[aprssig] APRS at Field Day 2005

William McKeehan mckeehan at mckeehan.homeip.net
Tue Jun 28 11:28:58 CDT 2005

My experience was a little different.

In my area, there has been very little APRS activity over the past year - that
is until the last couple of months. During the last couple of months, we have
had two balloon launches which carried Pocket Trackers. The voice traffic that
was generated while we chased the balloons (one flew for about 5 hours)
generated a lot of interest in APRS. There was also a presentation at one of
the local clubs that helped get some more interest.

Our goal with the APRS field day setup was to demonstrate 1) how simple it
could be to get going with APRS, 2) the variety of hardware/software that
could be used with APRS, and 3) some basic uses of APRS.

At the field day location, we had a D700, a Laptop with a Soundcard Interface
and a couple of TinyTrak devices with HT's. We coordinated with a couple of
stations not at the fd location, but close enough to talk.

Using the laptop, we demonstrated Xastir, UI-View32 and APRS+SA. We used
Xastir and APRS+SA for messaging traffic.

We showed the hardware, talked about how easy it was. This sparked some trips
to people's vehicles to take their existing GPS's and radio's and turning them
into trackers with the TinyTrak devices. They were amazed at how easy that was
to do.

Others wondered about seeing maps without a laptop - we demonstrated (using
the GPS of the person with the question) how the D700 would place "waypoints"
on their GPS which would show up on the map page of their GPS.

We then had one of the remote stations (also running a D700) enable his digi.
We were able to digi a message to a further remote station (one that we could
not hear directly via RF) via this temporary digi. We also got a response back
from that station.

We had one station drive around the field day site and onlookers watched his

All-in-all, it was a very well received demonstration; as a result, I'm sure
that we will add APRS users in our area. And the operator of the temporary
digi learned how to get the digi setup in his D700 (as well as UI-View).

On Tue, June 28, 2005 12:00 pm, Robert Bruninga said:
> Here is my report for APRS FIeld Day in the
> Baltimore/Washington-DC/Annapolis area.
> One of the highest density APRS networks
> in the country.  If your experience was different,
> we'd be intrested in your report.
> BACKGROUND:  Under the ARRL rules, APRS
> could get 100 pts for a demo using a temporary
> digi and no assets that belong to the existing
> APRS infrastructure.  We sugggested a QSY
> to 145.01 for these contacts and I set up
> a temporary digi (a D700) at the office on .01.
> We made 2 contacts.  A fixed station on a
> boat moored in Baltimore (22 mi), a mobile in
> the mountains north of baltimore (50 mi) .
> We also observed a BBS and one other
> fixed station on .01.
> Expecting that few people would take the
> trouble to QSY, we also maintainted a full
> APRS situational display at Field Day site to
> watch everything else that was going on.
> During the 24 hour FD period and with
> almost 300 RF stations on the map, we
> only saw 5 stations with evidence of
> human operators at the keyboard.  We
> got msg exchanges from 3 of the 5.  Only
> two seemed to be aware of FD or at a FD site.
> OTHER FD SITES::  WIthin the range of the
> 2 contacts we did make (22 and 50 miles)
> we estimate there were probably 20 to
> 30 or more other FD sites and clubs in the
> metro area. We know of 5 just within 10 mi.
> CONLCUSION:  APRS is still showing a
> penetration of only about 10% in most
> areas and clubs and activitites.  Maybe
> most of the APRS operators are not
> interested in operating out in the field
> or are not interested in operating on
> RF without internet access,  or wrongly
> view APRS as only a passive vehicle tracking
> system.
> If you had significanly other results, we would
> be interestred in hearing about them.
> de Wb4APR, Bob
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William McKeehan
Internet: mckeehan at mckeehan.homeip.net

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