[aprssig] Quick APRS hardware survey

Scott Miller scott at opentrac.org
Thu Jun 22 00:30:04 CDT 2017

As some of you know, I haven't been very active in the ham world for the 
last three years or so.  That's mostly because a sideline project 
building LED hula hoops (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn-AP8DP254) 
really took off. We've moved to a larger shop, hired more people, and 
acquired some cool new production equipment, but the 
OpenTracker/Tracker3 line has been basically in maintenance mode.

The ADS-SR2 project, that started out as a dual-port successor to the 
ADS-SR1 simplex repeater, is my main development focus now. It's 
snowballed into a multi-function thing with simplex, cross-band, and 
duplex voice repeater support, and I'm merging all of the major 
functions of the Tracker3 into it.  It has a full-fledged BASIC 
interpreter with a high-level command for manipulating voice traffic and 
APRS packet and support for Modbus RTU (and yes, I'll probably add 
1-wire) for sensors and relays. I've got a partially-working Echolink 
client running on it.  It has Wi-Fi support and is web configurable, 
does IGating, has a telnet server and client, and can work in access 
point mode so you could use your mobile phone to access your 
VHF-connected mobile hotspot and do APRS text messaging, and maybe even 
gate mail from a standard mobile email client through Winlink eventually.

I keep growing in different directions with it, but I really need to 
nail down specs for a hardware version or two and the initial software 
release.  I'm curious what everyone's most interested in. The full-size 
Tracker3, the OT3m, has really slacked off in sales. The embeddable 
T3-Mini sells considerably more.  I think the market for a device like 
the T3 without network connectivity is pretty well saturated already.  
There's a lot to be done in the network-connected device arena, and 
there could be a much smaller version, potentially with a built-in 
1-watt transceiver.

What would *you* be most interested in, in terms of new embedded APRS 
hardware?  What do you want to accomplish that's too much hassle or 
expense with the existing options?



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