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HT for APRS and Spotting?


I’m looking for an APRS HT so others can track me on APRS and also self spotting.

Which have you used?

Yaesu FT-1XDR or FT2DR? Both are currently about $300 US.

Thank you,
73 Paul - NT4H

i tried to use a vx8g Yaesu for aprs but i found the coverage of the aprs repeaters a problem to access unless i was very close to them. I mean close by just a couple km away or if i was doing a summit with the repeater on the same hill,but i can use the voice repeater on the same tower with the same rig with good coverage further away from the voice repeater.
I have tried APRStrack an app for my samsung phone which works well but it uses a lot of battery time on my phone which I also need to spot when on the summit. These days i just alert on my pc at home before going and i can get the internet from my phone on every summit i go too. Another tip if phone coverage is poor when travelling to a summit but good once up higher on the hill put your phone on flight mode that saves your battery heaps and stops the phone searching in vain.Things may be different in your area as far as aprs repeater coverage .
Good to ask around before you buy a rig I hope others have advice or ideas .
Ian vk5cz …

Kenwood are perhaps better known for APRS integration into their rigs than Yaesu but I have to admit I have used neither so can’t say what’s good and what not.

For a cheaper option where Cell coverage is available, there are free apps for Android Smart Phones that will allow you to be tracked on APRS and that you can use to spot yurself once at the summit (separate Apps).

APRSDROID is the APRS app, there are many, many SOTA spotting apps.

73 Ed DD5LP.

Hi Paul

I’ve used a Kenwood D72 in the past for Self Spotting via APRS. I also have a FT2D which I haven’t used yet for spotting as I’ve not done a activation since getting it. If you have a Fusion repeater or gateway nearby then it would make sense to go with a Fusion hand held.

I’ve also got a VX8 but that’s very complicated for APRS and needs the GPS dongle on the top.

Do you have a APRS radio in your vehicle. I currently have a Kenwood D710 soon to be replaced once I get round to installing the FTM-400 in the vehicle. When I did some SOTA down in Exmoor national park when on holiday last year I left the D710 in the vehicle running on a external battery with it’s digipeat mode switched on - it was then able to relay my APRS packets at 50 watts rather then the 5w from the D72. I’ve got a CCW tracker that I hope to be able to use it a similar way with the FTM-400 as that doesn’t act as a DigiPeater on it’s own.


I use the Kenwood TH-D72 for sending my positions an spotting. Overall it does a good job.

  • It can send the QRG of the 2nd VFO automatically as status of your position packets - to my mind no Yaesu radio does this.
  • switching beacon transmission on and off and sending messages is quite easy.


  • Battery indicator is crap: 3 segments, most of the operation time it shows one segment. Only displayed once you are in the menu. So you never really know the remaining operating time.
  • more expensive than the Yaesu HTs
  • operating time can be rather short in case the APRS frequency is very busy - but this affects all APRS HTs more or less

The old Yaesu VX-8 (1st generation) had a bulky GPS receiver interfering with the rubber duck antenna and a horrible APRS user interface. So when I purchased my TH-D72 it was the only sensible choice as the FT-1/2 where not available at that time.

At the Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen I had a look at the FT-2D. Looks quite nice and the large touch screen display should make APRS use easier. Perhaps I get one the next months. Display space of the FT-1XDR is quite limited and the APRS user interface seems not too much improved over the old VX-8 so I would prefer the FT-2 for APRS operation.

Here in Germany I experienced the mobile internet is quite patchy on some summits - APRS spotting is often much easier. Putting a 5/8-lambda telescopic antenna on the HT improves chance to be digipeated drastically.

73 de Michael, DB7MM