Q: How and when did Parachute Mobile begin?
A: Click the link for the whole story https://parachutemobile.wordpress.com/about/
Q: When was the first Parachute Mobile mission?
A: September 19, 2008.
Q: Where have most of the missions been conducted from?
A: Bay Area Skydiving, Byron Airport, Bryon, CA. We have also completed two mission from Skydive Monterey, Marina, CA.
Q: What type of Airplane do they use?
A: King Air A90.
Q: At what altitude do the skydivers jump from?
A: 13,500 feet.
Q: How long do the skydivers stay in the air?
A: Once the jumper has left the plane he will deploy his parachute right away. This provides approximately 10 to 12 minutes of hang time to make QSO’s. When the jumper reaches 3,000 feet the QSO’s will end so that the jumper can prepare for his landing.
Q: Are the skydivers licensed amateur radio operators?
A: Yes, all those that make QSO’s are.
Q: Do you have to be a skydiver to be a member of the Parachute Mobile team?
A: No. In fact, of the 14 active members there are only 4 skydivers.
Q: What are the rolls of the team members?
A: Ground Support: This includes pre and post jumper prep and reviewing safety check lists. Managing ground and air-to-ground video streaming. Manifesting jumpers for each jump. Setup and monitoring APRS equipment. Logging and making website updates. Having fun!
Q: Do team members only work from the Drop Zone (DZ)?
A: Most do, however, when applicable, we activate Parachute Control, which is a mountain top location where a team member can better coordinated simplex traffic and act as an ad hoc Net Control during each jump. We also have team members assigned to run an information table during Pacificon, ARRL’s Pacific Division Convention, where we conduct a mission for that day.
Q: How many jumps do you typically make for each mission?
A: We try to make at least 3 and have completed as many as 5. We try and space them at approximately 60 to 90 minutes apart.
Q: Have you ever had to cancel a mission?
A: Unfortunately, yes. We cannot operate in the rain and if winds are too high we have to scrub the mission. We are also subject to jump delays. We have no control over the plane and on some occasions the plane will be placed on hold until there are enough skydivers to fill it.
Q: What is the QSO frequency?
A: QSO’s are made on 146.430 MHz simplex. QSTs are made throughout the day on various repeaters to keep listeners updated on estimated jump times. Check the home page for mission specific information and repeater frequencies.
Q: What is the QSO etiquette?
A: Wait for the Jumper to state QRZ and then speak slow and clear with your call sign. Our missions are not a contest and there will most likely be busted calls now and then. That’s OK, you can fix it later as described below.
Q: Will I receive a QSL card?
A: Absolutely! Make a contact, busted or not, and receive a one-of-a-kind mission specific QSL card. Even though we try our best to record the QSO’s from the air, we don’t always get them all, so if you made a contact please send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. Please indicate the jumper’s number, which jump it was, and an approximate time of the QSO. It may take a few weeks after the mission to generate the cards, but if you don’t receive one let us know.
Q: What gear is worn by the jumpers during a mission?
A: There are now two main equipment jump profiles: 2 meter simplex and SSB HF. In most cases we also incorporate APRS with bio-telemetry data that displays the jumper’s heart rate and blood oxygen level (SpO2). Click here for pictures of all our radio gear and equipment. https://parachutemobile.wordpress.com/equipment-gear/