Thursday, August 13, 2015

18th Annual Summer Gathering - Sept 11, 12 and 13 - 2015

-- QST QST - All APRS and Digital Radio enthusiasts --

18th Annual Summer Gathering near North Bend , WA Sept 11, 12 and 13th

Always the weekend after Labor Day.  Primary content is Saturday

This is a very social and educational event right here in the Pacific Northwest .

The Summer Gathering is great fun and a great opportunity to learn and practice just about anything you can do with a computer and your ham radio particularly focused on the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS)

Summer Gathering happens at Valley Camp: located near North Bend , Washington 10 minutes off of I-90 at exit 34. At the bottom of the Exit 34 ramp, turn left (north) and continue 1/2 mile past the convenience stores and truck stops and watch for the right turn onto SE Middle Fork Road (County Road sign says Valley Camp 2.2 miles). Continue to the "Y" and take the left on SE Middle Fork Road (lower road). Follow until you come to the stop sign. The entrance to the camp is straight ahead across the small intersection.  Ignore any signs about road closures/detours – if they are still happening, they are after the camp.

GPS Coordinates for the entrance of camp: 47.4680 -121.6808 (Don't forget the minus on the longitude or you'll end up in Mongolia !)  The camp call is WA7VC and is on APRS with that call.  Check it out on

The location is a beautiful camp with hot showers and a bunkhouse, tent camping or RV opportunities. Many folks arrive on Thursday or Friday for socializing. The presentations are on Saturday.  Contact Teena at  with your request for overnight accommodation.  Arrive for breakfast from 7:00 to 8:30. Presentations start at 9:00am.

The event runs on donations and we encourage you to shoot for $15 for the day or $25 for the overnight experience - there is a donation box at the event. If you donated what you would pay for your breakfast and other tasty meals, we would probably be in great shape. Please help us keep this event going for another 18 years!  This venue is made available to us at no charge but it cannot continue to happen without your participation and support.

Bring your thirst for knowledge, some warm clothing for the evenings, a chair and something soft to enhance your enjoyment of the picnic-table seats and some food and drink to eat and share. Steaks and burgers are most frequently consumed.  There are grills going for lunch and dinner and coffee early each day... Breakfast is 0700 to 0830 – try not to miss it.

Valley Camp is an incredibly beautiful place - lots of nature trails and birding opportunities for the family along the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River .  Elk and deer abound.

We’re still working on it, but here’s an idea of what the content may be this year – if you don’t see your favorite topic – propose a presentation on it – we are trying for a larger number of focused mini-talks with just enough time allotted for treatment of each topic and questions:

Getting Started with APRS - why do we use digital modes and what characteristics make them so effective – Curt Black – WR5J

SARTrack – New Zealand ’s Gift to the APRS, ARES and SAR Communities– Herb Gerhardt, KB7UVC and Friends…

Near Space Balloons and APRS Adventures - Paul Verhage, AF7HL

APRSIS - The Swiss-Army Knife of free Digital Software Ann Reeves, WA7ROS

APRS_Messenger - Toolkit for Digital Communication

Trackers and Systems on a Chip - Raspberry-Pi/Beagle-bone Black vs. Arduino – what platforms best enhance your use of APRS?  Small trackers and Big Tools  AP 510 APRS tracker

Sarguy Digital's New Products" including a ruggedized APRS Tracker and a nice Android App for coordinate translation on the quick and easy…

XASTIR – Wonderful APRS Software and the Best Reason Yet to Move Toward the Light that is Linux…

Recent use of FLDIGI-FLAMP – and RMSExpress August this year transporting data from the backcountry for 800 cyclists in RAMROD – (Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day) to the start/finish line.  FLDIGI with the Amateur Multicast Protocol and RMSExpress with WinLink2000 worldwide stations is certainly an effective emergency communications combination.  (We are encouraging folks to develop skill with these and other tools as we spool up to the Cascadia Rising exercise next spring

  West Seattle Grand Parade – APRS Testbed:  What are the best tools to track assets and activity for parade organizers?  Examples and Discussion – Curt Black, WR5J Ken Iverson, AB7X

D-RATS handles APRS data and nicely uses FLDIGI and its included modes for transport.  You don’t need any D-STAR equipment to use D-RATS for its functionality – lots of cool features.  If we talk about Dan’s work, we should mention CHIRP – so we will.

There will be excellent operating conditions for you to try HF - rigs, computers with lots of digital modes, interfaces and 3-element Triband antenna or some awesome wires in very tall trees…Lots of space to experiment with your next antenna project and excellent analysis tools…

There will still be free beer with every new digital mode you try...there are more than 120 modes inside FLDIGI alone…  Good Luck exploring those – or watching others try!

If there is interest, there will be a talk about Bats just before sunset Saturday – Not sports bats, but the one-third of earth’s  mammals flying ones …

There will be cheesy Sci-Fi Movies and popcorn late into Saturday Night thanks to Bill, WA7NWP..optional, but very fun...

Or you can just socialize and learn from your fellow hams is this near perfect venue.

Summer Gathering - Rules Of Engagement

Have FUN!   Try out new things!  Meet as many new people as possible!
Satisfy your Thirst For Knowledge!
YOU MUST HAVE A GOOD TIME - if at any time you are not having a good time
please find Curt Black - WR5J, - 206 755-4541c - and let him know what’s up and we will work to fix it…

Please meet your fellow participants.  If you don't know someone, go find
out what makes them tick - there is a treasure trove of interest and
experience here -make sure you check it all out

We would like to reserve the whole north side for presentations -
Please don't set up equipment on the north side  / please set up demos on
the south side tables only

Please socialize anytime, but during presentations, please move
conversations to the South Side with the Demos - we want everyone to be able
to hear our speakers and their presentations

If you have a QUESTION you would like answered during the Gathering, please:
1) write it out and put it on the Kiosk, and/or 2) bring it up during the
introductions, and/or 3) grab any of the presenters or other participants
anytime during the weekend - Don't leave without getting help or setting up future help.

Please DONATE to Valley Camp to keep this beautiful venue available to us.
The Mail Box for donations is on the railing of the main pavilion on the north side
cleverly labeled, "Donations"
We are hoping the day folks will help with $15 or $20 or more for the day (if you enjoyed the free breakfast, maybe add what that would cost in a restaurant) and $25 per night for overnight stays
Thom and Teena and the SG Team (Curt, Bill, Ann, Brian, Herb) Thank You!

If you are willing to act as a topic resource, please put your
interests/areas of expertise on your name tag
Questions:        Contact Thom Proehl, K7FZO  425 888-1852

Or Curt Black, WR5J,  206 755-4541

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