Tips and Tricks by AJ3U
The TM-D700 is an amazing radio and I have learned many tricks while using it. I'd like to pass what I have learned along so that you can get the most out of your radio.
The D700 as mounted on my dash. Here it is easy to view while still keeping the road in my field of view. It is also easy to reach. I have it mounted with Velcro to easily move it to my wife's SUV for when we take trips.
Everyday Use - PM Off and Voice Alert
I have APRS running on Band A (left side) of the D700 and a scan of frequencies of interest to me on Band B (right side). I have enabled "Mode 3" for the soft function buttons which enables less steps to access common APRS functions (more about this below).
I haveAPRS on 144.39 with CTCSS set to 100Hz for Voice Alert. Everyone with a D700 should be using Bob Bruninga's concept called "Voice Alert". On the A side of the radio, don't just set it to 144.39 and turn the volume down, go one step further and make it 144.39 with CTCSS of 100Hz and leave the volume up. Since CTCSS is enabled, you won't hear anything from your speaker since all digi's and home stations transmit without a PL tone. But, every time you transmit a packet, it will have an encoded tone of 100Hz so anyone else running the same "Voice Alert" setup that is within your simplex range will hear your packet burst which gives them a heads up that another APRS mobile user is within simplex range! Think of it as an APRS radar detector. You can then either send them an APRS Message to tell them to go over to 146.52 or you can give a quick voice message on your Band A side (yes, the APRS side on 144.39) saying just "VoiceAlert - go to 146.52". The other guy running VoiceAlert will hear you on the A side of their radio. It is just very important to use 144.39 to set up the contact, don't linger there and block out the frequency. I have made a couple of contacts this way while on long trips.
I have my path set to WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1. This follows with the APRS New Paradigm. The WIDE1-1 portion takes advantage of any home "RELAY" stations that may be available in the area. A standard high digi would also respond to WIDE1-1. The WIDE2-1 portion will be picked up by high digis in the area and will give your packet an additional hop. This will give your mobile a maximum of 2 hops in all directions.
Setting MSG Groups to receive NWS warnings
To receive weather warnings from the NWS, include "NWS*" in your Message Groups (menu 3-P). I have my Message Groups set to "ALL,QST,CQ,SKY*,BLN*,NWS*". This enables me to receive any "CQ" type messages, as well as SkyWarn, APRS Bulletins, and National Weather Service watches and warnings.
Setting Mode 3 for Function Keys
Don't you just hate having to hold down the F key for 1 second to access the APRS functions? Well, my friend, there is a better way! Do yourself a favor and enable "Mode 3" for the soft function keys. This option can be changed on menu 1-1-5 (see picture above). There are three modes for the soft function buttons and Mode 3 allows you to access common APRS functions with one button press.
ISS Packet Mode - PM3
Wouldn't you like to work other APRS users through the ISS while mobile? Too difficult to change your path, the frequency, etc, you say? Make ISS APRS operations easy by storing the settings it a dedicated PM (Programmable Memory). Here is my PM3 setup for working the ISS when it is in packet mode. This is a split operation with APRS Data being received on Band A (left side) and transmitted on Band B (right side). By setting this up as a separate PM, your D700 is ready to operate in this mode with two button presses without affecting your everyday setup. In this mode, set your SSID to something different (I use AJ3U-6) so that you can easily find it on FindU. Set your path (menu 3-B) to ARISS,SGATE,WIDE2-2 (more about why I use this path below). Set your beacon rate (menu 3-D) to 0.5, 1, or 2. I also like to set the Message group (3-P) to "*" so that I see everyone's messages. When configured this way, operation is basically hands off. You will beacon your position at a reasonable rate for a satellite pass, and see everything that is going on with minimal interaction.
Hint: In your "everyday", PM OFF setup, keep 145.80 as one of your memory channels and keep it in your scan list. When you are driving along and all of a sudden hear packet bursts, it means that the ISS is overhead! Just switch to your ISS Packet PM and work other stations hundreds or thousands of miles away easily! Set up a similar PM (I use PM4) for ISS voice comms. Set it up the same way, but turn off the TNC and set Band A to 144.99 for the voice uplink. If you hear voice on 145.80, switch to this PM instead and talk to an astronaut or cosmonaut! When the pass is over, hit PM OFF to go back to your standard setup.
Enable your D700 as a Mobile SatGate
I have my PM5 set up as what I call my "Mobile SatGate". Whenever I park my truck, I put the D700 on PM5 instead of turning it off in order to assist other users with APRS satellite operations. In this mode, the D700 receives APRS packets fromISS and PCSATand digipeats them to 144.39 where they can be picked up by terrestrial SatGates for delivery to the APRS-IS. The terrestrial APRS frequency (144.39 in U.S.A.) is set on Band A (left side). I have enabled CTCSS with a PL of 67Hz, so it will mute the speaker without having to worry about touching the volume control. I have set this band to "M"edium power in order not to run my truck's battery down! I set the beacon rate to 30 minutes for the same reason. I also set the Dimmer to the lowest level. Side B (right side) is set to the ISS downlink 145.80. You can set this with either a memory channel or with the VFO. Set menu 3-I to A:TX B:RX. UIDIGI is enabled (menu 3-K) which turns the D700 into a digipeater. (UIDIGI configuration details below). When the ISS makes a pass overhead, packets are received on Band B and digipeated over to Band A. This takes care of ISS, but how can you get it to simultaneously monitor for PCSAT (NO-44) when it is on 145.825? The trick is to set the Call channel to 145.825 and then hold down the Call button (top left) to enable Call scan! The D700 scans between 145.80 and 145.825 and it is a very fast scan so it catches packets from both satellites! Another thing you want to do is set your Message Groups to "*" (menu3-P) so that you receive all messages. When you come back to your vehicle, you will know that a satellite pass has occured because you will see all of the messages queued from the pass. You can also check the station list. If the majority of D700 users did this, it would dramatically increase the IGate coverage for APRS satellite users and could free up dedicated SatGate stations to move their monitoring to other satellites such as the PCSAT2 9.6k downlink. By setting this as a separate PM, it takes two button pushes to put the D700 in this mode without affecting your normal everyday operating PM. When you want to go back to normal operations it is just two keypresses - PM OFF. Quick and easy. So put those idle D700's to work!
UIDIGI configuration details for Mobile SatGate operations: To enable the D700 as a mobile SatGate, enable UIDIGI (menu 3-K). UIDIGI digipeating path (menu 3-L) is set to "SGATE, WIDE, RELAY". As long as an APRS satellite user includes SGATE as part of their path after the satellite digi, then they will take advantage of this type of setup. By checking stations on FindU, I have found that about 50% of users do this. I have noticed that some use WIDE and RELAY after the satellite part of the path, so that is why I also include them. The ideal path for an ISS digi user would be "ARISS,SGATE,WIDE2-2". This packet would be digi'd by the ISS, then picked up by a D700 SatGate, and digi'd onto 144.39 with the remaining path of WIDE2-2 which just about guarantees delivery to an IGate.