Using APRServe with WinAPRS
The Guide is written in 3 parts. Part I is for those completely
inexperienced in using WinAPRS. Part II consists of things you can do
while connected to APRServe. Part III is more detail about what is
happening and why it's happening while connected to APRServe.
APRServe was written to allow APRS users to exchange positions and messages
via the Internet rather than relying strictly on RF to populate the users'
maps. Version 2.08 is the WinAPRS version offering TCP/IP (Internet)
connection. (MacAPRS and DOS APRS versions are available, too. The Mac
version works pretty much like WinAPRS. The DOS version requires a telnet
connection and most of this guide does not apply to the DOS version.) The
following information assumes you have Internet access and have a basic
knowledge of using it.
A step-by-step guide for WinAPRS users follows:
- Start WinAPRS and verify the correct configuration underneath SETTINGS.
If you are using an unregistered version of WinAPRS you will have to
configure the program each time you re-start it. Also note that pressing
ENTER instead of clicking OK in the STATION configuration may cause the
loss of information.
- Select STATION to enter your callsign and location.
- Select Serial Port and identify the TNC serial port IF A TNC IS
ATTACHED. A tnc is not necessary to connect to APRServe.
- If a map is not already displayed, select New Map Square from under the
WINDOWS button and select the Continental USA map under the MAPS button.
Make it full screen by double clicking the blue bar at the top of the map.
- If you have an aversion to the sound of the cartoon roadrunner, click
the SETTINGS button and click Enable Sound to turn it off.
You're now ready to connect to APRServe.
- Click the appropriate Icon to dial into your ISP (or whatever procedure
needed to log onto your local network providing access - it's the same as
if you were going to use your browser).
- When the connection is established, click the WinAPRS button labeled
SETTINGS once again and move to TCP/IP Connections. At that point, select
www.aprs.net (select the first one if more than one is displayed).
Your connection to the APRServer should be complete soon and stations will
begin to fill the map. It should take only a couple of minutes for you to
be caught up and showing every station available.
Now that you're connected to APRServe and have a map full of stations there
are several things you'll want to experiment with. Don't worry, you can't
hurt anything and you'll be forewarned in these instructions if an action
will send data to APRServe. For now, if you've followed the instructions
in PART I, your station is just receiving information - not sending.
- Well, you really are sending information but only as it was entered
into the SETTINGS - Station configuration screen. Verify that you appear
on the map with the correct callsign and location.
- Use your PageUp/PageDown keys to zoom in and out, then use the arrow
keys to maneuver around the map at a range that allows you to see a few
stations and callsigns. If you get lost, hit your Home key to view the map
at it's default range.
- After you've wandered around the map awhile, open the Messages List by
clicking the LISTs button and selecting Message List. (If someone attempts
to send you message, the message list will automatically pop up. If that
happens, look at instruction number 6 in this part of this Guide.) You can
select only BULLETINS or only MINE by clicking on the appropriate word at
the top of the box. The selected list will be underlined.
- After you see the overwhelming number of stations on the map you might
consider clearing all the stations and messages and start watching them
appear one by one. It's much easier to keep up and you get a good feel for
the activity at a more leisurely pace. Clear the map and messages by
clicking the WinAPRS EDIT button and then selecting Clear Stations and Msgs.
- Sending messages to other users that are connected to APRServe is one
of the really neat features. NOTE - not all stations you see on your map
are connected to APRServe and only those that are can receive messages from
you. To see who is online, open the TCP/IP List under the LISTS function
and look for the station there.
To send a message to a station:
- Open the Message List window and click the TO field of the message box.
- Type in the callsign of the station to whom you want to send a
message. Don't forget to include the SSID if the other station uses it.
K4HG is not the same station as K4HG-6.
- Click in the message box (to get the cursor there), and type your
text. For clarity, try to limit the message to a line or two but don't
press ENTER until you're finished typing - the text will automatically wrap
around in the text box when you get to the end of a line in the text box.
