New Rules for APRS Field Day 2005

POSSIBLE BALLOON for APRS on Field Day 2005! Stay tuned. We may get a high altitude balloon launhced over the central USA for proper temporary digipeating on Field Day on a temporary frequency supporting the Field Day path of TEMPn-N! In fact, the more balloons and aircraft the better!

The ARRL Field Day rules make no practical sense and are open for all kinds of confusing interpretations. This page is intended to give one interpretation (right or wrong) so that at least we are all marching to the same tune for FD-2005.

APRS is a tactical-real-time-local digital communications network designed for rapid deployment in the field using come-as-you-are equipment for a LARGE number of simultaneous stations. APRS is PERFECT for Field Day with HUMAN operators at all stations. This is not at all what most APRS users are familiar with on a 24/7/365 basis.

To meet the spirit of Field Day, the APRS System on that Day must include one temporary and portable digi and be independent of the existing global APRS infrastructure on 144.39. Here are the 2005 ARRL rules governing Field Day:



Our APRS objective for 2005 will be to SET UP during Field Day, an AD-HOC digital communications system for communications with as many Temporary APRS FD stations as we can. This means QSY'ing everyone's home and mobile and portable stations to an independent general purpose packet channel (145.01?), setting up at least one portable digi, and operating using the path of TEMP7-7 or combinations of explicit DIGI callsigns if you have to use a hop through a non-TEMPn-N digi). The universal Field Day PATH will be TEMPn-N and of course EXPLICIT DIGI CALLS. On Field Day, set all stations, both home, digis, mobile and portable to digipeat and make sure they have a 10 minute beacon going 2 hops showing whether they support TEMPn-N or not (THIS IIS VERY IMPORTANT. USERS MUST KNOW WHAT A DIGI CAN DO). If they have no UITRACE support, then set the alias to RELAY, but be sure to say in the BTEXT (RELAY ONLY). If your TNC digi does have UITRACE, then set UITRACE to support TEMPn-N routing with the command UITRACE TEMP,28. This UITRACE parameter of TEMP lets users use the path of TEMPn-N for maximum range. The "28" just prevents endless loops by requiring at least 28 seconds between packets.

USING A D700 FOR A PORTABLE DIGI: The D700 mobile makes an excellent digi, but to activate the UITRACE parameter for FIELD DAY, you must use a PC via the serial port and set "UITRACE TEMP". You don't add the "28" because that is already included as the default in the UICHECK 28 parameter. The radio will remember these settings. Also set HID off to prevent wasted packets. But since we can use TEMPn-N in the future, there won't be any need to change this later. Thus, after Field Day, it won't hurt to keep this TEMPn-N all the rest of the year!)

PLANNING and ALERTING All Operators:
To meet these objectives, the following steps are recommended in your area to alert all APRS operators to this event and the procedures and let us see what everyone is planning.

  • Set an OBJECT on normal APRS now until Field Day showing your station using the SSID of -FD and "camping" symbol
  • Also give it the comment text saying something like "FD on 145.01 using TEMPn-N"
  • These OBEJCTS will help everyone else in their pre-FD planning. See them on the map or on FINDU.COM

    Next as the big day approaches, someone in your area should put out some BULLETINS alerting all those APRS users that are not aware of this event. These bulletins inform everyone of the special Field Day frequency of 145.01 and the use of TEMPn-N temporary digis.

  • . . BLN1: For FD setup temp/portable DIGI on 145.01 with UITRACE set to TEMP,20.
  • . . BLN2: For simple TNC's just set MYALIAS to RELAY
  • . . BLN3: For APRS-FD:
  • . . BLN4: QSY ur home and mobile APRS FD to 145.01 and use TEMPn-N

    With the above preparations and bulletins in place, then, here are the operating suggestions for Field Day itself.

  • Set your Home and mobile and Portable/temp digi stations to operate on 145.01
  • If your Home or Portable/Digi TNC' have good coverage and are capable of UITRACE then:
    . . Set UITRACE to support TEMPn-N. Also set UIDIGI aliases to RELAY
    . . Set your digi BText to beacon every 10 minutes: !DDMM.hhNFDDDMM.hhW# FD digi using TEMPn-N [or RELAY only]
    . . Set the unproto path to APRSFD VIA TEMP3-3 and set beacon rate to once every 10 minutes.
  • Park your D700 on a hill with UITRACE set to support TEMPn-N
  • Your Home station if it is being used for Field Day also makes an excellent UITRACE DIGI
  • OPERATE using the path of VIA TEMPn-N (Keep N small for local QSOs) OR use explicit DIGI hops by callsign
  • Run all 24 hours. Stations come and go. Get them when they appear. Let your station support them.

    For your reference, here are the APRSSIG emails that lead to this attempted plan for FD 2004 but which was abandoned the day before FD, because the existing FD rules for 2004 were hopelessly contradicting and useless:

    APRS for Field Day using UITRACE FDn-N routing
    APRS for Field Day using Home Stations
    APRS for Field Day sharing digipeaters
    APRS for Field Day using 145.01 for QRM free operations
    APRS FD 2004 reverts to 144.39 due to ambiguous rules

    Begin now to get the rules changed for 2006! .

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