North Country Hams Fill The Gaps

The North Country’s Solar Powered APRS Digipeaters
– Courtesy ARRL ARES E-Letter, Rick Palm K1CE, Editor

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.

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