WAPR News - May 2001

By Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

Happy May Day to all readers of this column. Now maybe we will get beyond the "April Showers" stretch to see the Wisconsin summer in full bloom.

Last month I reported that Larry, WD9ESU fell victim to the winds of March. I am happy to report that Larry has his station back on the air. I am not sure if everything is back to the way it was before his tower was pushed over by the wind, but his call-sign has been appearing on BBS mail forwarding headers. This is good news, as he has been and continues to be a vital part of the Wisconsin Network.

There has been another temporary interruption of packet activity in Wisconsin to report, albeit a very temporary and not network-related. In Mid-April, Al, KB9BYQ reported that his internet gateway service provider, John, N9RJZ was discontinuing his packet radio internet gateway interface. The story behind this is a long one. This change did temporarily prevent internet access through Al's internet gateway. The radio network part of Al's considerable node stack was not affected. However, the gateway is popular in Northeastern Wisconsin and was missed by a lot of packet operators. Al reports that he has since gotten the gateway back on the air and should have all of the services operation by the time you read this. I would like to thank John for his investment in time, radios and peripheral equipment. His provision of Internet access sure has made packet radio more fun in Northeaster Wisconsin.

On to yet another response from January's Packet Radio survey that appeared here in the Badger State Smoke Signals. Dave, KB9PRF from Hartland found a back issue of the BSSS at the AES Superfest and was surprised to find the survey in that issue. Pleasantly surprised, in fact. Dave was also kind enough to respond with his answers to the survey questions.

Dave reports that there is a regular bunch in his area that operate on 145.030 MHz (the statewide keyboard-to-keyboard, non-BBS frequency). He got interested in packet when one of his friends, Steve KB9PVH talked about the great fun he was having on the K9VSO gateway. He set up a packet station 2 years ago and has been hooked since.

He finds personal mail service, file transfers, keyboard chats, reading BBS messages and experimentation to be the most fun on packet.

He reports that he has not had any trouble setting up or operating his packet station, and still uses it. If he had to stop using packet for some odd reason, he would definitely go back to it.

He also said something very interesting - he almost likes packet more than the internet. The reason? If you leave a message on a mailbox-style PBBS, you can go back to it, retrieve it, edit it, and then put it back on the PBBS. When was the last time you were able to "take back" a message and resend it on the internet? Chances are, never.

I thank Dave for his response and hope he continues to have fun with packet. And I am always happy to get responses from anyone concerning this survey. I have yet to hear from anyone who has stopped using packet, and would ask regular readers to pass this survey on to former packet operators for their comments. After all, they are the best source of info about those who have left our preferred mode of amateur operation.

As always, I am happy to get any packet news. Mail your news and comments to me at one of the addresses at the top of this page.

That's all for this month. Until next time, 73 from Andy.

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