Lakeland APRS


The picture on the left, from shows the level of coverage by APRS iGates in Wasdale (A lake district valley that is home to Scafell Pike, England’s tallest mountain). You can see that the coverage is fairly limited to heights above about 400m. That really isn’t very good.

I had walked from the road north of the river Irt and up what was a quite steep hill to Whin Rigg. What makes the lack of gates even more disappointing was that there is a clear view of the Isle of Man as well as southern Scotland as you move up the ascent.

So why is it so bad? Well the geography doesn’t help. Like many hilly areas the western lakes is a series of valley that lead out to sea so when you are low there is not much scope for RF to go anywhere. this also explains the patchy mobile phone coverage. Another aspect was the stock antenna on my vx-8. It really isn’t that good compared to other larger aftermarket options.

So what? well first off we hams aren’t the only people to us APRS or a similar protocol. The mountain rescue also use a proprietary system. They must suffer with the same lack of coverage despite a sizeable array at the head of the valley.

So what do other areas use? do they use APRS in hilly areas? are there low cost self powered digipeaters or iGates about? is APRS out-dated now that digital modes are so popular (not here mind you)? I’d like to know simply because I like APRS and think its a under utilised system here in IO84, perhaps elsewhere.

Alex Hill, G7KSE, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, UK. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “Lakeland APRS”

Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: