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Re: Ham station at Philmont?

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  • n5gui
    Since we have nearly a foot of snow here at my house in Wichita, and while it has slowed but not stopped snowing, I thought I would catch up on some replies
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 21, 2013
      Since we have nearly a foot of snow here at my house in Wichita, and while it has slowed but not stopped snowing, I thought I would catch up on some replies that I have been thinking about on this thread.

      The Scout Camps On The Air suggestion is one that I will add to the pool of activities. I had thought of scheduling the trek so that Field Day would be included, but that might be a lot harder than first thought.

      As far as APRS, I confess that it is probably just my mental density, but I just don't see a utility within the context of the line of sight experimentation that I envision for this STEM trek.

      I welcome further suggestions and more detail as to how it might be used. It is easy for me to see the value and utility of APRS for tracking a balloon launch or networking with communications at a high volume event such as the national jamboree.

      However, the STEM trek that I envision, and it is open to complete revision by the Scouts that participate, consists of a base camp and one or more remote experiment teams that go out to set up line of sight experiments directed back at base.

      The base could include activities at the option of the participating Scouts. Some of the non-HAM ideas I had was solar cooking and drinking water extracted from the air. Within the context of this tread, I would envision solar powered multi-op HF stations similar to what would be used on Field Day. And of course there would need to be the equipment necessary to support the remote team experiments. Such support would include radio communication, voice and digital, telescopes to observe optical signals and video recording for documentation and further analysis. Data collection at the base might be as simple as audio data files and web cam videos, but it certainly suggest some computer capability. Experiments, particularly those involving light communications, might need to be conducted at night. As could the operation of the HF station. Or star gazing (Astronomy if it needs to be science.) if the telescopes are not being used for experiments.

      The remote experiment team(s) would be sent to a convenient drop off point where they would hike, with their experiment equipment and camping gear to the area chosen for the experiment. Initially line of sight will be used, but some light communication experiments might depend on scattering to establish a near line of sight path. Mountain tops might be used if beneficial to the experiment, but issues of wind, rain, and lightning suggest to me that they are not a first choice. The experiment site is unlikely to be convenient to an established campsite with a water supply, so dry and unimproved camp should be expected. Add the need to haul water to the equipment load / number of trips.

      Once the campsite is established, part of the process of setting up the experiments would be to check in to the base. It might be as simple as confirming that the tasks are being completed on schedule, but more likely there will be changes to the experiment and realtime troubleshooting. Voice will certainly be used, maybe a data link.

      Within the context of APRS, at least as I understand it, what does it provide that cannot be accomplished by voice with the planned equipment necessary to the experiments? I am trying to see the utility, but am having trouble. The only thing that comes to mind is if two teams were intending to rendevous, they and base would be able to track their progress. Teams will need voice communication with base, although not continuously during the hike. Coding in co-ordinates by hand may be built into current HTs, but wouldn't you need to have a radio link ( which presumably would support a voice contact) to base directly since there is no network to relay the package?

      I also see that there could be a value in using APRS if there is a reason to relay the progress of a team back to another Scout camp or school at home. I am not an APRS enthusiast, so I probably don't see the full potiential. Perhaps those of you on this list can suggest experiments using APRS that would be candidates for use on a STEM trek.

      Thank you all for your ideas and suggestions

      James Whitfield

      --- In ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com, Robert Bruninga <bruninga@...> wrote:
      > > The suggestion that Summits On The Air is something that I will
      > consider...
      > > The intent is pursue the development of useful communications systems.
      > > Historical ones may also be demonstrated as a baseline for evaluation...
      > > signal mirrors, LED and laser systems for more effective signal
      > lights...
      > Don't forget to include APRS HT's while trecking. You don't need GPS,
      > just manually enter coordinates from a scout map and then everyone can see
      > where the group is located. And using the new DTMF entry method, -any-
      > radio, not just an APRS radio can be used to report status and manual
      > position.
      > See what we are hoping to test at Jamboree:
      > http://aprs.org/aprs-jamboree-2013.html
      > Scouts should learn to read maps and understand a grid system. Then use
      > any HT with a keypad to report your position into the national/global APRS
      > system: http://aprs.fi
      > Bob, Wb4aPR
    • Don Kunst
      James, I went to Philmont three years ago with my HT, mainly in the north country. I did get some freqs from another Scouter for the local repeaters and the
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 6, 2013
        I went to Philmont three years ago with my HT, mainly in the north country.  I did get some freqs from another Scouter for the local repeaters and the Philmont radio system. For the most part, I  heard some Philmont staff traffic and could hit some repeaters from the hilltops. Like most repeaters I only got scattered responses.  I was hoping to also use it for weather reports, but there are no nearby stations I could pick up, even though I had them all programmed.   I did listen to AM/FM radio which was nice for weather and news.  If you know of other crews with HTs then there might be more contacts.  I carried a telescoping antenna and  a solar charger.  I carried it on my pack strap with ear mic. I had an article in QST, September 2012, page 61-62 detailing my trip. 
        My son and I are getting ready to teach Wilderness First Aid for our council contingent in two weeks.
        Enjoy Philmont.
        Don Kunst
        EMT-P Tactical, BSIT, ASM T151, W3LNE
        SCTF IMT
        717-712-9116 cell

        From: ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of n5gui
        Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10:31 PM
        To: ScoutRadio@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [ScoutRadio] Ham station at Philmont?


        I have been tossing ideas about for an STEM trek at Philmont, much of the leaning toward communications, including but not limited to amateur radio. That lead me to wonder if there is a station at Philmont.

        Does anyone know if they do, or not? Or perhaps someone knows who I should contact for that sort of information. Based on a previous request for information, I figured it would be similarly unproductive to try the email listed in their web site.

        I am scheduled to go on a regular trek in July, and that should give me the chance to see and feel the place again ( I was there as a Scout about 50 years ago. Yes, I am bragging that I think I can still do it again. ). It should also inspire, and limit, what would work as an STEM focused trek.

        James Whitfield
        Wichita, Kansas

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