Using AllStar

Thank you Fred, W6BSD, for building and providing our AllStar node and providing this information on using in conjunction with Parachute Mobile.


Parachute Mobile for AllStar users

Parachute mobile is all about the fun of jumping out of a perfectly working airplane and sharing our thrill with our ham friends. Parachute Mobile is also about tinkering with electronics and experimenting. Over the years we went from simplex VHF contacts to HF, APRS, video, and digital communication. Our latest addition to the mix is AllStar. We have built an AllStar infrastructure to allow people around the world to make QSOs with our skydivers.

Here is what our AllStar infrastructure looks like:

If you want to have a QSO with a skydiver using AllStar, simply connect to node 40490.  During the parachute mission, we run a net on the parachute mission frequency. After you connect to the AllStar node, introduce yourself to Net Control.  Net Control will keep you informed of the status of the mission. He will entertain you with stories of previous missions. He will provide updates about the weather, wind and jump conditions at the jump site, and more importantly will give you an estimate for the next jump time.

When the skydiver is at the airplane door, ready to jump, listen carefully to Net Control. Before you can make a QSO, Net Control will talk to the jumper for a couple of security checks and as soon as the jumper is ready to make contacts he will give you the go ahead.

To make a QSO with the skydiver, wait for him to be ready. When you hear QRZ, just throw out your call sign. Please speak clearly: at 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in the air, with the wind noise, it can be hard to understand you. The jump time is short and there is no time for a ragchew during these QSOs. Once your call is in the log the skydiver will say QRZ and take the next call.

Everyone with access to an AllStar node is welcome to connect to our node (40490). You can be on a local repeater or a micro-node, it is fine with us as long as you follow a few rules:

  • Inform others on the repeater of what you are going to do. There is a lot of activity on our frequency and we don’t want people on the repeater being confused and asking questions during a jump. If that happens your node will be disconnected without any warning.
  • Before you connect, make sure that your node or repeater is not connected to a larger network. For example, people on the WinSystem will not appreciate the heavy traffic and commotion happening on our frequency during a jump.
  • On most AllStar repeaters the command *70 will tell you the local connection status and the command *71 will help you disconnect from other nodes. Check your repeater website to confirm these commands. If you follow these simple rules you should be able to make your QSO with our skydiver. We invite you to make a QSO for each jump. We send a QSL card with the picture specific to the jump you made the contact with.

Good luck to everyone. We are doing this for fun and want to share the fun with you.