Ham Radio and APRS

Scott Olitsky

Are people using APRS when chasing to alert other chasers to thier presence in nearby areas?

I run APRS quite a bit when I'm traveling, but when the weather gets interesting I usually dump the APRS to use that side of my radio for monitoring other ham, public safety, or NOAA traffic.

There are also a few weather offices that will transmit watches, warnings, and outlooks via APRS so that's kind of interesting.

They've added a new feature on FINDU.COM so that there is a radar overlay that will show your position relative to the action on radar.

There are still few igates in remote areas. When I travel, I usually run my Kenwood HT with a small amp and run APRS and use my FT-100 for other ham related activities. I have run into other hams many times on long trips via APRS when I might not have otherwise caught them on simplex or local repeaters. Would seem to be useful when chasing for the same reason.
On that note, I told Scott that I actually made contact with a fellow via APRS in a town in IL where we stayed on the move back to KS. He couldn't raise me on the local repeater so he sent me a text message via APRS and I eventually got on the repeater and had a good QSO. Of course to be able to send text you'd have to have a laptop connected, OR use the Kenwood 700 (my mobile) or similar radio.

It would be kind of neat to be able to send text from different chase locations. Archaic (sp) compared to cellphones, but interesting mode for sending messages. Again, this would be regulated by propogation and digipeaters, but that network is growing also.

Or...dont tie up one of your main radios,

get your ham license and throw a pocket tracker in the car and be done with it. You wont be able to 'see' anyone else but others will be able to see you and you can check your route/speed/etc when you get back to your hotel/house on www.findu.com


$100 bucks out the door

(I make no money off this stuff..I just like the product)
That is very cool! I was surprised to see that they don't offer the completed project for sale though. I think they did that with the TinyTrak series, but then again, this is a new product. I'm not bad at soldering wire antennas together, but this is another animal :)

Have you got one Tyler?

actually they do offer a pre-built one, or at least they use to. I cant find it on their website but I traded email with them about it several months ago. I believe he quoted me $140

I do not own one but it's on my list of stuff to buy.

I plan on using that or my TNC+radio setup in the car so my wife can track me while chasing.

"Hunny...if the tracker says my current speed is 0mph and 5 seconds ago it was 75mph....call 911"

Tyler and all,
The pocket tracker is not that hard to build really, I have one of the first UK versions and have had it for about 9 months now I think.
The really fun bit was the final alignment but there again I have all the equipment to do that in the workshop at work.
The surface mount components come ready assembled so that was one less chore. I also found that fittng extra earth straps helped immensely especially from the lid to the main tin. It definately works over here but I do run a Half wave antenna custom made antenna using an extra thin flexible MIL grade coax so as not to put any strain on the socket.
Go for it all you need is a 9V battery, a decent antenna, a GPS that will connect to it. I use a Garmin Etrek with the car charger lead and recomend using the patch lead that they recomend.
You also need to download the latest programming software because you have to program your callsign into the unit.
I use the Kenwood TH-D7 with a small amplifier to run 35 watts out. My Garmin Etrex broke last year so I will run the foretrex unit that I recently bought. It is a great way to run into other hams when traveling. I was able to see activity on a cross country trip and also on a sailing trip once. It saves the trouble of calling on the national simplex frequency at regular intervals. If you happen to be down the road from someone running APRS, you will know they are there.