WAPR News - November, 2001

by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

October has come and gone, and now we see the steady march of Winter coming in our direction. Soon we'll be looking at Thanksgiving, and then a hectic holiday season. Here's hoping that your Thanksgiving is a happy one.

In spite of the many horrible things that have happened in the world the last few months, most of us have a lot to be thankful for. The WAPR meeting on the 4th of this month is serving as a welcome respite from the bad news reports and the heavy workload I have been experiencing, and I am thankful for that. While the September and October terrorist attacks and our emergency communications capability will surely be mentioned, they will not be the focus of the meeting. As of this writing, the agenda has not been firmly set.

One topic of the meeting will be the brand-new WAPR web site. I am in the process of putting the final touches on it, and it will be ready for prime-time by the time you read this. In addition to staples like information about the organization, membership info and links to the BSSS Web site, we'll also have links to TAPR and other packet radio information sources. Of course, you'll also see the complete collection of the Using the Wisconsin Network articles on there, newly updated with more current information in them. They'll also have nicer graphics than you've seen since the originals were published.

You'll also find the Node Information for the Sysop series on there. Along with those features, we'll have a basic Packet Primer collection of short articles designed for those who are either interested in packet, or who are brand-new and need a little bit of direction. I urge you to check it out. Point your browser to:


In the future, I hope to get a real domain name so that you won't have to type so much to get to the site. Until then, this will have to do. I hope you find it an enjoyable and interesting site. If you have any questions or suggestions for the site, send me an E-Mail message.

That's all the news for this month.  Below are the meeting minutes from our November meeting.


The meeting was called to order at 11:25 A.M. at the Sabre Lanes in Menasha. The meeting was arranged to be at the site of the Fox Cities Amateur Radio Club swapfest. We formally recognized the efforts of the FCARC on our behalf, and thank them for providing us a meeting place.

First were introductions. 9 people attended, including the Chair N9BQM, Vice Chair, KB9QWC, and the Secretary KB9ALN. Members at large and the treasurer were not in attendance. Instead of the treasurer's report, a discussion concerning the treasurer position was initiated.

We have received an offer from a volunteer to accept the treasurer's position. In the interim, N0GMJ Al Schnepf has the books and he perform treasurer's duties.

The main topic of discussion from that point on was state of the packet radio network, with particular attention paid to network routes to Madison for the purposes of connection to the DEM packet station. There is at least one weak spot that prevents solid connections to the north of Madison. There are other possibilities for work-arounds that are not the ideal replacement.

The goal here is to tie the backbone-based system to the ARES nodes system already in place in various parts of Southern Wisconsin. This will facilitate communications with the DEM Ham Shack for those county ARES/RACES units that have backbone access, and between the county ARES and RACES units themselves. Currently, one important link is down for repair. The Green Lake node on UHF is expected back in operation as soon as Steve, KE9LZ in De Pere completes repairs.

In addition to the specific discussion concerning the path to Madison, discussion also centered on general backbone linkages. In the East, the Manitowoc UHF backbone node is down for repair, making connection to or from Sheboygan very infrequent. Red, N9GHE in Manitowoc is waiting for a replacement 100 Watt Mitrek radio, which would make linkages to Algoma and Sheboygan more solid than they were before the old 45 watt radio failed. The link from Sheboygan to Port Washington is good from there.

There was also a brief discussion concerning BBS forwarding from Green Bay or Manitowoc to Sheboygan and vice-versa. In addition to the usual BBS traffic, we are concerned about the timely delivery of messages destined for and from the DEM hamshack. KB9ALN has been enlisted by Red N9GHE to install and configure the newest version of MSYS for Red's system in Manitowoc, and will make arrangements to do this as soon as time permits.

There are opportunities to connect to Illinois from the southeast part of Wisconsin. However, two weak spots come into play. One is Milwaukee, where there is no BBS or regular node stack in operation. This would allow a linkage between Port Washington and Racine, and then South from there.

Another area of concern with linkages involving the southeastern part of the state is an interference problem. An alternative to using our current UHF system to link from the Northern to the South Eastern sections of network would be to use 220 MHz, thereby side-stepping the potential interference problem. No firm plans were made here, but we will be in contact with interested parties in the southeastern part of the state to further investigate the situation.

Two other areas of concern with regard to the Western backbone were noted. One is a bridge between Rudolph and the Timm's Hill and Spirit node stacks. The best place for such a bridge would be the Wausau area. To date, no one has stepped forward to set such a linkage up. Anyone who knows of a potential site and/or interested party should contact Joel N9BQM.

Another involves linking the Western backbone to the DEM. Although no clear consensus was reached on how to do this, we will keep any opportunities open and address this as soon as possible.

This represents the formal stage of the discussion. After a motion for adjournment was accepted and seconded at 2:17 P.M., the discussion continued on an informal basis.

Submitted by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN Secretary, Wisconsin Amateur Packet Radio Association.

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