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Operation On Target is next Sat., 7/20/2002.

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  • n7tek
    Hello fellow Scouters and Amateur Radio Operators of the Scoutradio group! I just wanted to inform you that next Saturday (7/20/2002) is the annual
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 13, 2002
      Hello fellow Scouters and Amateur Radio Operators of the Scoutradio group!

      I just wanted to inform you that next Saturday (7/20/2002) is the annual
      Varsity/Venturing "Operation On Target" event where the older Scouts signal
      with mirrors from peaks (or other high points) around the west and they use
      HAMs or cell phones to confirm contacts with other teams. The event starts
      about 11:00 A.M. and ends about 1:00 P.M. (local time for each area). It's
      a short event but we try to get them off the peaks before thunderstorms have
      a chance to develop due to the summer heating. I don't know how many of you
      are in the western U.S. but I thought some of you would want to listen in or
      perhaps even participate informally by mirror-signaling if you are near some
      of the 64 teams that have signed up so far - see the following URL for a
      list of registered teams sorted by the peak name:


      I've appended the simplex frequencies that will be used for this event near
      the bottom of this message. We will also be using the "Intermountain
      Intertie" (a.k.a. "Snowlink") linked repeater system in Idaho, Montana,
      Utah, and western Wyoming to take team checkins and to coordinate
      communications between states (see also the URL given near the bottom of
      this message). Unfortunately the repeater link into Arizona and Las Vegas
      Nevada is down right now. I'm not sure what repeaters or frequencies they
      will be using in southern California and Colorado - they haven't let me know

      Most of the peaks have the latitude and longitude coordinates recorded in
      the database so if you click on the peak name it will take you to 3
      different maps showing where that peak is located and the other nearby
      teams. NOTE - there is a known bug that one of our web guru's (Tom NY4I) is
      working on resolving that causes the label to show "Francis Peak" instead of
      the correct peak name in some cases. The location is correct but the name
      is wrong. Also if a blank map comes up it's because the team didn't enter
      the latitude and longitude coordinates for their peak (probably because they
      didn't know them).

      We don't have any participants from Arizona this year because the forests
      down there have been shut down because of the fires. Right now we only have
      teams signed up in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Utah but I
      believe we will also have teams sign up in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and
      Wyoming in the next few days.

      We would like to see this event move into other states but teams would have
      to use buildings, roof tops, or other high structures (perhaps even repeater
      sites - the trustee could give them a tour?) if there are no mountains or
      hills available in that state or area. It's a FUN activity that can be
      tailored to meet the groups needs or tied into other merit badges and it can
      be used to teach young men (& yes young women) about (emergency) signaling
      with mirrors and Amateur Radio. Yes it is aimed at older Scouts because of
      the fitness ability to climb a mountain but we obviously have no way to
      limit who can participate. It would be neat to see Scout units in other
      areas develop their own On Target participants and program!

      One area that we always need help with every year is Amateur Radio
      communications. We always need HAMs to volunteer to go with teams but we
      also need HAMs to help plan and coordinate communications (and of course
      promote On Target) in their state and between states months before the event
      even occurs. We would like to see HF and/or APRS used to help coordinate
      contacts and information between states but up until now we haven't had
      enough communication resources (or volunteers) in each area to pull this
      off. I know we can't do anything for this year but perhaps some of you
      would be interested in helping out for next year?

      In reading the recent thread about HAM Shacks for Scout Camps I suggest that
      HAMs could hold a mini On Target at their Scout camps by teaching the youth
      to make small signal mirrors (see
      http://www.ontargetbsa.org/make_mirror.htm ) and then spreading them around
      the camp with their mirrors, HAM operators, or FRS radios and having a
      friendly informal competition. Besides teaching them about making signal
      mirrors you could also teach them about proper radio procedures (like what
      Bob has been working on). The Great Salt Lake Council does a mini On Target
      every year at the "Varsity Big Event" Scout Camp where they locate the
      Amateur Radio booth next to the On Target booth and do what I described
      above. It works well and gives the young men another activity to see
      Amateur Radio in action.

      You might be asking where do we get all the mirrors for signaling? Well
      it's been my experience that glass companies are usually willing to cut up
      their mirror scraps into 3"x5" pieces and donate them to the Scouts for
      making signal mirrors. You just have to contact them several weeks or a few
      months in advance so they can save up and cut up their scrap.

      Anyway keep the great ideas coming on HAM Shacks for Scout Camps! We need
      to get permanent amateur radio equipment installed at the camps in the Great
      Salt Lake Council.

      73 de N7TEK
      John Blackham, N7TEK
      HOME: 384 North 75 East, North Salt Lake, UT, USA 84054-2320
      PHONE: (H) 801-295-3036 E-MAIL: n7tek@...
      On Target website: http://www.ontargetbsa.org

      -----Original Message-----
      From: n7tek [mailto:n7tek@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 5:24 PM
      To: 'Andrew P Barney'; michael.e.snow@...;
      Cc: 'KK7JO (Kerry Whittle) @arrl'; n7tek@...; 'OT USA (Lambert,
      Reuben)'; 'OT UT (Brewer, Doug) @utconstruct'
      Subject: RE: What frequencies are they using for Operation On Target?

