[aprssig] Golden Packet SUCCESS!

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Tue Jul 22 15:24:45 EDT 2014

20 July 2014 - The Golden Packet Claimed!

After 6 annual attempts, several dozen hams completed a 2000 mile ad-hoc
packet link along the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia and are ready
to claim the Golden Packet award.  The award was proposed in the early 1980’s
by AMRAD, the early pioneers of AX.25 packet in the US to recognize the
first cross-county packet.  But this idea was soon forgotten as long-haul
VHF RF links fell out of use when HF, then wormholes, and then internet
links began to appear.  By 1995 the APRS-IS (Internet System pioneered by
Steve Dimse and the Sproul brothers) could link every RF packet on the
planet via the nearest IGate.  By 2004 with over 20,000 users on the
saturated national 144.39 MHz frequency, the RF packet paths were reduced to
2 hops or less to cover the local area with the remainder captured into the
APRS-IS for worldwide distribution.

But, to demonstrate long haul emergency ad-hoc use of APRS communication, in
2009, this Golden-Packet group began an annual event on the 3rd weekend in
July to attempt an end-to-end 14 hop communication link from Maine to
Georgia on a dedicated frequency (not the congested 144.39 MHz).  Besides,
after being ignored at Field Day for nearly 2 decades, APRS was looking for
a new challenge and our own day in the field.

Each year there was always one break in the chain (me included!), and
certainly plenty of thunderstorms somewhere along the route.  But on 20 July
2014, the stars aligned and Tim, KA1YBS climbed to the top of the 5267' Mt
Katahdin in Maine with his APRS HT and was able to exchange APRS packets
with N4AZR, Glenn parked on a fire road on Springer Mountain in Georgia via
14 other temporary APRS stations on mountain tops the full length of the
Appalachian Trail.

See details of the whole event: http://aprs.org/at-golden-packet.html

There is no reason other areas of the country cannot also do this APRS field
event along their own local long distance trails (The Continental Divide,
Pacific Coast Trail, Lewis and Clark trails or any of the other 50,000 miles
of linear trails in the US.)

Bob Bruninga, WB4APR

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