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APRS Background

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.

Ham Radio technology exists that will enable the MVPA Convoy to be "tracked" in "REAL TIME".   
By combining that technology with an internet link, everyone can find out where the Convoy is currently located - within a few "real time" minutes - and be able to view a "bread crumb trail" of the route driven since day one of the convoy on Sept 16th, 2017. 
We have equipped TWO of the MVPA Convoy vehicles - with the necessary equipment to provide us with the ability to TRACK the Convoy and the progress of their journey along the Historic 1926 Original Route 66 Highway from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA.
Thank you to Bob Bruninga, WB4APR for his past advice to help us get equipped to use APRS for the MVPA Convoys.
Disclaimer: To Track the Convoy- their reported positions need to be "captured" by Ham Radio Stations along the way.  In desolate areas with only a few Ham Radio antennas or stations the tracking signals may not be "captured" in all areas of the journey - (Texas, New Mexico & Arizona deserts for instance). The tracking positions will only show the signals that have been  "captured".  

The MVPA Route 66 2017 Confirmed Rally Points

Data courtesy of MVPA Convoy Team as of 6/5/2017

September 16, 2017 - October 14, 2017
Route 66 2017 
Military Vehicle
Convoy On-The-Air
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Route 66 2017 Convoy is complete.

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