Where am I:
From this site you can download all kinds of stuff I made for use with HAM Radio. Everything is free of charge and sources are covered by the GNU General Public License. Some of the links point to dedicated sites. This is for example the case for larger projects such as DIGI_NED. Besides HAM Radio you will also find a link to the Linux 2.6 WLAN driver for cards using the HERMES II and HERMES II.5 chipsets.
Here is a list of different projects with stuff I want to share. It's organised per topic.
Table of contents:
PocketAPRS and APRS/CE maps
PocketAPRS map making story
Download PocketAPRS and APRS/CE maps
PocketAPRS Icon Update
WinAPRS, MacAPRS, XASTIR, APRS/CE maps
UI-View and XASTIR maps
TH-D7E Noise Reduction
XSCC FlexNet driver
Linux 2.6 WLAN driver for cards using the HERMES II and HERMES II.5 chipsets
DIGI_NED is the biggest project, undertaken by the VrzApDxw Group in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands and other HAM's that joined in during the project.
I do the software for this project (but also receive contributions from others) but there is a lot more to it than only software. The official DIGI_NED project webside can be found on via the following link:
The site can also be reached via the DIGI_NED portal:
For easy deployment of DIGI_NED digi's a 1.44 Mb bootable floppy has been designed. It includes a configurator; with a PC, TNC and transceiver you can make a full functional digipeater within one minute. It is even possible to turn the Kenwood TH-D7 portable with build in TNC into a digipeater, if the TH-D7 knows about KISS that is (not all version do, tested with the TH-D7E V2.0). It also works with the TM-D700 and TS-2000.
The DIGI_NED source and binary distribution are stored on this site.
DIGI_NED floppy 1.4 information text [4 kB],
DIGI_NED floppy 1.4 (0.4.0) self-extracting boot-disk image [400 kB],
DIGI_NED 0.4.0 DOS binary distribution [530 kB],
DIGI_NED 0.4.0 Windows (Cygwin) binary distribution [1.2 MB],
DIGI_NED 0.4.0 source code [1.2 MB],
DIGI_NED 0.3.5 source for embedded systems [68 kB],
DIGI_NED 0.4.0 Change log [90 kB].
APRS uses a shared RF channel. When there are too many APRS users, the load has to be reduced because otherwise too many packets would collide. To achieve this, new ideas about digipeating were developed. These ideas are known as "the new paradigm".
This new paradigm limits the number of hops a station can use and makes maximum use of the dupe checking mechanisms implemented in TNC's. For example, RELAY has been replaced by WIDE1-1 for that reason.
The digipeater path settings have been simplified. TRACEn-N is replaced by WIDEn-N, the old WIDEn-N is gone. Counter "n" can only be "1" or "2". Plain WIDE, TRACE and RELAY digipeater calls are not supported anymore. Besides that new "state" digipeater calls are introduced which will keep packets inside a well-defined area.
DIGI_NED itself can support the new paradigm by adjusting the rule file. You do not need a new version of DIGI_NED itself. To support the new paradigm, the following DIGI_NED rule file can be used as template to build your digipeater according the new ideas.
Note: Since version 0.4.0 of DIGI_NED, DIGI_NED is shipped with an example rule file that uses the new paradigm. The DIGI_NED floppy also creates a rule file according to the new paradigm digipeating rules. The rule file below is an alternative that drops paths with a two high hopcount, the standard rulefile converts these to a lower hopcount.
Pete Loveall, AE5PL, described a new method of digipeating called "NSR" (Non Source Routing) where the sender does not longer determine the routing, but the digipeater does. The rule file below is a first attempt to use this method with DIGI_NED. Beware it is experimental!
PocketAPRS and APRS/CE maps for Europe, Canada, Hawaii and South Africa:
PocketAPRS format maps for Europe are hard to find. I already created a vector map for The Netherlands for use with XASTIR, WinAPRS or MacAPRS. The author of pocketAPRS provided the map format for pocketAPRS, which enabled me to convert maps to the pocketAPRS format. All maps are in Version 3 format, some of the maps also have labels. The Dutch map features 5 levels of detail:
Nederland (The Netherlands) - showing increasing detail while you zoom in. The map now also contains map labels.
