2017 Ironman Lake Placid Bike Course

The Challenge

Have you been to Lake Placid, NY? A beautiful scenery from a post card. Mountains and pristine wilderness. Maybe that is some of the many challenges. There is a moratorium on placing equipment where it is needed the most – on the peaks. Simplex is next to impossible. APRS is “simplex” when the mountain-top digital does not exist.

So we were faced with the challenge of transporting APRS packets back to HQ. Goal – fish the packets out of RF and dump them into the internet (APRS-IS).




3 I-Gates were placed around the course at-

  • Horse Grounds – the Race HQ
  • Aid 2
  • Aid 5

The main reasons for Aid 2 and 5 simply is where Dave (N2KTO) and myself were located and could host the I-Gate.

We were told not to expect any cell or data coverage, but i reality had plenty of service to push the packets through, even when cell voice calls were difficult.

Each I-Gate consisted of a 20-40′ mast (see it above the sign in front of the trees?) with a drive-over foot or tripod.





The I-Gate / Digi

The N1ATP I-Gates are in a standard configuration of:

  • WX3in1 Digi/I-Gate
  • Yaesu FT2600m VHF Tranceiver
  • Samlex power supply (not used)
  • 35A/Hr AGM Battery



Data Connection


The data connection is via a router with built in cell data service (Verizon) and a pro-level network management. A cell antenna is also mounted on top of the antenna mast for weak signal.



APRS Trackers

They came in several formats from the high end Kenwood TM-D710 types to Byonics All in One Pelican plug and play to home cooked hybrid units. A few also beaconed from their cell-phone app which worked really well. We even “converted” hams on the fly to this method.

The Result


Although not all inclusive, numerous vehicles were tracked very successfully. It was amazing to see these resources move real time. 

It is still to be determined how much HQ felt they could rely on the information and to what level they used it.










Bike Aid 5 -45 miles & 90 miles


Weaknesses Identified

Although this last minute thrown together effort was a great success, there is always room for improvement. Some identified areas:

  • Need for Digital/I-Gate at the Ski Jump area to cover between Aid 1 and Keene/Aid 2
  • Ideal I-Gate would be Whiteface Mountain 

Cool Toys

Co-Located with the I-Gates (since there was data anyway) an Openspot or other DMR hotspot could easy provide a Talk Around system for local talk between the Aid Stations without the use of the main repeater. Nice for local techie talk “behind the scene” when way beyond simplex coverage.