[aprssig] APRS Used in Hurricane Relief Efforts

Ralph Milnes ralphmilnes at patmedia.net
Tue Dec 28 14:46:26 EST 2004

Forgive me if this has been reported to the list previously. I just
discovered it and thought it very interesting.

The following was extracted from the Welling Radio Club's (Palm Beach
County, FL) Sept. 30 2004 newsletter

This report is from Jim Gerhart WA3DIT about his service in the Punta Gorda
area of FL after Hurricane Charlie:

"The Salvation Army unexpectedly threw an additional big request into the
mix. The people in the SATURN (ham radio division of the Salvation Army)
were experimenting with the use of APRS. Early into the relief operations we
received 10 Kenwood D-700 dual banders from the Oklahoma Division. We were
called upon to deploy these units with the canteens (vehicles) and have a
working unit at Base Camp and the Tampa Warehouse.

After the necessary power cords were built, antennas and mounts over-nighted
by priority early delivery, and some minor adjustments to the way that the
units were digipeating their signals, we accomplished the goal set before
us. Anyone - Salvation Army big-wigs included - could see via the Internet
where all the equipped canteens were located along with the Base of
Operations and the Tampa Warehouse and see their locations within an
accuracy of 40 feet. The powers-that- be at the Salvation Army were very
pleased. My understanding is that previous use of APRS had never been
utilized in actual disaster relief operating conditions. We proved that it
was not only feasible but could be an extremely valuable tool. I think that
it is safe to say that the Salvation Army will be expanding its use of APRS
in the future. I also know that there were many hams who are now adding the
purchase of a Kenwood D-700 to their wish lists." - Jim Gerhart WA3DIT

Ralph Milnes KC2RLM

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