Topics

GPS Setup


Brandon Clark
 

Good evening, 

I recently purchased a GPS dongle for my laptop, but I'm not sure how to get it to work with APRSIS32. 

Steps so far: 
1. Installed drivers and utility software. 2.Verified that the USB GPS dongle works with its own software.
3. Found the virtual com port in Windows 10 device manager. (One of the drivers for the dongle adds this as COM 6.) 
4. Tested Google Earth to see if it could get my location from the dongle. Success! Dongle is producing NMEA strings that GE can read. 
5. Entered the appropriate settings from there into the "NMEA Port Configuration" dialog of APRSIS32. 
Soooo, now what . . . ?  

Should the program update the position of my icon on the map, based on the GPS data? Is there a way to confirm that the program is receiving the data? 
The program doesn't seem to be locking onto any particular position, and a new dialog comes up when I send a beacon: "Trace(PathError)" with my callsign-SSID. Seems to be a lot of some kind.

Maybe I have something configured improperly, or I'm missing some steps? 
Thanks,
Brandon Clark, KL7BSC

PS, not sure if it's related, but Winlink Express is unable to access the GPS. When I select COM 6 in the "GPS / Position Report" window I get the following error: "Error opening GPS: the given port name does not start with COM/com or does not resolve to a valid serial port. Parameter name: portName"


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

You seem to have multiple problems here.  First, after configuring the NMEA port with the appropriate COM settings, you'll need to check Enables / GPS Enabled.  That should cause APRSIS32 to open the COM port and begin expecting NMEA strings from the GPS.

If you see any errors there, particularly an error 5, you probably have some other application using the GPS COM port.  Windows only allows one program at a time to access any given port.  There are port sharing applications available for Windows and perhaps someone that has experience with those will step up with a comment.

What do you have configured under Configure / Beacon / Path?  It sounds like there's a misteak (sic) in there that might be causing the Trace(PathError) to show up.

Also, do you have an RF port configure, or is this instance only on the APRS-IS?


Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32

On 10/10/2019 1:43 AM, Brandon Clark kl7bsc@... [aprsisce] wrote:
Good evening, 

I recently purchased a GPS dongle for my laptop, but I'm not sure how to get it to work with APRSIS32. 

Steps so far: 
1. Installed drivers and utility software. 2.Verified that the USB GPS dongle works with its own software.
3. Found the virtual com port in Windows 10 device manager. (One of the drivers for the dongle adds this as COM 6.) 
4. Tested Google Earth to see if it could get my location from the dongle. Success! Dongle is producing NMEA strings that GE can read. 
5. Entered the appropriate settings from there into the "NMEA Port Configuration" dialog of APRSIS32. 
Soooo, now what . . . ?  

Should the program update the position of my icon on the map, based on the GPS data? Is there a way to confirm that the program is receiving the data? 
The program doesn't seem to be locking onto any particular position, and a new dialog comes up when I send a beacon: "Trace(PathError)" with my callsign-SSID. Seems to be a lot of some kind.

Maybe I have something configured improperly, or I'm missing some steps? 
Thanks,
Brandon Clark, KL7BSC

PS, not sure if it's related, but Winlink Express is unable to access the GPS. When I select COM 6 in the "GPS / Position Report" window I get the following error: "Error opening GPS: the given port name does not start with COM/com or does not resolve to a valid serial port. Parameter name: portName"


Rob Giuliano
 

The best way to know if the GPS is working with APRSIS32 is the screen changes to include GPS infomration:
1. The port status moves down a little and the SPEED from teh GPS will show above it.
2. Next to speed is direction, and below direction is Odometer
3. Across the bottom are satellite stats.

If you are not seeing these, then the GPS is not "enabled".
  Menu item >Enables and miodway down is >GPS Enabled
If you see -- (2 dashes) in teh scroller and the bottom shows 2 lines of N/A, there is no GPS attached.
  Look at menu item >Configure >Ports >MNEA

As Lynn said - only 1 application can access the physical comm port at a time, so make sure Googel Earth and any other apps are closed.

Lynn addressed the PathError as well, but I thought I'd add some detail on how you know the GPS is working.

Robert Giuliano
KB8RCO



On Thursday, October 10, 2019, 7:56:36 AM EDT, 'Lynn W Deffenbaugh (Mr)' kj4erj@... [aprsisce] wrote:


 

You seem to have multiple problems here.  First, after configuring the NMEA port with the appropriate COM settings, you'll need to check Enables / GPS Enabled.  That should cause APRSIS32 to open the COM port and begin expecting NMEA strings from the GPS.

If you see any errors there, particularly an error 5, you probably have some other application using the GPS COM port.  Windows only allows one program at a time to access any given port.  There are port sharing applications available for Windows and perhaps someone that has experience with those will step up with a comment.

What do you have configured under Configure / Beacon / Path?  It sounds like there's a misteak (sic) in there that might be causing the Trace(PathError) to show up.

Also, do you have an RF port configure, or is this instance only on the APRS-IS?


Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32

On 10/10/2019 1:43 AM, Brandon Clark kl7bsc@... [aprsisce] wrote:
Good evening, 

I recently purchased a GPS dongle for my laptop, but I'm not sure how to get it to work with APRSIS32. 

