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- APRS + FM radio VHF
- 144-146 MHz (144-148 in the US version)
- 0.5 / 1 Watt
- 21 memory locations
- Scan function
- APRS IGate
- APRS Fill-In Digi
- Wlan (TNC function, updates, settings)
- Bluetooth (TNC, control)
- USB-C socket (battery charging, TNC)
- Colour display 240x 240 px
- 850 mAh Li-Ion battery
- PicoAPRS Transceiver
- Manual german
The world's smallest APRS transceiver gets even better! With version 4, the small radio has grown up! As before, a TNC and a GPS receiver are included, but the functions of a 'real' VHF handheld radio are added: FM, PTT, memories, colour display and much more.
The PicoAPRS V4 is a complete packet radio transceiver with built-in TNC for APRS. New features are the PTT button, microphone and loudspeaker - and all this without increasing the size of the housing much!
The APRS function is certainly the most important and most used feature of the PicoAPRS. The transceiver can be used not only as an APRS tracker and receiver for APRS data, but also as a TNC for the computer. The KISS data protocol for packet radio is available in the new version 4 not only via the now side-mounted USB-C socket, but also via Bluetooth or Wifi! This makes it easy to set up an APRS IGate, which has never been possible in such a small housing!
The WLAN interface also makes software maintenance much easier, because updates can now be installed much more conveniently via a built-in web server(!). The same simple web interface allows convenient management of the memory channels and other functions.
The display has become larger and more colourful! With 240x240 pixels, incoming APRS packets such as position messages, APRS messages (similar to SMS) and status messages are displayed. For position messages, the distance and compass direction to the transmitter are also displayed. The last stations heard, including distance and compass direction, as well as messages received are stored and can be retrieved via the menu.
The GPS coordinates received via the built-in GPS receiver can be displayed and thus the Pico-APRS can also be used as a GPS tracker, e.g. for geocaching. If desired, one's own position can be permanently stored in the device, for example if no GPS position can be determined. The permanently stored position is then only used to display the distance and compass direction of stations received. A speedometer display is also available. The units of the speed display can be changed between km/h, mph and knots.
Operation is even easier than with the predecessor via the joystick buttons on the front. With the five keys, the menu can be easily controlled and all settings can be made, even without a computer. When delivered, the unit is almost completely pre-configured. All you have to do is save the callsign and you are ready to go. Transmit power is about 1 Watt (switchable to about 0.5 Watt). The position data is sent compressed in MIC-E format to keep the frequency as short as possible and to save battery power. Of course, both received packets with MIC-E compression and uncompressed APRS packets can be decoded and displayed.
With the built-in and removeable 850mAh LiIon battery, the unit can be operated for up to 10 hours , depending on the configuration. The same battery is used as in the predecessor V3. The battery is charged via a modern USB-C socket in the PicoAPRS V4. What is new is that the socket is located on the side. This allows the little all-rounder to stand safely on the table while it is being charged. Of course, radio operation is also possible during charging.
The PicoAPRS can also replace a pager (POCSAG). Unlike a pager, the device also sends back an acknowledgement of receipt. This lets the sender know whether his message has arrived or not. Messages can be sent directly from the PicoAPRS to other radio amateurs!
The "Follow" function can be useful, for example, when skiing with a partner. You can press FOLLOW on the partner's callsign and now always see how far and in which direction the partner is. When new position messages are received, the display is updated automatically. Or you can use the function when on holiday with several people, or when driving to the same destination in several cars.
The transmitter has a 7-pole harmonic filter to suppress unwanted spurious emissions. The main processor is an ESP32D with 16 MB RAM, the HF board uses an AtMega 328P. The current software does not fill the available memory by a long shot. Thus, there is still plenty of room for possible future function extensions!
With a size of only approx. 33 mm x 66 mm x 25 mm, the PicoAPRS V4 is similar in size to a matchbox. At the same time, the device (without antenna) weighs only approx. 60 grams! Ideal to always have the device with you, e.g. when hiking, cycling, motorcycling, skiing, on a boat or in the air.
The Pico-APRS was developed by Taner Schenker (DB1NTO).
 Depending among other things on how often the position data should be sent, whether APRS packets should also be received, whether the GPS receiver may be switched off automatically when not in use and how often the display can be switched off.
 The PicoAPRS V4 supports BT 'Classic' as well as (since version 8 from Feb. 2023) 'Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)'. This means that Apple IPhone devices can also connect to the APRS interface.
Menu items (subject to change as development continues):
- Device off
- SOS function
- APRS settings
- Last heard
- Bluetooth on/off
- Weather reports
- Radio settings
The PicoAPRS is supplied fully assembled. No charger or antenna is included with the unit. The standardised USB-C connection means that the charger of a newer mobile phone can be used for charging. Alternatively, the device can be charged using any USB charger or the USB port of a PC.
Any antenna with an SMA connection can be used as an antenna. The tiny device naturally tempts you to use a tiny antenna, but of course small antennas also have a comparatively poor efficiency, and we only have 1W transmission power. In the vehicle, an external antenna should definitely be used, for example a magnetic base antenna.
But this is far from the end of the development of the PicoAPRS. For the future, the developer DB1NTO is planning other variants, for example with LoRa function on 433 MHz, or as a receiver for long, medium and short wave.
|TX Power [W]||1 W|
|Number of Memories||21|