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  • Ham the Planet! - Amateur radio event

    *** Update
    Ham radio demonstration / get together will be part of the Toxic BBQ on Thursday evening, see reply post below for details
    @DefconRepeater

    DEFCON REPEATER
    Freq: 446.050 (- 5mhz) (TX 446.050 RX 441.050)
    PL Tone:123.0

    DEFCON APRS IGATE/DIGIPEATER
    441.850



    I am poking around at the idea of hosting a Ham the Planet / HamCon event either in the las vegas area or maybe part of the wireless village if appropriate.


    Event would include:
    • 24 hour ham radio contest (or simply a net)- no license required for operators, using station license. A contest is where remote/foreign stations try to contact a station at a special event or location.
    • Antenna building - twin lead j-pole antennas with or HF wire dipole. Small $2 purchase for parts for j-pole or $30 for dipole.
    This event would accomplish:
    • Get those who got their ticket at previous cons or personally on the air through operating a station for the contest. Getting on the air can be a great barrier for some, as there is experience, equipment or money required.
    • Get those who have or dont have their tickets a little hands-on work with creating their own antenna. This antenna will allow those without a license the ability to listen to distant repeaters and those with their license the ability to talk to distant repeaters 60+ miles away with crystal clear audio.
    • Allow fellow hams to gather and geek out.
    Gotchas
    • Space - need a space to meet. The wireless village or a nearby park, such as the one used for the Toxic BBQ. If antennas and stations are local, this is a problem, as each antenna needs a 75ft radius to operate well. This can be mitigated by using compact antennas or getting creative. Another solution is to use remote stations, connected via internet or wireless to a remote site in the vegas area. Everything would be tested months ahead of time. *I operated from the top of the Flamingo parking garage(mobile rig) last year with great responses.
    • Stations - ham radio stations are expensive. I do have radios and antennas local hams have donated and are ready to go.
    • Awareness - there are lots of cool things at defcon, sadly people dont always know about them. It would take work to get an event page up, and keep everybody informed of changes to the event
    • Legal stuff - research of local rules / ordinances regarding amateur radio operation in the las vegas area / casino properties.
    • Help - need some hams or people with experience to help out with either setup, contesting stations or antenna / soldering stations. Volunteers would receive warm feelings inside and pat on the back.
    There were some cool things last year that caught my eye, such as the fox hunt with transmitters hidden throughout the hotel. I would like to expand this, as there was not much more. There were some hams talking on mobiles and handhelds, I would like to maybe do a net or something similar, again to get people on the air.

    I am willing to donate time, money, equipment and other resources necessary to get this going. I am sure there are other hams attending or local clubs which may want to pitch in. I live in the area a few hours from Las Vegas and would be able to plan and test everything locally to ensure a smooth event.

    Is this something that you find interesting / something that should get off the ground, or not enough interest yet?

    Edit: Maybe we'll start more...organically. Ill either attend the toxic BBQ and bring some ham radio equipment to play with or be up on top of the parking garage like last year with HF and VHF/UHF gear to play with for anyone interested. Thinking I over complicated things, just love the con and love ham radio :)
    Last edited by cedarboy; July 26, 2017, 11:25.

  • #2
    I would be interested. I got my Ham license a couple years ago at Defcon and upgrade it this last year, but still haven't made first contact so meeting some people who I have more n common with may make it easier. Of course, my interest in ham is that I live in earthquake country so its a about having an emergency communication system.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd like to help. Both event ideas sound good and could be scaled depending on interest and resources. Got my tech at Defcon a few years ago and upgraded earlier this year. I've attended some field days and worked a couple public service events. Also, I plan to be in Las Vegas at least a day early.

      Comment


      • #4
        See if there are plans for a Wireless Village, and see if they are open to supporting this with space. If not, then consider applying on your own with the CVE (Contests, Villages Events) using the procedure that they will announce on how to apply.

        As for issues with contests:
        * Running a wireless contest in the convention space with equipment is likely do-able. Do not run your contest in any part of the casino space, or you risk the wrath of casino security, and DEF CON can't intercede on your behalf.
        * If you plan to run a contest in the DEF CON space, it would be good to get some approval and guidance on things to avoid, and suggestions to include.

        We have had many kinds of wireless contests at DEF CON:
        * War Driving
        * Fox/Hound
        * RFID snarfing
        * BlueTooth snarfing
        * WiFi Shoot-out
        * (more)

        Many of the people affiliated with the Wireless village have a lot of experience with all of these contests and more. Their experience could make it easier to have your contest run smoothly. Make contact with them.

        HTH,
        -Cot

        Comment


        • #5
          Oh wow, I guess there seems to be at least a bit of interest. I will see what scale we can make work for something like this. If we did an HF or VHF contest it would be with remote gear accessed via the interwebs or a remote VHF link to Mt. Potosi where I already have gear, so no policies / regs to deal with. This could be very fun, just need to continue to gauge interest and see what happens.Thanks for the input CotMan. Hopefully village space is a bit bigger this year, havnt seen the layout yet.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am very interest and willing to help. I haven't looked yet, but want to see if there are peaks I can activate for SOTA while there and wanted to invite others to join to either learn and/or join me to activate the peak(s). Good way to learn how to make antennas for home or portable operations and to get others on the air.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by E1nstein View Post
              I am very interest and willing to help. I haven't looked yet, but want to see if there are peaks I can activate for SOTA while there and wanted to invite others to join to either learn and/or join me to activate the peak(s). Good way to learn how to make antennas for home or portable operations and to get others on the air.
              Mt Potosi may count for a SOTA activation. Mt Charleston to the north would be another fun one, but cant just drive to the top like Potosi.

