APRS - 1200 Baud - AX.25

Our club owns and maintains a packet radio NODE, PBBS, Winlink RMS Gateway and an APRS iGate.
The stations are set up near Balsam Lake, WI..

APRS Digi 144.39 N9XH-4
APRS Digi 144.39 KC9NVV-3

January 17, 2013 - An APRS digi was added to Polk County. KC9NVV-3 is on the air from the old Air Force radar base near East Farmington. It is currently the site of the Association Retreat Center and hosts a 120 foot commercial tower. A commercial fiberglass antenna tuned for the 150 to 170 MHz band is in place. An MFJ tuner has been installed to reduce SWR. A TNC-X with the X-Digi option is being utilized along with a Motorola CM200 VHF mobile transceiver.
September 26, 2012 - Remounted the UHF Yagi antenna from the 8' mast on the fence to the 50' height on the tower. Joe KB3WYL did the tower climb. New LMR-400 coax was installed and hooked directly to the remote receive site receiver (control receiver). Antenna pointed 250 degrees (nearly due West) toward Taylors Falls. UHF packet transceiver hooked to duplexer for the Hustler G6-270 antenna. Now both packet systems, VHF & UHF use the same antenna.
November 23, 2011 - (Removed from service 9-5-13, now N9XH-4) An APRS iGATE was installed using N9CHA-4 as the call sign on 144.39. The installation resides along side the Winlink RMS node. Chris KC9NVV, Mark KC9GHQ and Greg N9CHA installed a Win2000 computer which was donated by Steve NØXC. The system is running the latest version of UI-View and is configured to "gate" local APRS users into the network. A Netgear FS105 5-port switch was also installed to allow internet access to both the Winlink RMS computer and the iGATE. An Icom IC-2AT FM HT is being used for the transceiver along with a TNC-X as the TNC. The iGATE is utilizing the VHF antenna mounted to the tower on top of the Government Center penthouse.
January 16, 2011 - A UHF beam antenna was installed and placed into service for the UHF link between the tower shack and the radio shack. The radio shack radio was changed from an Icom IC-2720 to a Kenwood TM-V7. This radio was donated by Bud KB9ZAZ's estate.
July 23, 2010 - Both Alinco radios and KAM XL TNC are powered by the MSR2000 Repeater power supply and battery backup. The DC power distribution panel, RigRunner 4002, is connected directly to the 90 Amp/Hr battery terminals. Should a power failure occur, the packet system will continue to operate. (The N9XH-10 APRS equipment is also powered from this DC power source.) The Astron 20 amp supply has been disconnected but remains at the tower shack on stand-by if needed.
June 23, 2010 - (UHF Port removed from service 8-9-13) A KAM XL Dual-Port TNC was placed into service along with VHF and UHF Alinco transceivers. Both VHF and UHF are operating on AX.25 1200 baud. Cross connects between the ports on the TNC are now possible. It was determined the most efficient use of equipment and spectrum was to install a dual-port TNC so that during communication events, an operator in the PCARA Ham Shack could easily access the N9XH packet network without causing possible interference to a control operator on 2 meters. The UHF link into the network eliminates the potential interference and makes data through-put sustainable.
Are you just starting out in packet radio and have questions? The information found on Larry Kenney's WB9LOZ site might be of interest to you.

Digital Notes - Mark KC9GHQ (WM9E sk)

Let's Enjoy This Stuff!
I'd like to preach about a few ways to DO packet as sometimes so much
stuff goes past us in emails, we don't always have a chance to digest  it.
I've heard comments from some that say to me i that i need to try to
explain some stuff. So here goes... There are a few ways to setup a packet station.

One way is to just hook a TNC to a radio and computer with a simple
terminal program such as Hyper terminal, Winpack, Outpost, etc. This works fine if you ONLY use TERMINAL programs on your TNC. IF you want to use Winlink programs WHICH WE WANT YOU TO!!! (RMS Packet,Paclink,Airmail) also, that gets a bit more complicated.

You see, Winlink programs are a different animal. They are fancy high
level programs that, when they are started up on your computer, go into
your TNC and start changing stuff. That is what the .INI files in each
program are for. These programs change your TNC from TERMINAL mode to either KISS mode or HOST mode. Plus, they talk to your email program
in TCP-IP or some such nonsense and allow you to send email over packet. Complete with fonts, attachments, and formatting. Whoah baby!!!

Doing this enables the PROGRAM to do all the thinking and just use your
TNC as a dumb modem. If you just run Winlink programs on your computer, and NOTHING else, you will probably do fine.

Problems happen when you SWITCH between programs. WHY??? Because Winlink programs for some strange reason don't exit pretty. They go in, change your TNC to KISS mode, and then when you exit out of them, they LEAVE the TNC in KISS mode. And you are sad because your TNC wont initialize, and you want to run your TERMINAL program!!! So, to get it back, You either hard reset your TNC, and reenter a bunch of parameters or do some weird tricks i wont describe here.

But what if you want it ALL? You want to run Outpost, Paclink, RMS
Packet, Winpack, ALL at the same time. Enter AGWPE ------AGW Packet engine. What this wonderful program does is allow you to run all of these
programs on ONE TNC. Plus, if you want a program to control more
than 1 TNC, you can do that too, by setting up multiple PORTS on
AGWPE. I use the packet engine on my computer, and run Outpost,
Paclink,Winpack,and RMS Packet.

If i wanted to run a separate radio and TNC, and do APRS on a different
freq., AGW would route those packets also through another AGW port.
Then, I could ALSO have an APRS program like UIVIEW running also. That might just happen soon!

The guy that wrote AGW has written a bunch of companion programs that
are made to work WITH AGWPE: I'm just going to name a few. Go to the AGW site and explore. AGWTERMINAL, AGWMONITOR, and one i just found out about that I REALLY LIKE---AGWUIDIGI.

WHY do i like UIDIGI? Well, two things you lose when you use the packet engine is the ability to have a mailbox and the ability to be a node.
(however, there are now AGW programs that give YOU a mailbox too.. I
prefer Outpost.. but that's just ME ) But AGW UIDIGI gives you the ability to DIGIPEAT. Say D-I-G-I-P-E-A-T. It allows others to use your station to get to others. AND vis versa. Which in our area is a GOOD thing. In an emergency, having redundant digipeaters can mean the difference between having a reliable route or not. If you are a portable station at some shelter or hospital, you want OPTIONS!!!

THATS why I preach redundancy. If we all had 200 foot towers with
Stationmasters on them we could do with less. MAYBE! I cant get to Ed's place by bouncing through WIPOLK all the time. But if i could DIGI through Fred's or Johns station, maybe that would do it.

This message is way long, and i have so much more to say. (QUICK, SOMEONE STOP MARK... He's talking about PACKET again...!!!)

Just to whet your appetite, much of packet has moved to APRS. and we haven't even BEGUN to explore that. MORE than just vehicle tacking. Quite a mode and because of the extensive network out there, your little station gets alot of bang for your buck. And then there's IGATES. But that's for another time. And then there's OUTPOST. My all time favorite packet program.

Well, this has been fun. Lets enjoy this stuff.

N9XH - Polk County Amateur Radio Association - 1732 Forest Circle - Balsam Lake - WI - 54810 - Info@N9XH.org