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Is Packet Radio Dead?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by K0LTZ, Dec 11, 2019.


Is packet radio dead?

  1. Yes

  2. No

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  1. VE7KNL

    VE7KNL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have a look at the Inland Empire VHF page. There's a map of Spokane area packet nodes that might help you out. I don't know if it reaches
  2. N4DBM

    N4DBM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, best of luck to you on that! It's been two months since I posted about the nodes, and we have double the activity that we had then. At the moment in central/Eastern NC, I have been fortunate enough to install five TheNet Plus 2.08B stand-alone nodes on 145.010 1200 baud. I am using the PacComm Tiny-2 TNC's, many of which are 30 years old. I have obtained several others from people who are no longer interested or have become silent keys. I am using Motorola CDM-1250 transceivers, which interface nicely into the TNC's with a perfect audio response to and from. I have done complete receive modem bias adjustments on the TCM3105 decoder/encoder chip on all the TNC's and adjusted the oscillator circuit for best 1200/2200 tones. Making those little adjustments really does help throughput.

    I guess including myself, my brother and my OM, we have maybe a dozen or so regular users who keyboard/keyboard each other and connect to PBBS to leave messages, etc. It's a lot of fun for me just as FT8 and DMR is for others.

    I am with you on the totally internet-free system. I have the capability of linking all those nodes together via microwave path, as I have microwave equipment with serial I/O at each site, but I really like the idea of doing it old school like we did years ago.

    Look forward to hearing what all you come up with in your area.

    73, N4DBM.
    N3RYB and K3XR like this.
  3. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's great. I admire the fact you are beyond the discussion stage and doing something proactive to get things going. I've had a station up and running a few times in the last several years but found the activity very much lacking in this area. Packet keyboard to keyboard and mailboxes are a fun way to operate.

    What are you using for software?
  4. N4DBM

    N4DBM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry for the late response. I am not using any software exactly, just the TNC and a dumb terminal emulator, like HyperTerminal or PuTTY. 30 years ago we were using REAL VT-100 terminals, like a Hewlett Packard HP2624B that took up the space of a small microwave oven. Since most laptops today don't have a real serial port, I stumbled upon some very nice Edgeport USB to serial adapters which work extremely well even at high baud rates between the TNC and PC.

    The PacComm Tiny-2 TNC's came with or without firmware back in the day. I have a few 27C256 chips with the original PacComm firmware that contains the TNC-2 operation plus the PMS (personal messaging system) which of course is like a BBS but without automatic forwarding capabilities (at least in my case). There are a few real BBS's still around, W4BFB in Charlotte, NC, still has probably one of the longest running BBS's in history. I think they are still using F6FBB software which was pretty much king back in the days, as this was one of the first BBS software programs that used compressed forwarding to send messages from BBS to BBS.

    Had I known then what I know now about audio frequency roll-off and calibration, I would have had a much better network. The CDM1250 radios I am using have filtered, low-level RX audio outputs and flat TX audio inputs which give a perfect sine wave on the tones you are trying to transmit. Keeping this consistent throughout the network makes for almost flawless station-to-station data flow without any retries. I really like it.

    73.. N4DBM.
    N3RYB and K3XR like this.

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