While there are a few good mountaintop Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) digipeaters in northern New Hampshire and Vermont, there are gaps in local coverage — many roads and towns are in valleys, shadowed by high mountains on either side, blocking access to the digipeaters.
Thus, “fill-in” digipeaters are required, critical for support of large scale public events such as the Prouty Century Bike rides. For this event, the local Amateur Radio club deploys two dozen trackers, and employs several fill-in digipeaters for local use and access to the mountaintop machines.
A recently introduced, compact, all-in-one APRS unit (receiver, transmitter, and TNC) is easily incorporated in the fill-in digipeaters, easily transported by off highway recreational vehicles or backpack, and capable of operating for extended periods off the grid.
A solar powered digipeater can be employed for short term use as with our bike rides, or as a permanent installation. Here are a few considerations we factored into our systems.