Automatic Packet Reporting System – Why Should Hams Be Interested In APRS?

This is the first in a series of articles about the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) written with permission of the original system developer, Bob Bruninga, WB4APR.

APRS has a large number of uses which quickly leads many to confusion. Let’s start with those uses first. Once you decide which one or several of those uses interest you, then follow other articles about what equipment is ideal for those uses and how to properly setup and run APRS on that equipment.

As Bob WB4APR likes to frequently remind people, APRS is designed as a tactical two-way digital communications system. It is not a simple vehicle tracker as given to the common misconception. Amateur Radio is boiled down to its basic form of two way communications. APRS meets the basic goal by providing a unique and compelling way to accomplish this.

Any list generated on the uses of APRS will never be up-to-date. New uses and new development continue with the system by many amateur radio operators world wide. However, here is a basic list to get you started thinking about how you may wish to utilize it:
Calling CQ
Local Information
Voice Alert
General Tracking

So why should hams be interested in these various uses? Each of them, even tracking, provides new ways to open up two way communications. Click on a link above for a more verbose description about that APRS use. From there you can start digging around for more information on suggested equipment, settings, and tutorials. Some of that information you will be able to find here on this website. Other information may be found on other websites. Hopefully with the guidance given here, you’ll be on your way shortly!

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