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Coast Watcher Event


WA2WMR
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I've been reading about coast watchers during WW2 and was wondering about some kind of event that was based on their activities. Most events (contests) seem to be oriented toward making as many QSOs as possible with and exchange of a minimal amount of information. The coast watchers reported on ship and plane movements, enemy positions, extent of enemy operations, etc. Suppose there were an event that was organized with preregistered participants who are given locations from which they were to obtain information (how many trucks in a particular truck stop, how many cars entered and left a park's parking lot since the last check in, etc) that are not the same. From time to time they are to check in with a central station and relay the information. My thoughts would be to do it over a large area such as a county or a state but that's just my preference - the logistics of doing it over a really large are might be prohibitive. Thoughts? 

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ELMER

Hey Lind.

Not convinced on the type of info you suggested on gathering, but DEFINITELY convinced on the merits of the concept writ large. I like it. An event based on 'information gathering and sharing'... But how... I don't have the answer.

This is not the answer, but it just came to mind as food for thought. I'm sure you remember the 'Day in the Life of...' series of books where x-number of photographers shot different locations on the same day. Not sure which was the first of the series, but they were great. We're kinda doing the same... sorta...

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I was thinking about the things the coast watchers would report. There were things like the progress the enemy was making with the airfield that eventually was Henderson field or troop landings on an island. I expect these would be routine messages. Similarly, number of cars or trucks in a rest area at a given time would be routine. Then there were the reports of aircraft coming in from, I believe, Rabaul to bomb Henderson field after the allies captured it and continued building. These would be emergency messages which conveyed information of an immediate nature. Perhaps a UPS or FedEx truck passing through a rest area or intersection. 

These items would take some brainstorming.

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ELMER
17 hours ago, WA2WMR said:

I was thinking about the things the coast watchers would report. There were things like the progress the enemy was making with the airfield that eventually was Henderson field or troop landings on an island. I expect these would be routine messages. Similarly, number of cars or trucks in a rest area at a given time would be routine. Then there were the reports of aircraft coming in from, I believe, Rabaul to bomb Henderson field after the allies captured it and continued building. These would be emergency messages which conveyed information of an immediate nature. Perhaps a UPS or FedEx truck passing through a rest area or intersection. 

These items would take some brainstorming.

I don’t have the answer, but the back of my tiny brain is, I think, looking for something that would combine fun with useful. Like I said, nothing comes to mind right now. 😵 Also, maybe your initial thoughts are the best. in all cases, to repeat myself, I think that you’re on to something…

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ELMER

I'll push this to the front page picks.

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1 hour ago, KW4GF said:

I think this is an interesting concept. A group can choose to observe items or movements that are key in their own areas.

What would you suggest for your area? Keep in mind that we need two types of things to observe - items that are relatively static but do change but not too much that keeping track would be problematic (cars passing through an intersection within the last 15 minutes). My thought about trucks in a rest stop are things that change but not at the same rate as cars. Then there would be something that would be analogous to enemy planes coming down from Rabaul which would have some urgency. My first thought was a police car, but using could create problems with the local law enforcement community. Hence the thought of messenger type trucks - FedEx, UPS, DHL, Amazon Prime etc.  

Any ideas on how many locations there should be. (I think it would be desirable to have two people per location)?

 

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ELMER

A thought comes to mind. How about instead of thinking 'what' to observe, we start with 'for what benefit' or 'for what purpose'? What is our data useful to/for?

Thoughts?

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I think that if I were involved in the work of cleaning up or counting flora and fauna, I would be a little annoyed if someone was claiming to be "involved" who was playing ham radio instead of working. Although counting flora and fauna without being associated with any organization could be an activity. In addition, if this is to be a one day or a weekend event, you would need to have a bunch of such organizations doing their thing all at the same time. That sounds a little complex. If it is kept ham radio and operators chose their reporting items it would be a lot simpler. (That's not to say that your suggestion couldn't be one of the "coast watcher's" reporting operation) What would you suggest for "incoming enemy bombers"?

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I like it. Only question is the probability of seeing them from a given location. I think the participants would need to decide what they wanted to observer based on such probabilities.

I just came across this (actually I went looking for something like it)

https://thelastcoastwatcher.wordpress.com/coastwatching-organization/

And then there is this:

http://www.arrl.org/news/behind-enemy-lines-an-amateur-radio-operator-rsquo-s-amazing-tale-of-bravery

 

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ELMER

Quick thought. The Coastwatchers (great article in the previous post, btw) looked out for anything that could be considered dangerous in times of war. Anything from an actual boatload of invading soldiers to suspicious lights. Similarly, in the early days, storm spotters looked out for storms to give people downwind notice. Where I grew up, our best weather indicator were my cousins who lived 30 miles upwind. If a storm was coming their way, we’d know about it and sure enough, batten down the hatches. Should we be looking for ‘fun’ stuff? Useless stuff? Useful stuff? Dangerous stuff? Just ‘tinkin’ out loud 🤗

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Well, if this is going to be an event, we would need to have something random controllable, so storms would be out. And if participants are going to be scattered around the state, it might best be left up to the participants to select what kind of stuff they would be observing. For example, since I am somewhat averse to traveling away from home, I might look toward counting birds at the feeder for routine stuff and the appearance of squirrels and/or chipmunks as the immediate action item. If it's useful, fine. If it's just fun, that's fine too. Dangerous stuff might present a scheduling problem. 

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ELMER
14 hours ago, WA2WMR said:

Well, if this is going to be an event, we would need to have something random controllable, so storms would be out. And if participants are going to be scattered around the state, it might best be left up to the participants to select what kind of stuff they would be observing. For example, since I am somewhat averse to traveling away from home, I might look toward counting birds at the feeder for routine stuff and the appearance of squirrels and/or chipmunks as the immediate action item. If it's useful, fine. If it's just fun, that's fine too. Dangerous stuff might present a scheduling problem. 

I’m actually in full agreement with you Lind. I just thought I’d tax our gray matter to see if we could come up with something useful(ish).

Going beyond what would be observed. How do you imagine it being ‘reported’? Also, I assume it’s just for fun and to compare each person counted and to share in our wonderment of that count.

Also, timeframe? Do you see us counting over an hour, a day, a week, …?

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I have been unable to find the date for the founding of the Coast Watchers or the decommissioning date. However, since they are credited with being involved in the invasion of Guadalcanal, perhaps the date should be held on or near August 7, the date the Marines landed.

Someone would need to be designated as "HQ" to receive reports on a scheduled basis with each station given a time (there would need to be a limit on the number of participants unless there were regional "HQ" stations that then reported to manin "HQ") Immediate action incidents would need to be reported on real time. 

Time frame would depend on number of participants. If only a few, then it would be assumed that there wasn't much interest and it would need to be kept short - 2 to 4 hrs. If a lot of participants would indicate serious interest and would be a whole day or even a weekend.

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ELMER

Something tells me that we are onto something. On my end, I will let it macerate for a few hours and then contribute. 

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Oh, one other thing. Since this is not a "hey, make some contacts" like Field Day or most other events (contests) or DXpeditions this would require participants to pre-register, even if only their call sign and what they are counting.

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