Sunday, January 10, 2010

First WOTA of 2010

With temperatures below zero and everywhere covered in snow even at ground level, the last thing I feel like doing is going for a walk in the mountains with or without a radio. But some people do, the first Wainwrights On The Air (WOTA) activation of 2010 has already taken place.

Yesterday John G0TDM posted a WOTA spot for Ian M3WJZ who was doing a Summits On The Air (SOTA) activation of Blencathra. The WOTA server still has a bit of code in for sending spots as APRS text messages, and a message from WOTA immediately popped up on APRSISCE running on my HTC mobile phone sitting beside me to alert me to the activity. I switched on the radio and made a contact with Ian on the cold and windy top of Blencathra.

I put the APRS notification software in to the WOTA website a few months ago to test the viability of using APRS for WOTA activity notifications. I eventually decided that it was not worth persevering with as no-one in the area other than me had an APRS-equipped radio and even if they did, APRS coverage by RF was so poor that they would never receive the notifications, but I never got around to removing the code from the website. Having now seen how well it works when using an APRS client on a mobile phone I will go ahead and make this option available to all WOTA members. I think it will be very useful for Wainwright chasers to be able to be notified of activations when they are away from their computer, and it might encourage more APRS activity in the area - whether by radio or by phone - which will be useful and fun as you will be able to track where people are as they make their way up the mountains.
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