I’ve been having mixed results with my TinyTrak3 APRS beacon here in Hampton – when I start heading south from Newport News towards Fort Monroe (located at the southern tip of the peninsula), I can’t hit any APRS digipeaters – so my APRS beacon packets don’t go anywhere. Friday I was monitoring the local 2m repeaters and using WinAPRS and saw a couple guys testing some APRS equipment mounted on a bicycle. I emailed them and asked about the APRS coverage in Hampton and in response I got a request to help out with the Running Crab Half Marathon (www.runningcrab.org). So I said “why not?” and showed up this morning at the Hampton Convention Center at 6am. I helped set up some equipment and then went out to the 2 Mile Marker and set up a race clock, which I started when the race began – we used a local 2m repeater to relay the report of the starting line’s pistol. I then had to call in the numbers of the first three male and female runners that passed my point. I also helped a nearby water point setup and tear down an antenna for one of the race course APRS digipeaters. Amazingly enough the poles they had for the antenna had to have been Army surplus, because they looked just like the Army’s OE-254 (which I’ve used a million times to set up antennas for SINGCARS). After that it was back to the Hampton Convention Center to help tear down the equipment there (computers, antennas, etc.). The race used two mobile APRS units, one in the lead chase vehicle that was just in front of the male front runners and a bicycle mounted APRS that was trailing the lead female runner.
I think there was a total of 4 APRS digipeaters set up, one on the Convention Center’s roof (which had excellent 360 degree coverage), one at a water point just past the 2 Mile Marker, one near the 7 Mile Marker, and one inside the Convention Center which was connected to a computer running WinAPRS. The WinAPRS computer map display was then projected onto a large screen, so folks at Start/Finish could monitor the race.
I had a good time and enjoyed meeting the other local hams. Also got a free t-shirt. 🙂