Ham Radio and APRS
APRS ("Automated Position Reporting System") is a system that uses GPS
and ham radio technology to let you track a moving vehicle like a car,
truck, or motorcycle from another APRS-equipped radio base station or on the
Internet via gateways. APRS does other things too, including remote-sensing
weather reports. But mobile tracking is what I wanted to use it for.
To learn more about APRS, you can go to the
In the first half of 2006, I got my ham radio license and a radio so I
could use APRS to track my motorcycle when I went on trips. I did this in the
name of Domestic Tranquility: the idea was that my wife at home could check
to see that I was still moving, and she could tell the cops my last known
position if I didn't report in. I ultimately gave up on this technology
because I found it was not reliable enough: it required too much checking
and fiddling to keep it working, and I never did manage to put an antenna on
my motorcycle that could get a signal out reliably at freeway speeds.
In the end, I found that APRS was not the solution for me, and I sold my
complete rig to another ham. You can read about the rig I had and sold on
While I was studying APRS, I downloaded some data for January to March of
2006 and made some maps of the areas where APRS works and where it doesn't
in the American West.
APRS in the American West, January -
This page was last edited
April 26, 2008.