I have been testing an AP510 all-in-one APRS unit for 2m. It’s a pretty new device and the software is a bit flaky but it does work as described. I have been doing a few test drives with it in the car and it has been received over 50 miles away so it works fine.
APRS is a bit old-hat these days (I have at least 4 tracking apps on my mobile phone), but it’s still quite good fun. I set up an iGate at home to get the packets onto the internet. Maybe someone will use one for SOTA?
I have just ordered mine…
I think you will enjoy playing with it Heinz. Although like me you may be disappointed at how few iGates remain in operation to receive your data … There may be none near you in which case you will have to establish your own.
Yes, I am aware how thin the APRS infrastructure is. I run my own I-Gate (OE5EEP-10). My current tracker is homebuilt after a club project and needs a 2m handheld in addition (see here for pictures: http://wiki.oevsv.at/index.php?title=DXL_-_APRStracker - scroll down). My tracker with batteries (without the radio) is already bigger than the one I have ordered now. I hope to further cut down on weight. In addition the claimed battery life is impressive. I wonder though if the 1W will do.
I’ll let you know how this little tracker will perform!
To my mind the VHF-based APRS is still useful especially when facing poor mobile coverage. I also like the idea, ham radio is not dependent on commercial communication networks. I always use APRS as activator so chasers can track me. So they can get an idea whether I am behind schedule again.
Seems in combiantion with an Android device and APRSdroid this tracker could even be used for APRS-spots in SOTAWatch.
So a nice device to play around. I wonder whether I should get one in addition to my APRS-able HT (Kenwood TH-D72).
1W in combination with the small antenna may be challenging. But at least at the summit it should suffice to get one’s packets to the next digipeater/igate.
By the way: These Chinese trackers are also available on ebay. About 95 € here in Germany. Looks like they use the SDR-based transceiver module the German Funkamateur magazine has described recently. Hopefully the tracker has a decent TX lowpass filter to get the spurious emissions below the legal limit. Many Chinese HTs fail on the 60dBc.
73 de Michael, DB7MM
+1 Micheal. APRS maybe old fashioned but it’s simple and effective. It’s also 100% amateur. The downside is we (amateurs) need to build the network of iGates/nodes to make it effective. That’s why commercial networks are so usable, they have nodes (cell sites) everywhere so you are very likely to get coverage. For amateurs to do the same is a huge problem. Mainly one of money followed by having a willing army of volunteers to host the hardware.
It’s chicken and egg… no iGates/nodes = no users. No user = no need for iGates/nodes.
100% amateur? My iGate is connected to a 100% not-amateur internet…
APRS is fun for sure. Hosting an iGate is a zero-cost exercise for most people. Requires existing 2m radio and PC with internet connection plus the software (all free). Takes about half an hour to get set up - unless your router blocks the required ports - as mine did.
Set my tracker running today and about 3 miles from home it went out of range of my iGate. despite it going on a 20 mile trip my iGate only saw it once more. No other iGates or digipeaters saw it at all - quite disappointing really.
i had a look at this aprs-radio several times too, but could not decide if i really need that one … as you know i have a KENWOOD TH-D72 which works perfect for me.
i hope to have a look at your new AP510 on one of our future sota-activations …
Ah, I’ll try that again. The user side of APRS is 99.9999999% amateur… i.e the traffic from mobile trackers is carried on amateur frequencies as opposed to using commercial services(**). Using commercial services from iGates (hint is in the name) makes sense as most of us have an internet connection 24/7 that is being payed for. Use free to use amateur bands to get the data to the iGate, use already paid for commercial means to link the iGates and feed other internet connected services.
** I did run an SMS → APRS gateway for people who had mobile deals that include 1000’s of SMS each month. Richard M0RCP used it with software he wrote for Symbian S60 devices. It used the GPS in the phone and the unlimited SMS plan to act as a tracker. S60 phones are not common anymore and neither of us had time to make a programm work on Android/iOS.
Only if you made your own radio of course!
I think we know what you mean and I will save further pedantry for my beer with Tom.
Received my APRS tracker today. I have ordered via ebay from a seller based in Berlin. Received the unit, antenna and a USB cable in a cardboard box, no manual, no software, not any explanation. I found the following helpful youtube video: AP510 APRS tracker configure software and firmware - YouTube
Well it works, when walking round the house. You can see me as OE5EEP-2. I will do a range test tomorrow.
Damn, I just misread the topic as Apres-Sota and opened it thinking “wow there’s a tradition of coming off the mountain, drinking way too much and then eating your own body weight in cheese”.
Only Kim Jung-un could eat my body weight in cheese.
…I hope that your IT infrastructure has some good firewalls.
Taking the tracker to its first SOTA summit today. Watch me as OE5EEP-2 on OE/SB-271 from about 1030Z (if packets get out)!
This link should work: aprs.fi - live APRS map
A very disappointing APRS coverage on Lidaunberg, OE/SB-271:
I was sending position reports every 60 secs. From a 1,5h ascent and 45 min descent only a handful of reports and only in the summit area made it through. I have marked my parking space in attached sreenshot.