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[aprssig] Appalachian Trail APRS trip report

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Wed Mar 8 04:27:14 UTC 2006

>>> scott at opentrac.org 03/07/06 5:25 PM >>>
>> 4) RINO's were useless.  Lost contact at 1/3rd mile
>>     but didnt know it until we wasted  hours backtracking.
>Could you elaborate on that?  What were you backtracking 
>for, and why didn't you know you'd lost contact?

its a long story, but when the other person with the rino
is just not into playing radio, and only thinks he can
turn it on or pull it out of his pack "when he needs it"
one does not get the confidence that the link is working.
Is it the radio? is it his positon? is he on the other
side of the next hill?  Do you keep pinging him every
5 minutes?  That is a real nuisance when you have to
reach around your 50 lb pack to answer a stupid radio.

Anyway, we did not meet at the scheduled rendesvouis
because our pings did not make contact and yet after
us waiting for them, and them waiting for us for more
than an hour (at wrong points) and then both of us
dropping packs and going off in search, we  find we
were less than 1/2 mile apart.  and both on the
same level ridge with nothing between but winter
trees with not a leaf for miles.  And his battery going
dead so that we could not even find each other
until we stumbled on each other. 

Anyway, we were so sure that even an FRS radio would
work over the expected area of ambiguity where we
would meet, that we had not even chosen our HAM
backup frequency.  The repeater we had used at the
beginning had long since become unuseable and we
had switched to the RINO's to get some experience with
them without having our ham back-up simplex in place.  That
was my mistake.  I just couldnt believe that an FRS
would not work over such a short range.... on 
a mountain top (though along the ridge)...

Oh well.

> 6) Cell phones didnt (though we were getting full
>    scale signal readings (maybe we were hitting too
>    many cells?

My experience (usually on a boat off the California coast) seems to be that the cell towers are easily heard by the phone way out there, but not vice versa.


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