Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kawasaki ZZR1200 with an OpenTracker

Here's my Kawasaki ZZR1200 motorcycle, equipped with an OpenTracker 1+ and a Puxing PX-777 handheld radio. I installed the APRS tracker in May 2008. It's callsign is OH7LZB-10. Click on the photos to get a larger view.

The radio and the tracker fit nicely inside the box under the seat. It's generally a dry place, but might be slightly humid. Maybe some additional weather sealing would be in place. Maybe I'll put the whole lot in a sealed plastic bag, or fill the tracker with hot melt glue.

The APRS tracking setup gets it's power through a Powerpole connector and a 1A fuse from the tail lights wiring, which is powered whenever the lights are on (they're turned on automatically when the engine is running). There is an accessory power connector under the seat, but it goes directly to the battery, so it's always powered.

The PX-777 wants roughly 8 volts of DC, so I glued a 7808 regulator with a small heat sink to the back of the radio. I feed the same 8V to the OT1+ tracker, which has an internal 5V regulator, which also powers the GPS unit.

I built a custom antenna mounting bracket out of aluminum profile, a female BNC chassis connector, a bit of RG58 and a crimped SMA connector for the Puxing. The bracket is attached to the metal tubing of the Kappa/Giwi 3-bag mounting structure. All RF connections are sealed with heat-shrinking tube. The antenna is a Nagoya NA-771 BNC 2m/70cm whip. The antenna position is not an optimal one - but it's practical, and didn't require any modifications to the bike itself. And it doesn't affect the looks too much. I'm planning to try out a regular 1/4th wave vertical, which will require proper grounding of the bag mount.

The answers to the FAQs are: 1164cc, top speed around 270 km/h (167 mph). No, I haven't tried it. This is my third bike, the previous ones were Kawasaki ER-5 and Suzuki GSX750F.


Lynchmob said...

Very cool. Did you make the RG58 assembly yourself?

Have you seen these guys:


K3PDK said...

Nice. I am building up an aprs build on my Kawasaki GPZ1100 currently. Right now I'm planning on using the vx-120/170 with an ot1+ or ot2m, not sure what one I will end up with, both seem small enough, but ot2m is more flexable.
Right now I have been planning out the antenna mount bracket so it will attach cleanly and not interfer with anything.

oh7lzb said...

lynchmob: Thanks. I did the RG58 assembly myself - I want to build something myself every now and then, and cable & OT1+ kit assembly are easy enough. :) I also built a SoftRock 80 lite SDR receiver this spring, it's a fun piece of electronics. Hadn't seen that site before. By the way, would you happen to be affiliated or related to with ML&S, UK?

k3pdk: Great, have fun. Please post a link to some photos of your installation, would be interesting to see how you manage to mount your antenna! The OTs are pretty configurable, and I like the idea that I can modify the open-source firmware if I ever feel like it. I've been dreaming about driving an LCD display on the bike, displaying GPS speed, and information about nearby APRS stations and digipeaters, and whether my own packets get digipeated.

k3pdk said...


oh7lzb said...

Update after using the tracker for two years: I haven't improved the setup in any way, didn't get around to doing any additional water proofing, and it still works fine. Apparently the space under the seat is practically dry (if you don't wash the bike with a firehose).

Had to re-glue the heat sink to the radio once after it got off due to vibration, used hot melt glue this time.