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Ham the Planet! - Amateur radio event

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  • cedarboy
    replied
    Thanks for all those that participated in the Toxic BBQ! Everything was amazing, met a bunch a cool people, with lots of cool stories and experience.

    Good Things:
    Toxic BBQ - lots of interested people, presentation of ARPS, WSPR and FlightAware were great
    Repeater - TX was great, could hear the repeater crystal clear from everywhere

    Bad Things - need to improve:
    Toxic BBQ - need to prep and test a bit more, had some issues with internet, which took all my setup time, preventing setup of some other demos.
    Repeater - RX sucked on the repeater. People could just not get into the thing. Tests showed that the antenna, coax, controller and radios were ok, but the duplexer could have migrated a bit, or simply the layout of the large property and just massive size of everything around could have affected reception from little 5 watt handhelds.

    Steps to improving
    Toxic BBQ - More refined presentation - refine the presentation a bit, maybe have multiple presenters at different stations, which people can visit. We had the tables and space to do it, just didn't separate duties out.

    Repeater - Distributed repeater system. This may require going DMR instead of analog if we want to use the same frequency for everything, or it could mean sticking with analog and just doing multiple receive nodes around the venue and surrounding hotels. coverage seemed to be lacking the most on the south side - Octavius tower and such. More research will go into this and a full scale test will be done. This year, a full scale test wasn't possible, as some equipment took a long time to get here and get tuned. A full test will help get the bugs out. Next year, placement of equipment will also need to be looked into. the mobile, car on the parking garage worked, but it was hard to keep an eye on power and dealing with security - trying to keep the thing from getting towed.

    Let me know your thoughts and comments for improvement on ham radio stuff at Defcon. If a distributed repeater system is in store for next year, I will need help from hams to deploy and test things before and during the con.

    Thanks again for everyones help.

    Leave a comment:


  • cedarboy
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • E1nstein
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • qumqats
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • cedarboy
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • cedarboy
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • DotNM
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • TCP_PUNK
    replied
    This sounds great. Will there be any exams given?

    Leave a comment:


  • cedarboy
    replied
    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, 16:30.

    Leave a comment:


  • cedarboy
    replied
    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, 11:51.

    Leave a comment:


  • E1nstein
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • cedarboy
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • TheCotMan
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • rogue.neutron
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • jives
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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