APRS Tracking

Was just wondering if any chasers use APRS to track activators when in route to summits? I use it occasionally when hiking but have never received and feedback on it. Just curious, and would use it a lot more if I knew chasers used it as a reference to see if activators are still on or off the summit ect.

Thanks 73’s de NE2P


I’ve used it a couple of times to see if an activator is approaching, near the summit. Once they’re spotted, I don’t pay any further attention.
Peter KD0YOB

Hi Leo !
Yes I always use it when I go to SOTA activation.
I’m using differents ways to send my track:

  • Analogic 144.800 Mhz (eu) with VX8 Yaesu
  • Digital with ID51e Icom - DSTAR - DCS933S
  • Digital with D878 AnyTone - DMR - TG-973

When I’m chaser, I like to follow guys while they are climbing.
73 Roger

1 Like

Hi Leo
Always when I see one alert an activator say “follow me on APRS” with his call !
73 Éric

In case you have not seen it yet, you might find this interesting: ON6ZQ | SOTA2APRS .

Also when you click on the summit reference of a SOTAwatch spot or alert to reach the summit page, you can go directly to its location on APRSdirect.com or aprs.fi to see any APRS hikers symbols around it.


Hi Leo,

We have discussed this topic earlier this year. I think the use of APRS will not have changed since then.


In this older thread I did a poll to see how chasers are using APRS.I paste the results in here:

73 Heinz


I’ve never used APRS tracking as a chaser or activator. I have used APRS for spotting.
I’m going to dive in and learn how to use tracking and try it next time I activate!


As an activator, I use APRS all the time when driving and hiking to summits and include the comment “En Route” in my beacons. When I reach the summit, I transmit a beacon that I am “In service” and use APRS2SOTA for spotting. While driving I have the -9 suffix on my callsign from my mobile radio and while hiking the -7 suffix from my HT. I carry my HT in the side pocket of my backpack so the antenna is exposed and higher up so often am able to hit digipeaters which will cause my track to come out on aprs.fi when I am on a trail. Many chasers have told me that they follow my APRS tracks to ascertain where I am and how close I am to reaching a summit. Because I invariably never make the ETA I post for my Alert on SOTAwatch, I figure the chasers who want to work me can know more accurately when I will arrive. When I am hiking down from a SOTA, I will change the comment in my HT to “Returning” so anyone who is following me can see that I am coming off the summit. I have activated SOTAs in 25 states and used APRS in all of them. In my Alert posts, I write that I will be using APRS.

Likewise as a chaser, I will look at the APRS tracks on aprs.fi of activators who are progressing toward a peak if they indicate in their Alert that they will be using APRS. For activators in Southern CA if I can receive their APRS beacon direct on my home QTH radio, I have been successful in sending them a text message via APRS and received texts back from them besides being able to tell how far they are away from me.

I also know if need be that my XYL KB6LAS can track my movements through APRS if I am late making it back for dinner!

Scott WA9STI WA6LE (club)
Los Angeles

1 Like

I like to watch an activator’s track from my own peak in order to make a decision whether to wait for the climber or to pack up. Satellite view, of course. One time, I tracked a guy who had one beacon in his truck and another one in his pack. The one in his truck continued to beep whilst he took the other up the hill. When he finished, he left the second one dutifully beeping on the peak and drove away. I was the only one who saw that happen, and it took awhile for my message to reach him. I then watched his truck make a U-turn and drive an hour back for retrieval. I’ll bet he was pounding the steering wheel after he turned around.

Has anyone tried to feed an APRS signal from a smart phone into a VOX equipped HT?

Elliott, K6EL



I have occasionally looked at APRS when trying to determine how close an activator was to the summit, especially if I needed to leave to go somewhere. It helped me decide if I had time to work them before leaving. Dean ~ K2JB

1 Like

Hi Patrick,

SOTAwatch Live! tracks activators with APRS beacon and sends a welcome message and latest three spots to the activator on a SOTA summit via APRS.
Please send an APRS message “ACT” to JL1NIE-10 to activate your account before using it.
See the information page for details on control commands.

Minoru, JL1NIE