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lowracer

Cheapest Way To Make A Mobile Cache?

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It's my understanding that this site will approve a moving/travelling cache if it's the kind where the cache updates the coordinates automatically, like you have an Ammo can bolted to your vehicle's rear bumper, and you have a GPS unit that talks to an HT and packet radio network to continuously update the vehicle's coords to the website; anyone doing this and if so, what's the cheapest way to go?

 

Your answer has to be in the form of a single run-on sentence...

:huh:

 

-n5olm

Edited by lowracer

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Clayjar did this earlier this summer.

 

He would be a good source for info on the logistics.

 

www.clayjar.com

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A cheapie GPS receiver outputting NMEA data to a TinyTrak unit, which is in turn connected to a used radio tuned to the APRS frequency can do the job, all for a reasonable amount of cash outlay, provided you are set up to be relayed by the digipeaters that cover the area you expect to be driving around in, in a way that will allow your coordinates to be accessed via www.findu.com.

(Sorry I didn't include more details - I had to put a period in there eventually) :huh:

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Thanks. That TinyTrak 3 looks like it would do the job. So it looks like for about a hundred bucks, I can outfit my minivan as a moving cache, including bolting an ammo can under the rear bumper and filling it with great swag. I already have a GPS unit and an altoids tin.

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Clayjar's was a moving event, and it was updated manually by a team of people he called in coords to as he traveled.

 

There is only one such auto-updating moving cache I know of, and it was approved and archived long before the ban on moving caches.

This is the cache, and this was the thread discussing it.

I would suggest discussing this with your local cache reviewer before puttting much work into it, since some of the concerns about moving caches in general may still apply depending on where you place the cache.

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FYI: My TT3 went together in about 15 minutes - maybe an hour total including the cabling. Took me a lot longer to get it on the air properly though, because I was reluctant to put a signal out there before I knew what I was doing. It wasn't all that easy to find someone who both knew much about APRS and was willing to share that information. :huh:

 

Now that I've got the "testbed" configuration set up and running smoothly, I need to work up the energy to finalize the installation so it can just sort of "be" in my car without me having to think about it at all.

 

Edit: I should add that the delay in getting it on the air for real wasn't any fault of the unit or its design; it worked beautifully the first time I applied power to it. The trouble was my reluctance to transmit a signal into the network before I had a firm grasp on everything I was doing with it. It was paranoia, not problems.

Edited by Seamus

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I'm playing around with a similar setup using:

 

OEM style GPS board

Tiny Trak 3

Motorola Radius SM50 (The link is for the UHF version, mine is the VHF version.)

 

I also bought an active GPS antenna for the reciever for about $30 shipped. I plan on doing this to play around with APRS but it may spill over into mobile caching if it all works out.

 

The links up there are just examples, but to give you an idea, I spent ~$20 on the gps board, $30 on the antenna, the radio I found at the swap meet for $25 and the tink Trak is about $40 or so? I still need to asemble everything and test it, but I think it will work out.

 

Just make sure you have a valid FCC license, as transmitting without one is a big no no.

 

-Jason

KG6TWI

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Just a thought on implementing a mobile cache 'neatly'.... Best Buy is selling the Garmin eTrex at $50 (probably very few left now). Add a Pocket Tracker & a suitable cable to connect them and you are set...

 

;)

Edited by powderpig

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Just a thought on implementing a mobile cache 'neatly'.... Best Buy is selling the Garmin eTrex at $50 (probably very few left now). Add a Pocket Tracker & a suitable cable to connect them and you are set...

 

:P

Yea, but the eTrex needs to be turned on before it will send data.

 

However, a Motorola Oncore starts spitting out data as soon as it sees power. The new Oncore FS is like the size of a quarter too!

You can find the older oncores on eBay for pretty cheap.

 

Add a Tink Trak and a VHF HT and your set.

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I put together a small APRS transmitter last year and strapped it to an RC helicopter. The system included a Delorme GPSr w/WAAS, a tiny track TNC and a 2 meter transmitter from Ramsey Electronics. I took the yellow plastic cover off the Delorme and the tiny track and packed the system into a nice small Radio Shack kit box. It all runs off of a 9v rechargable battery. The Delorme GPSr was on sale at Best Buy for about $100. To turn the system on all I have to do is push a toggle switch that turns all the components on at the same time. The nice thing about the Delorme is that it starts sending data as soon as it gets power to it.

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There is only one such auto-updating moving cache I know of, and it was approved and archived long before the ban on moving caches.

BAN on moving cashes? When did this come about and what concerns?

 

I'm a ham operator who has my home address published on a public federal website at my asking.

 

I created the Cashe

 

I'm the one driving around.

 

I see no concerns that would not be out there in everyday life. If you are talking with dealing with lids that jam repeaters coming around and messing with my truck thats the risk I'm taking by doing this.

 

I had thought of just turning on a special callsign event station for hamfests and other events. Do a QSL SWL card exchange cashe. You only get the smiley if you send in a QSL or SWL type card. (It could be any 3 x 5 card)

 

Lets see the details of this ban. I saw nothing about it in the threads you posted.

 

K4RJJ

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Moving caches were banned a couple of years ago. There are still a few around that were grandrathred in. Believe me, I got my pee-pee spanked when I tried to do a Lewis and Clark cache that would start at Omaha and send micros out along a set of predetermined axes. All the micros were barred immediately and the mother cache wouldn't be allowed until I could assure the approver that I had physically removed the micros from the cache. Wasn't even good enough to simply change their mission statement.

 

The rationale is that moving caches would get put on property that didn't fit the rules of the site. Why they would ban your van from being a cache is beyond me. One thing I have learned though, is that while TPTB are very slow to act in many areas, once they do, they get very stuck in their ways about it. I would use your idea for a fox hunt, or a APRS geocache hunt at an event.

 

This could be the APRS version of a ballloonist game called Hare and Hounds. If you want to make it a geocache, then try the N site.

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Moving caches were banned a couple of years ago. There are still a few around that were grandrathred in. Believe me, I got my pee-pee spanked when I tried to do a Lewis and Clark cache that would start at Omaha and send micros out along a set of predetermined axes. All the micros were barred immediately and the mother cache wouldn't be allowed until I could assure the approver that I had physically removed the micros from the cache. Wasn't even good enough to simply change their mission statement.

 

The rationale is that moving caches would get put on property that didn't fit the rules of the site. Why they would ban your van from being a cache is beyond me. One thing I have learned though, is that while TPTB are very slow to act in many areas, once they do, they get very stuck in their ways about it. I would use your idea for a fox hunt, or a APRS geocache hunt at an event.

 

This could be the APRS version of a ballloonist game called Hare and Hounds. If you want to make it a geocache, then try the N site.

Moving Cache vs. APRS Cache.

 

A moving cache is picked up and moved by a person to another location, then hopefully the cache page is updated with the correct coords. (Not to mention the problems of having placed a cache that doens't need to be approved to be seen on the cache search pages)

 

An APRS cache is typically mounted to a vehicle with a GPSr and a Ham radio. It transmits its current position to a local repeater that updates a web page automagically.

You can find the current location of an APRS station by visiting www.findu.com and using the various links and the stations license ID.

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Bought a large ammo can that latches tight. As soon as I get it bolted in and a tracker on board I'll submit the cache and we shall see. I need to get some stickers for the can so if I'm pulled over I'm not treated like a possible threat. The can is going to be a new color also.

 

Watch this space for developments...

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I'll be interested in seeing the results (and if it'll even get approved <_<) Good Luck!

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