Purchase of Tiny Tracker 4 with Screen.

I started off playing with Direwolf before I decided to purchase the Tiny Tracker 4 – mainly because looking at the Raspberry Pi, Sound Card, PTT componentry, Radio and associated cables, make it look like I was transporting some form of home made explosive device of some description – and I figured as I was travelling in the US for a month, and taking it through the US Airport system was going to be a very very bad idea… I brought the Tiny Tracker 4.
I decided I would order it with the Screen, after all an LCD display could display all the cool GPS information and lots of other things right… well no.. the TT4 and its Screen does not seem to work like that.

You can’t get ANY GPS data on it whatsoever, no number of satellites, no real time clock, no live position of you.
What it does display – to be honest not a lot – it seems fairly pointless information – it appears to only display the last packet the unit heard over the air, not digipeated, and living in ZL land, I can drive for about an hour and not hear directly any other APRS stations at all – and while there are a few digipeaters that transmit, the majority of them receive only – including mine for the moment – so on my morning commute, I think I get one maybe two stations on the display in the 35+ minutes I drive to work.
I see the carrier detect amber LED flash on a regular basis, and when you select ‘display’ raw packets, I can see them alright, but they don’t decompress the data, so you see the standard compressed packets : 052410h/a-D%z\h0>/!_
Not that useful.

Alright you say, the TT4 has messaging – yep, but in the two years of owning it, I have never received a packet message on this unit, and this is not for a lack of trying, believe you me, go through the messages on APRS and you will see lots of ‘test messages’ attempting to be sent to ZL1CLH – but they never make it through to the TT4 – I am convinced that all the iGates in ZL do not transmit messaging, although I am advised they do – ZL1VFO has been very helpful on testing what is going on and why messages do not get delivered – but it seems that, for the moment, even messaging for this unit is unsuccessful.

I am not saying this unit is bad in any way, but I had high hopes for it when I purchased it, cool information about the GPS satellites and a super accurate clock on the screen while I drove around, messages via Radio and not GSM – but none of this seems possible from the unit and its screen.

It works fantastic as a tracker, once configured correctly – but for all the other interesting things a ham might want – it is fairly unimpressive.

Tiny Tracker 4

So, it has been over two years since I purchased an APRS Tiny Tracker 4 when I was in the USA for Dayton Hamvention 2017.

I am finally starting to do something with it, after using it in the states fairly unsuccessfully for my drives around Dayton and Orlando, and when I say unsuccessfully – I really had no real idea what i was doing with it and since I have been back in ZL land it really has been put away forgotten about – being unused.

However since starting a new job in 2019, I have been working with a very interesting Ham who also runs a lot of APRS, I have pulled it out, and starting to configure it.

Searching for settings and finding not much useful information online around configuration of this unit, or anything really around APRS in general – or more accurately – a lot of dis-information I have found, is actually what lead me to start this blog for my radio activities.

Here is a 24 hour period of tracking from https://aprs.fi as you can see I have Smart Beaconing working quite well thanks to ZL1VFO and a lot of time asking questions – I am fairly happy with the way it is tracking now for me.

Once I get really happy with it, in the next few days, I will upload my config file here – in the hope that when someone else buys one – they don’t need to go through all the frustrations I have been through trying to work out settings and other things for this unit.