StratoTrack APRS Transmitter
Reliable Worldwide APRS Tracking at Any Altitude
No subscription fees required!
- Light weight – the StratoTrack weighs only 30 g (1 oz), including battery and antenna!
- Small size – the entire tracker circuitry fits on the back side of a single AA battery case.
- 20 dBm transmitter – allows for most APRS stations within line-of-sight to receive the tracker’s signal. It is not uncommon to see APRS ground stations over 400 km (250 miles) pick up the StratoTrack signal when flying in the stratosphere.
- Easy to use – no wiring of additional electronics required. Simply insert a single AA battery and launch.
- Easy to fly – since it is so light, simply suspend it directly below your parachute on the flight line. No need to reconfigure your payload.
- Smart frequency – the StratoTrack automatically knows which APRS frequency to use based on its location anywhere in the world.
- Low power modes – the StratoTrack can transmit for up to one week, day and night, on a single AA battery. This allows for easy tracking of endurance flights.
- Sensor suite – the StratoTrack has a temperature sensor for studying the upper atmosphere as well as a voltage sensor for monitoring battery health.
By default, the StratoTrack transmits once per minute. This can be changed to once per 5 minutes or once per 15 minutes. Approximate battery life is as follows:
- once per minute - 24 hr
- once per 5 minutes - 96 hr
- once per 15 minutes - 168 hr (7 days)
Unless you're trying to break a long distance flight record, we recommend keeping it at the default once per minute transmit interval.
After you place your order, we will program your callsign, requested SSID, and transmit period into your StratoTrack (using the settings you input above) before it ships so that it is ready to fly right out of the box.
While you're waiting for your StratoTrack to arrive in the mail, you can download the user guide here.
Do I need a license to operate the StratoTrack?
Yes, you are required to have an amateur radio license to operate the StratoTrack. Obtaining an amateur radio license is fairly easy. It typically involves passing an exam which takes most people 3 to 6 hours to study for. Once you have your amateur radio license, you will be able to track your weather balloon flights using the StratoTrack without having to pay any subscription fees.
United States - The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is responsible for amateur radio licensing in the United States. At a minimum, you are required to have a Technician Class License. Click here to learn more and to schedule your exam session.
Canada - Industry Canada is responsible for amateur radio certification in Canada. Click here to learn more and to search for accredited examiners.
What does APRS stand for?
APRS stands for Automatic Packet Radio System. The system allows amateur radio operators to share packets of information directly with each other or the internet. The StratoTrack APRS Radio Transmitter will share a small packet of information once a minute over the APRS network which you will be able to view directly on Google Maps. This packet of information will include position, altitude, speed, temperature, and battery voltage. To learn more about how APRS works, read our Tracking a Weather Balloon tutorial.
Does the APRS network have any limitations?
IGates have a hard time picking up your signal when your transmitter is close to the ground. They almost always require direct line of sight. If your payload is on the ground and a hill separates it from the nearest IGate, your signal will not be picked up. For this reason you should not rely on our APRS tracker to locate your payload once it lands. You should always include a satellite tracker on your payload. Even if the satellite tracker is on the ground, it still has direct line of sight to satellites in orbit as long as it is facing up. This is also why you should never use a Styrofoam cooler as a payload enclosure. They occasionally roll upside down when they land preventing the satellite tracker from "seeing" satellites in orbit. This makes it almost impossible to find your payload.