KE8OWX-5 iGate

If you don't know what APRS is, you should read the about it. Wayne Technical Fanatics (under the call sign WW8TF) operate a wonderful wide reaching network of digipeaters and a single 2-way iGate for the greater Akron area. Below I have linked their site and information about the local APRS network they run by WW8TF. I started into APRS normally on my daily commute and driving around for work, but I wanted to do a bit more. I used Jason's write up on how to build an iGate to broadcast to RF.

I had a spare handheld radio sitting around, a raspberry pi 4 that wasn't used, a APRS-K1 cable designed for handheld radios and could order the last few things needed. I have included an entire parts list below

While I could get ok APRS reception at places in my house, the older construction techniques make it difficult to get out. I spent a ton of time going around the house with my Kenwood D74 to see where I could be heard by the network, and at what power level. I quickly determined that I would have to get into the attic. Easy enough, I had an previously used UHF quarter wave whip on a magnetic NMO mount attached to a wire mesh of approximately 18" x 18" square. I was no longer using that antenna, so I decided to reuse that mount, but decided to use a "no metallic ground plane" whip designed for VHF and ordered Laird B1442N. Searching amazon, I was able to find the perfect inexpensive TRRS sound card to interface between the radio and the raspberry pi.

Utilizing the Raspian OS and the write up, and a few emails back and forth with N8EI, I was able to get Direwolf installed and started testing. Much to my surprise, I was able to get on the air with on 1 watt of power. Remember, always use the least amount of power necessary to achieve your goal. My goal was to have my announcements received over RF, and I can confirm that with the other digipeaters in the area, I received my own packet at the I-76/I-80 interchange, nearly 35 miles from my home.

After discussion with N8EI, I decided to leave my setup as a 2-way iGate, but turned off the digitpeating feature. For those interested, my code is below the parts list. I also have some object beacons in use as well. The WW8TF write up is very informative and I recommend you use that as a guide instead of my chosen path.

ADEVICE plughw:2,0


MODEM 1200



BEACON delay=0:45 every=30 overlay=I symbol=/# lat=41.180996 long=-81.508574 power=1 height=20 gain=2. comment="KE8OWX low profile iGate project" via=WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1

PBEACON delay=10:45 every=30 overlay=I symbol=/# lat=41.180996 long=-81.508574 power=1 height=20 gain=2 comment="KE8OWX experimental 2-way iGate" via=WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1

PBEACON delay=20:45 every=30 overlay=I symbol=/# lat=41.180996 long=-81.508574 power=1 height=20 gain=2 comment="KE8OWX Direwolf RPi4 iGate" via=WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1

IGSERVER noam.aprs2.net