[aprssig] APRS Runner Tracking

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Tue Aug 6 13:33:26 EDT 2013

An all new APRS capability was suggested by  Daniel KB3MUN for tracking
some runners at APRS events.

He suggested it for APRStt (DTMF entry) but it can also work on any APRS
radio and is a good concept .

Instead of the normal APRS approach of tracking one callsign and then
multiple position updates, Daniel suggests one position (the position of a
checkpoint) and then updating CALLS (runner numbers).

You cannot do this for 30,000 runners, but for small events or where some
specific runner numbers are of interest, it is very possible.  Here is how
to do it on say a D7 radio.

Set your position to your checkpoint.  Then each time you want to report a
particular runner number, just change the MYCALL of the radio to the runner
number.  Just 3 key strokes, MENU, APRS,MYCALL and then bump up or down the
runner number.  Done

Press BCON and verify it gets digipeated.  Done.  Enter next runner.

It is important to uniquely identify these for your own special event
incase there are two races in the world at the same time (so that APRS.fi
does not try to mix and match them)..  So in our case, we might make all
runner calls be 123BNA for runner number 123 at the B&A Traiil marathon.
You only have to enter the full “call” once, since from then on, you are
simply “editing” the call by just changing the number part of it and then
hitting OK (retaining the BNA suffix).  See it on http://APRS.FI/132BNA

For legality, you will already have sent out YOUR CALLSIGN at this
checkpoint and in my mind, this shows you as the operating licensee at that
location.  But if you want to dot-the-I’s then you can include the
“reported by W3XYZ” in your status, though this only adds overhead.

We are modifying APRStt (touch tone) so that this can be done from
practically ANY HT with a DTMF keypad.  Instead of storing your CALLSIGN in
DTMF memory and then manually changing your position with DTMF, we do the
opposite.  Store your position in DTMF memory and then manually key the
runner number as the callsign.  This is actually faster with DTMF than
with  an APRS radio, since all you do is key A123*# for runner 123  after
you have already transmitted your B… position from DTMF memory (usually 2
key strokes).  The “BNA” suffix is included in the setup of the APRStt
event engine so that it adds this to every runner heard.

This is a great tool for using APRS for keeping track of lots of things
without having to put GPS on everything that moves!

As followon checkpoints send out the same runner number, then it moves on
everyone’s screens… just like anything moving in APRS…

See http://aprs.org/aprstt.html

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