Building LoRa APRS tracker

Hi! If you have decided, if you want to assemble the tracker yourself, here is some information, to make it easier for you. Prices on AliExpress do fluctuate, but all material so far has always moved in price +/- 50 eur.

Material list for LoRa APRS tracker, which you will need

  • ASR development board 6502

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002672295296.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.0.0.579c1802VkQ8oI

  • Accumulator. I use batteries from electronic cigarettes, but if you don't know anyone who would spare a minute, here is the link. Of course, the capacity is up to you, the important thing is to observe the dimensions of the box you want to use. Experience is like that, that battery with capacity 800 mAh lasts approx 24 hours. In trackers where I have 18650 about capacity 2800 mAh I could not discharge it even after 72 hours and I didn't want to wait any longer 😊.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001383427077.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.0.0.579c1802VkQ8oI

  • GPS antenna. I recommend size 12×12.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003123199379.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.0.0.579c1802VkQ8oI

  • IPX-SMA connecting cable, I recommend the black coax, it is softer and easier to handle.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32806195194.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.0.0.579c1802VkQ8oI

  • Box. If you decide on a minimalist solution, I recommend it STL project which you can find for download under the article. I used TPU material, which is hardened rubber. The detail is more beautiful with this material and the box has a certain flexibility. PETG can also be used, the choice is yours. Of course, there are no limits to imagination, and someone might prefer to choose a cover that is not so pretty, tailor-made, but it will have another advantage. For example, water resistance. For this purpose, to make it resistant to water, I used this box in the past. It has a hinge solved with a metal pin and the lock is also made in this way, so it can handle a large number of openings, A seal is placed in the groove around the perimeter and can be replaced in case of damage.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004023264623.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.main.3.c1321266baeIBK&algo_pvid=a69e4955-7fea-4e31-a95f-f6c4a3dad35d&algo_exp_id=a69e4955-7fea-4e31-a95f-f6c4a3dad35d-1&pdp_npi=3%40dis%21EUR%213.43%212.75%21%21%21%21%21%40211bea6216810558440201782d07ae%2112000027778427023%21sea%21SK%213378998369&curPageLogUid=pEFth8mXMgRJ

  • UHF antenna. I tried everything, but in the end I chose two options. One of the antennas is longer, but i understand, that not everyone likes it, so I looked for a shorter one, but still effective. The first antenna is basically a copy of the antennas used by Icom for its ID-51/ID-52 stations, the other one is just some other china 😊

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002629064203.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.120.6f9818027rXQgh

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002438042447.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.22.6f9818027rXQgh

  • More accessories. The tracker can be worn in different ways. Someone likes it in a backpack, someone on a belt, or in a jacket pocket. For hanging purposes, it is possible to use ready-made products, tips for two different ones can be found in these lines.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004186983546.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.143.6f9818027rXQgh

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004582397289.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.131.6f9818027rXQgh

  • Vehicle tracker. As I already wrote in the opening article, it is recommended to use a higher power in the vehicle, and for this purpose I have tested this PA to my satisfaction. The output is 2.5 W at a supply voltage of 5V, at 7.2V 5W. The manufacturer states, that at a voltage of 10V it can give up to 8W …. no, but he doesn't recommend that either 😊 .

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32934971995.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.428.6f9818027rXQgh

LoRa APRS tracker assembly procedure

LoRa APRS tracker
LoRa APRS tracker

So you have everything you need, you just have to put it all together.

If you choose a box that we modified over time into the form you see, you won't have a lot of work. The only hole through which you have to get out the SMA connector is designed there, and it is deliberately a bit tighter. So that SMA had to screw it up a bit. If you coat the connector with epoxy, you don't need to use its nut (it looks better without her). You can just put the other components in the box and they will snap the top cover, but this is a solution that I don't like and that's why I fixed everything in the box in place with epoxy. I also dripped epoxy in the corners of the board to keep it in place. GPS antenna and UHF antenna are connected directly to the board via IPX connectors. The power connector is on the bottom side of the board and you get the power cable from the seller as part of the package.

If you decide on a completely different box, you're in for a treat, but that's a joy after all, that 😊

In case, that you have the tracker together, you need to connect it to the computer via a micro USB connector and proceed with the settings according to the instructions on github. When configuring, do not forget to correctly enter your call sign and the number after the comma, to the symbols for each of the three possible profiles and to the message you want to send along with the location.

Link: https://github.com/dj1an/Cubecell_LoRa_APRS_Tracker?fbclid=IwAR14MHLW7dq_p3H6pN3WKb0o6aalkJQdd5_mpMH2_xzWqJIVo4WgvyF3Q18

If you are good at home, you can do it yourself, but if not, install Team Viewer and contact Paľa OM7FX. He will be happy to help you.

This is the end of the story, the tracker is already running and all you have to do is go outside to catch the satellites and the tracker will start working.

Goodbye on the map and see you on the air.

Miro Banská Bystrica SK611/ OM7AMA

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