      We now have 56 teams signed up. Have you signed up for your peak (or other
      high point)? Register at http://www.ontargetbsa.org .

      Here is the communications information regarding On Target for Utah, Idaho,
      Montana, and western Wyoming...

      Unfortunately the Intermountain Intertie repeater radio link on Frisco Peak
      (near Cedar City, UT) is still down so northern Utah (and Idaho, Montana,
      and western Wyoming) won't be able to communicate with southern Utah, (Jacob
      Lake) Arizona, and Las Vegas Nevada unless it's fixed in the next 10 days.
      Teams within line of sight of each other should still be able to communicate
      on the simplex frequencies listed below if they have a HAM with them or
      perhaps via cell phone. Teams in southern Utah (or Jacob Lake, and Las
      Vegas) won't be able to checkin with the Net Control Station unless they
      have other teams relay the information or they call in using the telephone
      bridge (see below).

      CHECKIN ON THE SNOWLINK SYSTEM: To all those teams in UT, ID, or western WY
      that have Amateur Radio operators (a.k.a. HAMs) going with them let them
      know that there will be Net Control Stations (NCS) on the "Snowlink"
      Intermountain Intertie linked repeater system to take checkins when teams
      arrive on their mountain-tops. Then the NCS will assign them along with
      other teams to a simplex frequency for their region. The NCS will keep
      track of all the teams participating and what frequency they are on.

      TELEPHONE BRIDGE CHECKINS: Teams with cell phones can contact the NCS by
      dialing a special On Target (23 line) telephone bridge.

      The NCS will try to relay confirmations between teams with cell phones and
      those with HAM operators. Be advised that there may be long distance
      charges for those calling from outside the local Salt Lake City (UT) calling
      area depending on your cell phone service provider.

      SNOWLINK SYSTEM REPEATER FREQUENCIES: Utah, Idaho, Wyoming (and possibly
      Arizona, California, and Nevada) teams with HAMs should make sure their HAM
      has reviewed the following webpage to determine the best repeater frequency
      to use to link into the "Snowlink" system:


      (for example "Wheeler Peak this is Mt. Nebo calling - do you see our
      flashes?") and keep your communications short, clear, and concise so that up
      to 25 teams can share one simplex frequency (or on the Snowlink system).
      You will need to remember to ID with your callsign once every 10 minutes to
      stay legal with the FCC. The NCS station will assign UT teams according to
      the following simplex frequency plan for On Target. However the NCS may
      need to vary the plan as needed (i.e. if a club or other amateur radio
      organization has the frequency in use for another event or emergency

      (Remember all UT simplex frequencies will be assigned by the NCS.)

      Northern UT - (Fillmore/I-70 northward to the Idaho border)
      146.460 - (F1) Primary frequency (normally UT County ARES).
      146.480 - (F4) Ragchew or backup frequency. (normally Box Elder ARES,
      or UVSC-ARC)
      146.520 - (F2) Secondary frequency (National simplex calling freq.).
      146.540 - (F3) Backup (overflow) frequency (UT County south MARA).

      Southern UT - (Fillmore/I-70 southward to the Arizona border)
      145.750 - (F1) Primary frequency. (Davis County ARES)
      147.420 - (F2) Secondary frequency. (Davis County ARES)

      Other states will probably have their own repeater and simplex frequency
      plan for On Target. Contact your state On Target Coordinator for
      communications details. If you don't know who the coordinator is for your
      state please contact me and I'll help you get in contact with them.

      EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS: We hope no one will encounter any emergency
      situations but if you do encounter a problem - get help - don't wait until
      it becomes an even bigger problem. Utah teams with HAMs should contact the
      NCS station on the "Snowlink" system by using the prowords "BREAK, BREAK,
      BREAK, Net Control this is (callsign) on ????? peak with Emergency Traffic"
      wait for a response and instructions from the NCS. He may move you onto
      another repeater or frequency to pass your emergency traffic. Teams with
      cell phones should dial 911 (or the emergency number for their area). All
      other teams should standby and be ready to assist in relaying any emergency
      traffic. Be sure to speak clearly and slowly and give your exact location
      and the details of the emergency.

      WILDFIRES & OTHER CAUTIONS: Be careful not to start any wildfires! The hot
      shot crews don't need any new fires to fight! Watch out for developing
      lightning and thunderstorms. Don't flash any planes and don't leave any
      trash or broken mirror pieces on your mountain. The bottom line is be
      careful and have FUN.

      See you soon on a peak (or other high point)!
      John Blackham

      P.S. Pray for clear conditions on Saturday, 7/20/2002. It would be nice to
      get some rain a few days before the event to reduce the extreme fire danger
      in many parts of the western U.S. but I guess we can't expect everything to
      be perfect.
      John Blackham, N7TEK
      HOME: 384 North 75 East, North Salt Lake, UT, USA 84054-2320
      PHONE: (H) 801-295-3036 E-MAIL: n7tek@...

      John L. Blackham, "bsa_on_target@yahoogroups.com" list owner
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