Using APRServe with WinAPRS

The Guide is written in 3 parts. Part I is for those completely inexperienced in using WinAPRS. Part II consists of things you can do while connected to APRServe. Part III is more detail about what is happening and why it's happening while connected to APRServe.

APRServe was written to allow APRS users to exchange positions and messages via the Internet rather than relying strictly on RF to populate the users' maps. Version 2.08 is the WinAPRS version offering TCP/IP (Internet) connection. (MacAPRS and DOS APRS versions are available, too. The Mac version works pretty much like WinAPRS. The DOS version requires a telnet connection and most of this guide does not apply to the DOS version.) The following information assumes you have Internet access and have a basic knowledge of using it.


A step-by-step guide for WinAPRS users follows:

  1. Start WinAPRS and verify the correct configuration underneath SETTINGS.
    1. Select STATION to enter your callsign and location.
    2. Select Serial Port and identify the TNC serial port IF A TNC IS ATTACHED. A tnc is not necessary to connect to APRServe.
    If you are using an unregistered version of WinAPRS you will have to configure the program each time you re-start it. Also note that pressing ENTER instead of clicking OK in the STATION configuration may cause the loss of information.
  2. If a map is not already displayed, select New Map Square from under the WINDOWS button and select the Continental USA map under the MAPS button. Make it full screen by double clicking the blue bar at the top of the map.
  3. If you have an aversion to the sound of the cartoon roadrunner, click the SETTINGS button and click Enable Sound to turn it off. You're now ready to connect to APRServe.
  4. Click the appropriate Icon to dial into your ISP (or whatever procedure needed to log onto your local network providing access - it's the same as if you were going to use your browser).
  5. When the connection is established, click the WinAPRS button labeled SETTINGS once again and move to TCP/IP Connections. At that point, select (select the first one if more than one is displayed).

Your connection to the APRServer should be complete soon and stations will begin to fill the map. It should take only a couple of minutes for you to be caught up and showing every station available.


Now that you're connected to APRServe and have a map full of stations there are several things you'll want to experiment with. Don't worry, you can't hurt anything and you'll be forewarned in these instructions if an action will send data to APRServe. For now, if you've followed the instructions in PART I, your station is just receiving information - not sending.

  1. Well, you really are sending information but only as it was entered into the SETTINGS - Station configuration screen. Verify that you appear on the map with the correct callsign and location.
  2. Use your PageUp/PageDown keys to zoom in and out, then use the arrow keys to maneuver around the map at a range that allows you to see a few stations and callsigns. If you get lost, hit your Home key to view the map at it's default range.
  3. After you've wandered around the map awhile, open the Messages List by clicking the LISTs button and selecting Message List. (If someone attempts to send you message, the message list will automatically pop up. If that happens, look at instruction number 6 in this part of this Guide.) You can select only BULLETINS or only MINE by clicking on the appropriate word at the top of the box. The selected list will be underlined.
  4. After you see the overwhelming number of stations on the map you might consider clearing all the stations and messages and start watching them appear one by one. It's much easier to keep up and you get a good feel for the activity at a more leisurely pace. Clear the map and messages by clicking the WinAPRS EDIT button and then selecting Clear Stations and Msgs.
  5. Sending messages to other users that are connected to APRServe is one of the really neat features. NOTE - not all stations you see on your map are connected to APRServe and only those that are can receive messages from you. To see who is online, open the TCP/IP List under the LISTS function and look for the station there.

To send a message to a station:

  1. Open the Message List window and click the TO field of the message box.
  2. Type in the callsign of the station to whom you want to send a message. Don't forget to include the SSID if the other station uses it. K4HG is not the same station as K4HG-6.
  3. Click in the message box (to get the cursor there), and type your text. For clarity, try to limit the message to a line or two but don't press ENTER until you're finished typing - the text will automatically wrap around in the text box when you get to the end of a line in the text box. Press the ENTER key when you're ready to send the message.
  4. Your message will be displayed in the Message List box. It will be light blue until it is acknowledged (ack'd) by the other station. Once ack'd, your message will turn green.
Other features to try while connected to APRServe are:


All the stations displayed when you connect to APRServe are reflected by several sources. Some appear after they were heard by an HF gate and then uplinked via APRServe <-> APRServe links. Starting with WinAPRS version 2.08, local VHF stations can be uplinked into APRServe by any connected WinAPRS user.

When you connect to APRServe, all stations are automatically downloaded to you and displayed on your map. The stations and their information will remain in WinAPRS memory after you log off. (If connect time to your Internet server is of concern, you can logon, get all the stations and disconnect from your ISP to peruse the map offline.)

To upload your local VHF traffic so everyone on APRServe sees it, click on the SETTINGS button and move down to TCP/IP Connection. Move into the expanded box and select ECHO Local Data To TCP/IP. All traffic heard by your tnc will now be uplinked to APRServe. NOTE - If your local APRS frequency is shared by non-APRS packets, use the BUDLIST or SUPLIST features of your tnc to screen traffic - click WINDOWS then Terminal Window to send commands directly to your tnc.

Queries are not currently supported by APRServe. Sending ?APRS? or ?WX? has no affect on APRServe. However, these command do get echoed by APRServe, and all stations conencted to APRServe will see them and respond appropriately.

If you want to hear the You Have Mail announcement when your station receives a message but your DON'T want to listen to the MEEP-MEEP of new stations, go the WINAPRS directory and rename your NEWSTAT.WAV file (to something like NEWSTAT.OLD) so that it can't be read by WinAPRS. Then Enable Sounds. (NOTE - you will have to do this before starting WinAPRS or it will not take affect until the next time you run WinAPRS.)

While viewing the map, press B to see borders of other maps that are available. Double-clicking the right mouse button will load a more detailed map for the point at which the cursor is sitting. You can also select an area for zoom by holding the right mouse button while dragging open a box.

You can address a message to another station by clicking on the station's message in the Message List and pressing S for Send. (If you inadvertently uplink an object, delete it by going to the Stations List under LISTs. Click the offending line and press the BackSpace key. If you see a yellow triangle appear at your cursor on the map, and long green line extending from the triangle, you have pressed the S key while on the map window.)

If you just want to "test" the messaging function, address a message to a station on the TCP/IP List and type the text PING. This lets the recipient know he's not obligated to reply. On the other hand, go ahead and send him a "Hello from Joe"... we all have a common interest and it's likely you'll have an interesting chat and meet somebody new. If the other station is busy, away from the keyboard, or otherwise unable/willing to reply - no harm.

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This page was last modified by Steve Dimse, K4HG.
Written October 1997 by Les Blalock N5KOA