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TCARES Packet Node and BBS

The use of packet has seen a recent resurgence by emergency communications groups across the country, and we have our own packet node and BBS to help support the ARES mission locally. The Tippecanoe County ARES packet node and BBS is fully operational and available for use by all local amateurs. There are more than 25 hams in the local area that have packet capability.

TCARES Packet Station


Frequency:  441.050 MHz 
Protocol:  AX.25 
Speed:  1200 baud 
   
W9TCA-1  Mailbox (PBBS) 
W9TCA  Digipeater 
TCARES  KA-Node
INTIPP  K-Net Node 

The station is located at Rossville, Indiana.

Indiana Packet Map

While it is by no means all-inclusive, an effort to map the major packet nodes, digis, and BBSs in Indiana can be found here:
www.communitywalk.com/map/499047

Packet Node & BBS Equipment

The packet node and PBBS consists of a Kantronics KPC-3+ TNC with version 9.1 firmware and 512K RAM, connected to an Icom IC-V8000 2-meter transceiver.

The TCARES Packet Node and BBS is classified as a "stand-alone" system, since it does not utilize a computer running specialized software. Although it is not considered a "full-service" BBS, it does provide most of the same capabilities through its advanced firmware, including: standard BBS message storage and retrieval, digipeating, and network node operation (both KA-Node and K-Net).

Packet Net - TNC Settings

Configure your TNC to use the following settings for unconnected "chat" during the TCARES Packet Net:

  • Turn your beacon off
  • Configure the monitor setting so you "see" unconnected (UI) packets
  • Set your UNPROTO path to digipeat through TCARES
  • Enter the converse mode

 

Kantronics
  • BEACON EVERY 0
  • MONITOR ON
  • UNPROTO CQ via TCARES
  • CONVERSE  (or)  K

 

AEA / Timewave
  • BEACON EVERY 0
  • MONITOR 1
  • UNPROTO CQ via TCARES
  • CONVERSE  (or)  K

Packet Software

Outpost Packet Message Manager
Outpost is a Windows-based packet message client that lets you send and receive packet messages with almost any Amateur Radio Bulletin Board System (BBS) or TNC Personal Mail Box.  Outpost was designed for the ARES packet user community.  The thinking behind it was to create an intuitive, easy-to-use program that lets ARES organizations focus on the "message," not the "medium," as they pass packet traffic to and from an Operational Area BBS.  We are recommending the use of this free software package for Tippecanoe County ARES members.  Click here to read the April 2008 QST article about Outpost.


Sound Card Packet (AGWPE)
This amateur radio web site explains how to use the AGWPE utility program to send and receive packet -- a digital data mode -- using the sound card or sound chip of your PC instead of a traditional TNC or radio modem.  While it is a bit more involved to set up and operate on packet than using a TNC, it can be an alternative for those without one.  The AGWPE program can be downloaded here.