Surfin’: Hill-Topping for the Golden Packet
By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
This week, Surfin’ urges hams to climb every mountain on the East and West Coasts in the quest for the Golden Packet.
July 24 is “Golden Packet Sunday.” Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, hopes to field enough Amateur Radio communications teams located on mountains in the Eastern and Western USA to communicate packets and APRS messages from one end to the other of the 2175 mile Appalachian Trail on the East Coast, and the 2663 mile Pacific Crest Trail on the West Coast.
Drive or hike up an APRS mountain next Sunday and join the annual Golden Packet attempt from noon to 4 PM local time. For more details, visit Bob’s Golden Packet websites for the East Coast and West Coast.
Bob mentioned some lessons learned during last year’s Golden Packet endeavor.
- Don’t carry 52 AH (Ampere-Hour) worth of batteries up the mountain when the D700 digipeater/voice radio can operate just fine for four hours on only 3 AH at medium power!
- Don't carry a laptop and all its batteries when you can do all the messaging from a radio’s front panel.
- Plan on 105 degree temperatures with high humidity going up, as well as thunderstorms, hail and wind while up there.
With those lessons learned, Bob plans to carry the following up the mountain this year:
- A Kenwood D700 for digipeating and UHF simplex coordination voice.
- An APRS handheld transceiver for 144.39 MHz all-site communications using CQSRVR messaging.
- A dual-band handheld transceiver for local coordination and monitoring local repeater.
- A dual-band handheld transceiver for monitoring the repeater of the next station North and South on the trail.
According to Bob, the handheld transceivers ran all day on their own batteries last year and he believes a good 4 AH battery will suffice for the digipeater, if it is powered for only the four hours.
Until next time, keep on surfin’!