I recently upgraded my AT-878UV to an AT-878UVII, the most important driver for this was the new feature ANYTONE calls APRS RX. This is basically what it says, the new model is able to finally receive APRS messages. ANYTONE builds very good radios. Sadly they are often misunderstood as pure DMR toys. I have to admit that I use it rarely for DMR but daily for analog – and yes I am quite happy with it. Compared to many other radios with similar features it is a really amazing device. The only drawback ist that it sometimes needs some time to work into the many features. But hey, that is why people like me are writing guides.
Said that, and to clarify this before we move one:
- If you own an AT-878UV all you can do is sending APRS position data.
- If you own an AT-878UVII, you can send APRS position data and receive all kinds of APRS messages.
The second important thing is – you cannot straight out send messages to a user directly. If you want this feature you need to use APRS digital.
Enough boring intro, let’s go and configure APRS! If you want to get it working, you need to do a few things but it is not too difficult.
Obtain CPS and the Latest Firmware Update
Ok the first thing you need to do is to obtain CPS (the programming software) and the latest firmware update. You can do so by visiting the official ANYTONE website or from Wouxun. Sadly the official one is always behind with the releases.
After downloading install the CPS, follow the instructions and update the firmware and the firmware of the LinkBoard.
The LinkBoard is the component which is doing all the TNC work for us. The first firmware version for the new LinkBoard was very buggy and failed to decode a lot of messages. The latest one works very well so make sure to update it. If the device is not rebooting after the update of the LinkBoard, wait a few minutes and turn it off. It seems that devices are not always rebooting correctly.
Turn on the APRS Feature
This is pretty simple! Just click on Tools in the top menu and click on Options. Check the boxes as you see below.
To send APRS messages, your device needs to have a GPS position. To enable GPS click on optional Settings in the treeview on the left, click on GPS/Ranging and set the options as pictured below. Make sure to adjust Time Zone and Distance Unit to match your country.
Configuring APRS is as simple as pictured below. You should be able to copy the settings 1:1, just change your callsign.
Ok what is important? Here is a explanation for some of the settings:
- Manual TX Interval – adjust this as you like, if you configure a channel to send APRS messages after PTT this will limit the timespan until the next message will be sent. i set it to 1 as I want my device to send a message after every PTT touch.
- APRS Auto TX Interval – The interval in which the device will transmit a message automatically.
- Fixed Location Beacon – If you turn this on the device will transmit the message only for a single location. This location can be set in the box with the ddd.dddddd headline. Normally you don’t want to set this unless you want to propagate a certain location.
Analog APRS Settings
- APRX TX Tone – Just turn this off, it is a weird tone which will just annoy you.
- TOCALL – This is an APRS specific call, it isn’t a real callsign. APAT81 was assigned to ANYTONE AT-878UV in the callto.txt found at aprs.org.
- Your SSID – As you should know, you can append a SSID to your callsign. For a mobile handset it is 7 normally. I set it to 0 as I wanted aprs.fi to just display my callsign. If you want to know more about the recommended SSIDs in APRS, you can take a look at them here.
- APRS Symbol Table and APRS Map Icon – This is basically the icon which is displayed on the map later. The table works with a table-selector (APRS Table) and an icon-selector. Here is a good explanation and nice table for it.
- Digipeater Path – This is a little tricky. If you live on the country side as I do, you want a Wide1-1,Wide2-2 path. This path will produce three hops and will take advantage of home fill-in digis. The desired setting might be different for other areas but try it with this setting. You can read more about it here.
But beware – the ANYTONE is a bit complicated here, you have to leave out the “,” between both values. WIDE1-1WIDE2-2 will give the desired result, the ANYTONE will add the comma for you. If you add it in there, the radio will fail to send any APRS.
- Ana Aprs Rx – This setting is new. The APRS signal, which is essentially a packet signal (AFSK1200), requires just 10-12 kHz bandwidth and is a NFM signal by design. So setting this should be completely void. I sent a mail to ANYTONE what this setting exactly does but never received an answer.
- Transmission Frequency (MHz) – 144,800 MHz, if you are not living in Germany as I do and you are from a country with a different APRS frequency, please make sure to adjust that. For example the US requires 144,390MHz.
- Filter checkboxes (lower right) – Turn them all on for testing, later adjust them as you prefer.
Add an APRS RX Channel
This is also quite simple, go to channel in the treeview and add a new channel with the following settings. Again, make sure that the frequencies match your region. Another important setting is Analog APRS PTT Mode, make sure to set this to End of Transmission. Choosing a different settings caused issues for me.
Optional: Enable APRS on PTT for a different Channel
Congrats, now you are pretty much set up and ready to go. If you want to transmit APRS location messages upon PTT use the settings from the image below. The important settings are marked.
Ok now you should be ready to go. Please be aware that there are some limitations!
- APRS will only work if the radio is tuned to the previously set up 2M APRS RX/TX Channel.
- If you want to have both, a talk channel and APRS, switch to sub channel mode.
- APRS only works if you are not listening or talking on any other channel, the ANYTONE radios described in this text just have one VFO.
I hope you enjoyed this guide! Feel free to leave me a comment or discuss the settings here. More hints, tipps and tricks are always welcome!
Update 30th of November 2021
Anytone updated their firmware to 2.03 and now support APRS SMS! The setup is pretty much the same, just this new analog pane appeared. Just add your local APRS frequency here and you are good to go.
If you are sending the SMS, make sure you are entering the entire callsign with APRS SSID, i.e. DO1ALX-10. That’s it for this update, have fun using the SMS feature!