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[aprssig] APRS value with Emergency Power

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Thu Feb 28 21:01:33 UTC 2008

>> Continuing with my attempts to get APRS back 
>> on track as not just a vehicle maping system, 
> Hey Bob - here's a challenge..   Do you have a 
> "home" APRS station on the air?   

An embarassing question.  Not since the last lightening strike
(but that was years ago!)  I try to keep an RF one on the air in
my car and at work though...

> If so, does it have backup power and how long 
> would it keep running if you lost power?

Not quite so embarassing.  I have 200 Watts of solar panels in
the attic.  I have old car batteries, and I have a 400 Watt wind
generator on my roof.  ALL just "waiting to be hooked up"...
Problem is, wife issues.  I just cannot play at home with my
toys...  But I do have another 200 Watts of solar panels I take
with me everywhere I go on the roof of my car, and 400 feet of
power cords:


I can run my entire ham shack and multiple briefcase APRS
stations (and wife's needs) indefinately.  In fact, I now take
my solar car to hamfests, and run my entire booth, PC's, laptops
and ham gear on the 220 VDC...

> I don't know but it's getting closer all the time.  
> Maybe this Email will be the incentive I need to 
> put it on my list of things to do...

I'm waiting for better weather, and the wife to go away for a
She's waiting for me to finish the bathroom I started 14 years
ago...  I'm a slave to joint compound and tape when I'm home.

> A 4 day power outtage back in 12/06 was the event 
> that convinced me that APRS is the ultimate ham 
> emergency and just basic digital overall
> communications platform.   

But I do have a large collection of old 386 and 486 color
laptops for this purpose.  After 15 years of APRS, lightening
has only taken out two of them and two TNC's.

> Maybe we should setup an Altnet or CQNET for 
> home RF stations so we can chat "on the air" 
> and compare notes.

One way to facilitate this is the NEW APRS initiative to expand
the APRS symbol set that allows Overlays on all APRS symbols.  I
have proposed that the HOME symbol can have overlays.  This way,
you can use FINDU to sort for other like stations.  Example
overlays would be:

E - Emergency Power
S - Solar Power
W - Wind power
Y - Hydro power

And I have proposed that everyone using such alternative energy
should consider adding a KPC-3+ or Tiny-TrackIV or other APRS
telemetry device and to use those symbols and to output once an
hour in standard APRS telemetry format, their VLOTS, AMPS, and
temperatures.  This would allow us to see the growth in this
exciting new energy sector.  FINDU can plot their data over days
weeks and months!

Oh, also the 400W wind generator is waiting to go up another 50
feet to the top of my highest tree in the neighborhood.  The
ladder from my roof to my tallest tree has been in the tree now
for going on its second year! (and I still have not gone up that

So far, the only one with a working system in my house is my
daughter who did it for a school project.  Her room is off-grid:


Maybe when I retire!  But the good news is NO SATELLITES this
year, so I should have my nights back...

Bob, Wb4APR

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