              So far im planning on leeching off the Toxic BBQ because of its outdoor venue at the park to do meet up and maybe operate some HF. I will also be operating on top of the Caesars parking garage, with a mobile setup, there shouldnt be anything for them to complain about, or even see. If i can get my controller working I may also setup a small repeater, just not 100% sure I want to subject the controller to the wrath of the con.

              Current con repeater frequency: 446.050 (-) PL 123.0
              I will try and get some fun DTMF codes and maybe tie it into some other projects. I will also be setting up an APRS node/igate on 441.850
              I chose these frequencies from the Nevada band plan, they may change when I get a hold of the coordinator.
              Last edited by cedarboy; June 22, 2017, 10:51.

              Comment


              • #8
                Its decided! If you are in the Las Vegas by Thursday evening, come operate with me at the Toxic BBQ! I got with one of the organizers and they are happy to have the hams included in the BBQ.

                Toxic BBQ Post
                "Toxic BBQ will be held on Thursday afternoon, 7/27, at Sunset Park Pavilion F from 16:00 to 22:00. (36.0636, -115.1178)"
                https://forum.defcon.org/forum/defco...c-bbq-for-dc25

                Come eat some food and take a look at the demos of ham radio equipment that I will set up for everyone's enjoyment.

                I will be showing off a few things:

                Worldwide propagation via WSPR/WSPRnet - this shows who can see us / who we can see from the radio on a map.
                HF voice operation
                APRS (GPS meets ham radio)
                Cool, portable antennas which ill set up.
                Flightaware/Pi

                Find a ride to the park

                I will also be operating (less conspicuously from the top of the Ceasars parking garage) that evening and everyday during the con.



                DEFCON REPEATER
                Freq: 446.050 (- 5mhz) (input 441.050 output 446.050)
                PL Tone:123.0

                DEFCON APRS IGATE/DIGIPEATER
                441.850
                Last edited by cedarboy; July 16, 2017, 15:30.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This sounds great. Will there be any exams given?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is the Defcon repeater actually at Defcon, or is it somewhere else and just purposed for the event? Also, when will it be available? I'll be arriving in Vegas tomorrow around lunchtime from Canada and will have a dual band 2m/70cm analog handheld as well as a UHF DMR handheld with me.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DotNM View Post
                      Is the Defcon repeater actually at Defcon, or is it somewhere else and just purposed for the event? Also, when will it be available? I'll be arriving in Vegas tomorrow around lunchtime from Canada and will have a dual band 2m/70cm analog handheld as well as a UHF DMR handheld with me.
                      The repeater will be at the actual event. I live an hour outside of LV and will be bringing it down Tuesday evening and should be online as soon as I get there. I will be doing some testing Tuesday night to adjust typical things like squelch, audio levels and power levels and then it should be in top shape for use for the remainder of the conference.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TCP_PUNK View Post
                        This sounds great. Will there be any exams given?
                        I don't think they are doing exams this year, I have not heard from DC408 or seen any posts about it sadly.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I see that the Voting Machine Hacking Village room is labeled for Friday "Ham Exams", but have seen no mention of when or even if. It's either not happening or will be very last minute can't find in the schedule.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Cedarbiy, This all sounds like fun. I will come by to the toxic bbq but might not be able to stay the whole time. Is this the first time that a repeater is setup? Let me know if you need help setting up at the bbq or with the repeater on tue? I will be in town on Monday and would love to see the setup. I will have my portable radio if you are ok with setting up another station at the bbq.

                            There are a ton of SOTA peaks near Vegas and most of them have not been activated. If you or anyone is interested in joining me (licensed or not) let me know. I plan to hike around 5 am every day to a different peak. Might activate near Hoover Dam on Tuesday sometime, but probably not at 5 am.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by E1nstein View Post
                              Cedarbiy, This all sounds like fun. I will come by to the toxic bbq but might not be able to stay the whole time. Is this the first time that a repeater is setup? Let me know if you need help setting up at the bbq or with the repeater on tue? I will be in town on Monday and would love to see the setup. I will have my portable radio if you are ok with setting up another station at the bbq.

                              There are a ton of SOTA peaks near Vegas and most of them have not been activated. If you or anyone is interested in joining me (licensed or not) let me know. I plan to hike around 5 am every day to a different peak. Might activate near Hoover Dam on Tuesday sometime, but probably not at 5 am.
                              I am not sure if there have been dedicated repeaters in the past, I only saw the extreme need for one last year, as the size and height of the venue took a tole on propagation. I think having the repeater up will help a lot with people running around on their Baofengs. I will have the repeater with me on Thursday at the BBQ, its really just a few commercial mobiles, a raspberry pi, some fans and battery/solar. I will try and clean it up to make it presentable haha. I will have plenty of battery capacity if anyone needs to plug into a powerpole or screw term. For now my only planned antenna is either a random end fed sloper or an inverted V.

                              As for SOTA, there are lots of peaks around, the rocks turn to lava in the afternoon, so your morning plan is wise. I wont be able to join you, but i'm sure someone else would.

                              Comment

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