[aprssig] Emergency Beacon

Billy (N5YSQ) n5ysq at cox.net
Wed Dec 22 13:02:03 CST 2004

Hmmm, hate to hear about ole Scott, but if you want to check him out NOW...
Try this at the Arkansas Department of Corrections    ADC 127515

Billy (N5YSQ)
Paris, TX

-----Original Message-----
From: aa3jy at winlink.org [mailto:aa3jy at winlink.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 1:10 PM
To: aprssig at lists.tapr.org
Subject: [aprssig] Emergency Beacon

This is what I did a number of years ago as noted on the ARRL News Letter:


When Scott Ratchford, KC5JGV, witnessed a bad accident during a snowstorm on
Pennsylvania's I-76 recently, he immediately grabbed his cell phone and
called 911. When that--and several other possible combinations--failed, he
tried an emergency call on 2-meters. Again, no luck. Two people were trapped
inside an overturned vehicle, and Ratchford was getting desperate. "Here I
am in the middle of who knows where, a huge snowstorm, a serious accident,
folks needing help, no one answering on .52!" he said in a March 8 posting
about the incident on the APRS Special Interest Group. "So, I switch the
MIC-E to 7, and hit the button." This sent an emergency mike-encoder signal
out over the Automatic Position Reporting System.

Ratchford's emergency beacon was spotted by several stations who immediately
contacted the Pennsylvania State Police. But the cops "don't do latitude and
longitude," said Dan Velez, W4DJV, in Virginia, one of the stations
monitoring the call. Clay Owen, AA3JY, in Pennsylvania, had better luck. He
also called the state police and was able to give them references to exits
and route numbers, thanks to APRS+ and the Delorme Street Atlas. "I also
gave them the name of the individual to be contacted, thanks to QRZ built
into this program," he reported.

APRS developer Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, was among those noting the emergency
call in the Pennsylvania-Maryland-New Jersey area. Bruninga notes that
APRS-DOS will display the nearest mile marker on interstates but "apparently
I missed I-76 in the database."

Unknown to Ratchford, the message was received and understood. "Little did I
know that the APRS message was received, as a trooper had arrived within
minutes of my transmission," he said. Only when the trooper asked for him by
name as he was about to leave did Ratchford learn that APRS had delivered
the message and that someone had called the police. "I left the scene
feeling very happy about our hobby and especially our interest in APRS," he

Clay AA3JY
(Via Winlink)

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