[aprssig] APRS in remote California - some results

apratt at bestbits.org apratt at bestbits.org
Thu Apr 27 01:37:28 CDT 2006

I set up an APRS rig on my motorcycle and did a ride through a chunk
of California earlier this week, mostly for fun but partly to gather
some data about coverage and path requirements off the major highways.
A map and some observations are here:


Result #1:
There are long stretches where I expected coverage but got no hits,
along popular and well-covered roads like Interstate 5 north of
Bakersfield and US101 south of Gilroy - and even CA-85 around San
Jose. This makes me think my rig was intermittent, like the antenna
flexed or grounded against something at speed. So all the data is

Result #2:
There appears to be no coverage at all (at any speed) east-then-north
of Ridgecrest, through Trona and the Panamint Valley area. I did not
enter Death Valley itself, but I don't expect coverage there either.

Result #3:
In those places where I hit anything on this trip, I never needed a
three-hop path: two hops would always have been enough, even where a
three-hop packet is the one APRS-IS decided to keep.

I welcome other people's analysis and comments on the data and
conclusions. Throughout the summer I hope to take more rides and
develop more data for different areas. (Hopefully with a more reliable

-- Allan Pratt, apratt at bestbits.org

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