Nederland (The Netherlands) - showing the country and detail of Den Haag (The Hague) on APRS/CE.
Also the missing "World" map was created, handy to show stations which are misplaced or for displaying satellite objects. It looks like this when centred above Europe:
World - showing the world while hovering above Europe on pocketAPRS and on APRS/CE.
An overview map for Europe map was also done. It also covers a part of Russia and some other east-European countries, although there are no roads displayed in that part of the map.
Europe - Birds eye view or Europe with APRS/CE.
Encouraged by the result and having all I need now to convert WinAPRS and MacAPRS vector maps, I decided to do some more based on those maps. Ready now are "Portugal and Spain", "UK and Ireland", "Germany", "Belgium", the "Alps", "France", "Italy", "Denmark", "Scandinavia" and finally "Greece". It still takes a number of manipulations and minor manual intervention and sometimes a bit more, like I had to do for "France" and "Italy". A map takes me 1 or 2 evenings. I don't know the area at all so I cannot judge how accurate the maps are, but it should be the same as for the WinAPRS/MacAPRS vector maps. If you have better vector maps for WinAPRS/MacAPRS I might be able to make better pocketAPRS maps too.
Europe is not unique regarding the availability of pocketAPRS maps. Canada and Africa share our grief. But not anymore! A Canadian ham asked me if I could convert the splendid APRS maps for the Canadian provinces by VE3ADJ and VE2AW. Both authors gave permission to publish the converted maps (and allowed me to convert even more, which I might do some day). The description and links are below.
For Africa I got a number of maps that covered the south part of Africa which I was able to convert to pocketAPRS format.
I heard that maps for Hawaii are also hard to find. By means of the excellent program GPS TrackMaker I got my hand on some data to work on.
Some people ask me which program I use to make these maps. Click here to read how it is done.
Here are the screen dumps for the other countries for which maps have been created:
Portugal and Spain, the continent and the island Mallorca
United Kingdom, South east UK, zooming in to London
Germany and Switzerland, also covers The Netherlands, Belgium and parts of the surrounding countries. For the first picture I cleared all stations so the border is visible but on the second you can see that it is quite crowded in this part of Europe (all caught on-air!). The last picture shows the Berlin area featuring Berlin's DIGI_NED digipeater DB0AJW that is 5 hops away from my QTH. A part of this map is found in a smaller map which only covers Belgium, so if you are only interested in that part you can save some memory (like I have to on my only 2 MB palm IIIe).
The Alps, nice to take with you when you go out on wintersports. It features the major Alp countries Switzerland and Austria and also shows south Germany and northern Italy, as well as small parts of the surrounding countries. Slovenia is even completely present, although the south border to Croatia is missing. The second picture shows the famous city Venice, located near the south edge of this map.
France, overview and zoomed in towards Paris. Take this map with you when you are going to watch the Tour de France! The route from left to right on the 3rd picture is the Avenu des Champs Elysees where the Tour traditionally finishes. You can also see that some HAMs are on the front row each year.
Italy. As you can see on the second picture, there are a lot of APRS loving HAMs there. I got 220 stations in my logs, all captured on air, although a lot of them are via retransmitted IGATE traffic. The third and fourth picture shows the famous city Roma (Rome). The deep-zoom shows where the smallest state in the world, Citta del Vaticano (Vatican City), is located (right in the centre of this screen dump). This map also features another complete country, Malta (and Gozo), as shown in the last picture. I leave exploration of Sicilia (Sicily) and Sardegna (Sardinia) up to you...
Scandinavia; Norway, Sweden and Denmark. This map is rather big so there is a smaller map covering only Denmark available. The first 2 pictures show you the covered area on both maps. The third picture is Stockholm, a very nice city that I visited frequently when I was an Ericsson employee (mainly Kista and Nacka Strand for those who know the area). Also Denmark is not unknown to me; I spend a number of holidays there, biking through "Juland". I also paid a number of visits to the former Ericsson branch in Aalborg. I love Scandinavia - not only the country but also its people! It's a shame I didn't come up with these maps earlier...
