[aprssig] How to do a HIKING APRS event!

Bradley Haney kc9gqr at gmail.com
Mon May 9 18:50:30 EDT 2011

This would be about the same is using a MIC E repeater wouldn't it?  Our
147.255 machine in Metamora IL has MIC E on it..  It recieved the  packet on
the input of the repeater and  digi's it out on 144.390..

On Mon, May 9, 2011 at 4:52 PM, Bob Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:

> APRS provided great tracking of the 4 SWEEP hikers and nearly 150 event
> runners at the Hike Across Maryland event.  We used 144.39 +600 split
> digipeating for a tripling of packet reliability to well above 90% from the
> poor 30% or less on previous attempts with normal operations on 144.39
> simplex.  You can see a summary of these techniques on the web page:
> http://aprs.org/HAMsupport.html
> Unbeknownst to most hams, APRS is easily used to record the positions and
> sttus of almost all 150 Hikers during the day too by using text messaging
> (from two young hams under 25 who have no fear of texting on a key pad)...
> I handed my two kids a TH-D72 APRS radio for their sweep hike duties and
> asked them to MESSAGE every hiker # they passed.  My son got to see the
> radio the night before, but daughter only got instructions on how to
> operate
> the radio and APRS during her 10 minute breakfast.  TO them, learning the
> radio was no big deal.  It was as simple as their cell phones!
> After the event, I was amazed! AJ's dozen or so messages reported the TIME,
> Location and hiker number of 98 different runners.  My daughter's dozen or
> so messages reported about 48 during their few hours on the trail!
> THey said it was no big deal,  No different than sending a tweet or an
> email.  And remember, that my daughter had only seen a D72 for the 10
> minutes while I trained here during breakfast before her hike (never used
> APRS before).  She picked it up instantly.  AJ had only seen the radio the
> night before but was an expert overnight.
> In contrast, I just dont understand why hams have such a complete aversion
> to the value of APRS text messaging!  We have hams that have owned their
> APRS radios for nearly a decade and do not send or respond to any text
> message information.
> Looking at the message list in my kids radios AFTER the event when they got
> home, there in their radios were the TOTAL 40 or so APRS messages sent by
> everyone at the event, containing the time and hiker number reports from
> HIKER-1, HIKER-2, NE3R-7 and WASHMT.
> With just an APRS HT anywhere over the 40 miles of maryland, anyone could
> just hit the MSG key, scan the messages, and FIND the last report of the
> hiker # they were interested in.  There was just no need for us doing voice
> to call a station to ASK when did they last see hiker X.  It was all there
> in every APRS radio that was ON.
> THe reason I didnt see this during the event, was because I was at the
> finish line at Harpers Ferry and did not get setup and receiveing anything
> until the late afernoon, and by then the messages from these hikers were
> finished.
> Actually, I was very bored there at the end of the trail, because there was
> no hiker # info for me to ENTER, since by then the other checkpoints were
> closed down and there was no one to see the data. APRS ACTIVITY AT ANY
> IS A *** DATA *** INPUT *** function.  Not a sit and watch event.  If you
> think APRS is just for displaying moving GPS units, then you miss the whole
> point.   Your APRS job at any event is to ***ENTER*** information so others
> can access it!
> BOttom line, there is no reason why we cannot report the passing of every
> runner at every checkpoint and have it accuulated in EVERY APRS radio at
> the
> event.  Two kids did it who had never even seen an APRS radio before.
> With the hiker numbers reported in APRS messages,  Then ANYONE with an APRS
> radio can answer the "where is runner XXX" question by just scrolling
> through the messages from the last checkpoint and seeing WHEN that runner
> passed a point.
> We can do this.
> Using the 144.39 +600 offset, we had very reliable APRS coverage the entire
> route!  BETTER THAN VOICE too.  I could text my son when he was in a
> marginal area when voice was not working that well.
> The THD72 and maybe the VX8R APRS radios have 100 deep message memories
> now.
> SO capturing every message during the event is possible.  THe older D7 and
> D700 radios would only retain the last 16 messages or so, and would only be
> able to review only the last hour or so of hiker # reports, but in most
> cases, those 16 messages each one containing 10 runner numbers would still
> cover the most recent info on the 130 runners who actually finished the
> event.
> There were LOTS of other lessons learned, but it will take me a while to
> write them up.
> Bob, WB4APR
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