Packet Radio is one of the latest developments to hit Amateur Radio. If you haven't already gotten in to Packet Radio, you're probably wondering what it's all about. If you like talking to the world via computer, Packet Radio is for you.
If you already have a computer or terminal and a 2 meter, 1.25 meters or a 70 cm radio you can get into packet radio for less than a 150 dollars. The things you need are a TNC and the software usually come with the TNC. You need a cable to go from the computer to the TNC and from your TNC to your radio (You should get a cable to connect from the TNC to your radio with the TNC you buy but you have to match and buy the end and put the end on your self or buy a pre-made cable). You need a battery or power supply to connect with your TNC. Packet radio is very portable. The new KPC-3 ( Kantronics Packet Communicator 3 ) you can virtually run it on a 9 volt battery and it will work fine for hours. The KPC-3 is the number one selling TNC on the market today.
A TNC ( Terminal Node Controller ) is a box that is wired between the computer and the radio. It is very similar to a computer modem. It converts computer data into AFSK tones for transmission and changes the AFSK tone received by the radio into data for the computer. The TNC waits for other people ( TNC ) to stop transmitting before it does. You can not see what they are saying when you are connected to another Packet station, unless Connect to the WWCB ( World Wide Conference Bridge ) on the same channel. The TNC checks for errors, too. Packet Radio is virtually error free. The TNC does most of the work automatically.
Packet Radio is one way a Technician class license can talk to DX stations around the world via WWCB or satellites, 2 meters WWCB is the best place to start out on. My farthest contact on Packet Radio are Germany and Moscow, Russia. On the WWCB you can keep in touch with friends and/or relatives. Sending Packet mail is faster than writing a letter to friends and/or relatives and no U.S. postage. After you have the equipment in the long run you will save money by not using your phone lines. There is no monthly user fee. No long distance phone calls.
There is a WWCB 145.090 MHz in Whittier that you can connect to by N6ROE or Quaker or just WWCB to get on the conference bridge. There are four more WWCB's in the local area that are affiliated with Quaker they are KK6YO Torrance 145.360 MHz has an internet link to Packet you can connect to KK6YO either by Packet Radio or internet, AA2RB Palos Verdes 145.010 MHz, KE6TGT Long Beach 145.030 MHz, and KO6XS Malibu 145.650 MHz. The DARC ( Downey Amateur Radio Club ) has a Packet net on every Sunday 8:00 P.M. to 9:15 on CH 175 (WWCB).
The packet rate on 2 meter is usually 1200 bps ( Bauds/Bits Per Second ).Unless you have a newer radio "9600 bps ready" and a TNC able to do 9600 bps if you plan on doing Satellites, they are usually 1200 bps and 9600 bps depending on the satellite. The 9600 bps is 8 times faster than the usual 1200 bps.
I have attempted to cover most of the basics for Packet Radio. If you have any comments or suggestions on my Introduction To Packet Radio, I would like to hear them. If all of this sounds confusing, Don't let it bother you because if you have any questions e-mail me/club and we will try to answers them.