So.......what is APRS??
Imagine a technology that would enable anyone to "see" the exact location, heading, speed and altitude of your plane as you are flying to grandma's house. Would this capability add to the peace of mind of your loved ones if they knew there was a very good chance your plane's location could be instantly identified by watching the progress of your flight on a computer monitor?
APRS (automatic packet reporting system
but commonly known as automatic position reporting system
) is the technology that makes this scenario possible. We owe a big "Thank You" to some dedicated amateur radio enthusiasts who developed this technology more than twenty years ago. It was only with the arrival of inexpensive GPS receivers that the popularity of APRS really exploded. While APRS has been well-known in ham radio circles for years, and many hams use it to track their four-wheel vehicles and balloons, it is only recently that APRS has been widely introduced to the experimental aviation community.
This forum has been created to foster interest and education about APRS for RV pilots. The reaction of someone seeing APRS in action for the first time is "Wow! That is beyond cool!" followed by "How do I put one of those in my plane?". The purpose of this forum is to answer those questions and to provide a place for APRS users to announce upcoming flight so track-o-holics can follow along (yes, it is rather addictive).
Here is an example of how a flight appears on the internet
Notice how it is possible to see the flight info in real-time just by clicking on one of the red beacon dots.
Here is another option for viewing a flight using Google Earth:
Well.......maybe your interest has been whetted! Here is an article that describes an APRS installation in an RV-6 and also gives more APRS background info:
Installing an APRS Tracker in N399SB
Please feel free to use this APRS forum to add to our APRS knowledge base and to ask any questions about this technology. In order to use APRS an Amateur Radio license is required but the lowest tier license, Technician, is easily obtained. To get more background info in this forum, be sure you read the "Getting Started with APRS"
sticky and also the original APRS forum thread "Airplane Tracker"
The forum is also a good place for APRS users to announce upcoming flights so us track-o-holics can fly along with you! Let us know when you expect to launch and from where so we can waste some time at work while we track your flight.