My beloved hobby, the ham radio service. In this page, you'll learn more about who I am and what I do with my License.
What do I do with Ham Radio?
APRS: Automatic Packet/Position Reporting System. APRS is simply a network of Amateur Packet Radio systems and nodes set up to relay amateur packet transmissions. APRS is specifically designed to relay position, weather, and status data. This data is then received by another APRS station that can then "see" the other station's information. I run a TM-D700A hooked up to my Garmin eTrex Legend. The TM-D700A shows the heading, speed, direction, and distance away of the other stations. Every day I use APRS I learn more about it. It is a very fun experimental method of amateur communications. For more information about APRS, please visit my links page for some web sites dedicated to APRS.
Volunteering: This is what I do with my ham radio license. Good luck catching me on a local repeater any more, it rarely happens. Some of my fellow ham radio operators have tried to convince me to upgrade my license to general class. I have no interest in HF, so my only reason for upgrading would be to gain a little more respect from the ham radio community. At this time, even if I had a general license, I don't think I would even use the new privileges. I pretty much am exclusively on 2 meters, and 440. Most of the events I'm involved in are on 2 meters. I'm involved in the following activities:
John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon: This is a sled dog race in northeastern Minnesota that covers 450 miles, and runs 24 hours a day for up to 5 days. This is the best of emergency communications. Where else can you work an event of such magnitude. Ham Radio operators work at road crossings and checkpoints throughout the race and keep track of teams and officials as they move up the shore. The operators who work this race are very dedicated to the race, come back year after year, and many (including myself) take the week off of work, just to work the race. For this year, I'm the road crossing coordinator for the Beargrease Amateur Radio Coalition. For Beargrease operators or those who are further interested, click here for more info.
Twin Cities Marathon: This is a running marathon that covers 26 miles through Minneapolis and St Paul. It takes about 3-6 hours on a Saturday morning in September. The operations at this race are fairly relaxed most of the time but can be very exciting depending on runners. Operators have been credited with life saving efforts in facilitating emergency medical service response for critical runners. We radio in the first runners of each class and keep track of struggling runners throughout. There are thousands of runners and thousands of runners. Ham radio is an essential part of this race, yet it is not so serious that we can't have a good time.
New London to New Brighton Antique Car Run: This is a car run from the small town of New London in Central Minnesota through the country side and through Minneapolis to New Brighton, just north of Minneapolis. It is 125 miles of which 50 of it is worked by the Robinsdale Amateur Radio Club. This is a car run (not race) of cars manufactured from the late 1800's to 1915; essentially, horse-less carriages. Our job is to maintain communications throughout the race and keep an eye on cars that are having trouble. We maintain the communications of the tow trucks and direct them to where they are needed to assist vehicles. We also act as the sweep crew to keep an eye on the slower vehicles. Also, this car run is done rain or shine, so at times, it can be very interesting (especially because many of these cars to not have canopies).
Robinsdale Whiz Bang Days: Whiz bang days is a 3-day event that takes place in the summertime. It consists of many activities. The activities that ham radio operators work are the Friday night street dance, the Saturday morning 2 mile and 10k run, and the Sunday parade. This is a fun social event without too much responsibility. The street dance, we work security and keep track of the officials that put on the event. The run is similar to the Twin Cities Marathon, but much shorter, and is more gear toward recreation versus professionals. The parade involves mostly "behind the scenes" work. We assist in the staging of the parade vehicles, bands, etc., and ensuring the parade route is clear.
Skywarn: Most people know what skywarn is, so I probably don't need to go into too much detail. Essentially, skywarn spotters assist the national weather service with making observations of severe weather. We are certified spotters that are self-activating when needed. This is a potentially life saving service provided voluntarily by members of the Amateur community. I am very proud to be involved with the metro skywarn group.
From here, you can navigate to different pages within my web site. Click the appropriate link below..
John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon - This is how it all started. Check out my current Beargrease page.
Links Page - Ham radio links and more!