[aprssig] APRS and the solar Eclipse

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Sat Jul 15 23:05:24 EDT 2017

A lot of groups are planning to launch balloons in the eclipse path, and my guess is many of them don't have experience with the QRM balloons can cause on 144.39, so I expect there will be a mess on the frequency. Even if that doesn't happen, if you are not doing science consider keeping your traffic down to a minimum or even turning transmit off (my plan) to give the citizen science the best shot. I'm especially thinking of messages reporting the status of the eclipse. This is a celestial event that has been precisely calculated, and we know exactly when totality starts and ends at every location. Does it really help to have 100s of hams confirming those calculations?

Second, during totality at least, consider leaving the toys alone. If I think about it I may take a picture or two just to have a keepsake, but there are going to be 1.6 billion pictures on social media after the eclipse, and no matter how good a photographer you are some are going to be better than you could take! Unless you have big bucks or get someone else to pay, totality is a once (or maybe twice) in a lifetime event. Experience it to the fullest! 

Finally, there is dread among the locals that this is going to be an absolute disaster. A small stretch of mostly rural western Oregon is the closest point for the millions in California, Oregon, and Washington and only a dozen or so two lane highways and I-5 feed into the area. The government expects gridlock and have been warning the locals to stock up on food, medicine, and fuel before the weekend as they expect shortages due to the huge influx of visitors. Plan to be self-sufficient. This is a great time to practice your emergency planning skills!

Me, I "just happen" to be spending the summer volunteering for US Fish and Wildlife in Newport Oregon, with 1:48 of totality at my RV. If only the weather cooperates...

Steve K4HG

> On Jul 10, 2017, at 5:57 AM, Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:
> APRS will be used during the day of the eclipse (21 Aug) as a national communications network for those involved in ham radio and eclipse observations to be able to track each other and see where other nearby ham observers are located.  Imagine the APRS map that day showing a clustering of mobile and portable positions all along the totality line.  Please use the station symbol SUNNY (\U) for this event so these stations will stand out among all others on the national tracking page http://aprs.fi
> In addition to this position reporting, APRS also supports real-time messaging.  Not only will this be used by individuals for station-to-station texting, there will also be an announcement server that will give national connectivity for announcements. To use it, all one has to do is send an APRS message to ANSRVR and begin the message with CQ ECLIPSE… Such a message will be sent to every other station in the event that has also sent a similar message.  Due to the load, limit transmissions to no more often than once every half hour.
> For other Ham Radio experiments during the eclipse please see: http://HamSCI.org
> Bob Bruninga, WB4APR at amsat.org
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