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Talking To Hams About Geocaching

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Hi, I'm fairly new to geocaching and am a ham radio operator. I think it would be a good idea to use geocaching as a subject for a ham club meeting. A lot of people we know get interested when you tell them you've been geocaching but don't know how to go about it. GPS units are the big thing now and can be used in other ventures such as hiking in the woods. We have used it and it has helped us out many a time. We've even tracked waypoints in the car on trips. Just thought I would put my two cents in! cponak@carolina.rr.com :huh:

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Good luck - I think you'll need it. I've had no success in getting any of my ham friends interested in the hobby. Get ready for the "What's the point?" type of questions. I hate to say it, but a lot of hams are either too lazy or their scope of interests so narrow there's no room for Geocaching. There are some amateurs into Geocaching but the hobbies aren't that similar.


73 de -.-. .-

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I have been asked to talk to our local Ham radio club about geocaching. Anyone do something like this? Any tips?

I did a program on GPS system and geocaching. Most people and hams know what GPS is but I started with the GPS system, how it works when it started, when selectivity was turned off. Then I talked about geocaching and some of the caches I did.


I believe one ham started geocaching after my talk.


If you are trying to convert people to it then I would advise against trying it but it you want to talk about another radio device that gives you enjoyment then do it.

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GPS has proved useful for local hams here. Several years ago there was a cross country run where hams manned the route and checkpoints. In a somewhat remote area of the race a runner fell and tumbled some distance down a steep hill and was seriously injured enough that the LifeFlight Helecopter was requested to remove him.


The area is heavily wooded and the rescue would have been difficult for the copter to locate. The Ham operator at that point on the course happed to have a GPS unit [ type/model unknown ]. He knew of a large enough space nearby where the copter could land. He went there, got the co-ords, and they were relayed to the copter. The pilot put them into the onboard GPS and was able to fly directly to the clearing and make his pickup. :o


Guess the only thing missing was smoke for the pilot to judge wind speed and direction.

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Thanks for the replies. I hadn't thought about how this helps get one familiar with map datums and such that may be of value with ARES or emergencies during races and such.


I will add some comments in about this aspect. I was going to talk about how geocaching gets you out into uncommonly used areas of the state which may ehance one's radio hobby (listening to new counties on VHF for county hunters, cool areas from which to HFPack or do portable QRP.

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A demonstration of GPS usage at a meeting is a good idea....tie it in with APRS...then, the next time your group goes to a Hamfest together, plan two or three caches right near the Hamfest. Get a couple of them to go with you. Once they do the first one, they just might get hooked...... worked for me, and now over half our group are 'cachers and we plan our Hamfest trips so that we have some caches to do, too.



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I have noticed that a person must have a general love for the outdoors to be interested in the hobby.. Most radio and techno geeks I know that are confined city dwellers aren't interested but anyone that enjoys exploring the outdoors and discovering new areas gets hooked on Geocaching immediately regardless of their interest in maps or GPS stuff. I have 2 buddies that hate my radio and techno nerd hobbies but love to go geocaching. So when I promote the hobby, I try to emphasize the great outdoors as an attraction and it seems to help weed out the non-believers.


I tried to do this on web page also... I've had several inquiries since I started the page. Just click the "Geocaching" Link :D


Mike K9DRX



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"How hard is a TinyTrak 3 to put together? I was thinking of getting one for myself and with this talk coming up, I thought that this might be a fun way of getting started with a little ARPS rig. Might be an interesting sidelight to the talk. "


Not hard at all. If you have basic soldering skills and can follow simple directions, you have it made. It will probably take longer to set it up and test it out than it will to make it, and neither of those tasks take too long, either. They are extremely reliable units, although I would strongly suggest getting the enclosure for it unless you have some way or idea of how to fabricate your own. Leaving it in the back of the vehicle without some protection from dust, dirt, moisture, etc. will cause problems with it, as several of us have found out.

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In June 2003 I planned an event cache to be concurrent with the ARRL field day. I thought the hams would get a chance to see geocaching in action and the geocaching group would see some really high speed CW operators in action. It was approved and I set up two caches for everyone to find. Then all HELL broke loose, a similar event cache was NOT approved on the east coast. The end result was my event cache was denied. I went ahead and had a unofficial event. However not one of my ham buddies was interested in looking for either cache. I did have several hams who are also geocachers look for the caches. Dick, W7WT

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I will be talking at the February meeting so I don't think I will try to put a cache out for people to find. I think I will go over GPS and WAAS as well as map sources. I will also go over the basics of geocaching and introduce the website and our local caching group.


Thanks for all of your input.

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If they really liked it you could consider actually going geocaching with the club. My school radio club went on a geocaching trip. We had convenient communication (HTs on simplex) and the electronics-minded people really liked the GPSrs. It was a lot of fun, and at least one person as continued caching independently.

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I have been asked to talk  to our local Ham radio club about geocaching.  Anyone do something like this?  Any tips?


Steak N Eggs (KF6VFH) and I (KF6VFI) did a presentation for our local club, the Del Norte ARC a few years ago. I printed up the information that I used:


GeoGadgets Presentation


Since that presentation, we were asked to do something similar for the Humboldt ARC. In that one, I made up a Power Point pres and burned it to a CD and used a laptop and projector to make the presentation. We also took along many complete caches, of many sizes, travel bugs and passed out a brochure. The coolest part was that I had asked the club President to inform the members before the meeting to bring their GPS's.


Well, we had a great turn out (40+ people - great for us), and it was a big hit. It didn't hurt that we'd recently put out a few caches in that area, too.


Since then, we've been invited to do the same thing for a Ham club in Santa Rosa, and the Humboldt group asked us to set up a table at this year's San Francisco ARRL Convention in Ferndale, California. Not only will we give demonstrations, pass out pamphlets and run the PP on a computer, but we are working with the folks who do the Fox Hunt to add a Geocaching twist to it.


If you will be in the area of Northern California on June 3 - 5, stop in and say hello. Bring your GPS. There will be prizes!


I would also like to know what others would like to see at such an event/presentation? Either to keep it Amateur-related, or to make it extra cool. Both work!



Lori Bennett-Tetrick - KF6VFI

President - Del Norte Amateur Radio Club


aka: RedwoodRed of The GeoGadgets Team


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