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The Automatic Packet Reporting System - APRS - was developed by Ham Radio Operator Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, which uses a form of Ham Radio known as “Packet” to track real-time events with a visual display of locations of both fixed or moving Ham Radio stations or even objects.
The APRS system needs the latitude and longitude of the item to be tracked - whether a person, radio or object. A portable Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver will provide that precise positioning information. Connect a Ham Radio to a (NMEA type) GPS receiver and an “adaptor” device - (TNC) and your location is then sent into the airwaves via Ham Radio in “REAL TIME”, as you are moving down the road. Any monitoring station that's equipped with APRS software will then translate the data and show that location on a map displayed on any computer device. There are a network of APRS “stations” that will “hear” your position information which is “passed on” to everyone else in the “APRS network”. Since most APRS activity uses the 2-meter band, your transmission would usually be limited to the "line of sight". Those APRS stations with more power and better antennas will hear and pass on and thus “extend” your signal far beyond the original line of sight of your signal. Your position is now “out there” for everyone to know where you were located within the past few minutes. (If you don't want your exact location to be pinpointed, you can configure your APRS device to use a “Grid Square” reference instead of the longitude and latitude, which will provide a “broader” location within a few miles of your actual location).
You can get started with APRS using nothing more than GPS receiver, the TNC “adaptor” and a hand-held Ham Radio transceiver - and of course - a Ham Radio License! You can also use a “cell phone device” that includes a GPS (all of them?) - (search the internet for more on that type of connection). APRS activity can also be found on the HF Ham Radio bands from 40 to 10 meters & 6 meters as well.
The Internet has plenty of websites for everything you ever wanted to know about APRS - excellent frequency coordination tools, software, equipment, etc. The map displays this information as a “live bread crumb trail” every time the APRS automatically transmits the signal, which can be “saved” and viewed as needed. This APRS system is ideal for tracking boats, cars, marathons, parades, hiking expeditions, hot air balloons, horse trail rides, etc. The possibilities are endless. APRS is used by Amateur Radio operators around the world using the satellites that fill our skies.
The MVPA Route 66 2017 Confirmed Rally Points
Data courtesy of MVPA Convoy Team as of 6/5/2017