Ham Radio apps for your cell”
I have found two Apps for smartphones that have shown to me, to be very handy when added to your T-hunting arsenal of tools.
These apps are excellent for getting some use out of that old cell phone you no longer use or have service for.
Both of these apps do not need to have a SIM card in the cell phone to operate.
The first one is available from Google play store by the name of “DIOPTRA” ( If you have an Apple device, the name of the app is “THEODOLITE”).
It’s used as a tool for realtors or folks doing land view record keeping, it also makes a very accurate tool for antenna alignment purposes (Calibrate), or determining the actual location of radio sites and documenting that data.
This app uses data taken from the phone’s GPS receiver and places this information on the screen view of the phone’s camera.
A handy part of this app is that the information is in real time and changes as the camera is pointed in different directions.
By making a bracket to hold my phone on the mast of my T-Hunt antenna, as the antenna is rotated to acquire the signal from the hidden transmitter, I was given a real time bearing in degrees, also a heading N-NW and my actual location by Latitude and Longitude as well as mean elevation, and UTC time. It even shows you if your camera is level or not.
The information that is on screen is a little difficult to read depending on the background image changing constantly, however …a piece of black electrical tape covering the camera lense of your phone, now produces a black screen with white lettering of the information that’s displayed in real time.
Tapping the shutter button saves a photo of this data screen at different locations along your T-hunting route.
**NOTE- the information displayed is for your current location and the direction that you are facing, makes it easy to plot your bearings on a map as you go.
#1 Data screen view
#2 Field day site data
Having the bearing in degrees and map heading was what sold this app to me as a T-Hunting tool, it was a nifty way to document our Field Day 2016 “Hams on the Hill” location up on Mt. Charleston.
Seeing how we are using the cell phone’s camera for this app, touching the camera’s shutter button will take a photo capturing this data screen and the image also.
The Android version was free at the time I downloaded it in 2016, it may still be free or well worth the few dollars cost if it isn’t free anymore.
The second app to catch my attention as a useful T-hunting tool is available from the Google Play store by the name of “GPS Logger Pro“.
I’m sure Apple users will have an app similar available.
There are many “GPS” apps available but I found that this particular one was the easiest and gave the best display and data for my T-hunting use.
GPS Logger Lite is a free app, GPS Logger Pro has no advertising and costs $2.99 when I downloaded it.
This app uses the data from your smartphone’s GPS receiver to document a start time for your journey ( T-Hunt starting point) as well as create a map of the route you travel to your destination (location of the hidden transmitter), with all the information of the route you took, elapsed time, mileage traveled, average speed, even elevation gain or losses.
The resolution is very good, better then the GPS unit in my vehicle. There is different types of display available also, street map view or satellite view showing terrain.
Upon looking at the map when we were at the finish point of the T-Hunt, I saw where it showed me circling around the gas pumps at a gas station so I could get on the other side of the pump. This will be handy to show the exact route a hunter takes to get all those ‘Direct bearings’ ( How many times have you driven in a circle in a large parking lot of a shopping center, trying to narrow down that direct bearings from reflections).
I have been using both these apps for quite a while now and they are without any wierd anomalies and function as stated.
Here are a few screen shots. . . .
The resolution is much better as you are driving along your route, than the expanded view of the second photo. I wanted to show the start and finish point of a hunt we used this app on.
If all the T-hunters use GPS Logger and hits the start button at the start of the hunt, it provides a hastle free record that can be used at the finish to determine who had the best mileage (displays miles in .1 mile increments) as well as elapsed time (until you hit the stop button), just remember to hit the unlock button and stop when you arrive at the finish point/ hidden transmitter. This app works great when on foot also, so it becomes usable to log your steps to the secondary or “Baby” transmitter, making it a REAL mileage hunt.
You can also save the map for your T-hunt archives…it may even provide a few laughs as well.
A feature that is handy is that the display continues to stay on the entire time this app is running so long as you have a charging cable plugged in, this eliminates having to wake the screen back on.
Have fun and let me know how these work for you and if you find any new Ham Radio related apps we may be interested in.
Audio file from Dave W3QQQ
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