LoRa APRS Tracker (Part 1)

Here’s the UK rules - see sections 3.1.1 and 3.1.2:

This is why APRS in the 70cm Ham band has never really taken off in the UK

Ok I know it’s popular in the Benelux region, but I don’t see the attraction, it isn’t really Ham radio is it? Yes I use APRS on 2M and it’s a pain that there are not enough digipeater iGates on M outside the South East of England

Hi Dave @M0JKS

Thanks for the detailed reply.

LORA looks to be a potentially huge rabbit hole as in addition to the APRS application I ran across Meshtastic that looks like a lot of fun despite its somewhat childish name.

My involvement in tech predates Microsoft’s founding (makes me sound pre-historic) and I’ve had a variety of feelings about them over the years. Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code are both great products and I enjoy the former and appreciate the fact the community version is free and very full featured.

I worked at the then darling of the department LAN file and print movement in the early 1990s in Silicon Valley. Being at Novell and being in Silicon Valley were my first experiences of “institutional” hatred of MS. Ironically. Novell had the rights to UnixWare before Windows 95 came to market and maybe if Novell had offered UnixWare for free with NetWare, then the tech landscape might have been quite different today.

All water under the bridge as MS thoroughly toasted Novell. Years ago MS was “les enfant terrible” and the subject of numerous lawsuits and antitrust cases…now it’s the turn of Google, FB and all the current darlings of Silicon Valley. I’m sure there’s a lesson in all of this!!


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In what way?

If you like Meshtastic you are maybe looking for MeshCom. A fork/version of meshtastic for Ham Radio use. A project by the Austrian Amateur radio association.
It is linked to the APRS network and in OE the LoRa gateways are working via the HamNet 5GHz backbone that connects a lot of repeater stations in OE land.

Not sure how well the google translate version works:
MeshCom – ÖVSV-Wiki

Here the original page:
MeshCom – ÖVSV-Wiki

Currently a new version 4.0 is in development.

73 de Joe

I’ve installed a LoRa APRS Igate G0PEB-12 on the Isle of Wight, this is Rx only on 439.9125 Mhz, the tx RF beacon has been disabled. This operates alongside G0PEB-1 144.800Mhz Igate.
I also have a prototype LoRa tracker G0PEB-3 now in operation when mobile assisted by a small 1Watt amplifier, since the 100mW o/p T-Beam unit showed it’s limitations in the dips of the hilly Isle of Wight terrain.
There is also another LoRa Igate located in Portsmouth and along with local activity it often decodes my transmissions, over a 12 to 15 mile range.


my LoRa APRS Gatway at home and the same equipment in my car. M5Stack with 1W LoRa-Modul from DL3DCW


When I queried about running a receive only I-gate there was no mention of needing a NoV to run one.
Certainly for Digirepeaters i.e mb7uaz


When you complete a repeater UK NoV application, you have to supply detailed information about radio type, power levels, feeder loss, coax type, type of antenna, antenna gain and any other insertion loss - so that the EIRP is within the limits set by OfCom for a particular band. In addition to this, you also have to supply details of what mechanisms are available, and who (other than the NoV applicant) can be called upon to disable the repeater should it become faulty and end up permanently transmitting. As I understand it, this is because the NoV permits the repeater to be left running unsupervised (i.e. transmitting while unattended), and hence why it is something you should not use your callsign for. As longs as the APRS node is not a digi-repeater or is an i-Gate with the beacon disabled (i.e. there is no chance of RF energy radiating from the site) then I believe no NoV is required. In this scenario it is not an unattended transmitter.


Encouraged by Robert G0PEB I have a LoRa Rx only APRS Igate (GW4BVE-10) running near Welshpool, Powys. It should cover the local summits and as far as Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012. There doesn’t seem to be any standards for LoRa APRS yet so I have used the parameters of the Portsmouth/IoW Igates for now. These are:

QRG: 439.9125MHz
B/W: 125kHz
SF: 9
CR: 7

Best dx so far is 24miles over a non line of sight path.

73 John GW4BVE


That’s excellent John; I shall take the LoRa tracker with me next time I do Cadair Berwyn - one of my favourite summits. I guess Aran Fawddwy and Cadair Idris might be pushing it a bit, but I’ll still take it with me.



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That’s good news. With Dave’s help I hope to have some sort of APRS/LoRa digipeater at IO83vg soon. That should be able to link to your igate.


LoRa progress. Dave M0JKS visited my woods today to get an idea of what’s there (spoiler: mostly trees). He is now working on a LoRa system to install. I showed him my digipeater and in doing so I seem to have broken it :frowning:

I’ll be activating GW/NW-012 tomorrow and will have the LoRA APRS tracker with me. Will be interesting to see if your iGate John picks me up.



P.S. I’ll also have the FT3D on 144.800 doing 2m APRS

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If I retune my APRS IGate to 433.9125 MHz, should Direwolf decode the signal?
It’s currently set to receive ‘regular’ APRS on 144.800 MHz, 1200 baud AFSK.

The configuration for the LoRa igate near Welshpool is now:

QRG: 439.9125MHz
B/W: 125kHz
SF: 12
CR: 5

This should increase the range considerably. What SF & CR are others using? Are there any UK standards?

My LoRa tracker is GW4BVE-3

73 John GW4BVE

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I highly doubt that this works. Direwolf will need an audio signal as input to decode. The FM decode you use (not sure by radio or rtl_fm will not demodulate the LoRa burst)

If the bandwidth is ~125 kHz then no, I don’t see how that can be simply converted to an audio signal!

I’m running a Pi 2B, rtl-sdr dongle(s) and rtl-fm. I’ll buy a set of the LoRa boards and give it a go - it will be interesting to compare to APRS on 2m.

It’s working fine John. Picked me up all the way from the summit of Cadair Berwyn to Llyn Lluncaws: