WAPR News - February, 2010

by Steve, KB9MWR


2009 - The WAPR pages have been resurrected mostly for nostalgic and informational purposes.

2010 - Some updates and notes below:

Some History:

Prior to WAPR there were sporadic digipeaters throughout the state.  WAPR was formed in 1985.  The organization introduced and encouraged a coordinated- cooperative network approach to packet radio.  By the early mid 1990's a 9600 baud UHF backbone had been established, interconnecting the 1200 baud VHF user local area networks.

The network stemmed as far North as the Marinette, Wausau, Crititz areas down South as far as the Milwaukee, Baraboo areas.  It stemmed as far East as the WIMI, lake link interconnecting Algoma to Traverse City in lower Michigan and as far West as Eau Claire.

Green Bay always seemed to lead the way due to the three packateers; Steve, KE9LZ, Ron, N9CFN, and Andy KB9ALN.  Green Bay served as an initial test bed for 9k6 user lans, TCP/IP and webpages over packet.  Determined to better understand TCP/IP back in 1995 these three took a class at NWTC on Unix and Networking.


State of the WAPR network - 2010

Most of it is in a state of shambles as parts are completely off the air.  A number of things can be attributed to this.  Most of the waning interest in keeping the network working is probably due to most people migrating to a more developed network called the internet.  APRS has since replaced some areas of the states traditional packet networks.   Unfortunately there isn't much network planning when it comes to APRS.  Per the bylaws, WAPR was about networks and technical information exchange.  

WAPR also suffered some significant blows by the passing of a few key individuals.  In June of 2000, Ron, N9CFN became a silent key.  He was the behind the areas TCP/IP push, and the Amprnet coordinator.  In August 2007 the unexpected passing of Al, K9ALS/KB9BYQ.  His residence served as the Appleton backbone switch, from 446.100 MHz to the Northeast to 446.200 MHz serving the Southwest.  He also was home to the Appleton user LANs and internet wormhole.  Our frequency coordinator, Walt AA9AW became a silent key in January 2007.  And in July 2008 WAPR Chair, Joel, N9BQM passed on.  In late 2012 Badger State Smoke Signals announced it would cease publication.  

Recommendations and Coordination 

Resurrecting or building new 1200 or even 9600 baud networks in the state doesn't seem logical. The never-ending "need for speed" and equipment prices have made these technologies nearly obsolete.  Just as 2 meter RTTY came to a close after about 20 years with the advent of the TNC, now conventional packet radio is being replaced by 802.11 type technologies.

Thusly, WAPR recommends that hams investigate and build county based networks using HSMM technologies.

1200 and 9600 baud can still serve useful in point-to-point portable emergency situations where line of site may be hard to achieve. However, an emphasis on installing permanent HSMM antennas at key emergency locations should be encouraged for preparedness.   

The need for conventional user LAN frequencies on 2 meters and 70 centimeters are obsolete.  It is recommended that 145.030 MHz be used for any legacy packet activity.  (Refer to the bandplan)

Yearly grueling coordination updates have never been a part of WAPR.  This is because most packet operations are not duplex and do not meet the FCC definition of a "repeater," and thusly the coordination recommendations that many are accustomed to do not apply.  Historically we have kept in contact with node operators via packet messages and our quarterly meeting, and then report the status of various parts of the network by our column in the Badger States Smoke Signals and this website.

Proposals for new frequency use for linking and user LANs have traditionally been brought to meeting for discussions on impacted overlap etc.  Walt Altus AA9AW, served as our frequency coordinator working with the Wisconsin Association of Repeaters, and Mid-America Coordinating Council (MACC).  Through an agreement with these entities a series of frequencies have been set aside for packet radio activity.  It's from those frequencies that WAPR has worked with, making recommendations on usage.

Higher Speed Packet in Wisconsin

The WAPR board has basically dissolved, but WAPR's purpose is still important..  I'd still like to here from and report on packet radio activity in Wisconsin.  With a specific emphasis on higher-speed technologies.  Feel free to contact me.  

A new page will be created for this.

- There are reports of conventional 1200 baud WinLink RMS (Radio Message Server) Packet Stations on 145.030, 145.050 and ARES/RACES on 145.610 MHz in the state.

KC9DOA, operates a 2m RMS Packet node in Fond du Lac.

- Polk County is still active on 145.01 MHz (1200 baud) and have a as WIPOLK at Balsam lake at about the 160 foot level.  BBS is BALBBS.

-Jerry, N0MR reports: We now have a little local packet network of several full service BBS's and are connected to the world for h-addressed packet mail.:
W9ABA in Cumberland, WI on 145.01 
W0MR in Lake Elmo on 145.01 
W0CRC in Hutchinson on 145.67 
N0MR in Two Harbors on 145.01 and via telnet (full service VHF/AXIP/Telnet BBS, WALBBS, located in Wales, MN)
W0GKP in Duluth on 145.01 and 446.125 
KB8HHQ in Kingsford, MI in the UP on 147.42 
N9PMO in Milwaukee (a full service VHF/AXIP/Telnet BBS in Racine WI, with routes to most of the 50 states and many countries)

 All are connected via VHF and some by internet. Mail left at w0mr in Lake Elmo for me addressed to n0mr@n0mr.#nemn.mn.usa.noam will forward to me. The local users are getting mail from Russia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, South America, and throughout the USA. The main gateway to the world is N9PMO in Milwaukee, WI. 
There may be new sections added to the WAPR pages in the future.


Other Neighboring Active Groups

http://wetnet.net/ - A bunch of Ham Radio operators in the Pacific Northwest interested in, Software Defined Radios, Ham Satellites, APRS, or just about anything involving radios and/or computing.

http://www.mi-drg.org/ - Michigan Section Digital Radio Group 

http://www.14567.org    and    http://www.twinslan.org - Minnesota Packet Radio Club and  the Emergency Minnesota Wide Area Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network

Central Michigan Emergency Network - Mi6WAN


Back to the WAPR Home Page and Index

Browse the News Archives