WAPR News - February 2001

By Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

Hello, everyone. Here's hoping that our "normal" winter ends quickly and that we can once again enjoy warmer weather I can say nothing good about the winter season, as I sutter all the way through it Hope you're doing better than me

News to report this month includes a WAPR meeting. Minutes of this meeting appear on this page, along with a small sidebar that covers one of the issues we spent some time discussing, combining and sharing of separate networks.

One of the other issues we discussed was not formally on the agenda, a dues increase for those of us who get the printed version of the Badger State Smoke Signals. In addition to the printed version, we are also offering the opportunity to donate to the BSSS for viewing the electronic version of this fine paper that appears on the World Wide Web

We point put the fact that the Badger State Smoke Signals is twice as expensive as what WAPR charged for the companion BSSS subscription. Understand, we feel that the increased price is well worth it where else can you get this kind of information about the Wisconsin Amateur Radio scene?  And this is a not-for-profit enterprise - it doesn't fatten anyone's wallet (in fact, it skinnies a few) It is done as a service to hams and is a very good one at that.

While the electronic version is cheaper to produce, there are still costs involved. That is why we are now offering the 3-tiered dues structure. It allows us to make a donation to the BSSS to help maintain the electronic version, and still allow people to get the printed version at a price that will not deplete the WAPR treasury. As it is, we are still drawing about $.37 from the WAPR treasury for each new subscription (we think we can handle that!).

For those of you who joined last year (and this year prior to January 20th) you will not he affected by this increase. You will receive the deal that you agreed to if you also asked for the BSSS subscription. Also note that the core dues for WAPR remain the same ($15.00 annually) - we are just trying to cover our increased costs.

In other news, the Node Alias GRBBBS is once again active and appearing in node lists. For a few months, I was operating the Green Bay BBS On our VHF LAN, and did not want node traffic for the BBS to appear on the LAN frequency.  We have since moved the BBS tp UHF where not traffic should not be disruptive.  So once again, I activated the Node function of the BBS.

Soon we will be activating another Node Alias, NWSGRB. Asking for a connect to this node will connect you to the Green Bay National Weather Service Office packet station. Look for this in the coming month.

As was reported a couple of months back, the backbone and LAN nodes in Crivitz were out of service, and have been repaired. They have not been reinstalled at the node site yet. Stay tuned, they should return before too long

Speaking of Crivitz, this node stack is an excellent example of shared networks working together, making one larger network.  Regular users of this node stack remember the node UPDX.  This was a connection to the packet cluster network, accessible through the "regular" amateur packet network. See the sidebar for a deeper discussion of this concept and how it can help everybody that uses some form or another of packet in Wisconsin.

Last month I put a survey on this page, one designed to discover why we have seen such a drop-off of packet activity. To date (mid-January), I have not received any responses I again ask those who know someone who left packet to forward this survey to them. I would appreciate the time they spend filling it out. Once we know why people have left, we can take appropriate action to try and keep activity from dropping off.

That's it for this month. As always, I appreciate your notes and news. Please send any packet news to one of the addresses at the top of this page.

Until next time, 73 from Andy.

WAPR Meeting Minutes

January 20, 2001 Recorded by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

The meeting was called to order at 10:54 A.M. on January 20, 2001 at the Pittsville Fire Station in Pittsville, Wisconsin.

Attending were N9BQM, N0GMJ, KB9QYG, N9NCQ, KB9QWC and KB9ALN.

The first order of business was the election of officers for the 2000/2001 term. N0GMJ expresses the desire to leave the treasurer's position, as he feels that he does not have enough time to do the job justice (no one else felt that way as he has been doing a very good job). Larry, WD9ESU has volunteered to assume that position.

The death of Ron Nelson, N9CFN leaves a vacancy on the board for one more director, and after some good-natured arm-twisting, KB9QWC was nominated for a board position and accepted the nomination. The board nominations consisted of:

N9BQM, Joel Papke - Chairman
KB9QWC, Aaron Hiese - Vice Chair
WD9ESU, Larry Shields - Treasurer
KB9ALN, Andy Nemec - Secretary
KF9XX, Guy Boucher - Director
N0GMJ, Al Schnepf- Director
AA9AW, Walt Altus - Frequency Coordinator

The motion to accept the nominations was seconded and the hoard was elected (nearly unanimously).

