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I have never done APRS before and recently got a Yaesu FTM-300 radio. I've read the APRS sub-manual for the radio and have also watched some APRS tutorial/setup videos for the radio. However at least the ones I've seen assume you already know a bunch about APRS and are just telling you how to set up that specific radio for APRS.

Some of the questions I have:

  • When the APRS modem is turned on does that make it impossible to use that band's VFO for anything other than APRS? So even if I set the frequency to something other than my area's APRS frequency the modem will keep control (and of course accomplish nothing on a different frequency other than possibly annoying people)?
  • Or put another way, if I want to use both the radio's bands for non-APRS things I have to go into the menu and turn off the APRS modem?
  • Do I have to manually leave the frequency on 144.390MHz or will the modem hold it there/switch to it when it wants to do something regardless of what the VFO is set to?
  • Is there any storing/forwarding in APRS? Or will messages sent specifically to me be lost if my radio isn't doing APRS at the moment the message happens to be sent to me? (I would expect beacons would be lost.)
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Yes, yes, yes, no (yes).

Yes, if you have APRS on then one side of the radio is doing nothing but APRS. Yes, you have to leave it on-frequency. Yes, you have to turn APRS off if you want it off so you can do something else. No, there is no store-and-forward of APRS messages; you will miss anything that is sent while you're not listening. Most message senders will retry for a while until they get an acknowledgement, but that's an end-to-end retry; it's dependent on the sender still being around, and in range of a digi, and attempting a retry, when you come back.

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Do I have to manually leave the frequency on 144.390MHz or will the modem hold it there/switch to it when it wants to do something regardless of what the VFO is set to?

A reminder that not every Region use 144.390MHz for APRS enter image description here
(image borrowed from APRS.ORG)

For example, here in the UK (and the rest of Europe and Africa) uses 144.800MHz

As such the modem cannot be "hard-coded" with a specific frequency, and will always use the VFO selected channel.

(Perhaps there should be a concerted effort to harmonise the APRS frequency?)

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  • $\begingroup$ It would be nice if we all drove on the same side of the road, and used the same voltage, frequency, and plugs for mains power also ;) $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Aug 21 at 1:25

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