WISCONSIN AMATEUR PACKET RADIO

October 1985

 

West-Southwest Wisconsin by John Corstvet, WA9SOU

On September 4th, 1985, John Corstvet, WA9SOU made a trip to the La Crosse area to enlighten that Amateur Radio community with packet radio. This presentation took place at the Onalaska Community Center in Onalaska. There were about 30 interested participants to this presentation which included showing the TAPR video tape, and an on-the-spot demo of packet equipment.

The response to John's demonstration was very positive. There was an ira-mediate reaction by some to join this Amateur Radio mode, along with group conversation and suggestions for participation in a area wide digipeater.

As of this writing,- plans were made to give another packet demonstration in the southwest area. This demo will be given in Madison by Dave Martin, N9IF, along with the assistance of John, WA9SOU. You may have seen Dave's beacon requesting stations to assist in the demonstration. (An excellent purpose for a beacon.)

Considerable discussion has been generated in this area for establishing an operating procedure or standard for sending and receiving messages. This involves 24 hour monitoring, conok setting, buffer storage, and possible symbols to be used. Any ideas or suggestions might be directed to John or the other stations this area to try to establish a workable pattern of operation. Check the latest directory for the calls and locations.

Just prior to the end of August, through the efforts of WA9SOU and WB9BPS, the digipeater on North Freedom Hill was substantially improved. The original effort was temporarily hampered with some technical problems, but these have since been corrected and improved. This digipeater is currently in operation and is known as WA9SOU-2. It is-open for all to use.

This location is southwest of Baraboo and should prove to be a vital link to packet communications in and out of this area. This effort is still subject to improvements, such as a possible feedline replacement and upgrade to a better antenna.

Milwaukee Area Report

Sunday Sept. 15th was a big day for digipeater news. On that very day, Rod, WB9WRW and Gregg, WD9DHI put up a very effective digipeater in the Holy Hill area.. This machine really honks now and these guys have plans to improve its performance. The machine is located in a very high location. However, it is not far off the ground.

Gregg plans to install a tower on the site in about 2 to 3 weeks and consequently the antenna will rise about 80 feet. The unit is a GLB TNC, with a 90 watt output, from a Motorola Motrac radio. The antenna will ultimately be at about 1200 feet above sea level

The unit is under test for now, and as soon as they are assured of its performance,  WB9WRW-1 will no longer be used as a digipeater. The digipeater will be known as WB9WRW (as it is now) and WB9WRW-1 will be converted to Ron's operating unit along with plans to add a MSO. Watch for his beacon indicating the change.

Gregg and Ron are looking for a preamp to go with this station.... Do we have any donors????

INTERFERENCE PROBLEM SOLVED

A couple of weeks ago, an interference problem came to a head. An . RTTY/MS0O came back to life on 145.00 MHz, causing interference to the new link to Madison, WA9KEC on 145.01.

After the aborted attempt by W9WI to make it into Detroit by digipeaters (!!!), I decided to find out who the operator was and to call him. After a 45 minute phone call I convinced him to move his RTTY/MSO to a different frequency.

As 2 meters gets more crowded, things will work out if we all cooperate. My thanks to the Ham in Menominee Falls for being such a gentleman.

óDave, WB9OWN

Northwood Notes

As of September 15th, 1985, the N9CLE-1 digipeater has been relocated to Mosinee Hill, just south of the Wausau area. The equipment required some repair which was accomplished prior to the relocation from the former Tomahawk repeater site.

This move is expected to provide a more significant location toward linking into the north half of the state. So aim your packet path toward the Wausau area and see what develops.

Jim Link, N9BIR, of Marshfield, WI. was scheduled to give a packet demonstration to the Taylor County Amateur Radio Club in Hedford on Thursday September 5th. As of this writing, the results of this event were unknown. However, the report indicated that Jim had planned to attempt contacts on both VHF and HF bands.

Bill Schroeder, W9ZBD, of Rhinelander, WI., also planned a packet demonstration for the Northwoods Amateur Radio Club on September 17th for the Rhinelander area.

