Three new software utilities for chasers

Feb 20, 2019
Decatur, GA
I've taken advantage of the pause in a lot of my normal activities due to corona to reinforce my chasing ability. In addition to the hardware side in my truck, I've been working on the software side of things. Some of these arose just due to my unique setup, but one in particular should hopefully have a good bit of use within the wider community. Now I recognize that I'm a low-post, not well known member. As a software developer, I fully appreciate the hesitation people would have in downloading a program like this which is one reason I have open-sourced this software. That way, you can pull the source yourself and build it and not rely on a third party binary. If you're not familiar with building code yourself, then the best I can say is wait for a more trusted member here to check everything out, or have a friend do it. So, all that fun stuff aside, here are the three programs I've written.

I've mentioned this in a few threads, but I've come up with a stopgap individual solution to the APRS integration with SpoterNetwork being broken. The idea behind this program is you run it on a home computer with a stable internet connection before going into the field. As you broadcast APRS position packets, if they're picked up by an iGate and routed to APRS-IS, then this program will update your SpotterNetwork position using the web API. It doesn't care about SSIDs currently, though that's certainly something I can look at, but I did set it up to optionally look for a particular sequence in the APRS comment field. I did this mainly for backwards-compatibility with the old !SN! character sequence in the comment field. If your APRS transmitter is already setup for the old system, then configure this to look for !SN! and you should be good to go. But if want to look for something else, you have that freedom too.

This is a Python script intended to send position information from the GPSD daemon to SpotterNetwork. In my chase vehicle, I have a RaspberryPi computer mounted under my backseat and a GPS puck mounted behind my cab on my antenna rack for a nearly unobstructed view of the sky. GPSD allows me to share the single puck and its location with many devices. Since I have the location, this script lets me send it directly to SpotterNetwork rather than needing another computer running a SN Position app or program.

As I said before, my chasing setup involves a RaspberryPi computer with a GPS puck attached. I wrote this program to allow applications that require a COM port GPS (such as GRLevel3 at least for me) to receive position information over a network from GPSD using GPSD's ability to send data in the NMEA format. Using this program requires a virtual com port pair, there are several solutions out there.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or any other feedback, please let me know! I hope some of these can be useful to the community. I know I'll be using all three when I chase next.

Nicholas Isabella

May 19, 2018
New York
I am going to look into building something similar. I am also looking for a way to log my gps location for future use in recap videos and with Qgis.