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Packet Radio Today

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by N1QWI, Jun 26, 2016.

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  1. N1QWI

    N1QWI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi folks,

    Back in the late 90's, I used to run an Alinco DR-1200t with a KPC-3 TNC on 2 meter packet. I still have the equipment but have forgotten much about how the software worked (I recall using ax.25 and JNOS but that's it). I tried to get my newer computer to use the old ax.25 software but seemed unable to really make any contacts with BBS's.

    Can someone give me a quick rundown of what packet radio is like today and if it's even really still being used? Obviously 1200 baud is a snail's pace by today's standards, but I'd be curious to know if my KPC-3 can be somehow modified to work with whatever one does today on packet.

    Thanks es 73,
  2. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
    KB0MNM likes this.
  3. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The biggest use of packet today is Winlink for VHF/HF emergency message handling, especially ARES. Most people use virtual TNC emulators that are available as freeware, AWG is prominent.

    There are still small pockets of traditional packet usage around the country for general purposes.

    The two factors that killed packet were: Insufficient speed, inability to manage/control the network.
  4. KU7PDX

    KU7PDX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Packet radio is certainly alive and well here in my area, but as W9GB & KB4QAA note, packet radio has gone away from the traditional BBS applications of the past and moved on to APRS and Winlink.

    Right now, while we seem to have plenty of APRS iGates and Winlink gateways, digipeaters to connect users to them are few and far between. When people moved away from packet BBSes, so did most of the digipeaters people used too and now we're trying to fill in areas again.
  5. K6MFW

    K6MFW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recommend Outpost Packet Message Manager written by Jim Oberhofer, KN6PE, available at It takes the pain out of packet where you can send and read packet messages from BBSes, or setup to send direct (I haven't done the latter). Outpost also has direct terminal to interact directly, sometimes I use this to observe packet traffic directly and also has logger ability.

    APRS is very active, in my area 144.390 is basically overloaded as so many APRS stations (including frequent transmissions by me!) but some use different frequencies for specific events. i.e. Parachute Mobile use APRS packet to send position data along with biometrics of jumper.

    APRS is a worldwide activity with hams around the globe with I-gate stations so you follow things like the K6RPT-12 balloon launched from San Jose last month and last data point was from China on July 1 (probably over Pacific Ocean someplace),!call=K6RPT-12

    Another fun program is APRSISCE, I use it to watch local APRS actitivies.

    Attached Files:

  6. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Days of Packet
    Somewhere around 1990 a friend tried to get me into packet, got me an AEA packet box and I even hooked it to a spare 2M FM radio I had.
    It took me a while to learn all the control function protocol and get on the air but I made one Keyboard QSO with a local and then NOTHING else. I did monitor page after page of what seemed to be gibberish of protocol language ,,Did not make much sense to me at the time.
    I just could not find any reason to have Packet !
  7. VE3CLG

    VE3CLG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes back in 1990 to 2000 was many packet stations all over. There is not to many on the air any more.
    I still use a gateway here just for fun. No traffic like the good old days.
    Running winlink fbb xnet=uronode all on linux .
    Just like to keep packet a live ha ha .
  8. KD4MOJ

    KD4MOJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Forgot The Internet... that's what killed it in these parts...

    KA0HCP likes this.
  9. VE3CLG

    VE3CLG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes we had fun back then. Well Internet killed .But for many of us still is fun to run IP/TCP and vhf/hf
  10. KD4MOJ

    KD4MOJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Back in the 90's we probably had 15 or so regular packet users, 3 or 4 BBS'. Now it's down to 2 of us on packet (Not counting APRS) . Mainly VHF winlink.


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