7/10/09 - Traveling into a new area? Visit a local APRS Map.

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kg7hq Fri, 07/10/2009 - 15:20

Now that I have started to travel again, what can I do with amateur radio?

The answer is easy. Fire up a web browser and look at a live APRS map! When I arrived into the St Louis, MO area, I didn't have a clue to what repeater to use or what simplex frequency was active with the locals. As many of you have found out on your own, calling on 146.52 or 446.0 doesn't always provide best results. In fact, in most cases all I get is dead air space. Hmmmm, that can be a story all to it's own!

I ran into this when I arrived and figured that I take a peek using my live APRS web pages as a baseline to start from. I just zoomed them out and pulled it over to St Louis area and zoomed back in.

What did I find?? A bunch of operators and a couple of "APRS Objects" that not only showed a local repeater (W0MA) but a Hamfest location that will be taking place in a week or so! Way Cool and a bonus to go! I would never of know about it without the use of APRS.
This doesn't mean you should go out and flood the local area with objects on APRS. Something like this may get you some attention that isn't always noted as positive. Network congestion plays a big factor and in the Pacific Northwest we have a lot of that. So if you decide to do this, consult a knowledgeable individual or group within your local area to see what would be acceptable.
By the way.... I was able to meet Erv (N0NOB) on that repeater I mentioned earlier who in turn invited me to a local ham club meeting. Now.... That is the spirit of Ham Radio!