Thursday, July 17, 2008

Static maps

I just did a quick and simple implementation of static APRS maps for mobile browsers and other javascript-challenged or memory-constrained clients. You can now click on static maps in the info view to show a simple map, which does not try to update automatically, or do any other fancy stuff. It should work on just about any mobile phone with XHTML browsing support, or any old browser. The view doesn't support APRS icons, but the icon is shown in the title above the map. It does have zooming, but no panning, and no "view all" mode.

For example, take a look at the position of my motorcycle with APRS.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More face lifting

I did a little more CSS and graphics tuning to make the pages look a bit more colorful and modern. Not much, but a little. As usual, it took plenty of time to figure out how to make it look the same on IE6 as the other browsers. How do you like it, feedback is welcome?

New status packet views

I have added proper support for APRS status packets, and started storing them separately from beacons. You can now browse APRS status packets based on the callsign, and browse the status history of each station sending status messages.

Naturally this called for new strings to be translated. Please visit the Translation tool page to update your translations for the status/ category. I also changed the strings in the generic browselist category so that complete sentences are used - this should help translation work for many languages, allowing you to reach the proper ordering of words. Please note that you can copy and edit your old translation to match the new English string, just click on Toggle history and then copy to move the old translation to the empty editing field.

Again, a big thank you to everyone involved in the translation work. I know the translations help a lot of people to understand what's going on here.

Balloon flight right now: OH6SIX, Pula-Ilmari IV

It's the last day of the summer camp of the Finnish Amateur Radio League (SRAL), and the guys there just launched a balloon with an Opentracker 2 and a cross-band FM repeater (145.4 MHz in, 433.4 MHz out). It's now at 5087 meters, going up. There's also a CW/HELL beacon at 28.322 MHz. Track OH6SIX!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kawasaki ZZR1200 with an OpenTracker

Here's my Kawasaki ZZR1200 motorcycle, equipped with an OpenTracker 1+ and a Puxing PX-777 handheld radio. I installed the APRS tracker in May 2008. It's callsign is OH7LZB-10. Click on the photos to get a larger view.

The radio and the tracker fit nicely inside the box under the seat. It's generally a dry place, but might be slightly humid. Maybe some additional weather sealing would be in place. Maybe I'll put the whole lot in a sealed plastic bag, or fill the tracker with hot melt glue.

The APRS tracking setup gets it's power through a Powerpole connector and a 1A fuse from the tail lights wiring, which is powered whenever the lights are on (they're turned on automatically when the engine is running). There is an accessory power connector under the seat, but it goes directly to the battery, so it's always powered.

The PX-777 wants roughly 8 volts of DC, so I glued a 7808 regulator with a small heat sink to the back of the radio. I feed the same 8V to the OT1+ tracker, which has an internal 5V regulator, which also powers the GPS unit.

I built a custom antenna mounting bracket out of aluminum profile, a female BNC chassis connector, a bit of RG58 and a crimped SMA connector for the Puxing. The bracket is attached to the metal tubing of the Kappa/Giwi 3-bag mounting structure. All RF connections are sealed with heat-shrinking tube. The antenna is a Nagoya NA-771 BNC 2m/70cm whip. The antenna position is not an optimal one - but it's practical, and didn't require any modifications to the bike itself. And it doesn't affect the looks too much. I'm planning to try out a regular 1/4th wave vertical, which will require proper grounding of the bag mount.

The answers to the FAQs are: 1164cc, top speed around 270 km/h (167 mph). No, I haven't tried it. This is my third bike, the previous ones were Kawasaki ER-5 and Suzuki GSX750F.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Database statistics break

Some of you might have noticed that the statistics graphs were broken for a few days. I added some new statistics collection in the configuration on Friday, which worked just fine, but I also accidentally broke some old configuration (changed database password) on the way, and didn't notice it until yesterday.

The problem only affected the operation statistics collection, not APRS-IS data collection. The service itself worked just fine, it's performance data just wasn't collected too well.