Steps so far: 
1. Installed drivers and utility software. 2.Verified that the USB GPS dongle works with its own software.
3. Found the virtual com port in Windows 10 device manager. (One of the drivers for the dongle adds this as COM 6.) 
4. Tested Google Earth to see if it could get my location from the dongle. Success! Dongle is producing NMEA strings that GE can read. 
5. Entered the appropriate settings from there into the "NMEA Port Configuration" dialog of APRSIS32. 
Soooo, now what . . . ?  

Should the program update the position of my icon on the map, based on the GPS data? Is there a way to confirm that the program is receiving the data? 
The program doesn't seem to be locking onto any particular position, and a new dialog comes up when I send a beacon: "Trace(PathError)" with my callsign-SSID. Seems to be a lot of some kind.

Maybe I have something configured improperly, or I'm missing some steps? 
Thanks,
Brandon Clark, KL7BSC

PS, not sure if it's related, but Winlink Express is unable to access the GPS. When I select COM 6 in the "GPS / Position Report" window I get the following error: "Error opening GPS: the given port name does not start with COM/com or does not resolve to a valid serial port. Parameter name: portName"


Brandon Clark
 

Hello group, 

Thanks for the advice Lynn. I think I may be on the right track now. 
1. I enabled the GPS function and the expected on-screen items showed up: speed, satellite reception, fix type, etc. 
2. I checked my beacon configuration and realized I had forgotten to add the path. (I've been running a direwolf-only igate for a while and have gotten out of practice using APRSIS32 for transmit.)

I'm set up indoors and didn't have time to wait for the GPS to get a lock, so I'll have to do more testing tomorrow evening. When I tried to transmit though the system did pip up a dialog that it would do so once the GPS lock was achieved, so that's good. 

I'll follow up tomorrow evening when I'm able to play some more. 
Many thanks, 
Brandon Clark, KL7BSC


Brandon Clark
 

Hello group,

Well, I've been trying to get my new GPS dongle working with APRSIS32 and am still stuck. I initially did not have the "Enables | NMEA" part going, but once I enabled that the screen displayed the expected elements: location and heading boxes, list of anticipated satellites, etc.

Where I'm stuck now is that the GPS data doesn't seem to be "getting into" the program. When i use the USB dongle with the included testing and config program (U-Center 8.26) I can get a position fix, see which satellites are being received, and so forth. So I know Windows 10 is able to work with the dongle.

Also installed is a virtual com port driver, which creates a COM6 for the GPS dongle. I double- and triple-checked the port configuration in APRSIS32 against what shows up in Windows Device Manager (COM#, Baud, Parity, Data Bits, and Stop Bits). Everything matches.

Now, the receiver is very configurable. My hypothesis is that the receiver is sending data in a protocol that the U-Center 8.26 program can decipher, but which APRSIS32 cannot. I think I have also found where I can flash the configuration to the receiver to change how it communicates.

My question is, what must APRSIS32 receive in order to read the data properly? It looks like there are multiple versions if the NMEA protocol. Which one should I tell the receiver to use? Are there any other settings I should look for in the configuration program?
73,
Brandon Clark, KL7BSC


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

APRSISCE/32 expects NMEA strings from the GPS.  You can confirm this by opening a simple terminal program to the GPS port (assuming no other program has it open) and see if it is readable.  Each line should start with a $GPxxx and be a string of comma-separated values not all of which are numeric.

If you don't see this, and it is readable, post the results here.  If what you see is not readable, then your GPS is in a binary mode that will need an NMEA conversion somewhere before getting to APRSISCE/32.

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32

On 10/20/2019 1:13 AM, Brandon Clark wrote:
Hello group,

Well, I've been trying to get my new GPS dongle working with APRSIS32 and am still stuck. I initially did not have the "Enables | NMEA" part going, but once I enabled that the screen displayed the expected elements: location and heading boxes, list of anticipated satellites, etc.

Where I'm stuck now is that the GPS data doesn't seem to be "getting into" the program. When i use the USB dongle with the included testing and config program (U-Center 8.26) I can get a position fix, see which satellites are being received, and so forth. So I know Windows 10 is able to work with the dongle.

Also installed is a virtual com port driver, which creates a COM6 for the GPS dongle. I double- and triple-checked the port configuration in APRSIS32 against what shows up in Windows Device Manager (COM#, Baud, Parity, Data Bits, and Stop Bits). Everything matches.

Now, the receiver is very configurable. My hypothesis is that the receiver is sending data in a protocol that the U-Center 8.26 program can decipher, but which APRSIS32 cannot. I think I have also found where I can flash the configuration to the receiver to change how it communicates.

My question is, what must APRSIS32 receive in order to read the data properly? It looks like there are multiple versions if the NMEA protocol. Which one should I tell the receiver to use? Are there any other settings I should look for in the configuration program?
73,
Brandon Clark, KL7BSC


Brandon Clark
 

Thanks for the advice Lynn. I opened a terminal session using PuTTY on COM6 and made a screenshot of the output:



It looks like I am getting a mix of different types of data? Some have the "$GPxxX" structure you mentioned, but others are beginning with "GNxxx" and "GLxxx". I watched the terminal for a while and the structure is always the same:
-Weird characters on the top row or two,
-$GNxx strings,
-$GPxxx strings,
-$GLxxx strings,
-$GNxxx strings

Could it be that the weird characters at the start of the data are messing up the interpretation? The $GPxxx strings are present, but maybe they are not getting read since they are bracketed by other data types?
73,
Brandon