The WinLink Express client application used to allow operators to send emails via RF has as one of its features the application to send "Position Reports". The position reports can contain lat/lon, comment and if desired include "weather details". These reports are then if successfully received sent a "Position Report Acknowledgment" email to let the operator know the report has been received successfully and is now visible on the tracking map portal: https://www.winlink.org/userPositions
Via this portal you can see all the latest positions reports of all users for the last 10days. There are even link to allow you to view specific callsigns only (see bottom of the portal page).
The lat/lon for the position report can be entered manually, or it can be obtained from a NEMA compliant GPS connected to local COM port. This is all fine and dandy if you have one.... but we all do... kinda... we have a internal GPS on our all smartphones. So th question is how do we get that integrated to WinLink. A quick scan of the Android Playstore and I initially located the following:
- GPS Tether
Taking a step back and rethinking this through, I located the follow applications which instead of providing a server to connect to, it would act as a client and connect to your PC running a server and send NMEA sequences from the phones internal GPS.
- Not available as a precompiled package on Playstore, needs to be compile and the resulting APK uploaded to phone.
- NMEA Relay
Once the Lat/Lon is available on the GPS/Position Report, click the "Copy GPS Data" button. Complete your report with a basic meaning comment or include weather data and send. A email / messages will be created and put int the Outbox ready for you to send via one of the WinLink sessions.
NMEA Via BluetoothShareGPS offers another brilliant feature, that allows you to share the NMEA data via bluetooth. This allows the phone to be connected to your PC via bluetooth and once connection established a COM port will appear on the PC which can be used by WinLink RMS Express. Give it a go, but it will required your PC to have bluetooth capability (i.e internal or via external BT dongle).
VisualGPSViewBefore I sign of, one other little gem of a tool I found while mucking around with all this was VishalGPSView. Its free and will graphically show your GPS data and NMEA logs.
Hopefully wonderful WinLink devs will update the GPS/Position reports to provide a server which accept NMEA data from Phone running an app like NMEA Relay / ShareGPS acting as a client.
That's all Folks,
de VK4TMZ (Mark)