Photo by Brett Zeck on Unsplash

Automatic Packet Reporting System is a hybrid local RF and internet-connected system for exchanging messages, data, status updates, and positions

This was converted from a presentation deck I made for DX1ARM, with introductions adopted from Tim Watson KB1HNZ & Ryan Michaelson KB1YTR.

What is APRS

  • An amateur radio communications system for relaying real-time digital information that is primarily transmitted and received locally.
  • Can also be injected into the APRS Internet System (APRS-IS), which is distributed globally for online access or gating to RF in other locales.
  • The system is based on the AX.25 Packet protocol.
  • APRS was developed and trademarked by Bob Bruninga WB4APR, a senior research engineer at the United States Naval Academy.
  • Previously it was…

Is this the Baofeng UV-5R killer?

The Baofeng UV-5R is said to be the “gateway drug” for many new radio amateurs today. Selling as cheap as $20, it has reportedly jumpstarted the interest of many newer and younger hams. It is very popular in the prepping community, with its low price point and the availability of accessories like battery cases.

Cheap radios have also resurrected interest in the hobby, particularly for old-timers who may have left ham radio for other pursuits — such is the case when cellular phones became popular, for example, and the idea of wirelessly getting in touch lost its novelty.

Five years…


The license-free portable radio from Cignus provides higher power and better clarity than other SRRS competitors in the market, all at a lower price and better value

Credit: N2RAC/4I1RAC

I get a lot of inquiries about whether a certain radio or frequency can be used here in the Philippines without a license. For example, the Baofeng UV-5R, WLN KD-C1 and Baofeng BF-888 are very popular here — they are being sold very cheap on e-commerce sites like Shopee and Lazada.

Being cheap and small, most people think these radios can be used without licenses. Some also mistake the 0.5 Watt FRS radios or GMRS radios imported from the US as being legal for use without licenses here.

For others, the mere “NTC Type Approved” sticker from brands like Cignus…


Data, calls, and SMS do not expire. Great for students, backup SIM, or longer-term set-and-forget SIM while on-the-go

Image: N2RAC

Mobile data has become an essential part of our lives, that we now allocate a certain amount of our budget and expenses to mobile data. I’m a practical person, and I have not signed up for any postpaid plans for more than a decade now. I mostly use prepaid, and with a combination of “combos” and “promos” I maximize my data, calls, and SMS with monthly roll-overs.

However, sometimes I forget to renew my promos, and all of my rolled-over minutes, SMS and data expire just like that.

I remember around 10 years ago, Globe had the “immortal text” and…


It’s better to be ready when SHTF

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Note: I originally wrote this as a post in a Filipino prepper group. More events have transpired after, including the onslaught of typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco), which flooded many parts of Metro Manila and Cagayan Valley and again struck the Bicol region only a couple of weeks after Rolly. This has been edited for clarity.

This is in response to a call for the establishment of an off-grid or emergency communications capability, in light of typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) and its devastating effect, particularly on the Bicol region.

True enough, power and communication lines were down, and among…


A practical response to questions about radio communications

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I am writing this guide as an FAQ and response to some of the questions on the Pinoy Preppers Facebook Group.

In the recent weeks, we have encountered several disasters, particularly typhoons and severe floods, not to mention the ongoing pandemic.

I will do my best to respond in practical terms. Kindly provide your own inputs if there are corrections.

Here is the question posted. I will try to translate as necessary, for an international audience.

Hello po sa inyo mga ka preppers! Kung sino man po may knowledge about radio and communication pls answer this. So first of all…


A pair of lightweight portable radios with good selectivity receivers

When anyone asks me for my recommendations on portable radio use, I would usually suggest radios with good receivers as one of the primary considerations.

Many inexpensive radios today use direct conversion receivers and poor front-end filtering — such as the Baofeng UV5R and most other similar designs. These are prone to desense and intermod. Sure, if you’re using it in rural areas or in the mountain trails, you would not have any problem with hearing distant or weak stations. However, in the city, your receive performance will suffer significantly, especially in locations with high RF congestion. …


The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, and radio amateurs have quickly adjusted to the situation

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

The global pandemic has accelerated digital transformation for many industries and activities. With amateur radio enthusiasts being innovators in many fields, we are also taking advantage of digital technologies to improve safety by reducing physical encounters.

When I took the amateur radio exam in 2015, I was in the presence of three Volunteer Examiners (VEs), who administered the test. It was the same when I upgraded in 2016. The test was fairly quick. The VE team checked my exam results right there and then, and they submitted the documents to the VEC shortly thereafter.

I got my license and callsign…


The Nokia 3310 and other “dumb” phones are back with a vengeance, and it’s all about security and digital detox

Image Credit: Unsplash

The rise of smartphones almost made basic burner phones a thing of the past. As iPhones became status symbols and Android made smartphones more affordable, the obsolescence of basic phones appeared inevitable. The extinction point failed to materialize, though. Burner phones continued to be in use and are returning big time.

Back in the front burner

Around a year ago, Supreme slapped its name on a burner phone manufactured by BLU. It was an unexpected move that garnered quite a reaction. Some thought it was a good idea while others floated conspiracy theories.

Regardless of the reasons, what is clear is that burner phones are…


No one expected COVID-19 to happen, but we should have prepared for it

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

The health crisis faced around the world has thrown a lot of things into question, including education. Many of us worry that school closures could deprive children of quality education. Forcing the reopening of schools could also run the risk of viral transmission. To allow classes to continue without risking students’ lives, online learning became an alternative. Students have to learn from home through Zoom classes or module-based curriculum.

This learning method shouldn’t have been something new, considering how we rely on the Internet for almost everything. …

N2RAC

Editor @ TechNode.Global. I write about startups, venture capital, and amateur radio. Like my work? Buy me a coffee: buymeacoffee.com/n2rac .

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