Mobile APRS iGate for SOTA

Various people have asked about how I have set up an iGate in my van for SOTA. I have made a short video that outlines the main components. It’s not really a detailed how-to but rather identfies some parts that work well together. I will be making some more SOTA-related content so do subscribe so that you hear about new stuff. The next one will be some tips about doing activations with non-SOTA folk.


Interesting post, thanks! Do you have an estimate of data usage, are you an igate for every APRS signal the radio receives?
Peter, KD0YOB

I can say that it uses very little data. It’s simple text. So perhaps a few 10s of kB per day. I gate everything I receive so locals get a temporary gateway. There is very little activity here. I sometimes run it as a fully mobile gateway.

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hi richard,

thanks for the interesting video.

for quite some time i also have a portable aprs i-gate in my car and turn it on on all my outdoor activities … here is the link to the thread i posted in 2017:

i use almost the same configuration like you, the biggest difference is that an raspberry pie is used for the i-gate.

73 martin, oe5reo


Is there an advantage to using this set up to update APRS than using an app on your phone? If you’re close enough to hit the iGate in your vehicle, which requires mobile data to work, there is a good chance you are going to have mobile data service where you’re hiking.

The benefit of an igate would be for other operators as well, for ones that aren’t’ using cell phones.

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Yes, you get the complete capability of APRS if you use a portable iGate approach, not just tracking if you do it from just a smart phone.

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I get full messaging capability with my Android, and have in fact spotted via APRS2SOTA using it.

The other day while beaconing on APRS on a summit, I received an APRS message along the lines of "welcome to SOTA Summit G/SP-013 ". It appeared to have come from Germany. The whole thing was a bit of a mystery. Any ideas?

…I see that the summit reference has turned into a hyper link here. Cool.

I’m getting these as well. I found out that the messages come from here:
GMA - Global Mountain Activity Group.


How interesting - thanks!

I’ve gotten the same thing a few times, although it appears to be sporadic.

This server GMA - Global Mountain Activity Group is part of the “GMA - Global Mountain Activity”. It is similar to SOTA. When It sees a beacon message with your location it compares that with all of the SOTA summit locations and a list of all the GMA locations. It may be intermittent because you may not have transmitted a beacon while within the activation zone.