Posted by Jack on January 24th, 2015
Unboxing of the SainSonic AP510 APRS Tracker with Built-in GPS Module, 1W VHF Transceiver Module, VHF Antenna, Bluetooth, Thermometer, and TF Card Support. Price was around $130 shipped (and fast).
These are available from several sources. I bought mine here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JLB94IS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
To help you get over the initial shock of setting one of these bad boys up, Eric KJ4YZI has some helpful videos:
and be sure to drop by the Yahoo Group:
There’s that initial bump but now that I’ve set up one I could set up a hundred. Once you get the latest firmware flashed into the tracker via the USB port, you run the config program and use the suggested settings found on the Yahoo Group (or just bug me for a screen shot).
$130 and this thing WORKS as advertised. No mess of wires. Great battery life. You can connect to it via Bluetooth (so you can run it in KISS mode from your smartphone or tablet). GPS is FAST! The case is SOLID! Stock antenna isn’t that impressive but that’s easily remedied. I also soldered the antenna connector since some goofball thought it was a good idea to use a male SMA connector with the spinning sleeve BEHIND the case.
Look for K6JEB-4 on APRS.FI.
And of course it would be cool to somehow get on the Heard MHeard list as well (rimshot).
Something like this would be a no-brainer to attach to an amp to get a bit more than 1-watt out.
I’m thinking of ruggedizing my AP510 further by putting into a Pelican case (with room for a 35watt 2M amp and a weatherize pass-through hole for either sealed Anderson Powerpoles or just a wire or bolt bus). I’m definitely going to take this setup on the 20 mile FAGES II Scout Hike through Tilden Park and Wildcat Canyon this year. And of course several other field testings.
The battery is lithium Ion and seems to hold a charge while beaconing for over 24 hours. This can be easily extended with a cheap USB charging pack that could extend you for several DAYS. Of course you can use anything with a USB port to charge it. Well, almost anything (don’t plug it into a Raspberry Pi USB port directly).
Also running a quarter wave GROUND wire works wonders on the signal. Having a good antenna even better. But I’ve been tracked with it in my sport jacket inside pocket and the stock antenna while walking between buildings.