When All Else Fails HF RPR APRS Stays The Course
This map depicts a segment of the road that I travelled down recently while out in Kananaskis country located in the Alberta Rockies southwest of Calgary, and as far west of Turner Valley as the road allows you to drive before coming to an end as seen in the insert photo of my mobile.
Once you leave Turner Valley just west of Black Diamond as shown on the map, your done getting in to the APRS network with conventional FM VHF APRS, as there is no coverage, typical of remote parts of the areas that myself and others travel through.
You can see why that is by looking at the terrain that I travelled through as I penetrated the east slope of the Rockies.
This is where HF APRS comes in to play, and not your conventional HF APRS, but HF Robust Packet APRS that I have available to me through the use of the SCS Tracker DSP TNC device mounted in the radio stack of my mobile, and pared with the Kenwood TS-480HX and the Garmin Montana showing the stations on the screen that I am hearing across Canada and the US as well as other parts of the world.
The SCS Tracker and robust packet is amazing to see in operation as seen in the insert photo.
On this day I was being gated by HF Gateways located in Canada and the US as seen in the insert photo at distances of 900 to 3100 kilometers depending on which gateway heard me first when I beaconed.
While travelling in an area that is very isolated as I was on this day, It gives you a good feeling to know that you are connecting with the APRS network, and if I ran in to trouble with a break-down, or got stuck, or....well I could get a message out asking for a rescue if required.
The second last beacon point seen on the map was with Dale's VE3XZT-15 RPR station located in Ottawa, a distance of 2900 kilometers.
The last beacon point shown on the map where the road comes to an end, was heard and gated by W3LUZ-7 the Luzerne County ARES Operations Center located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, at a distance of 3100 kilometers.
All of the HF RPR (robust packet radio) APRS activity across North America is on the top end of the 30 meter band on the frequency of 10.147.30 MHz., the main RPR frequency used by those of us using the SCS Tracker DSP/TNC that also can be used with a computer running APRSIS/32 allowing for keyboard messaging between RPR stations.
The lower right insert photo is taken from the raw file on aprs.fi for VE6AB-15, showing the different gateways that heard and gated me multiple times on this day.
You may notice that my beacon positions became more frequent as I made my way further west into the Bluerock Wildland. I initially was beaconing every 15 minutes when I headed west of Turner Valley, but when I entered the Bluerock Wildland Wilderness area I increased my beacon rate to every 5 minutes to make sure that I was being gated, as the terrain that I was travelling through got more rugged with my concern being that I might not be heard.
In the end it wasn't a concern as I was being heard and gated in to the APRS network just fine on this day as I explored the Bluerock Wildland wilderness area of southern Alberta.
Click on the photo for a closer look.....
What I was up to while out in this area on this day....
If you would like to read more about HF APRS RPR.....