[aprssig] digi and igate coverage in the plains

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Thu Sep 29 20:06:21 CDT 2005

mwrobertson at comcast.net wrote:
> .
> Watch this area for a couple days and make note of the digipeaters, 
> I-Gates and so forth. Then you can pretty much determine how many hops 
> needed in your UNPROTO path for the tracker. I would plan on using 
> something like a 20 to 35 watt transmitter with a decent antenna. You 
> can count on using at least 3 hops out in those boonies, but your area 
> at the time of the event will change of course and if possible, use 
> only the number of hops to hit an I-Gate.
> Good luck and let us know how it goes...
The problem is that in vast areas of the high plains and less-populated 
areas of the midwest,  there are simply no digipeaters, and especially 
digipeaters within range of each other.  It doesn't matter how many hops 
you set into your path if one digi can't reach another.   The pattern in 
this area is small islands of activity around larger  towns with huge 
areas of silence in between.

When I make my cross-country trips,  once I leave the mountainous west 
(where digis on mountains thousands and thousands of feet above the 
areas they serve provide almost continuous coverage even in thinly 
populated areas along I-40,  I-15, I-70 and I-80) somewhere 50-70 miles 
east of the Rockies, I turn on my 30M HF APRS system. 

HF is the only way to have consistent continuous coverage in these 
areas.   A TinyTrack 3.1 (which supports 300-baud HF mode packet), 
Kenwood TS50 and 30M HamStick works very nicely as an HF tracker on 
10.149.   Just about anytime of the day or night, 30M is open for 
transmission over 500-1000 miles to several of the numerous HF igates 
that monitor 30M.

Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at) aol.com
EchoLink Node:      14400    [Think bottom of the 2M band]
Skype:              wa8lmf
Home Page:          http://wa8lmf.com

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