if it helps you enjoy your holiday

This...

 

I know nothing of the technicalities so can't help there.

 

I phone my dad every night, there is no need and if for some reason I can't I don't, but as a means of communication and keeping in touch it works - I'm sure other people can come up with their own way of doing it but that's mine.

 

My way has the advantage he doesn't necessarily know where I am though... ;) 

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16 hours ago, Graham Davis said:

Are they acceptable over here? From talking to my wife's cousin on Vancouver Island I got the impression that our Foundation licence wouldn't be over there.
For the canals you are proposing the Marine VHF would not be required.

And to be honest, if you really must track yourself so that the family can see where you are, then one of the runners/cyclists/walkers apps (Strava, etc) for a mobile phone would be just as good and just as accurate. And you can even add photos and videos to some of them.

I would have to get a new CEPT permit to operate in the UK... and yes, as far as I know the Marine and Air "tickets" are valid... I'm just a bit of a radio geek... and yes there is no point carrying a Marine radio on a canal.

From what I have read, the UK Foundation licence would not qualify for a CEPT permit to operate over here. 

 

12 hours ago, magpie patrick said:

This...

 

I know nothing of the technicalities so can't help there.

 

I phone my dad every night, there is no need and if for some reason I can't I don't, but as a means of communication and keeping in touch it works - I'm sure other people can come up with their own way of doing it but that's mine.

 

My way has the advantage he doesn't necessarily know where I am though... ;) 

Yeah... just thinking out loud on my part.

16 hours ago, zenataomm said:

To me that's even more curious, do you and your family need to know where, within 15 feet you all are all of the time?

That was a genuine question, and I accept I may well be the odd one here.  To the best of my knowledge I might have one aunty and perhaps nine cousins extant, but it's only a guess.  I wouldn't recognise any of them if they tripped over me in the gutter.

One of my objectives (happily stated) for going on holiday … anywhere … is to just be me, doing what I want and when I want, but not tagged and observable from a distance.

I am confident everyone I know is more than capable of handling anything that might befall any of us, except perhaps nuclear war.  Should that happen I probably wouldn't want to know anyway.

 

Not wishing to appear anti-social nor uncaring, I just carry a mobile phone in case I need to contact emergency services.

No, they don't need to know, but I could put the info out there for them to use if they wanted to. 

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16 hours ago, howardang said:

Exactly! Much nicer would be to give the family an evening of slide presentations when you get back home, just like the olden days!

 

Howard

Nah, just throw up some photos on Flickr and publish something to YouTube!

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When we are away, we use a whatsapp group to share what we have been up with photos, to family and friends.  As long as you have data on your phone that works well and is much more personal as you can include the usual banter.

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1 minute ago, john6767 said:

When we are away, we use a whatsapp group to share what we have been up with photos, to family and friends.  As long as you have data on your phone that works well and is much more personal as you can include the usual banter.

Ah... therein lies the rub...roaming data rates from Canada are horrendously expensive. The whole topic of getting a UK phone to use while there or a sim card is another discussion. 

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10 minutes ago, cp140405 said:

Ah... therein lies the rub...roaming data rates from Canada are horrendously expensive. The whole topic of getting a UK phone to use while there or a sim card is another discussion. 

I was in Canada for few weeks until the end of last week, with the Three network I did not get data included there but you can get a data pass per day, it is not expensive, your carrier may do similar in the U.K.  BTW, I am posting this from the US where you do get free data with Three, it is strange why Canada is not included as it is most counties in the works now are it seems.

 

you could of course just get a U.K. payg sim.

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1 hour ago, john6767 said:

I was in Canada for few weeks until the end of last week, with the Three network I did not get data included there but you can get a data pass per day, it is not expensive, your carrier may do similar in the U.K.  BTW, I am posting this from the US where you do get free data with Three, it is strange why Canada is not included as it is most counties in the works now are it seems.

 

you could of course just get a U.K. payg sim.

It is all a bit confusing. A UK/US cell/mobile roaming in Canada appears to be cheaper than a Canada cell roaming in the UK/US.

My sister (lives in the US) pays very little when she visits here whereas I pay through the nose when I visit her.

And yes... because we visit Europe relatively frequently, we do have a cheap "throw away" UK mobile we use for "local" calls and texts. Our best bet to communicate with home when abroad is to find free wifi at a pub and send a flurry of emails. 

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