Greece... Also a country that I should have done earlier. My wife's best friend was born in Greece. The second picture shows the isle Crete where my wife and I spend our honeymoon. The map also covers a small part of Turkey.
Canada. These are about the best maps I've made to date. This is not only because my conversion tools finally handle labels and can insert dummy points in long vectors (allowing more accuracy), but also because of the very good source material of VE3ADJ and VE2AW. As with the Dutch map these maps use layering - showing more detail as you zoom in. So don't be disappointed when you look at the maps at 1x zoom, but zoom in and be amazed! Also the more you zoom in, the more labels show up on the screen.
Canadian maps: File Province Source ------------------------------------------------ marc.pdb New Brunswick, Nova Scotia VE3ADJ pqhighw2.pdb Quebec Highways VE2AW nontc.pdb Northern Ontario VE3ADJ sontc5c.pdb Southern Ontario VE3ADJ smb1.pdb Southern Manitoba VE3ADJ ssk.pdb Southern Saskatchewan VE3ADJ sab2.pdb Southern Alberta VE3ADJ sbc2.pdb Southern Brittish Columbia VE3ADJ yukon.pdb Yukon Territory VE3ADJ
Africa. Peter, LX1QF/VE3VEK/KC1QF asked me if I could make some maps for Namibia. Another HAM provided me with a link to existing WinAPRS/MacAPRS maps. These maps have labels, but they are not very well placed (not my fault, that's due to the source material). I kept the labels since they make it easier to navigate, and you can always switch them off via the pocketAPRS menu..
Unfortunately pieces of Africa are missing, but the table shows you what is covered.
Southern Africa maps: File Country Part covered ------------------------------------------------- SAfricaN.pdb Namibia East part Botswana Almost full Zambia Part of the south Angola Part of the south Zimbabwe West part Rep.South Africa Northern part SAfricaS.pdb Namibia South part Botswana South part Rep.South Africa Almost full Lesotho Full Swaziland Only border
Maps of Hawaii are also hard to find. With the help of the excellent program GPS TrackMaker by Odilon Ferreira Júnior, I was able to do something about this. GPS TrackMaker is not only able to read the maps provided by the Digital Chart of the World Server but also capable of saving these maps in WinAPRS format (!). Once in WinAPRS format I was able to convert them to pocketAPRS maps. Note that the DCW maps are not recent, new roads may be missing.
Every time I work with pocketAPRS maps it surprises me over and over how efficient they are. For example for Canada, all the information from the original maps is present but the size is still low. All the Canadian provinces fit in a ZIP file of about 1 MB. I hope the author of pocketAPRS will attract a lot new customers due to all these maps!
You can download these maps by means of the following links:
Nederland (The Netherlands) [480 kB],
Europe [62 kB],
World [38 kB],
Portugal and Spain [155 kB],
The UK and Ireland [207 kB],
Germany and Switzerland [398 kB],
The Alps with Switzerland and Austria [199 kB],
France [233 kB],
Italy [116 kB],
Belgie (Belgium) [37 kB],
Scandinavia (South/Middle) [662 kB],
Denmark [85 kB],
Greece [198 kB],
Canada Provinces [1 MB],
South Africa, Northern part [92 kB],
South Africa, Southern part [144 kB].
Hawaii [11 kB].
PocketAPRS Icon Update for PocketAPRS version 1.94:
Here is a package that contains updated icons for pocketAPRS 1.94. I did not like some of the icons (like the one for a SUV for example) and overlay characters for intelligent digipeaters were not very visible. So I sat down and hacked the Icons. I tried to stick to the currently know Icon set, including the latest changes like the handicapped/wheelchair icon. I could not include all icons however; I could only replace the icons that were already present in pocketAPRS.
