The creator of the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS), Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, died on February 7. An ARRL Life Member, Bruninga was 73. According to his daughter, Bruninga succumbed to cancer and the effects of COVID-19. Bruninga had announced his cancer diagnosis in 2020. Over the years, he readily shared his broad knowledge of and experience with APRS, among other topics in the amateur radio and electronics fields.
While best known for APRS, Bruninga was also a retired US Naval Academy (USNA) senior research engineer who had an abiding interest in alternative power sources, such as solar power. In 2018, he authored Energy Choices for the Radio Amateur, published by ARRL, which explores developing changes in the area of power and energy, and examines the choices radio amateurs and others can make regarding home solar power, heat pumps, and hybrid and electric vehicles. Bruninga drove an all-electric car and had experimented with a variety of electric-powered vehicles over the years.
APRS originated in 1982, when Bruninga wrote his first data map program that plotted the positions of US Navy ships for the Apple II platform. A couple of years later, he developed what he called the Connectionless Emergency Traffic System (CETS) on the VIC-20 and C64 platforms for digital packet communications to support an endurance race. The program was ported to the IBM PC platform in 1988, and was renamed APRS in 1992. The recognized North American APRS frequency is 144.39 MHz, and APRS is globally linked via the internet. Bruninga founded the Appalachian Trail Golden Packet (ATPG) event, which fields APRS nodes from Stone Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine each July.
ARRL Contributing Editor Ward Silver, N0AX, remembered Bruninga this way: “Bob kept pushing APRS beyond its origins as a position reporting system. He developed and helped implement numerous other uses of APRS in support of what has become the ‘Ham Radio of Things,’ with great potential for future amateur radio applications. Bob’s far-reaching vision and imagination were as good as it gets.”
Read more – via American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources http://www.arrl.org/news/view/aprs-developer-bob-bruninga-wb4apr-sk