Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS)
** November 2017 Update **
I haven’t had these trackers active for a long time.
** April 2014 Update **
I don’t drive the truck much except when we take trips with the camper. I haven’t had the APRS system on in a while.
Having seen other people demonstrate APRS, I thought it was time to get involved… After Googling around for a while, I wasn’t finding any clear “how to do it” guides. I did find a lot of broken links and older info on tracker kits that were no longer available.
My first attempt was with a Byonics TinyTrak3 Plus and an old ICOM 2100H. I bought the TinyTrak3+ pre-built and tested along with the required interface cables. I installed both of these along with an APO3 from Byonics and a mag-mount 2m antenna into my truck. This setup worked fine for, well… about a week. Then the TinyTrak3+ gave up. The documentation talks about removing R8 (or at least cliping the lead) when using the TinyTrak3+ with a mobile radio (non-HT). Since I was buy pre-built I asked Byon and the recommendation was to try it without cliping R8. Hindsight tells me this wasn’t a good idea.
On to the second attempt… This time with an OpenTracker+ from Argent Data Systems. I went with a kit this time since I was buying 2 and having recently bought a good quality soldering iron by Hakko (Check my page on the Hakko). The kit assembled rather easily, despite the lack of step-by-step instructions. Just put the parts on the PCB and ming the couple of assembly notes on the diagram. Once assembled, it started right up and I loaded the latest firmware with the configuration utility. The OpenTracker is now installed in the truck along with the ICOM 2100H and the pre-built interface cable I was using with the TinyTacker3+.
Here’s a rough idea of what the truck install looks like:
Battery —- APO3 —- Icom 706MkII
\– Icom 2100H
Next will be to put something on the family car. I’m thinking another OpenTracker+ (which I already have built) and some kind of older 2m radio. More on this when it’s installed.
The tracking links above are to FindU, which is a great tool as long as you can deal with the advertising.