Here is a picture showing the new icon set:
PocketAPRS Icons after running the update
The update was created using "PatchWise Free 3.28", see http://www.patchwise.com. To apply the update you need a clean copy of pocketAPRS.prc version 1.94. This package is not longer available on the pocketAPRS site, but it can still be downloaded from other sources using a Google Search. Please respect the copyright on pocketAPRS, only the icon update is provided free of charge.
You can download the update by means of the following link:
WinAPRS, MacAPRS, XASTIR, APRS/CE maps:
Also for WinAPRS, MacAPRS, XASTIR and APRS/CE it's hard to find good quality maps for The Netherlands. Therefore some maps were created from MapBlast maps. There is even a nice map for Apeldoorn, which was scanned from a detailed paper map. All these maps are of bitmap type and look like this (with insert to show the detail):
Nederland (The Netherlands) - maps sourced from MapBlast maps
Apeldoorn - scanned topographic map
The bitmap maps have a big disadvantage. When zooming in and out lines disappear or get a block structure. Vector maps do not have this disadvantage since that are just points which are connected at runtime. These maps are very good scalable without getting artefacts. When we got raw material for the Netherlands we started shifting and calculating to get the map to correct positions. For this calibration we used many GPS track-logs. The end result is a map that fits rather well. This map is also the source for the pocketAPRS maps presented above. Here are some pictures to show off the result:
Our Dutch vector map - we use this map all the time!
Nederland (The Netherlands) - showing the country and detail of Den Haag (The Hague) on APRS/CE.
Stripped down vector map, draws faster, no road clutter
Here are the links to the maps above for downloading:
Bitmap type from MapBlast source:
Bitmap type scanned from paper map:
Also the UI-View maps below are usable for XASTIR, WinAPRS and MacAPRS
UI-View and XASTIR maps:
I created some maps for UI-View and XASTIR. All the maps use exactly the same colour palette and it is possible to concatenate the detailed maps to one big map. I used these maps on an old B&W Laptop with a 256 grey scale screen. These maps also look very good in colour. The button files also use the same colour palette as the maps - which also include the Windows colours. This way colour-shifting is kept to a minimum without loosing the soft map colours. For more information about the palette problem read the UI-View help file.
Here is an impression of the basic map. Note that they have a high resolution, which is of course not visible when showing them in such a small area!
Complete maps with increasing detail. In Apeldoorn all city roads are visible!
The Benelux map is available in higher resolution:
Benelux in 8 parts that can be connected together.
You can download the maps by means of the following links:
Benelux 8 detailed maps:
Button files for the above mentioned maps:
These maps also work in XASTR, WinAPRS and MacAPRS. Besides the .inf files for UI-View also the .geo files are included in the downloaded files.
Other very nice maps
The following link will lead you to the very nice maps developed by Han, PE1FAM. The maps are designed for XASTIR and are available for many different european countries. They are also usable in other programs if you convert the included .geo files, but why use any another program when you can use XASTIR!
On the following site you can find UI-View maps for The Netherlands by PD0RSF.
This tool is written to provide a fast way to save and restore all settings of the TH-D7E. This way I can play around and mess the settings up, then do a full-reset and restore the settings, which the TH-D7E had before I started to mess with it.
It goes beyond the software provided by Kenwood. It is simple, DOS based, no GUI and it not only restores the VFO range and memory channels but also the actual VFO setting, Memory selection and mode of operation (Single band/Dual band). Also the 1200/9600 baud selection for APRS, present in the TH-D7E version 2, is covered. The saved data is in plain ASCII, which allows hacking with a text-editor to create customised files. This way you can switch fast between mobile and home use without forgetting any setting. I use it now to switch between normal operation and PCSAT operation for example, no goofing up because you forgot one setting anymore...
|1.1||Fixed saving of memory channels with odd shifts (programmed RX/TX Doppler shifts for example).|
|1.2||Offset was not always restored correctly, set explicitly now. MN<->F was not restored ok, and sometimes "PLEASE WAIT" was not visible during upload (depended on the old MN<->F setting). The keyboard and channel lock states were not restored.|
|1.3||Fixed saving of memory channels with odd shifts which are locked out for scanning.|
TH-D7E Noise Reduction:
Maybe you noticed that the signal gets a lot noisier as soon as a PC is connected to the serial port. I did quite some experiments to find the source of this problem to be able to combat it. It is quite frustrating that the TH-D7E copies packet signals in standalone APRS mode but not anymore when the PC is connected. Even connecting only one of the three wires to the serial port creates this problem, so it's not the data on the line itself that creates the problem.
