# Setting up the VX-8GR and TH-D72 for BeeLine GPS

### Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

#### ksaves2

You talking about just the tracking transmitter? I've got a TRS w/LCD RX and it's pretty cool!
Yeah, I have a couple of the 900Mhz unit. Cris now makes a 400mhz one along with the LCD receiver. I'd like to see a 100mW 400Mhz Eggfinder.
He makes it so ones callsign appears in the strings so it's perfectly legal. Kurt

#### John Kemker

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Yeah, I have a couple of the 900Mhz unit. Cris now makes a 400mhz one along with the LCD receiver. I'd like to see a 100mW 400Mhz Eggfinder.
He makes it so ones callsign appears in the strings so it's perfectly legal. Kurt
Yep! I need to put my TRS together. Got the LCD completed.

#### WillMarchant

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I'm using the Yaesu FT3DR and Kenwood TH-D74a for APRS these days. They're great with the Big Red Bee and Altus Metrum products.

Let me know if you want me to update the "getting started" info from earlier in this thread for these new radios.

#### Jmhepworth

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I'm using the Yaesu FT3DR and Kenwood TH-D74a for APRS these days. They're great with the Big Red Bee and Altus Metrum products.

Let me know if you want me to update the "getting started" info from earlier in this thread for these new radios.
Please do. I have the TH-74A and have to figure it out all over again every time I use my Big Red Bee.

#### DaveW6DPS

##### Well-Known Member
... It was doable in the Kenwood D7A(g) days...
For some of us those days continue! Well, as a back-up now to my Mobilinkd TNC and APRS Droid. I also have a Yaesu FTM-100D mobile in my car with great built-in APRS functions.

Maybe we should post more threads to describe what we are using? And keep the older ones, since many of those older radios are still kicking around the swap meets and ham fests.

#### ksaves2

I’ve experimented with the Mobilinkd and APRS Droid too Dave with an F6A. Very very workable and usable too for APRS! I need to see if I can dig up some of my setup Howto‘s again. Especially the one on using APRSIS32 with the EggFinder ”like” trackers. It can place an NMEA tracker on a photomap.
About 4 years ago I found 2 Chinese tablets that were dual boot Windows/Android AND had a built-in GPS! One can’t find a tablet like that anymore. Dual booting is out there but none with a GPS chipset onboard.
I was able to use APRSIS32 to track and recover my EggFinder stuff on a photomap and it’s great.
I think I’ll be able to revisit my setups and compose a how to. I retire from the practice of medicine July 1st and once I get my house cleaned up and organized, my two small rocket workshops cleaned up and organized, I’ll have more time for rocket activities. I haven’t flown in 3 years unfortunately due to work and losing my Dad and my lovely wife.
Now I’ll have time to get my domestic chores done, take care of my adult autistic spectrum son (who in reality is at a high level of functioning. Like an 8 year old and he’s 26. No more meltdowns as he outgrew them.)
I can’t wait to get free! Kurt

#### ether

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
got the bigredbee 70cm and a TH-d74a and been able to set it up to use APRSdroid app to locate it on a map

Key steps:
Instead of APRS 12, use the KISS setting
Pair the phone with the TH-d74a over bluetooth
Under Configuration - select Interface, under KISS select Bluetooth (this will send the info out via bluetooth)

Launch APRSdroid and can see the packets come through and can be displayed on the Map and the app can transfer the coordinates to any other Map app, Google maps or even more interesting Google earth.

Provides great options

Using the TH-d74a by itself under the APRS 12 setting also works great, shows location, distance, relative location to TH-d74a on the TH-d74a LCD Screen

#### ksaves2

got the bigredbee 70cm and a TH-d74a and been able to set it up to use APRSdroid app to locate it on a map

Key steps:
Instead of APRS 12, use the KISS setting
Pair the phone with the TH-d74a over bluetooth
Under Configuration - select Interface, under KISS select Bluetooth (this will send the info out via bluetooth)

Launch APRSdroid and can see the packets come through and can be displayed on the Map and the app can transfer the coordinates to any other Map app, Google maps or even more interesting Google earth.

Provides great options

Using the TH-d74a by itself under the APRS 12 setting also works great, shows location, distance, relative location to TH-d74a on the TH-d74a LCD Screen
Yeah the D74A would be the ultimate but is a bit pricey. I went for a D72A when it first came out as I could get the APRS positions out on the round serial port of the D72. One wire to my Garmin 60Cs or 60 CSx and the rocket will be plotted in real time. Select the rocket icon position and the Garmin will plot a course to the last known position and one just follows the arrow on the map. The danged thing will also tell one how long it will take to walk or ride to the last known position!

