May 16, 2016 | In: Ham Radio
APRS I-Gate project…”It Lives!”
After playing around with a number of different ideas for my Raspberry Pi, I decided to try making it into an APRS I-Gate, which will listen to APRS data packet transmissions on the 2-Meter ham band, and then forward that data on to the internet so it can show up on such sites as aprs.fi.
I was originally looking to pick up a cheap HT and a USB Soundcard to use on the project, but then I started reading about the RTL USB dongles which were designed as TV receivers for the European market, but are now being used to receive many other types of signals. I ended up spending less than $12 on a generic RTL dongle that was reported to be usable with the RPi.
For software, other than the RTL drivers, I opted for the DireWolf software TNC to decode the audio data-stream being ported from the RTL dongle. A bit of config file tweaking later, the results of that decoding were being sent out to the interwebs. My I-Gate was in business. The first packets I decoded were from a weather station up on Mount Baldy in the Cascade foothills.
Much of what I did was based on the work of WB2OSZ in this Git-Hub article, but I also used a lot of information on setting up the RTL-SDR dongle from this blogpost. The only thing left is to find a permanent home for the Pi and associated paraphernalia, and possibly put a better antenna on this contraption than the 6″ mag-mount that came with it.