WB2FKO: APRS Tracking

The map below shows the most recently known position of my APRS tracker denoted by my amateur radio callsign WB2FKO. What's happening: Real-time GPS data is broadcast on a dedicated VHF radio frequency of 144.390 MHz. The data (position, bearing, speed, altitude) is then relayed to the Internet via gateway stations and displayed on the web. The site aprs.fi in Finland runs on mutiple servers and is probably the best of several web renderings currently available. A mobile tracking station running low power is often incapable of directly accessing the gateway. For this reason, digipeaters are placed at wide coverage locations like a mountain top. The digipeater relays data from the tracker to the gateway.

The hardware I use to implement this is relatively inexpensive. I bought a GPS/TNC combination from Byonics for about $100. I also needed a gender null modem cable that allowed me to set the tracker parameters from a PC. The 2-m FM radio is an old Icom 229 that was sitting in a closet gathering dust. The TNC controls the radio via the microphone port with an easily built interface cable.

More information can be found with a google search for `APRS', which stands for Automatic Packet Reporting System. The map runs on the client side so you'll need to have scripts enabled in your browser to see it.