WAPR News - June, 2003

By Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

Hello everyone. Hope you've had a good Memorial Day and your summer is off to a good start.

Network News

There is a little bit of news to report about the packet network status. First, an old node makes a reappearance in Door County.

Some may remember the tale of "Dr. Chaos", a misguided individual who allegedly took it upon himself to vandalize power sub-stations, power pole transformers and radio transmitting facilities supposedly for the purpose of promoting his agenda of "anarchy". He was eventually arrested in Chicago, allegedly possessing a quantity of Cyanide, and has since been jailed and tried for that. He has also been taken to trial on vandalism charges relating to his activities in Wisconsin.

One of the facilities he was alleged to have vandalized was a radio transmitting facility near Sturgeon Bay that housed the node WISTB. I am happy to report that this node is back on the air. Looking at the map, you can see that Door County is a long peninsula that is tough to cover via radio. It's necessary to have two LAN nodes in order to provide packet connectivity for the whole county. WISTB covers the northern end of the county and it's loss was a real problem for those packet operators who wanted network access.

At the same time that WISTB made it's reappearance, the backbone node #446DC was MIA. Luckily, it seems that the problem was not too difficult to correct. It was feared that the spring ice storm that ravaged it's site may have damaged the antenna, but good fortune smiled down on the Door County ARC. Within a week, the node was back on the air and working once again.

While we are on the subject of Door County, Ken Meyer, K9KJM tells me that he has put up an APRS digi for the southern part of the county. The call is K9KJM-10 and is on the standard APRS VHF frequency.

Leroy N8WQG tells me that he has been "up to the mount" to do some repair and maintenence work on the Iron River node. Currently, he is working on burning a new EPROM for that node and making other enhancements. He tells me that he had an invigorating 45 minute walk up the ski hill and it was nice to not have to dodge skiers up there! Leroy made a connection to my BBS through a long-haul circuit that was necessary due to the disappearance of the Crivitz backbone node. No word as to what the malfunction is, as soon as I do find out what is happening there, the news will appear here.

That situation reminds us just how reliant on others we are when we use the packet network. The packet radio network is an interesting cooperative endeavor. It's not owned by any particular individual, rather a mix of individuals, clubs and organizations like WAPR. I hope you'll join me in thanking those good folks that provide the facilities we use to do what we do on packet.

WI-FI News

Last month we talked a little about the 802.11b WI-FI wireless ethernet packet mode, and how hams are beginning to utilize it as the "next generation" packet radio service. There's even more coming down the pipe with the recent progress of work being done on the newer 802.11g protocol.

802.11g is appealing for one reason - it's amazing speed of 54 Mb/s. Yes, 54 Megabits per second. 802.11b, by comparison, is advertised to do one-tenth of that but in real life sees about 1-2 Mb/s.

Which makes us think a bit about off-the-shelf technology and how it will work for us. One can easily envision an 802.11g backbone system with 802.11b LAN access points.

In the coming months, I'll explore more of this technology and present it here so that we can carefully evaluate it for our own use.

Web Site Update Coming

I promise - it will come soon. I am in the process of changing internet providers and at that time, I'll obtain an internet domain name and update a new site. As it is now, my ISP has changed the URL for my personal (and therefore, WAPR's site) twice without my knowledge. Temporarily, here is the URL to use:


I am hoping to obtain a domain name such as www.wapr.org or perhaps www.wapr.net. Right now, you can link to it through the Badger State Smoke Signals web site.

A Plea for Help

Do you like packet radio networking? Do you have some new ideas and want to explore implementing them? Do you have a little bit of spare time to help the cause of packet radio networking in Wisconsin?

If so, perhaps you'll consider joining and running for office in WAPR. The current crop of officers (myself included) have been in office for quite some time and we need fresh blood, fresh ideas and people who share a commitment to seeing packet radio work well in Wisconsin.

Consider this: Local governments (and the State of Wisconsin) have Emergency Management and response units that rely heavily on good communications, we all know that. And a lot of this is heavily dependent on the internet in addition to traditional voice communications, which you may not know. Add to that the fact that we live in dangerous times.

The interent, as ubiquitous and reliable as it seems to be, is not entirely bulletproof and not immune to disaster. Which is where we should be stepping in. With inexpensive high-speed packet a reality, we are in a unique position to provide an alternative network on a short-term basis for just those disaster and emergency situations. In "normal" times, we have the ability to use this enhanced network for a whole host of interesting new ham radio activities.

However, we need people to do this. Please consider getting involved. Want to know more? Drop me a note.

That's all for this edition. Remember, if you have any interesting packet information or news you'd like to tell others about, feel free to drop me a line by E-Mail or packet.

Until next time, 73 from Andy.


Back to the WAPR Home Page and Index

Browse the News Archives