I took the kayak out on Hermit Lake today. It was beautiful. I worked Missouri, Rhode Island, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia… all with a d-star handie talkie.
It was 70F and sunny, and I was ready for my first outing to Hermit Lake. I brought a d-star setup packed in a bright yellow Pelican case. It contains a Raspberry Pi computer, a battery, a DVAP (digital voice access point) and a MiFi card. I also had the Icom ID-51 handie. This setup gives me access to the world-wide d-star network.
As soon as I left the shore I started working stations all over the country. I was connected to reflector 30C which is in Atlanta. A reflector is a collection of repeaters. Today 30C may have had 60 users. Making contacts is easy. When I started out, KB6RRX in Georgia was talking with WJ4X in South Carolina. I joined in and explained that I was out in Hermit Lake in a Kayak. Adam, WJ4X looked me up on http://www.aprs.fi. He could see my GPS track on the lake. Unfortunately, I forgot to change the hiking icon to a boat.
The lake was wonderful! As I was paddling along, a large loon popped up barely 20 feet from me. He didn’t seem worried about my paddling by. I floated past islands and coves where turtles basked in the sun on half sunken logs.
Not far away a large Canada goose veered away to the south of me. As I floated through the quiet water, I chatted with Jamie, K4OEY in Alabama. Then I had a call from Mike W4MPL in Orlando. Turns out we both went to the same college. A few minutes later I was chatting with Tony AD0DQ out in Missouri.
As I neared the shore I heard Barry N1TOQ in Rhode Island send his ID. I returned the call and we chatted for a few minutes. He also operates d-star while /MM and wanted to know the details of my setup.
Within the next 10 days our club is putting up a d-star repeater in the area. Next time I go kayaking, I won’t need the pelican case full of equipment. I’ll just use the repeater.