[aprssig] Emergency Beacon

Brian B. Riley brianbr at mac.com
Tue Dec 21 18:36:14 EST 2004

Clay - Scott Ratchford isn't exactly the guy we would want as an APRS
'poster boy' he is doing a very long stretch in an Arkansas state prison for
something pretty nasty ...

On 12/21/04 2:09 PM, "aa3jy at winlink.org" <aa3jy at winlink.org> wrote:

> This is what I did a number of years ago as noted on the ARRL News Letter:
> When Scott Ratchford, KC5JGV, witnessed a bad accident during a snowstorm on
> Pennsylvania's I-76 recently, he immediately grabbed his cell phone and called
> 911. When that--and several other possible combinations--failed, he tried an
> emergency call on 2-meters. Again, no luck. Two people were trapped inside an
> overturned vehicle, and Ratchford was getting desperate. "Here I am in the
> middle of who knows where, a huge snowstorm, a serious accident, folks needing
> help, no one answering on .52!" he said in a March 8 posting about the
> incident on the APRS Special Interest Group. "So, I switch the MIC-E to 7, and
> hit the button." This sent an emergency mike-encoder signal out over the
> Automatic Position Reporting System.
> Ratchford's emergency beacon was spotted by several stations who immediately
> contacted the Pennsylvania State Police. But the cops "don't do latitude and
> longitude," said Dan Velez, W4DJV, in Virginia, one of the stations monitoring
> the call. Clay Owen, AA3JY, in Pennsylvania, had better luck. He also called
> the state police and was able to give them references to exits and route
> numbers, thanks to APRS+ and the Delorme Street Atlas. "I also gave them the
> name of the individual to be contacted, thanks to QRZ built into this
> program," he reported.
> APRS developer Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, was among those noting the emergency call
> in the Pennsylvania-Maryland-New Jersey area. Bruninga notes that APRS-DOS
> will display the nearest mile marker on interstates but "apparently I missed
> I-76 in the database."
> Unknown to Ratchford, the message was received and understood. "Little did I
> know that the APRS message was received, as a trooper had arrived within
> minutes of my transmission," he said. Only when the trooper asked for him by
> name as he was about to leave did Ratchford learn that APRS had delivered the
> message and that someone had called the police. "I left the scene feeling very
> happy about our hobby and especially our interest in APRS," he said.
> Clay AA3JY
> (Via Winlink)
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