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[aprssig] APRS Demo

Joel Maslak jmaslak-aprs at antelope.net
Tue Jun 27 03:20:54 UTC 2006

Tonight, at an event unrelated to technology and ham radio, I was  
able to demo APRS (and ham radio in general).  This event asked  
participants to bring some stuff related to their personal interests,  
so I grabbed a laptop, a D7, an iambic paddle, and a keyer.

 From these non-technical (mostly) people, there was a lot of  
interest in APRS and ham radio in general.  A lot of people came  
over, saw the map on the screen, let me point out what they were  
seeing, and said, "that's cool".  Lots of people wanted to know how  
things worked and such.

I didn't emphasize the public service or emergency stuff, nor the  
many features of APRS other than tracking objects wit, but I can  
still say that APRS even in this "crippled" form has the potential to  
draw people's interest.

For the event, I set up my car with it's D700 nearby in the parking  
lot.  I set the D700 to UITRACE WIDE, so that it acted like a WIDEN-n  
digi.  Yes, I know this is bad practice, but it also made the  
demonstration work and I took the UITRACE down shortly after the  
demonstration!  The indoor D7 couldn't send or receive anything  
without the parking-lot digi - and just sending wouldn't have been  
much fun for a demonstration (hence the need to use WIDE, not TEMP).

I can say that this was one of the more interesting displays of an  
interest there, judging by the number of people who came up and asked  

I'll also add that the key I brought got pretty much just as much  
attention as the fancy mapping APRS stuff.  :)  A lot of people asked  
specifically about the key, and I let a few try to send some code on  
it (made my code sound good hi hi)  Probably half the people that  
visited were primarily interested in the key, another half in the  
computer-ham connection.  A lot of people asked what morse is used  
for in this day and age, which gave me a chance to explain a few of  
the reasons it's still around.

I don't know that there will be any new hams out of this, but I do  
think that I've probably sparked some interest and definitely some  
awareness that ham radio still is doing cool stuff.

So, I'll encourage people to show off their hobby - believe it or not  
people are interested.  :)  And who knows, maybe one of the people I  
showed my portable station to will someday be your next door neighbor  
when you want to put up a tower!

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