[aprssig] Appalacian TRail and ham radio

Jack Spitznagel frawg at frawg.org
Sat Dec 20 22:06:51 CST 2008

Jason KG4WSV wrote:

> Not sure how feasible it is, but something that might be useful is if
> the hiker could carry a packet receiver and a datalogger.  
Are any of the trackers capable of running off a light weight solar
panel? Might do that if I was doing a weekender segment.

The project is a great idea, but there ain't an AT through-hiker I know
that will carry any weight at all... technical stuff gets left behind if
you can't wear it on a wrist. The really serious guys won't even talk to
you if you wear a watch! You'd have to rely on weekenders.

In the past, I  have hiked parts of the trail in NC and southern VA with
an HT. Useless unless you are in a rare hilltopping area. OTOH, the
segment up the Shenandoah from Waynesboro to Front Royal is spectacular
because you are either on the eastern slope/ridge looking at
Charlottesville and DC or you are on the west slope looking into the
valley. From  there to Harrisburg, PA coverage is on and off again...
Better at the southern end up to Frederick then not good until you are
near Carlisle and Mechanicsburg.

VHF is not ideal... I had more luck on one weekend AT hike in southern
PA using my FT-817 on HF with a slingshot antenna than I did on VHF with
the telescoping rod 1/4 wave or the duck. I carried two sets of
rechargables with a trickle charge solar panel and I felt the extra
weight for the entire 30 mile segment. Have never had the gear to try it
with APRS. I usually don't even want to carry a GPS unless I am teaching
the boy scouts how to use one.

> A 1W or 5W HT may or may not get out, but a fixed site digi may be more likely to
> get in and give a better indication of coverage.  (No, I am not
> volunteering to carry the batteries. :)
You should get in touch with some of the AT Trail Crew groups... they'll
carry in just about anything with an excuse... the only problem would be
keeping up with them! Some of those guys run up the trail carrying heavy
tools, shovels, saws, and axes along with their gear.


More information about the aprssig mailing list