SOUND CARD PACKET RADIO
Many of you have heard some
of us talking about packet radio. For the "OM's" they may think "That's
so old, and I tought packet died!" Well, not really. Sure there is
other stuff out there that is "better?", but, packet radio is getting a
good makeover, and is a great "last mile" messaging system. Interested?
read on...this page is going to give you tips, links, setup and the
in's and out's of what's new in packet radio!
First, the title says "sound card" packet radio...I thought you had to
have a TNC? You do..your computer has a fancy DSP TNC built right in.
No, it's not your modem...it's your sound card! With a neat little
piece of software called "AGWPE" your sound card can be a TNC for
packet (among other things!)
Second...did you know you can send email to an internet address via
packet radio? You sure can. There are some "telnet" nodes around that
connect to the WinLink system and allow you to send AND recieve email
messages! All you do is connect, send or receive a message and..well,
Third...did you know you can send small files via packet radio? There
are some really neat add ons to a program called WinPack that allow you
to receive htlm web pages, jpg pictures, and text files with no problem.
Fourth...and of course there is the BBS system...for the "newcomer" BBS
means Bulletin Board System. But with a new twist. You own station can
have a PMS! (nope, not the stuff your wife or girlfriend has, a
Personal Message System!) Works just like the old BBSs.
Now...still interested? Well, let's dive into the "what does it take"...
You will need the following:
A good 2M mobile radio capable of 25W or more output that is stable on
frequency. You will not need CTCSS tones.
A reasonably fast computer (I am running a 1.8GHz processor with 756MB
memory and Windoze 98SE.)
A sound card interface (don't worry, you can build one cheap, diagram
OK the radio and computer are self explanitory. So let's look at the
The interface has to do the following...connect the autio output of the
rig to the LineIn of the computer and the Line Out or Speaker Out of
the computer to the audio in or mic jack of the radio. It also needs to
provide a circuit to key radio using the serial port of the computer.
So here you go...
For the audio lines, just build a set of cables to go from the rig to
the computer as described above. For VHF and UHF isolation transformers
are not needed. Build the cable so they use the "left" side of the
sound card, in other words, wire only the "tip" and "sleeve" of the
plugs going to the computer. If you need ideas, see http://www.kc2rlm.info/soundcardpacket/
Now for the software. Download all the following files:
(register and download, both free for a promise to donate to Cancer
Once you have done that, unzip (install) AGWPE. Crank it up. Click the
little twin tower Icon at the bottom right of your screen and select
"Properties" and "New Port". A message window will appear: "A New
TncPort File Has Been Created". Click OK to go to this setu screen:
Setup your comport, and choose "SoundCard" for TNC Type. Select Single
Port and put a description in the Port Description box. When you select
SoundCard, you will probably get this screen:
Self explanitory as to how to set up this one...all you really need to
do if you only have one sound card is hit OK...
Hit OK until it asks you to Restart AGWPE and then click the twin tower
icon and select exit. We'll restart it in a minute.
OK now install Winpack, and do it to it's "default" directory. This
will save you tons of grief if you do. No need to "reinvent" the wheel
Next, unzip the PMS into the /WINPACK/EXTERN directory.
Start Winpack. We will do a little configuring and then restart the
softwares so your packet will work.
Go to "Options" and "Personal/BBS Info". You will get this screen. Do
everything you see in RED.
And go to "Options" and "Comms Setup"...the only thing needed here is
to select "AGW" in the "Host Mode".
Click OK and when you get the error box, just get out of it and then
set your radio frequency and hook up your cables. Preset your volume
controls for WAV out and MASTER out to mid way and make sure they are
not muted, and the Record LINE IN to mid way, also make sure it is
Start AGWPE, wait until the
slash screen goes away, then start WinPack. You are now ready to play
on packet. But I guess you need to know how...
to connect to a station, in the bottom box, type C CALLSIGN where
CALLSIGN is the actual call of the station you want to connect to. To
disconnect, do one of the following:
Type B or type /B or click the button.
Once you have connected to a station, just type what you want to say!
There is an excellect help file for WinPack in PDF format that details
exactly what all it will do (with a bunch of stuff you probably could
care less about) that is handy to have around.You can download it at http://www.apritch.myby.co.uk/g4ide/WinpUser6_80_PDF.zip
Also, there are two small pdf files you will want that detail packet
commands, see http://www.mcminnarc.com/packet/COMMONCOMMANDS.pdf
FLASH!!! We have discovered there are two softwares that will do packet
WITHOUT a TNC or AGWPE. They are MultiPSK and MixW. MultiPSK is
freeware, MixW is not. Do a "Google" to find them.
Our "local" packet frequency is
Local stations on are:
KG4FZR-1 Mailbox (The MCARC Club Shack)
KG4FZR-10 WL2K RMS Packet Server
KG4KII-1 (Meigs Co ACS Mailbox)
KE4ACS-1 (The Bradley County ACS group mailbox)
WM4RB-10 WL2K RMS
Other stations are coming online. 145.550 will be used accross the
Homeland Security District 3 as a digital EMCOMM frequency, but all are
invited to use it for daily chats, practice and training.
Local Digipeaters and Nodes:
MCARC Digi (McMinn County Amateur Radio Club)
KG4FZR-7 Node (McMinn County Amateur Radio Club)
KF4YMC / MCMITN Digi
KE4ACS-11 / BRADTN Digi (Bradley County Auxilary Communications Service)
KE4ACS-5 Node (Bradley County Auxilary Communications
KE4ACS-7 Node (Bradley County Auxilary Communications
KG4KII-11 / MEIGTN (Meigs Co ACS)
KI4IQA / ATHENS Digi
NA4IT / ETOWAH Digi
W4GZX / CARC Digi (Cleveland Amateur Radio Club)