Press the ENTER key when you're ready to send the message.
- Your message will be displayed in the Message List box. It will be
light blue until it is acknowledged (ack'd) by the other station.
Once ack'd, your message will turn green.
Other features to try while connected to APRServe are:
- If your message does not turn green within several seconds, the other
station is probably not online (or is not receiving the message for some
reason). Cancel your message by clicking on it in the Message List and
pressing your = (equal sign) key.
- To REPLY to a message, highlight the message line and press your R key.
The message box TO field will be automatically filled in. Then, just
click in the text box and begin typing. Press ENTER to send.
- If there is enough message traffic to cause confusion for you, turn on
only your messages (those to and from you) by clicking on the MINE in the
Message List Box.
- Display only Weather Stations by clicking the DISPLAY button and
selecting Weather Stations Only. Try the other selections under DISPLAY, too.
- To show Temperatures instead of the callsigns of weather stations,
click DISPLAY, then select Station Display Options. Uncheck all weather
fields except Temperature and click the Display Wx Always button at the
bottom left of the selections.
- Check out the other LISTs and DISPLAYs.
- Click on your own station and, while holding the left mouse button,
draw a line to a distant station. Information in the bottom of the map
window will show the distance between the two stations. If you can't see
the distance over on the right side, make the map fullscreen.
All the stations displayed when you connect to APRServe are reflected by
several sources. Some appear after they were heard by an HF gate and then
uplinked via APRServe <-> APRServe links. Starting with WinAPRS version
2.08, local VHF stations can be uplinked into APRServe by any connected
When you connect to APRServe, all stations are automatically downloaded to
you and displayed on your map. The stations and their information will
remain in WinAPRS memory after you log off. (If connect time to your
Internet server is of concern, you can logon, get all the stations and
disconnect from your ISP to peruse the map offline.)
To upload your local VHF traffic so everyone on APRServe sees it, click on
the SETTINGS button and move down to TCP/IP Connection. Move into the
expanded box and select ECHO Local Data To TCP/IP. All traffic heard by
your tnc will now be uplinked to APRServe. NOTE - If your local APRS
frequency is shared by non-APRS packets, use the BUDLIST or SUPLIST
features of your tnc to screen traffic - click WINDOWS then Terminal Window
to send commands directly to your tnc.
Queries are not currently supported by APRServe. Sending ?APRS? or ?WX?
has no affect on APRServe. However, these command do get echoed by APRServe,
and all stations conencted to APRServe will see them and respond appropriately.
If you want to hear the You Have Mail announcement when your station
receives a message but your DON'T want to listen to the MEEP-MEEP of new
stations, go the WINAPRS directory and rename your NEWSTAT.WAV file (to
something like NEWSTAT.OLD) so that it can't be read by WinAPRS. Then
Enable Sounds. (NOTE - you will have to do this before starting WinAPRS or
it will not take affect until the next time you run WinAPRS.)
While viewing the map, press B to see borders of other maps that are
available. Double-clicking the right mouse button will load a more
detailed map for the point at which the cursor is sitting. You can also
select an area for zoom by holding the right mouse button while dragging
open a box.
You can address a message to another station by clicking on the station's
message in the Message List and pressing S for Send. (If you inadvertently
uplink an object, delete it by going to the Stations List under LISTs.
Click the offending line and press the BackSpace key. If you see a yellow
triangle appear at your cursor on the map, and long green line extending
from the triangle, you have pressed the S key while on the map window.)
If you just want to "test" the messaging function, address a message to a
station on the TCP/IP List and type the text PING. This lets the recipient
know he's not obligated to reply. On the other hand, go ahead and send him
a "Hello from Joe"... we all have a common interest and it's likely you'll
have an interesting chat and meet somebody new. If the other station is
busy, away from the keyboard, or otherwise unable/willing to reply - no harm.
Mail comments/corrections to
This page was last modified
by Steve Dimse, K4HG.
Written October 1997 by Les Blalock N5KOA