Packet Radio

Yes I know with the Internet speeds you can get hooking your computer up to your cell phone why would you want to do 1200 bps or 9600 bps over radio?  Well I tell you why, because it just sounds cool and is something I haven’t done before.  This could also come in very handy in an emergency situation where all the cell towers could be down.  I can always rely on my HAM radio equipment.

I am using, "The Ultimate Linking Interface" to connect my computer to my radio.  The ULI, is a nice little device with all the inputs and outputs you could want.  I also just purchased a FT-7800R so I could dedicate a radio to this effort.  Like all my other equipment I purchased this from www.hamcity.com

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After a little trial and error I was able to get it up and running using the RJ-45 connector on the ULI and the 6 PIN DIN on the FT-7800R.  Here is the wiring layout that I used to connect the ULI to the FT-7800R.

Wiring Layout
FT-7800R to ULI
FT-7800R   ULI
PIN Description   PIN Description
1 PKD (Data in)   6 MIC Input
2 GND   5 MIC GND
3 PTT   4 PTT
4 RX9600   3 AF Output
5 RX1200   3 AF Output
6 PKS (SQL)   8 SQL Switch

Depending on the speed of the packets you want to send you would connect PIN 4 or 5 from the FT-7800R to PIN 3 on the ULI.  The ULI uses a standard RJ-45 connection and the PIN layout starts from the left.

I am running this on the same computer as my WiRES-II system.  I installed a second sound card, and to not cause any conflicts I am running VMWare Workstation 6 and Windows XP Pro inside the VM.  VMWare allows me to chose which sound card the Virtual Machine will use and this doesn’t cause any MIC or Speaker conflicts on the sound cards and each can be configured independently.

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I am currently using AGWPE as my packet engine and I am using WinPak as the packet radio program.  It rides on top of AGWPE.  I haven’t done much with this yet, but I am hoping to get more involved with some people here locally that are doing this type of stuff.

Last weekend I also finally mounted my antenna a Diamond CR8900A 29/50/144/440 antenna on the roof this weekend.  It has been sitting just outside my basement door.  I know this probably isn’t the best base antenna, but for now it is working.  I don’t know much about antennas so any suggestions would be great.

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My antenna is up on the same tripod as my Davis Vantage Pro2 system.  It is the tallest point I have right now.