There is considerable amount of talk lately, on all the bands, about this new Packet Radio mode. These demonstrations hopefully will result in new packeteers in the Northern part of the state.

Borderline Report by Verne, W9ZGS

Activities in northern Illinois also involve promoting area wide digipeaters. John, KA9CAR, and a few others are working toward installing a 24 hour, wide area digipeater in the vicinity of Woodstock, IL. This will be a "prime location", which is 30 mile from Rockford, 30 miles from Beloit, and 20 miles to Lake Geneva. This should provide an effective path to and from a large number of "un-tapped" communities in Wisconsin and Illinois.

This digipeater, KA9CAR-1, will be approximately 16 miles from the WB9EEA-1 digipeater in Dundee, IL., which covers a large part of northeast Illinois. This machine will operate on 145.01 MHz.

In a recent- meeting of packet operators in and around LAKE and McHENRY counties in northern Illinois, a temporary agreement was reached on several items of concern to Packet Radio

Packet ''problems" were identified and ranked in order of importance and solutions were then proposed for each item listed. Solutions were also ranked in the order of "most effective" to "least effective". The "solutions" list was analyzed to determine what could be implemented by the group with their limited resources.

A few of the temporary solutions agreed upon were:

1. Paths to other areas can best be provided by area digipeaters strategically located. The digipeaters themselves will eventually become a problem. Congestion can be handled by moving to 145.030,or .050, or 147.555.

2. If BBS and MSG system operators set the DWAIT & RETRY to 5, other stations would have more opportunities' to "capture" packet time. MSOs should limit file lengths to 10 1ines.

3. Beacons should only be used if the operator is available at the keyboard for a MSO or if a special service is offered such as a BBS, MSO or to identify a special event station. Beacon text should only contain name, QTH, and service offered, if any. Beacons should not be be digipeated through other stations nor should they be transmitted more frequently than every 20 minutes.

4. BBS and MSO sysops should edit traffic in their machines for content consistent with the sysop's wishes.

These above items can be found and reviewed on the W9IUP, WB9YLR and W9ZGS MSOs.

CAPRA, Chicago Area Packet Radio Association will be host of a regional packet meeting at RADIO EXPO, Sept. 28, 1985. Problems similar to those discussed at the LAKE/McHENRY counties meeting will be touched on. CAPRA is also having a couple benefit drawings that will interest packet operator, and they will have a booth at the event for info.

VHF AMPLIFIER by Doug Smith, W9WI

I recently bought a Heath HA-201 amplifier. The method of transmit-receive switching used in this amplifier might be of interest to packet radio operators.

Two, back-to-back diodes (Heath uses plain old 1N4148 switching diodes) are connected at the input of the amplifier's matching network. When at least a watt of RF appears at the input connector, the diodes conduct, connecting the network to the input connector.

Similarly, two more lN4148s are used at the amplifier output connector, connecting the output matching network to the connector when amplified RF is present. Two quarter-wave lines are used, one connected to the output connector and the other to the input connector. These lines are connected ,together at their other ends, and two more 1N41485 are connected back-to-back to ground at the junction. When RF is applied, these diodes also conduct, shorting the ends of the quarter-wave lines. Open circuits are reflected by the lines causing them to be essentially ignored by the amplifier.

When the RF input disappears, none of 6 diodes conduct. Now, the amplifier is disconnected from the input and output connectors. The two quarter-wave line, their junction no longer shorted, behave as simply an extra half-wave of coax in series with the antenna.

This circuit is amazingly simple, uses so few parts, and works so fast that I'm amazed I've never seen it before. There are no relays to make noise or waste time, no expensive high-speed diodes, and no RF detector circuits to misbehave (or provide delays).

The main drawback is that the amplifier will still switch into the circuit even if  the amplifier power is shut off, making it more difficult to switch the amplifier out of the circuit. This shouldn't be too serious of a problem.

This circuit, with heftier diodes, and RG8/U or RG213/u coax, might also be useful on HF for AMTOR service or full break-in CW use. Just don't try it on 160 unless you've got a big shack!

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