APRS Tracker

If you’re looking for information regarding exactly what APRS is and what can be done with it, I’m going to refer you out to a much better source:

http://www.aprs.org/

While there are several Internet sources to actually track APRS devices, the site I typically use is: http://aprs.fi

I got involved with APRS initially as a result of my weather station project (see APRS Weather Station page).  Then as I progressed in the hobby, I volunteered for communications support in some of the local area bike and road races.  After a couple of events, I noticed that a lot of the other hams had these things.  Not being one to be “left out” I had to have one too!

After questioning everybody I could find that would talk to me, I came to realize that one of the primary sources for this hardware was the very source I had tapped for the key component of my weather station.  www.byonics.com is an excellent source for these types of projects…there’s very little in the way of APRS that is not supported by this site.  Quite a few people I know have purchased from here with complete satisfaction.  (Disclaimer…I have no connection whatever to the owner or any finabncial interest as well.)

The core device that I used is the “Micro-Trak RTG”.  (http://www.byonics.com/microtrak/mt-rtg.php)  This is a complete “APRS in a box” solution.  All you add is a standard 2 meter antenna, a GPS receiver (also available from the same site) and a battery or external power connection depending on how you want to configure your tracker.

I decided to make my unit a completely portable, all-in-one device that was capable of a long operating time.  I probably went a bit overboard in the size battery I picked.   I used a 12 volt 12 Ampere Hour battery…I believe it would probably run for at least a week and maybe even a lot longer!

The case I used was a Pelican 1300, which again was primarily determined by the battery size.  You can certainly make a tracker that is MUCH smaller in size, especially if you rely on an external power connection.

  

 

 

The “Micro-Track RTG” is very easily programmed with a Windows based program available for download from the Byonics website.  There are only a couple of minor pieces of information that you need to supply.  However, if you just really don’t want to do this and would prefer a ready-to-go unit, you can supply this info at time of purchase and it will be pre-programmed for you.

I struggled a bit with the wording used on the “warning” label I used.  I ended up with this:

 

“Your Callsign”

Amateur Radio – APRS Tracker

144.390 Mhz

Please do not tamper with this device.

It is in use providing communications

support or emergency communications.

For information please contact:

Your name – your phone number

(or whatever other means of contact you prefer)