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[aprssig] APRS buoy - transmit power and antenna?

Robert Rochte rochte at gmail.com
Mon Sep 10 13:35:55 UTC 2007

After having my last balloon payload traverse the entire length of Lake Erie
intact, I'm now floating the idea of an APRS buoy...

I have no experience with transmitting from the water and I'm wondering if
there are any basic rules of thumb.  Ron, VE2JOR, has described a couple of
grounding techniques used in a boat to me (a plate below the water and
another involving a metal lining inside the hull) - I'm wondering what would
be best for a buoy.

Would a simple wire dipole work, or should I somehow use the lake as the
ground plane (this would be over fresh water - the Great Lakes - if that
makes a difference)?  Is there a "best" height to have the antenna above the
surface (e.g., a particular fraction of a wavelength)?

Also, what kind of power output will I likely need to reliably reach
terrestrial APRS stations?  Any chance that a bare Microtrak (300 mw) will
make it??

Thanks and 73,
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