5/19/02 - KD6KQ

Southern California APRS Guidelines

(Note: The callsigns appearing herein have been changed to protect the semi-innocent)

Disclaimer: This is a list of suggestions. Each operating station and mode mentioned herein is different. These are generalized suggestions only. However, one should take into account Part 97's wording of "Good Operating Practice" before deviating wildly from these suggestions. Please ask yourself "how is this going to affect the network?" before changing that next setting, or installing a new APRS station.

The table below outlines the "quick 'n dirty" settings. Read the following text for the more detailed information.

Station Type

Digipeater Path

Position Timing

Beacon Timing


Home Stations WIDE2-2 or named digipeater path. 30-45 minutes 30-45 minutes or greater. Avoid the use of RELAY in your path.

Consider disabling RELAY as a digipeater alias if not needed in your local area.

Do not set your station to digipeat WIDE or WIDEn-N

Mobile Stations WIDE2-2 or if necessary WIDE3-3

or insert "RELAY"


0-5 Watts: 1-2 minutes

5+ Watts: 5 Minutes

15-30 minutes* Some TNC's allow you to set different rates for moving/stationary modes, see your TNC manual.

Use of RELAY may work against you in rural areas, and reduce your area of transmission.  See text below.

*Use "Beacon After" setting, rather than "Beacon Every"

Consider using the shorter $GPGLL string for position reports.

Turn digipeating off.

Weather Stations WIDE2-2, or named digipeater path 10-15 minutes or as conditions dictate. ~30 minutes Unusual weather conditions allow for higher beacon rates, and longer digipeater paths.

Make sure that your station and APRS clock offsets are correct.

Special Event Stations If localized event, use WIDE1-1, or a named digipeater. Varies with event. Varies. For small events, consider installing a temporary digi for the event. Or moving APRS traffic to another frequency if many trackers - sending posits every minute or less - are involved. Please limit pre-event testing on 144.390 MHz to short periods of time.

All Stations should set CWID OFF, HID OFF and any "node" commands disabled (Ka-Node, The-Net, Netrom, etc)

General Settings

Digipeater Paths

Widen-N Explained

For Example:


Mobile Stations

Home Stations

Weather Stations


The Care and Feeding of HF "Gates"

iGATEs - Internet Gateways:

Other Hints:


A "bulletin" packet should not convey information of a purely generic nature. Many APRS programs alarm or beep when these messages are received. Information such as major traffic problems, fires, earthquake info, band openings, and even sometimes - meetings are A-OK. Please think before you send these out, especially using a long path (WIDE5-5) that covers hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles.

WA6XYZ-1>K6TVI-1*>WIDE5-2>APRS::BLNA :Welcome to Podunk! World's largest ball of yarn.

WA6XYZ-1>K6TVI-1*>WIDE5-1>APRS::BLNB :Happy Holidays... Please set path to WIDE2-2.

Known APRS holes in Southern California:

1) I-5 from San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, San Onofre, down to Oceanside. APRS is almost non-existent and very spotty.

2) I-15 from Elsinore to Valley Center.

3) I-10 & 60 Fwy from Yucaipa to roughly Cathedral City.

4) I-5 from Grapevine to just north of Castaic (tnx Dave, ad7db)

5) Highway 395 north of Olancha. Don't know how far north this extends but would assume APRS coverage would pick up again around the Topaz Lake area by the Nevada/California state line.

6) Highway 152 between I-5 and Gilroy (tnx Steve, kf6wax)

 Note: If anyone has information for sites to add coverage to these areas, please email me: k6tvi.

 Also, if you find a dead area, let me know: k6tvi 

The APRS Specification Manual:

APRS Protocol Specification Version 1.0.1 (pdf format 4.0, 3.2MB)

Digipeater Overlay file:

Latest APRS Digipeater Overlay file

FCC Database:

FCC Database (72MB download!) that works with Win/MacAPRS version 2.4.4/3.4.4 or later and Xastir version 0.1.3 and later. Check your documentation for specifics on using this data!

Join the California APRS Mailing list:

SUBSCRIBE: aprs.subscribe@lists.csumb.edu
ARCHIVE: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ca-aprs
MORE INFO: aprs.info@lists.csumb.edu Cap ke6afe@arrl.net (general) Greg wh6dt@amsat.org (technical)
This RingSurf APRS Webring Net Ring
owned by Southern California APRS Guidelines.

[ Skip Next | Next 5 | Random | List Sites | Join]

Last Updated September 16, 2005