Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Activator's APRS - of any use for chasers?

Now that I have an APRS enabled radio, I usually transmit my location during SOTA hikes. I also previously announce my use of APRS in alerts.
Chasers, is activator’s use of APRS tracking actually of any use for you?

I know that several chaser check aprs for arrival of activators on the summit.

I like to use it.

73 Joe

1 Like

Hi Valdi,
I use APRS occasionally as an activator. Not sure about its value for chasers. My feeling is, that only a minority of chasers monitor APRS.

The second problem with APRS is that the network is rather thin, at least in my area. We have not enough I-gates.

73 Heinz

Arguably, reporting the activators position using APRS

  • makes the SOTA related activities known to a larger public
  • helps chasers to follow them
  • helps them to be chased and assisted if necessary
  • helps them to send spots and get information using APRS2SOTA

You might want to have a look at https://www.on6zq.be/w/index.php/SOTA/SOTA2APRS .

This thread also covers the subject: Activators appearing on APRS automatically

I use APRS on the drive to the trailhead and on the trail. My XYL who is a chaser follows my progress and when possible she chases when I reach a summit. The more significant benefit is that my XYL likes to be able to see that I am moving or at a summit rather than being stuck. Another benefit is for me to review my tracks, on the road and on the trail as a personal debrief of the activation. The track of my hiking on the trail is just ok, and when I want a better track on the trail I use Gaia. As an activator I find APRS one useful tool together with paper maps, and the apps on my cell phone. My chasers have never indicated they check my APRS track; however, when I am in my chaser role I do check for APRS tracks to identify where the activator I am chasing is located and thus when I might expect them at the summit. My SOTA buddy and I both use APRS and when he is driving to pick me up I use APRS to let me know when I should walk out to the street to get in his car!

1 Like

Let’s encourage people to run more i-gates! It is easier now than before, with small computers like the Raspberry Pis and the Direwolf software modem.

On my last activation my i-gate relayed a complete track for me, whereas the mobile phone coverage was non-existent away from the summit. Then again perhaps only @M0TMD was watching! :wink:


Let’s ask the chaser community about their use of APRS to track the progress of activators:

  • As a chaser I regularly monitor APRS beacons to track chasers.
  • As a chaser I occasionally use APRS.
  • I have never used APRS to track an activator!

0 voters

73 Heinz

Heinz, thanks for the survey! How I didn’t think about that!
This is not very active topic so I assume that most chasers are not interested in activators’ APRS at all.
Well, I’ll still use APRS tracking while on SOTA hike, just to play with my gear and make the band a bit more busy.
BTW, I usually also announce my 2m QRV frequency in the comment and was even called by a local ham once!

As a chaser I do check APRS, but only if APRS is mentioned in the alert. I can get a closer idea of when the activator might be on the air.
It is also just interesting to see where they are and where they have been.


I use APRS to track, but my main use is spotting where there is no cell service but an iGate in the area. Relatively easy to hit one in the North Georgia Mountains.