Ultimate Automotive Laptop Setup

By unwire, May 11, 2006

Image_00019Perhaps not the ultimate, but close. It does nearly all the tasks that I like in the laptop mounted in my Toyota Tundra. I’m often asked which applications I’m running, so here they are:


Here’s the list of software applications I run on the laptop:

UI-View: An Amateur Radio mapping, position tracking and messaging application. With PMapServer7 and Precision Mapping Streets and Traveler.

Gpsgate: This application allows multiple programs to share one GPS. I can run MS Streets and Trips, UI-View, VisualGPSXP, Netstumbler and TOPO! all using one GPS with this program. I use the NEMA logging facility to generate tracks from my travels.

VisualGPSXP: A software console for the GPS.

TOPO!: Provides detailed topographic maps. Great for planning trips. Plus many of the 4×4 trails are marked. 

MS Streets and Trips: The latest version has voice prompts for driving directions.

Satscape: A satellite tracking program. I use this to be notified of when certain Ham Radio satellites are in range for long distance communications.

Netstumbler: Mapping of detected WiFi Access Points.

RadioMobile: The ultimate tool to model radio coverage. Some examples in my Defcon entry.

GPS TrackMaker, G7toWin and GPSBabel: All the tools to move GPS, route, track and waypoint data between various applications and GPS devices.

CCleaner: Clean up temporary files and many other items in Windows. A real life saver.

AVG AntiVirus: Gotta have it.

List of various hardware for the laptop:

RAM POD III: A very nice laptop mounting system. I modified it slightly. I didn’t use the little "fingers" to hold down the laptop. They interfered with opening and closing the laptop. I removed them and used Velcro.

Sprint EVDO: For high speed Internet access while on the road.

Wilson Electronics antenna: For the Sprint EVDO card. Gives a big improvement in reception.

Senao NL-2511 CD+ EXT2: A high power 802.11b WiFi card for use with Netstumbler and wireless Internet.

COMET 7.4dBi gain WiFi antenna: 2.4GHz antenna for the Senao NL-2511 CD+ EXT2 WiFi laptop card.

Keyspan USB Serial Adaptor: I needed an additional serial ports on the laptop. One for the GPS and the other for Amateur Radio gear.

One Comment

  1. Roy says:

    Cool post! I’m an a experienced techy but am new to geocaching. My Pocket PC is bluetooth enabled, but my brand new GPS is not (eTrex Vista Cx … a father’s day gift) — it has wired mini USB. For the hardware connection (cable), what should I be looking for to get the GPS physically connected to the Pocket PC? I’ve got it working with gpsGate 2.0 on a laptop, but would like to do the same with the PPC. (I’m also an Extra class Ham).

    Thanks!
    Roy