Ham Tracker allows Radio Amateurs on the move to send location updates to APRS-IS (the Internet side of APRS) from their mobile device. Once sent, your position can be tracked using services such as aprs.fi. Don’t worry though, you’re in control of your privacy and can turn off the sending of position reports at any time.
Ham Tracker makes it easy to send an email or SMS containing an aprs.fi tracking link for your callsign or a map link showing your current location. Use these to tell colleagues, friends and family where you are, letting them track your progress using a web browser without them needing to phone to ask.
Ham Tracker doesn’t even need to be running in the foreground on your device. You can simply install it, configure it, then forget it. The application will run quietly in the background, notice when your location changes significantly (in practice that’s when your phone switches to a different cell on the mobile network), wake up, start sending position reports at regular intervals, notice when you’ve not moved much for a while, then go back to sleep. This approach only uses the device’s GPS receiver when you’re actually moving, so keeping battery use to a minimum.
Ham Tracker works with limited functionality on wifi-only devices, though position reports will only be sent when you have a usable wifi network, and on devices without a GPS receiver, though position reports are likely to be less accurate.
Note that in order to use Ham Tracker you need to be a licenced Radio Amateur with a current callsign. You’ll also need to know the APRS verification key corresponding to your callsign. If you don’t know your verification key then try a web search for “where do I get an aprs password”. If you’re really struggling to find your verification key then feel free to ask me to find it for you, remembering to mention your callsign in the email, and I’ll respond to your request when I get chance. Depending on how many requests are arriving I sometimes batch these up, so please don’t panic if I don’t reply for a while.
Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life.
– Corner detection which varies the position interval a bit.
– Reverse geocoding in an attempt to allow people to tell roughly where you are without opening the link shared to them via email or SMS.
– User-defined posit comment. Old verbose one sent on 2nd and then every 10th posit.
– User-defined posit interval when moving.
– User-defined posit interval when not moving.
– User-defined battery level at which GPS receiver will only be used for roughly 30 seconds after each significant location change.
– User-defined battery level at which GPS receiver will not be used at all and no posits will be sent until battery level recovers.
The battery level features are designed to allow lots of different ways to just configure Ham Tracker and forget that it’s there without needing to worry about battery drain. At one extreme it can now be configured to only use the GPS receiver for about 30 seconds after every cell change so that in practice the incremental battery use should be negligible and whilst your track won’t have many dots on it your reported location should usually be reasonably close to where you actually are as long as your travels take you through different cells now and then.
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