One word of caution. Don’t be tempted by buying a used Kenwood D7a(G). They were good in there day but the APRS chipset goes bad over time. I bought 2 of them used 10 years ago and found out they couldn’t decode APRS packets reliably anymore. Would cost too much to repair and bought a D72a. A D74a is a nice unit but somewhat pricey. If one doesn’t mind a wire to their mapping device (as long as the mapping device can take a serial cable and interface) they can save a bit on a D72. If all the other digital options on the D74 are to one’s taste like the D-Star and bluetooth connectivity then go for it though they are running $550.00 now. A 72A I’ve seen for$419.00 and a Garmin 60CsX for $50.00 to$200.00 on ebay. Can get free OSM maps at

#### ksaves2

Picked up the TH-d74 at ham radio outlet for $499, still up there in cost The D72A is listed there for$439.00. If one is not interested in the D-Star digital stuff, it’s all that‘s needed to do APRS tracking with a one wire connector. I guess the D74A has bluetooth capabilities and technically it might be interfaceable to a Bluetooth enabled handheld mapping GPS but I am not certain about that or what units might work with wireless radio to mapping GPS connection. I just know that the Garmin 60Cs and CsX with the round socket connection cable and interface to the D72A and D74A for rocket APRS tracking on the 2 meter and 70cm bands.
Kurt

#### BF Rockets

##### Well-Known Member
Another APRS solution that may have been mentioned...

Altus Metrum TeleGPS $200$30-$40 Baofeng VHF/UHF Radio, plentiful on Amazon$25 APRS cable for audio input into iPhone (or Android phone):

$5 Pocket Packet iphone app.$15 Lightning to audio jack for iphone 7 and newer that don't have audio input.

#### WillMarchant

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Here
is a quick start guide to APRS for the Yaesu FT3DR. It is not rocketry specific, and covers steps to get you to where you can beacon on 144.390.

Here is my attempt at a minimal subset to configure your radio for receiving APRS transmissions from your rocket/balloon:

Short press A/B button and make sure you’re in B.
Long press the A/B button so you just see the one channel display.
If it says “VFO” in the upper left corner then skip to next step. Otherwise quick press V/M to get into VFO mode.

Click and hold “DISP”.

Click on “APRS”.

Either touch a sub-menu or use topmost rotary button to highlight it and then press “DISP”.
Note that there are more menu items than screen. Use the top rotary button to scroll.

“4 APRS MODEM” Use top dial to select 1200bps
“8 APRS MUTE” turn this on if you don’t like hearing a lot of packet noise.
“20 GPS POWER” Set to on.

Use “BACK” twice to get to the VFO display.

Touch the screen over the frequency display to get into input mode.
Type in the frequency you set into your transmitter.

Monitor the frequency for a couple of minutes to make sure it’s not in use.

Wait a minute or two for its GPS to update.
You should start seeing messages on the FT3D display.

Press the screen in the lower left corner.
Press on the screen at “S.LIST”
Find your transmitter’s callsign and either press on the screen over it or use the topmost rotary button to highlight it and then press “DISP”.
The display will show you a range and bearing from your current location to your transmitter.

#### WillMarchant

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
The TH-D74 allows you to save and restore setup configuration files to the SD card. I really encourage that. Then you can make a "rocket tracking" configuration.

If you're not having any luck with APRS, then go down into the system menu and do a reset.

The basic "I just want to receive and decode APRS tracking packets" setup (from the reset state) is:
1) Press the "ENT" button in the center of the multi-function cursor
2) Use the numeric keys to enter the transmitter's frequency
3) Press the "(F)" button
4) Press the "APRS" button (it's the number 5 key)
You'll now be able to receive and decode APRS packets on that frequency.

#### ksaves2

Here
is a quick start guide to APRS for the Yaesu FT3DR. It is not rocketry specific, and covers steps to get you to where you can beacon on 144.390.

Here is my attempt at a minimal subset to configure your radio for receiving APRS transmissions from your rocket/balloon:
(Snip for brevity's sake)
It's about time we see another APRS H/T out there. I know the Ham market is limited but would be nice to have a bread and butter APRS rig with an onboard GPS and an interface (wire or B/T) to get the incoming NMEA sentences off to a mapping program. I'm surprised the Chinese haven't tried to clone one.
I experimented 2 to 3 years ago with 3dr radios with cheap GPS chipsets with the goal of getting a ~$25.00 GPS tracker out of it. Essentially, disposable. Launch it on a questionable project; questionable as to whether or not one will get it back even with tracking and if it's lost or lands in water, no big deal. Essentially a disposable GPS tracker for rockets. I did have some success interfacing the transmitter and the receiver to a computer but I could not get my Ham callsign into a comment statement in the NMEA strings being transmitted from the GPS chipset. Specs said it could be done but after multiple tries with different chipsets and their concomitant setup computer programs, I found I could change some parameters and get them saved but the section to where I could insert a comment into the NMEA string (which would be my Ham callsign) was always greyed out. I came to the conclusion the cheap GPS chipsets had some of the capabilities limited either because they were clones or were meant to dirt bone cheap units. Buying a$100.00 "full featured" GPS chipset negated my premise hence I gave up.
I wasn't trying to do this to go into business but would have published an article so DIY folks could try and reproduce what I was doing. Yeah the 900Mhz 3dr units would be possible but I had some higher powered units that would technically be illegal for a non-Ham to use and since I couldn't get my callsign in a string, gave up on that too. There's enough 100mW, 900Mhz GPS trackers out there already that folks can use.
Kurt

#### WillMarchant

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
It's about time we see another APRS H/T out there. I know the Ham market is limited but would be nice to have a bread and butter APRS rig with an onboard GPS and an interface (wire or B/T) to get the incoming NMEA sentences off to a mapping program.
The FT3D is a nice radio. And it's *much* smaller than the TH-D74. I bought it for use when traveling.

But I really prefer the features and menu system in the Kenwood line.

So I really really hope they recover from the chip factory fire and continue their line of general purpose H/Ts with APRS functionality.

FWIW, these radios also work with the Altus Metrum line if you enable APRS packets in the Altus Metrum setup.