OpenTracker USB

APRS is challenging and intimidating but a useful tool in our hobby. discuss APRS in this forum.
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OpenTracker USB


Post by SteveS » Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:46 am

Not much APRS posting around here lately, you guys still playing with it? :)

A friend was telling me about this, and thought some of may have one or like to know about this.

I don’t currently need one, because I have a serial port. I understand some users have software conflict when running a serial/USB emulator. ... cts_id=148

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Re: OpenTracker USB


Post by cruiserlarry » Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:17 pm

APRS is certainly not dead, in general, or on OAUSA. I still use it regularly, as do many other folks on this site - just nothing new to report on it yet. Thank you for posting about the Open Tracker USB.

Many new radios are integrating APRS modem and GPS units into the radio itself, eliminating the need for external components. Yaesu has the VX-8DR, VX-8GR handhelds, and the FTM-350R mobile. Kenwood has the TM-D710A, TM-D700A upgrade unit, and the new TH-D72 handheld. All of these units have self-contained APRS functions, and several have built-in GPS units, while others allow for easy GPS interfacing.

I am using the Kenwood TM-D710A (with a Green Labs plug in GPS module) and the Yaesu VX-8R (with an integrated Yaesu GPS module) for APRS, along with UI-View 32 software on a Panasonic Toughbook CF-30 laptop, all of which work very well together. I'm not familiar with the Open Tracker USB interface, so I can't comment on it.

Anyone else familiar with it ?
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Re: OpenTracker USB


Post by DaveK » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:53 pm


As Larry mentioned, APRS is alive and well here. If you are familiar with the website, you will find many of our tracks from recent trips, including Borrego Fest and our Arizona trip from earlier this year and last year.

On the more recent Arizona trip, Chazz was using his HT for tracking during some of our daily hikes. For those looking for an opportunity to do long distance APRS (beyond VHF range) we will be starting a discussion on HF APRS probably in the next month or two.

I don't have much information on the Open Tracker either but I do know that we have some members who have had problems with Serial to USB connections. I'd like to see a write-up.

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Re: OpenTracker USB


Post by SteveS » Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:54 am

DaveK wrote:Steve:

I don't have much information on the Open Tracker either but I do know that we have some members who have had problems with Serial to USB connections.
Yes that is the issue I was addressing. Nobody I know (as of today) has a USB tracker, so I was just trying to learn and/or get the word out.

I didn’t see any APRS post around here going back to Mar. I know how APRS can be put on a back-burner sometimes. I know APRS is not dead with all the people working with it.

Yes I’m familiar with and use it to track a few things.

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Re: OpenTracker USB


Post by michael » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Here is some more info about the new OpenTracker USB just released by Argent Data Systems. It's named after the OpenTracker+ series, but it has more of the features of their Tracker2 model with the exception of digipeating and Garmin protocol.

Hopefully, this new tracker will help eliminate the problems with using serial to USB devices. The price on this new USB tracker is only $55!

Here is the product announcement from the OpenTracker+ user's group (note links for more info):
I'm pleased to announce that the new OpenTracker USB is now shipping! ... cts_id=148

The new tracker is basically a Tracker2 without the digipeater and
Garmin protocol functions, but with a full-speed USB port that can be
used for configuration, command prompt access, and KISS mode,
independent of the two regular serial ports.

This means you get remote control capability, a TNC2-style command
prompt, scripting, weather station support, KISS mode, and the ability
to do all of this simultaneously without reloading the firmware.

There's also space inside for a GT-525 GPS receiver module, and we'll be
offering that with the appropriate jumper a little later as an option.

Demodulation is software-based, and significantly improved over the
OpenTracker+ - in our testing, it's been very close to MX614-based TNCs
in decode performance.

Because of the surface mount construction we won't be offering this one
as a kit. We'll still be offering the OpenTracker+ as a kit as long as
we're able to get the parts, but the assembled version will be phased
out in favor of the new design.

USB support has been tested with Windows 2000/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.
We'll be adding INF files for Vista and Windows 7 shortly, but it shows
up as a generic USB CDC device so drivers are included with the
operating system.

Documentation is still sparse, but the wiki has the critical
information. Nearly all of the information in the Tracker2 manual
applies, with the exception of the digipeater and Garmin sections. The
OTUSB manual should be published by this weekend.
Time to stop talking about it and just go do it!

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