The output from the FT3DR is only 5 watts and the antenna is only quarter wave equivalent and has lossy cable feeding the magnet mount.
You can see from the screenshots below that the coverage from the APRS network in VK5 from Adelaide through to Port Lincoln by road is pretty good, if you used a higher power transmitter I expect you would see even better coverage.
Mapping tracks for my beacon positions are from APRS.fi, there are 2 screenshots as the data is split on the UTC day and we started our trip a few hours before the UTC day started.
Adelaide to Port Wakefield
Port Wakefield to Port Lincoln via Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Whyalla.
Part way through the trip I noticed that the Whyalla and Port Lincoln iGates were offline, so beyond Port Pirie I updated my beacon path from
wide1-1,wide2-2 just to be sure I reached an iGate.
It seems I didn’t really need to update the beacon path as there was actually very good RF propagation conditions on the day, looking at the data afterwards I noticed that digipeaters were being heard all over the place.
I saved the raw packets from the day and looking through the packets processed by APRS.FI there are some intersting paths, I think the longest path of the day goes to this packet:
2021-01-13 13:25:47 ACDT: VK5UJ-7>SR48Q2,VK5RMN-1*,WIDE1*,VK5RAC-1*,VK5RSC-1*,WIDE2*,qAR,VK5EX-1:`A<Br!`[/`"47}_0
Near Whyalla -> Port Pirie -> Tumby Bay -> Willunga -> Adelaide.
I have an SDR receiver at home (Payneham) connected to a quarter wave on the house and currently running as a receive only iGate. Often packets received by my SDR are de-duplicated by APRS IS and aren’t seen on APRS.fi or other sites, however I log the APRS packets received by the SDR to a text file locally so I can perform further analysis on them.
Having a look at the packets received at Payneham there was clearly some unusual radio propagation happening that day.
Packet heard at Payneham from the digipeater at Port Lincoln, approx 255km.
2021-01-13 09:00:23 ACDT: VK5UJ-7>ST53W2,VK5RPL-1,WIDE1*,WIDE2-1:`BB9l![[/`"4<}_0<0x0d>
Packet heard at Payneham from the digipeater at Lochiel, approx 120km.
2021-01-13 11:35:49 ACDT: VK5UJ-7>SS16W0,VK5RLH-1,WIDE1*,WIDE2-1:`BaLr#E[/`"4o}_0<0x0d>