Monday, June 18, 2007

TelPac Gateway and APRS

Yesterday K9WAV, one of the local APRS iGate operators started gating my TelPac Gateway beacon into the Springfield area APRS network. The result is if you are traveling in the area a red Winlink icon will appear on the local APRS map with info about the frequency to use for emails, etc.

Take a look at N9PUZ-10 here.

Also, we've been up and running about 1 week now and are looking forward to Field Day Winlink contacts to and from the W9DUA club effort.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Field Day 2007

Yeah, so the HF propagation stinks at this point in the solar cycle. Your group may not set any records but I hope everyone gets out to Field Day this year and invites along a bunch of those newly licensed Generals. Teach 'em about antennas. Play with some 6 meter stuff--there may just be an opening. Most of all welcome them into the world of HF and Amateur Radio!

The TelPac Gateway Is Stable

During the past few days there have been more tweaks and changes on the N9PUZ-10 TelPac Gateway. Things are pretty darn stable right now.

The RF problems have gone away with the switch from the FT-1500 back to the IC-207H. I'm sure I'll be able to use the FT-1500 but I need to work on a better grounding setup and I have other fish to fry right now.

Several users from the WL2KEmcomm group on Yahoo sent me copies of their KAM Plus TNC ".aps" files to initialize and control the TNC. There were a few tweaks in those that have brought my gateway to a stable condition. It's been running for several days without a glitch now and file transfers, updates to the APRS servers, etc. all appear to be working properly.

If you're in the Springfield, Illinois area and have VHF packet radio capability check out my TelPac Gateway web page and give it a try.

What are the future plans? Well, right now I'm building a TNC-X kit with the USB option so that I can have a portable station to do more testing. The TNC-X looks interesting because it can use a USB connection to your PC. Important since serial ports are going out of style these days. Other users have reported good success with them and at under $100 with the USB option they're priced right. Other interesting features include a) an expansion connector so you can add other gadgets and b) you get the source code for the microcontroller!

Monday, June 11, 2007

TelPac Gateway Update

Well, all sorts of fun things since my last entry. The gateway is still running and several local users have been successful at using it to receive and send electronic mail via VHF Packet. Thanks to KC9GQR, K9WAV, and N9ZGE for their testing efforts!

The past few days I experienced some quirky behavior with the system. Users got checksum errors when transferring email, occasionally got disconnected, etc. A user on the Yahoo Winlink group suggested it was similar to a problem he had that he tracked down to RF getting into the TNC.

Earlier in the week I had removed the original radio (Icom IC-207H) from the gateway and replaced it with a Yaesu FT-1500. That was about the time the problems began. Last night I went back to the original radio and will be getting some items to address the RF issues with the Yaesu as I'd rather dedicate that radio to the project.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

VHF Telpac Gateway

I've been active in ARES work for quite some time with a special interest in digital communications. The evening of June 4, 2007 I put a VHF Telpac gateway into the Winlink 2000 system on the air in Springfield, IL. This gateway allows users with a VHF FM radio, a TNC, and some free software to send and receive email via VHF packet radio in our area.

More details are on my main web site.