[aprssig] A short little APRS story

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Mon Apr 30 15:21:43 EDT 2018

VA7ZEB, Reg Natarajan posted this APRS story on Facebook:

I had a little experience yesterday that has me rethinking APRS. I was
monitoring the BCFMCA repeater on Mount Seymour as I got some work done. It
was Saturday night and most people were doing better things than working
and chatting on VHF so it was dead, but out of the blue came a call looking
for assistance. It turns out a BCFMCA member was camping out in Chilliwack
and some crazy people were shooting guns in the air on some boats on the
river. Apparently it wasn't one or two shots, either. They were shooting
bursts of 30 rounds or more in an area close to campers. He was well out of
cell range but he could hit the Mount Seymour repeater and he asked me to
relay this incident to the police. I immediately got his info and called
the Chilliwack RCMP who proceeded to ask 100 questions which I relayed back
and forth. After about 20 full minutes of Q&A with the cops, they
dispatched a car, took my info and it was over. I said my 73s to the other
person and that was that. I have no idea what happened after that.

The important part is this: aside from driving by it on the Trans Canada, I
haven't been to Chilliwack in my life. This guy was in the sticks camping.
He did his best to relay his location (approximately 12 km down some
logging road) but really, I had no idea where he was and when the cops
started asking detailed questions about his location, I was lost.
EXCEPT...the guy had APRS. I went to aprs.fi, entered in his call sign and
there he was, his EXACT position. I gave that info (including the URL and
his call sign) to the cops and they were able have his exact location in
seconds, on a beautiful Google map that they could give to the patrol car.

This has left a serious impression on me. I'm new to ham and haven't yet
purchased any serious equipment. I had pretty much decided on Icom for a
bunch of reasons, but I'm now reconsidering. I am beginning to think APRS
is worth far, far more than I had ever thought before, and Icom doesn't do
APRS. I'll be thinking and reading more on this in the coming weeks before
I make any purchases.

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