Saturday, 7 November 2015


Its been quite a while since I played with packet! In fact, I probably havent used packet radio since the affair of Bobs laptop, way back in my teenage years. Now, Bobs laptop was in fact somewhat more - it was a complete portable packet radio station in a briefcase! Comprising of small handheld radio, SLA battery and charger, Antenna (mounted beside case handle), TNC (Baycom) and laptop. The affair refers to myself and Ian having to visit Bob to retrieve either the machine or payment for it!

But tonight I decided to see about setting up a packet radio system, in particular, an APRS system.

APRS is Automatic Packet Reporting System. Using the old packet radio methods, but with modern internet linking, it allows message services, transmitter tracking, etc etc. Ive become interested in this because I use the APRS systems ability to give propagation information for VHF/UHF at work to help track co-channel interference due to tropo. Ive noticed that many areas of the UK are not well covered for this!

Its been hard work though! Much of the online information is not well presented, many links dont work, and the software needed - clients, gateways, engines, all rather confusing. After a lot of asking about, downloading, and fiddling, ive now managed to get a packet soundcard TNC engine called Direwolf working, along with an IP and GUI front end called APRSISCE/32. On this I am seeing APRS stations around the north, but sadly only via the IP connection - despite having a working VHF radio feed into the system, theres not been a single packet decoded off-air, why, because theres no one within range transmitting it!!!

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