Introduction to Packet in Connecticut Chuck Rexroad AB1CR Betsey Doane K1EIC
Overall Agenda Session 1 – Introduction to Packet Session 2 – Introduction to Packet Networks Session 3 – Using the Flexnet network and FBB Bulletin Boards Session 4 – Proper Setup and Operation of Your Packet Station
Block Diagram of a User Packet Station 1200 bps packet To packet system “user” frequency
How Packet • TNC Owner’s Manual • Cable from Rig to TNC • Build or Buy? • MFJ and others make cables for most rigs and TNCs • Follow these startup steps: • Working Radio • Working Antenna • Working Computer • Computer talks to TNC okay • Listen to APRS (144.39) • Try to connect to local Node/BBS • What about Sound Card packet? • It works, but used TNCs are cheap and easier to use.
When to use Packet? • As often as possible for NTS and familiarization. • Communication Emergencies. • When is packet NTS and when is it ARES? • Does it matter? • ARES is mostly local and tactical when immediate communications are needed. • NTS is long-haul. • ARES can generate formal message traffic if necessary. • NTS packet operators may be asked come into the field to support ARES if necessary.
What about the Mailbox built into my TNC? • We recommend you use the FBB Bulletin Boards. These will take a message for you anytime from anywhere, regardless of whether your home station is up on packet at the time.
What About Other Digital Modes? • There are numerous other digital modes that have their place in emergency communications: • APRS – Good for locating vehicles/people in disaster areas. Good for short messages where 100% accuracy is not needed. • WinLink “Classic” – in use today by NTS. Good for long haul. • WinLink 2000 – in early stages • PSK31 – Great for HF communications where 100% accuracy is not needed. • AMTOR/PACTOR – Used primarily in WinLink classic. Could be used between two HF stations (such as Connecticut OEM and FEMA perhaps) • 802.11b – in early stages
What Should I do Now? • Get on Packet! • Use the CT Packet Quick Start Guide. • Send messages to other packet operators. • Get familiar with current Packet systems! • Send formal traffic to your DEC. • Stay on Packet! • Log on frequently. Look for bulletins, packet messages to you, reply to messages sent to you, etc. • Enjoy packet! • It is still the pre-eminent mode of digital communications for local emergency communications and will likely remain a major portion of emergency communications for the foreseeable future.
Soundcard Interfaces The advantages of rig blaster over a TNC: • Much cheaper • Can do many more modes (including EchoLink and the like) • Can do modes no one has thought of yet • Very easy to work with. (I think it is easier than a TNC.) • MixW2 is a great program for about $50 that does packet, PSK (both styles) and too many other modes for me to remember. That one program is all I use with my rigblaster. Get the levels right once and just go to it.
References / Web Sites for More Information Web Sites • APRS - http://www.tapr.org/tapr/html/gpsf.html • ARES – http://www.arrl.org • CT ARES – http://www.ctares.org • Packet Radio – http://www.tapr.org • RigBlaster – http://www.westmountainradio.com (PowerPole power connectors, too.) • WinLink – http://www.winlink.org Books • ARRL: APRS – Tracks, Maps, and Mobiles by Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU • ARRL: HF Digital Handbook by Steve Ford, WB8IMY • ARRL: Your Packet Companion by Steve Ford, WB8IMY
Web Sites for More Information on Packet Cables Web Sites with Information to Build Cables • http://www.packetradio.com/wiring.htm • http://www.packetradio.com/MICimages.html Web Sites with Information to Buy Cables • http://www.mfjenterprises.com/products.php?catid=23