After the board was elected, we settled down to more routine business. First, there was a general discussion on the status of various node sites, including the site at Timm's Hill. We are in the last year of a five-year lease, which was drawn up with the previous owners of the site. Al, N0GMJ asked whether we should consider replacing this site with another, as the new owners of of the site may ask for a considerable rent increase.

Al has been paying the site rental by himself, and has no objection  to continuing if the rent is reasonable, and if the. site is used He notes that there has been very little use of this site since W9NNS moved from Weston (it's necessary to use some intermediary node between Rudolph and Timm's hill to connect to the network to the south) He wonders if we might consider a different site.

It was noted that the alternatives mentioned would not make a connection path from Rudolph. The discussion was tabled, as there may be other alternatives we can investigate.

We also discussed the Meteor Hill site. Currently, it can't be connected to, and Al, N0GMJ is fairly certain the radio is at fault. He feels we can improve and update the site so that the northwestern part of the state can come closer to a functioning network. More discussion will continue and some kind of action will happen when we know what the situation with Timm's Hill will be.

Next, we turned our attention to a proposal that Joel, N9BQM has put forth. He notes that in Wisconsin, we have several disparate packet networks serving various purposes. We have the conventional node network, some TCP/IP networks, ARES and DX Cluster networks that could be combined together statewide to form one network providing connectivity to most of the state. KB9ALN notes that we have a statewide TCP/TP frequency that is really not used much in Wisconsin anymore. And Joel notes that we have had mixed-use packet networks (DX Cluster, TCP/IP and "conventional" nodes) in the Eastern part of the state for quite a while now, with no real problems. Packet traffic in general has dropped off, we have a lot of 9600 bps backbone links in place, which means that we have less traffic than in the "old days", and increased capacity to carry the traffic that we have. This generated quite a bit of detailed discussion.

Joel has made some preliminary inquiries of network operators, .and so far, they have been receptive to the idea. More details need to be worked out and more people have to be approached in order to move forward on this, and we will continue to work on this in the coming weeks and months. All attending were supportive of his continuing these discussions with other network operators.

One thing noted during these discussions was the fact that we have not had an updated node map for quite some time. While a lot of us may know where some particular node may be, it helps to have a map in front of you when discussing an unfamiliar node. Aaron KB9QWC has been working on a node map, and will continue to do so in collaboration with Joel. When it's finished, it will be available for distribution.

Next up was the Treasurer's report. Al reports that his last treasurer's report gave a balance of $1251.25. Income from Membership dues totaled $195.00. Tower rental for Meteor Hill and payments to the Badger State Smoke Signals totaled $241.28 leaving us a new balance of $1204.97.

Al also pointed out that we are getting charged twice as much for member's Badger State Smoke Signals subscriptions as we are collecting for them. Which means that our treasury is being slowly depleted every time someone opts to receive the Badger State Smoke Signals with their membership (and a lot of us do).

We also noted that the BSSS is also publishing an electronic version of the monthly on the web. While it is certainly cheaper to do this, there certainly must be some expenses involved there. So a unique proposal was put forth for a new membership dues structure.

Standard membership dues would remain at $15.00 annually. If members wish to look at the Badger State Smoke Signals' web version, dues would be $20.00 annually. If members wish to receive the printed version of the BSSS, the annual dues would be $25.00. This proposal was moved, seconded, and approved by vote.

Al also read the current membership list and accepted dues from some of the folks attending.  Currently WAPR has a grand total of 11 members

After some more general discussion and tossing about of ideas, the meeting was adjourned at 1:15 P.M. We then met at a cafe in Pittsville for lunch, and continued with a general discussion concerning the drop-off of Amateur Radio activity, and how this and other factors affect packet radio.

Submitted January 21, 2001 by KB9ALN.

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