APRS iGate

Setting up a small, low-profile iGate for APRS isn't hard and is great for the system APRS ecosystem. And it doesn't have to cost much!

APRS iGate
Junk storage or an APRS Node? Yes.

We've always had some presence of APRS in our area but it was fairly limited and had even fewer iGates to get data in and out of the internet to get to/from APRS on RF.  2015 or so I set up an APRS node in the garage with a mobile whip on top of a pole on an eve mount to fill in some of the gaps and provide an iGate.  I also beacon from this node which gets out over RF via larger digipeaters around me and hopefully provides some kind of service to the hams around me.

The image looks like a hot mess, and honestly, it is, but it works.  The radio is a well-used HTX-212 2M mobile radio powered from a Supernight (ie: dirt cheap) 12v power supply adjusted to about 13.5v with a Raspberry Pi 3 running Direwolf to control it all.  The cabling is all hand-made and in between Pi and radio is an EasyDigi which handles some of the audio isolation as well as PTT.  I added a simple eave antenna mount, pole, and an NMO ground plane and attached a mobile antenna I wasn't using for an antenna.  I estimate that the whole kit from the box of junk to the antenna is around $150 and could be done cheaper if you already have some of the bits like an extra Pi laying around.

To keep everything in the box cool are two fans which are on a relay and buck circuit shown below.  The relay lets me turn the fans on and off via a GPIO pin on the Pi so that the fans don't run all winter long (basically if the Pi is over 30C, the fans come on) and the buck circuit is to adjust the speed of the fans as them running at 13.5V made them sound like a vacuum cleaner.