APRS trackers


UPDATE 2013-01-13: This was the first blog entry I ever made. It was over 11 years ago when I first wrote this and I just wanted to go back and add this comment to it. I was using Blogger at the time. Over the past year, I’ve added permanent APRS trackers to my car and plane. After a few experiments on my bicycle, I found that it was impractical since it was too hard to hit the repeater.

I’ve been trying to get my APRS tracker up and running and so I spent a lot of time on the Internet looking for ideas and help. My goal is to have a tracker for all of my vehicles which includes my LongEZ, Durango, and even my bicycle. It would be nice if the trackers would come on automatically so I’m not even aware of them. That wouldn’t necessarily be the case on the bicycle, of course, since I’d like to use the same radio to talk when I’m not beaconing out my coordinates. But I’d like to keep the FT100 free in the Durango so I’ll have to find another radio to do the transmitting on the APRS frequency. In the case of the bicycle I’ll have to splice in a headset and PTT for that setup. I’m thinking of using the FT50 handheld in the plane and the bicycle. The GPS in the plane is a Garmin XL95 and it’s always installed, so I’ll use that as the positional data source. I have a Garmin eMap for the bicycle along with a handlebar mount for it. Getting the connectors has been a real pain. I found the Garmin connector in an unlikely place and it looks like the elusive 4 ring plug for the FT50 is available from Mouser (just look for p/n 171-7435).

Although I have a PIC-E, I’ve decided to use the TinyTrak by Byonics. It’s just smaller and easier to program and it’s much less expensive to duplicate ($30 per unit) and they go together very fast. I like the TinyTrakII even better and I’ve decided to upgrade to it. I’ll post more details later…

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