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Klondike TH-D7 Event Scoring and Messaging

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  • Robert Bruninga
    SCOUT Hams: Had another great Klondike Derby using the APRS TH-D7 HT s for troop score reporting. There were 17 event stations and 50 scout/cub troops. We
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 29, 2008
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      SCOUT Hams:

      Had another great Klondike Derby using the APRS TH-D7 HT's for
      troop score reporting.

      There were 17 event stations and 50 scout/cub troops. We were
      able
      to field over half of the stations with D7's for score data
      entry (10). In an afterthought, we could have done at least 3
      more stations for a total of 13 with data entry if we had
      thought about the D700's also parked nearby.

      Using the D7's for score entry substantially reduced voice
      traffic and transcription errors, and repeats, while providing
      error free Troop scores to the HQ tent. See

      http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/aprsevent.html
      The 2008 photos are at the end.

      Too many people ignore the message and data distribution aspect
      of these radios. Not only did the D7 data entry stations not
      have to busy up the 146.43 voice net, but we operated on 445.925
      with our data to avoid any QRM to the 2m voice traffic -AND- we
      could also chat on the same UHF channel for data coordination.

      Further, every D7 operator could be tracked on the main APRS map
      back at HQ as operators moved around the event -BUT- without the
      bother of any GPS's, wires, laptops or fussy cables. We
      prepared a LAT/LON grid on the event map, and every location in
      the entire square mile venue could be entered on the D7 by just
      pressing the POS key and dialing in the last 2 hundredths digit
      of LAT or LONG. These were "scouts" and dads by the way, who
      should know how to look at a map and estimate their position
      from the grid.

      To make that even easier, we prepared the four XX/YY digits for
      each of the 17 event stations in advance, so that if an operator
      changed locations, he only had to adjust those 4 digits to
      update his position.

      RESULTS: It worked great! Net control could leisurely look at
      the incoming scores on the D700 control panel mounted to his
      clipboard, and pass them to the score keepers. The contrast
      with Voice reporting is that each voice report, interrupts the
      netcon's chain of thought and the voice net everywhere, and
      demands immediate attention, while with the data messages, they
      arrive in the background, and can be viewed by Netcon at HIS
      convenience.

      Even the newly trained D7 HT operators said it was great (after
      they got the hang of it). Of the 10 D7 operators, only 4 had
      ever used a D7 before. Training was 5 minutes on the spot when
      they were handed a D7 and a gouge sheet.

      LESSONS LEARNED:

      1) Don't plan on the NETCON with the D700 on his clipboard at HQ
      trying to use it also as his voice rig... Everytime he might
      decide to read some messages, a voice call might come in, and
      the PTT bumps him off the message screen.

      2) Don't assume the battery on your 10 year old D7 is any good.
      Yours truely showed up with 5 overnight-charged D7's, but two of
      them were dead in the first 15 minutes.

      3) The few other ops that had D7's also had D700's in their
      cars. We should have realized that the D700's could just as
      easily been used for data entry at those stations, thus freeing
      up their D7's for use elsewhere. Score reporting is only a
      one-time event every 45 minutes. Easy enough to walk over to
      the car and enter the data on the Mic Keys.

      4) The D7 is ideal for this application. Operating dual band,
      it was able to do both the 146.43 voice net and the 445 APRS
      data net at the same time. But to save power, either band could
      be toggled off when not needed with one press of the DUAL key.
      Or both could be on for voice but the TNC toggled off between
      entries.

      5) Too many owners of D700's and D7's I fear are not practiced
      and ready to send, receive and edit messages and data. These
      radios (and APRS) are much more than just vehicle tracking!

      We have had the D7 radio now for 10 years and it is the hottest
      selling Kenwood HT, yet I continuously find operators that are
      not prepared to use it to send messages, email, objects, alerts,
      bulletins and announcements locally and anywhere in the world
      from the palm of
      their hand.

      Here's the web page again:
      http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/aprsevent.html

      Bob, WB4APR
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