Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Geocaching for Dollars

Unfortunately Delaware and Maryland have a good cell phone infrastructure, but if you live down south where cellular reception isn't very good, you might be able to make some bucks geocaching.
A company called Space Data found a way to make money by repeatedly launching weather balloons with cellular transmitters called SkySites, and charging what must be astronomical fees for getting your cell-on in the boonies. These eye-in-the-sky cell towers hover between 70,000 and 100,000-feet and provide coverage for a 200-mile radius on Earth- but the darn things only stay aloft for 24 to 48 hours before freefalling to the ground (or tree, or lake, or Grand Canyon). Once a balloon hits terra firma, or something close, it radios its location back to its successor in the sky, which then relays the data to the SkySite website.
Skysite then puts a $60 bounty on their old grounded cellular units. They paid out $93,000 in bounties last year. The highest paid bounty hunter made $10,000.

Unfortunately you can't just pick these things up, you have to go through Skysite's bounty registration process which is pretty extensive. They don't want people fighting over the bounties. But if you live in the South, it might be fun to try to find one. It would help pay for the hiking trip at least.

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