WAPR Meeting Minutes

October 26, 2002


Hello All,

WAPR has scheduled its 4th quarter meeting for Saturday, October 26, 2002 at 11:00 in Oshkosh. The meeting will be held in the J. P. Coughlin building at 625 E County Y, Oshkosh. Below are directions for most to get to the meeting

Hwy 41 to Hwy 45 south (Jackson St.) exit. Proceed south on 45 (Jackson St.) to County Y. Turn left (east).

Proceed to the J. P. Coughlin Center, on the right (south) side of the road. Use the main entrance to the building and proceed down the main hall.

An arrow shaped sign with a piece of paper marked "ARES" will signify the meeting room.

Talk-in will be on the 147.240MHz +600 (no-CTCSS) repeater.

The main topic on the agenda will be regarding establishing a backbone link between Madison, Milwaukee, and the Fox Cities.

Hope to see you there!

The meeting was held at the Coughlin Center in Oshkosh, and was called to order at 11:00 A.M. on October 26, 2002. 10 persons attended, among them were 3 board members.

Attending were:
Joel, N9BQM
Aaron, KB9QWC
Andy, KB9ALN
Greg, KB9SZP
Stuart, N9NCQ
Jason, N9PAV
Steve, KB9MWR
Rich, N6NKO
Mike, KB9QAL
Jack, W9ULA

Meeting minutes from the last meeting were read and approved by the membership. Al N0GMJ was not able to attend, so no treasurer's report was available.

The meeting centered around a lengthy discussion involving network nodes and routes, both existing and proposed.

First up was Greg, KB9SZP. He told us of plans to put up an Oshkosh area node, near the border with Fon-Du-Lac County. His initial plans fell through, so he is working on a temporary alternate site until he can obtain a spot on a more permanent, higher tower site. The permanent site will be a long-range site, with a dual-frequency backbone node, as well as a LAN node.

Part of the discussion involved IP addressing for nodes. KB9ALN questioned Greg on the location, so an appropriate sub-net can be created, or integrated into an existing su-net. It was finally decided to incorporate the Oshkosh area into the Fon-Du-Lac area sub-net, and make this a two-county sub-net. Greg will contact Andy with the appropriate callsigns and SSIDs of the new node, and address assignments would be made once this info is received.

Aaron, KB9QWC tells us that his BBS, formerly located in Clintonville, will be relocated to Oshkosh and put on the air once an Oshkosh node is operational. Andy informed the group that the Manitowoc node stack is off the air as Red, N9GHE has moved out of the area. It is not expected to return, as no one has stepped forward and purchased the node and BBS system that Red had in place for many years.

Joel N9BQM tells us that the #WAYN4 node near Mayville is temporarily down for a tune-up, which should be completed shortly. Al N0GMJ has supplied the equipment for this site. Rich N6NKO is working on placing a West Allis node on the air, and has done some preliminary testing. He reports that he has audibly heard two stations identifying on the backbone frequency. He is unable to monitor with a packet station, as the radio he is using is not workable for packet use. He is currently shopping for a very compact radio to use for the node, as he has a very limited space for the installation.

The hope is that together with the Oshkosh and Mayville nodes, the West Allis node will link the Northeast and Western network circuits with the Port Washington, Racine and Milwaukee metro areas. It would also help to fill the void left when Red took his Manitowoc node off the air. Next up was a discussion centering around the wide usage of 446.100 as a backbone frequency, and how to avoid the potential of interference between nodes located in the Northeastern and Lakeshore areas of the state with nodes in the Southern and Southwestern parts of the state. One idea put forth involves the use of 145.010 at 9600 baud as a "break" in the network to further distance nodes on the UHF backbone frequency.

It was also suggested that we may be able to use this frequency and speed to link to parts of Minnesota. Joel noted that we do have a link to Southeastern Minnesota already. He also told us that there was once a plan to link Northeastern Minnesota to Southeastern Minnesota via a 145.010 linkage along the Mississippi River. He also noted that the extreme Northwestern part of Wisconsin is linked to the Northeastern portion of Minnesota.

It was decided we will need to know more about what the folks in Minnesota plan on doing before we make any commitments to link to them on 145.010, if indeed it becomes necessary.

A verbal telling of the current node situation in the state was not very helpful, so a very crude non-scale representation of the state was drawn on the board and node locations were roughly drawn in. From this, we were able to ascertain that:

1) There are about 9 nodes in the southern part of the state operating on the frequency of 446.100.

2) There are 5 nodes operating on 446.100 in the norhteastern and northern parts of the state, and another just across the border in Iron Mountain, Michigan.

3) There are 6 nodes operating on 446.200 in the Central and North Central parts of the state.

A proposal was advanced to change the backbone frequency of the Northeastern and Northern nodes from 446.100 to 446.300. 446.300 was originally intended for usage in the southern part of the state. Somehow the bandplan in place at the time, which we are still trying to adhere to, was circumvented and now too many nodes populate this frequency.

Andy will contact Steve KE9LZ and ask if a change to 446.300 is feasible. Old 446.100 crystals would be reused in the southern part of the state.

Tertiary to that discussion was the current packet situation in the West/Northwest part of the state. Just across the state border from Pierce county lies a nuclear power plant in Minnesota, and the Wisconsin WEM would like some kind of digital connectivity with Pierce County as part of their disaster plans. In the interim, the Pierce county hams have decided to use Pactor on HF as their digital link. It was noted that we currently do not have enough network infrastructure to support any linkage to them via packet, and the idea of a packet linkage was tabled. It will be addressed in the future when we are further along with the Western part of the network.

Next up was a discussion of the lack of a reliable linkage to Timm's hill, near Spirit. Joel reports that past experiments on both UHF and 6 Meters have not been successful. An ideal place for an backbone and LAN nodestack would be the Wausau area. After repeated appeals in the BSSS columns for someone to step forward, we still have not had anyone offer to put a node up in that area. As a result, Andy will make inquiries there and see what can be done to help this situation.

This concluded the network discussion. Next on the agenda was election of officers. However, a voting quorum was not present. A vote was tabled, with current officers continuing in their current positions. The issue will be revisited at the next meeting.

Preliminary plans call for that meeting to be held in March or April in Pittsville. We will make more concrete plans after the new year and publicize them when they have been made.

A motion to adjourn was made, seconded, and approved. Adjournment was at 12:46 P.M.

Submitted October 27, 2002 by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN, Secretary of the Wisconsin Amateur Packet Radio Association.

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