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Hello and welcome to “NETWORK 105”. The network is made up of hams who use their tncs as KA-Nodes, NETROM, Netnode, PK-Nodes and NOS TCP/IP nodes, or any multiported nodes providing point to point or cross over to vhf from hf, and from hf to vhf capability.

“NETWORK 105” has been in operation since June 11, 1986 and all stations are here voluntarily, providing help, encouragement, keeping folks in contact and also a base for further experimentation on hf packet. I encourage you to use the system, and any suggestions you may have, please leave at my PBBS.

We are in the midst of expanding, and are looking for stations in the West and Midwest both Canada and USA. Also looking for European Stations.

Looking forward to hearing from you. Please support “NETWORK 105”, by helping others who are new to the network.

AX.25 and VHF Packet

I haven’t heard anything else from anyone else I’ve messaged, which is unfortunate but I’ve got a plan…

I’ve set up a VPS – a “Virtual Private Server” that will operate on a fixed IP address. Linux, I have been informed, has AX.25 capabilities available to it (AX.25 is an essential part of packet radio!) Beyond merely running software on Windows, Linux has the capability of natively using AX.25 with a few simple installs. It’s history dates back pretty far, and I’m pretty excited about it.

Of course, interfacing AX.25 with a real radio across the internet may not be as feasible as I’d like – I’d basically have a transmitter that operates by sending its audio out/mic in feeds through to another computer which will access the internet. While this is possible, digital modes certainly will not appreciate lag or dropouts in audio streaming. It may not support AFSK faster than 300 baud if its particularly bad though the potential is something like 1200 baud (maybe there is a 2400 mode as well) for Audio Frequency-shift Keying. Of course, for Network105 use 300 baud is the maximum for practical and regulatory reasons.

However, I’ve set up this VPS for multiple reasons, so if it takes longer for the AX.25 server to do anything for fellow hams, that’s why…

I will test my theory using an SDR (Software Defined Radio) feed streamed online to software like MixW just to see if I can reliably decode digital signals across the web via audio.

That said, I am also moving forward on my first effort to actually USE Packet Radio over VHF. I will be using my little Baofeng HT in an attempt to communicate with VE3CON – 145.03 MHz (BBS / NETROM / IP Gateway). If I want to find packet operators, I guess dropping a line to them directly is a way to do it!

This station is roughly 10-15km (8 or 9 miles) away and I have no line of sight with it. If I can hit it with 5 watts, that would be amazing, but I won’t hold my breath. With the amount of objects/buildings/terrain in the way, I expect I would need 20 watts or more. If I have to, I’ll actually travel close to the station and communicate that way until I find a better more powerful transceiver and perhaps building a Yagi style antenna and pointing it in its direction. At the very least this will serve as practice working with troposphere propagation!

The Yagi will also serve to be useful for some Amateur Satellite work, some of which support digital modes, some even have packet BBSes on them.

Obviously that is a lot of things to attempt, but slow and steady, right?

1st Update

I’ve reached out to the appropriate hams who helped keep NET105 running. I hope to hear back from them shortly.

Technically, I have been doing further research. I came across SOPRA, a Packet Radio network in Toronto, Canada who has this to say about NET105 today…

“Outside of using HF for long distance packet, the AX.25 standard relied on digipeating along a common frequency.

In the early days of packet radio 145.010MHz was used and in was possible to digipeat from Toronto north to Sudbury or east to Ottawa. However the DCD access model allowed two stations to walk on each others signal as hidden transmitters. In many cases resulting in an increase in retries. This further reduced the maximum channel usage expected for an Aloha packet model.

For this reason BBS and USER access NODES no longer use a common packet radio frequency. This Local Area Network organization allows regional/frequency based access without the congestion resulting from hidden transmitters.”

That said, these hams obviously know what they’re doing. And obviously sounds like I should not operate a BBS or USER access node on the 145.010Mhz frequency. What that means for the frequency itself is undetermined, but I will learn. SOPRA as far as I am aware is attempting to add HF on NET105 to the fold, but as of 2017 it doesn’t appear to have happened yet. I’ll see what’s happening…

In fact, according to the Toronto West Side Side Radio Club, the VHF and HF packet nodes are OFFLINE. (Which is bad news, obviously.)

I will follow up with VE3JJ on this, and get some updates. I’ll see where or if I can help!