The problem is gone when an external antenna is used. This led me to the following theory. To get the noise you need a voltage difference somewhere. The noise seems to enter through the antenna since with an external antenna the noise is gone. The serial lead seems to act as ground for the antenna, but it is a floating ground with RF noise on it. The trick seems to be to "cut" this ground connection.
The first attempt to break the ground connection was with a simple passive circuit. Short cutting RF with capacitors does not work since the noise is not on the data lines itself but between any wire of the serial line and the antenna. The solution for that is to insert a coil in every wire of the serial line. Experimenting with coils gave various results. Big coils have to much spurious capacity and leak RF, small coils do not block RF enough. The best coils I could find in my junk box were 3.3 micro Henry. This already suppressed the noise a lot. It is not completely gone but it is a big step.
TH-D7E connector with coils, click on the picture to get the schematic diagram (PDF) or use the link below.
The best way to break the ground connection is not to make it in the first place. For this a circuit is designed with opto couplers which completely separates the input and output. Since power is needed to drive the RS232 lines, a 9 volt block is used. There are two identical circuits for RS232 traffic in both directions. For a unidirectional coupling just leave the circuit you don't need out.
Circuit to galvanic separate the RS232 link, no copper contact between input and output. Click on the picture to get the schematic diagram (PDF) or use the link below.
This following link leads to the site where TFPCX is stored:
Although I moved to Linux a few years ago, still the XSCC 16 bit FlexNet driver for various SCC cards is available here. The last version is 0.23 which adds support for the French FSCC card and has the ability to work with different SCC X-tal clock frequencies.
Don't ask me for a 32 bit version as I don't have the FlexNet driver-kit or the proper expensive Microsoft Compiler. The best advice I can give is "move to Linux". The source of XSCC is also provided here so if you want to try for yourself, be my guest!
I own a couple of Thomson SpeedTouch 110 Wireless PC Cards which are identified by Linux as:
Agere Systems Wireless PC Card Model 0110
Manufacture ID: 0156,0003
The last Linux driver published by Agere for the chipset used on this card (Hermes II) was meant for the Linux 2.4 kernel series. I actually used that driver in the past with SuSE Linux 7.3.
Now I wanted to use Ubuntu on an old laptop with these cards. Ubuntu uses the Linux 2.6 kernel. There was a driver for the 2.6 Linux kernel which used an older Agere driver as source but that one didn't work right for me. Also the NDIS driver for Windows doesn't work so I decided to make the old 2.4 driver work again. I used the latest 2.4 driver from Agere I could find and changed it to a 2.6 driver using the other 2.6 driver as example. Then I continued to make it work for me and made it as stable as I could.
The driver should support both HERMES II and HERMES II.5 chipsets but I could only test it with the Model 0110 card I own. The link below leads to the source of this driver. I use it and it runs fine for me.
The driver is also submitted to the Linux kernel maintainer for inclusion as staging area WLAN driver (wlags49_h2 and wlags49_h25). Hopefully others will join in to make it a fully supported kernel driver.
The following links lead to related sites:
The DIGI_NED project website,
The DIGI_NED portal,
APRS/CE home page,
TAPR Packet site, Win/MacAPRS and much more,
XASTIR home page,
UI-View home page,
XASTIR maps of PE1FAM,
UI-View maps of PD0RSF,
FlexNet home page,
The Linux kernel.
©Henk de Groot -
(Over HAM Packet Radio) -
(via eMail, remove "nospam.").
Pictures by Remko (PE1MEW), Rob (KZ5RW) and myself.