Re: Kenwood D710A running APRSIS32 on Windows 10 tablet with serial to bluetooth adapter

Anthony Mascola

Hi Gil,
Thanks for sharing your setup.  I really like it.  I purchased a used Toshiba Encore WT8-A32 on eBay as it was the only Windows 10 tablet that I could find that had a built in GPS receiver.  It turns out however that getting the GPS feed from the tablet and Windows is quite challenging and it has not been very useful and I wouldn't recommend this idea to others at least from my limited experience.  I had hoped to minimize wires and klunkiness and have as clean a setup as possible so that I might be able to remove the tablet from the vehicle and still use it with various mapping software but it has been an elusive goal.  I can only use the internal GPS receiver with the Windows Maps app but other software such as Terrain Navigator Pro can't find the GPS feed even with creating a virtual serial port to output this data. I have to use the K6VHF GPS unit attached to the D710 with APRSIS32.  Unfortunately SARTrack can't even utilize the K6VHF GPS feed and requires a separate external serial GPS unit which I am still in need of acquiring and klunkiness and wires and time and expense galore have been the bane of my efforts to date.

The tablet was inexpensive and appeared promising initially but the above limitations I ran into with Windows 10 and the internal GPS data not being easily acceptable for other software plus the limitations of the single USB micro-B connector for charging and data communications has proven challenging.  It is a little tricky I have found to use the tablet as it requires a special custom Y cable to trick the computer into allowing data exchange and power at the same time.  The USB-C connector seems to have a lot of advantages over the micro USB port in this regard.  I had a problem where I wore out the first micro USB port from removing and inserting the cable repeatedly and tried to repair it and ended up having to replace the entire tablet with another one on eBay as I was unable to repair it and also incurred damage due to non sine wave AC power from the power supply plugged into the inverter described below.  Your setup with the magnetic connector is very good.  

Getting the US Converters Blutronium configured properly is also still elusive and has consumed dozens of hours of time and despite numerous exchanges with the manufacturer, I have yet to get it running consistently with Winlink Express.  I can get it running intermittently with APRSIS32 but I can't count on it.  I have given up on this for the time being as I just don't have time to keep trying and have been using the RT systems serial to USB connector.  The USB to serial cable introduces a challenge with the tablet above as the connector itself requires power to enable it to function and the special Y cable to connect it all which is also somewhat finicky.  The power required to charge the tablet is greater than the 0.5A that is typical for a USB port and requires a more significant power supply.  If I plug the tablet into the inverter built into the Jeep with a AC to DC wall wart type of power supply I have encountered damage to the motherboard possibly because the inverter is not a pure sine wave output.  This was another factor leading to my needing to replace the first tablet and I have run it off of a power bank since that time.

I post this to assist others in being aware that though this would appear to be a straightforward project, but at least for me it has been quite challenging and at times very frustrating.  I think the Microsoft Surface or other tablet with a USB C connector and hub and USB to serial cables would be the way to go.  If anyone out there has ever been successful in getting a Windows tablet and bluetooth to serial connector running with APRSIS32 and other software such as SARTrack or Winlink Express I would love to know how you configured this with the Kenwood D710. 

t would be nice to see how other persons are running a Windows tablet in their vehicles.  Despite the klunkiness and time and frustration above, I love being able to send Winlink packet and email and use APRS on the beautiful color screen of the tablet and also to have the tablet to program the transceiver and use the internet for general computing use when in cell range.   it would be nice to share ideas on how to streamline this process for others.  So far I like your setup the best Gil of all that I have heard about. 

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