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Sat-nav LoJack?


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I have a GPS tracker in my truck that sends position reports using APRS (ham radio stuff). Basically it uses a little serial GPS receiver that interfaces to a programmable data packet encoder. You input your call sign, how often you want to transmit, and a few other options, and it takes the GPS data and encodes it into a digital packet that's sent to the data jack on a ham radio to be transmitted over the air. Receiving stations then decode the data packet and can relay it over the air and/or report it to internet servers. Basically as long as my truck is within radio range of civilization (or another ham station running APRS), I can look up the appropriate call sign on a web page and see its location in real time, or a path of where it's been, neatly overlaid on a google map.


If you could get the sat/nav in your car to output standard NMEA formatted GPS data, that could replace a separate GPS receiver and save you ~$75. But you would still need the packet interface and a radio to transmit the location. Could be done for about $200-250 once you have a ham license. Not as easy as a cell phone based solution, but OTOH I've successfully gotten position reports through via ham/APRS from locations where cell phones don't work. And I've been doing this since before the days when every cell phone had built-in GPS and there was no other cheap-ish solution.

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