Category Archives: Amateur Radio

Land Yacht Tracking Engage

APRS.fi screenshot

 

Thanks to the miracle of Ham Radio, we have the Land Yacht Tracker setup finally.  You can go to the APRS.fi page and seach for W7PEA-9 or use the LandYacht Tracker link on the homepage and you will see the last position report sent as well as a trail showing our route. We only turn this on when we’re driving, so not seeing new information posted does not mean anything bad has happened, just that its off or we’re camped somewhere!

Enjoy stalking us!

 

For more on all this, follow my HAM Radio blog – W7PEA

Suggestions on Winlink Position Reports

This is for all you Maritime Mobiles who are probably not really active in HAM Radio, but are using Winlink for email and position reports. Here are few operating suggestions:

Sending Position Reports

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  • When you send a position report, ALWAYS but your vessel name in beginning of the comment fields. No one probably knows what your callsign is, but we can look around and see your boat name.
  • While underway, send at least one position report. I usually do this once a day on long passages or at roughly the midway on shorter passages. Its fun to later connect all the dots!
  • Always send a position report when you reach your destination indicating you are anchored or moored safely

Check Who’s around you

Did you know you can ask Winlink for a list of other people who are nearby? It goes without saying that you need to have updated your position recently for this to work. But assuming you have done that send a mail to INQURY with the subject REQUEST and the message body WL2K_NEARBY. Send that off and next time you check your mail you will have a list of nearby folks. Notice I didn’t say vessels. Winlink is for any HAM to use, so you will see RVers, Backpackers as well. Here’s a sample. If you always put your vessel name in your position report comments this is lot nicer to read!

List of users nearby W7PEA
Postion: 21-09.69N  105-13.60W  posted at: 1/11/2012 6:16:00 AM
(NOTE: All dates in UTC, distance in nautical miles and bearings true great circle.)

Winlink 2000 Nearby Mobile Users
(Only the latest report for each call within the past 10 days is listed.

CALL     Dist(nm @ DegT)        POSITION             REPORTED            COMMENT
W7PEA          0.0 @ 000   21-09.69N 105-13.60W  2012/01/11 06:16  Deep Playa – Anchored at Chacala
KJ6LNI        26.1 @ 198   20-44.83N 105-22.13W  2012/01/08 15:15  Anchored in La Cruz
KJ6NYJ        26.5 @ 197   20-44.40N 105-22.00W  2012/01/10 23:08 
VE0NAV        55.0 @ 319   21-50.88N 105-52.72W  2012/01/13 00:59  Arrived Isla Isabella much warmer here than Mazatlan All Good
KQ6MY         55.0 @ 319   21-50.88N 105-52.76W  2012/01/13 22:36  Isla Isabella
KJ6NKS       113.8 @ 169   19-18.03N 104-50.19W  2012/01/09 01:04  Here in Tenacatita with all of our local friends
KD7NPI       113.8 @ 169   19-18.02N 104-50.15W  2012/01/09 00:39 

Let People Know Who you Are

One of the best things you can do is to put your vessel name in your position reports. The next thing you can do is update your entry on the HAM Lookup servers, login to www.QRZ.com and www.HAMQTH.com and at least update your description with your vessel name and a link to your web page. This way if someone looks up your callsign because they saw it on Winlink they can know your vessel name and send you an email via Winlink or contact you on VHF. Pretty handy!

Cruising Information Groups

Just wanted to take a second to give a shout out to a bunch of mailing lists I’m on as I think they useful to anyone looking to go cruising some day.

 Puget Sound Cruising Club – The PSCC holds monthly local meetings (if North Seattle Community College is local to you) with topical speakers and on the water meetups. I find the list is a good source of local knowledge and referrals. Most of the members in PSCC have no long-term cruising plans beyond the Puget Sound, but they love to hear about your plans. When Dawn and I did last go to one of their Friday meetings we felt like a bit of a novelty, being under 40, but we were very warmly received. I’d probably find time for the meetings if they weren’t on Friday nights, but the list is a great resource even without the meetings.

These next set groups are area specific and the membership seems to be people actually cruising or planning to leave shortly. Conversations tend to focus around best cruising guides, entrance requirements changes, and referrals for mechanics, haul outs, marinas and anchorages along the route. I am sure there are groups for other regions but as I am not yet interested in those areas I’m not on those lists.

There are also several lists oriented towards different technologies you might find of interest;

  • Airmail2000 – This list will walk you through setting Airmail using an internet connection so you can at least rule out the SW not working when you go to use it on your SSB Rig
  • NavMonPC – NavMonPC is a PC based instrument display that works by displaying the data on your NMEA network. I am experimenting with this on Deep Playa. The guy who writes it is very nice and fixes bugs as you point them out, but it has a ways to go still in terms of usability, modernity of UI and reliability.
  • WINMOR – A software based PACTOR hardware modem equivalent. I have a PACTOR so I don’t really follow this group too closely. If you don’t have a PACTOR you should at least give this a try.
  • 12VDC_Power – Most members are doing off the grid installations,but they know a lot about 12V DC, solar panels, wind generators, etc.
  • Honda_EU2000_Generators – All hail the mighty Honda EU2000, enough said. Winking smile

How do you handle all of that email?

  1. I use an email address that I don’t plan to use all that often once we go cruising. That way random people won’t have my email address I plan to use on my SSB.
  2. DIGEST MODE !!! You can edit your subscription to any Yahoo! Group so it sends you a daily summary email of the posts on the group. For these groups you’ll get one email per group instead of 5 to 10 (or more).
  3. Stay on Topic – These lists are about getting things done, not social networks (well maybe PSCC is, but it has low email volume) so keep your replies and questions relevant.

Lot of information to glean and by all means don’t just ask for help, try to offer some answers as well these lists only work if people who have information share it.