As far as I know laptops are used in amateur radio contests. Please see HAM-HOWTO by Terry Dawson, VK2KTJ, <terry_AT_perf.no.itg.telstra.com.au>.
XASTIR is a free APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) program. APRS(tm) was developed to track mobile GPS stations with two-way radio to convey position reports, messaging, weather and more. XASTIR plots this information on a map on your screen where you can see the entire world or zoom down to street level.