From Ron Graham – 23-March-2002
I recently tried the Rikaline Model GPS 6010 (see http://www.ricaline.com.tw).
It’s a GPS engine (or data only unit) the size of a slightly oversize
remote GPS patch antenna. Essentially, you supply 5V to the cable, (wait for it to initialize), and
NMEA data appears out..
A CD was supplied enabling one to do lots of “interesting” things by
talking to it from a computer serial port .. but not needed as the default
setting outputs data in the formatt we need to “talk” to most of our APRS
devices. It outputs RS-232 or TTL levels. The cable, 2m long, is terminated
in a female 6 pin mini DIN plug. In some respects, pity it isn’t a male plug!
They then use a series of adaptor cables between their female plug and
various laptops etc.
So, I made a cable … male plug to a DB9 female (suits some existing APRS
equipment) for testing. One pin is used for the 5 volt power. The unit worked
well .. initializing was reasonably quick. One point I note .. they say the
back up battery lasts 1000 hours .. so if you don’t use the unit within that
time, the longish initialization will be needed .. get new almanac etc.
So all in all, a neat way around the GPS requirement for APRS .. remote
antenna all included .. cable length may be short for some installations ..
but as the adaptor cable is needed, the extra length may be added there. I
have used long (shielded) extender cables 4 to 5m long, on this and another
similar (different brand) data only GPS RX. .. no problems.
Cost .. reasonable, I guess US$ 88 ish in Taiwan .. with post + bank
charges around $A230.
Future .. may make up a mini DIN male to male cable. Re-design a Tiny Track
type board to accomodate a usual 90 degree PCB mount socket .. feed 5V
power to it .. would make a nice small neat unit. Any interest??
Note .. I have no connection with that Taiwanise Company .. they are easy
to deal with via e-mail .. will quote a high courier delivery charge. I got
them to re-quote normal airmail .. still a bit high in my opinion!!! No
credit card facilities, must use telegraphic transfer!!
Another note !! Have some info on APRS on my web