Fm packet problem
I'm new to digital modes and ham radio in general. I've been trying to connect to a local digipeter using packet and I just can't seem to get it going. I've got a laptop running Ubuntu and I've tried digipan and hamscope. When I select other modes like psk31 or the cw decoder, it tries to decode and I've used YouTube videos and successfully recieved psk31.
When I try packet, it's like the computer doesn't hear anything. Unfortunately, I only have a 2 meter radio right now to mess with.
I was given an AEA packet controller and software by a well meaning friend.
I printed the 50 page manual off the software disc and spent a saturday reading it, spent sunday hooking up and setting all the dip switches and programmjing.
Then spent a few days trying to interpret all the cryptic gibberish printed on my monitor screen.
I finally connected with another local ham and got "Hi and goodbye" QSO.
What a monumental waste of my time !
I believe that Packet was mainly used for exchanging software programs for video games and such, at that time, I had no interest in that anyway.
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Be sure your rig is in SIMPLEX mode
Originally Posted by KF5PGT
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Packet was never used for exchange video game software. Mostly short messages. In it's sad decline most of the message traffic consisted of "joke of the day", recipe's and For Sale announcements.
VHF Digipeaters were meant to repeat Packet traffic only. Not any other mode that has 'digital' in it's description. There are APRS digipeaters, which again, are meant to repeat APRS format packets only.
If you want to play with other modes/formats, you need to do so in Simplex.
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Do you have some kind of TNC to decode the packet traffic? Your computer alone is not going to do it. You will either need an external TNC or a software TNC like AGW packet engine.
Originally Posted by KF5PGT
I think people have missed the obvious problem here: Hamscope and Digipan are designed for HF packet. VHF packet is different, and you can't use any of the multi-mode digital packages for VHF.
What you need is a TNC: either a hardware TNC or a software TNC like the AGW Packet Engine.
The TNC is really a packet modem with some smarts in it; it allows you to talk to digipeaters and to other packet stations. You connect the TNC to your computer via a serial port and to your radio via the audio cables. From there, it's a pretty simple matter to tune a packet frequency and connect to other stations.
However, what you'll probably find is the same thing I did: nobody is doing anything with packet these days other than APRS.
Many people first starting out in digital modes have a huge tendency to overdrive the audio and on FM this will cause you to overdeveate and go out of the pass-band of the far station receiver. FM packet is generally easy to get going but and it is a big but, there are many variable to consider like paclen which is the packet length and a variety of other timing factors. You need to know what the digipeater settings are for the one your trying to connect to. There are some good old standby numbers to start with and you might check with the local ops to see what they are for your are.
Enjoy as digipeating can be good and the repeater may have a mbx or mailbox you can get to use.
How do you connect your radio to your computer? Do you have a TNC in between? If not, you want to first configure soundmodem as a soundcard based
TNC where the computer does the work. The Ubuntu repositories contain soundmodem. When you run soundmodemcfg you will then be able to open
a window from the tools menu which will allow you to watch traffic going by. Best is to tune to 144.390 for APRS traffic as that's the easiest since digis don't
beacon that often and depending on the amount of traffic in your area you may have to wait a while .
Once that is done you can move forward from there. If you configure soundmodem in MKISS mode, you'll get a device soundmodem0 which you can use.
Hope this helps you on the right path. There's a bunch of info on the soundmodem wiki.
The easiest is to find yourself a cheap TNC and use that instead. They can be had for $20.