Let's Enjoy This Stuff!
I'd like to preach about a few ways to DO packet as sometimes so much
stuff goes past us in emails, we don't always have a chance to digest it.
I've heard comments from some that say to me i that i need to try to
explain some stuff. So here goes... There are a few ways to setup a packet station.
One way is to just hook a TNC to a radio and computer with a simple
terminal program such as Hyper terminal, Winpack, Outpost, etc. This works fine if you ONLY use TERMINAL programs on your TNC. IF you want to use Winlink programs WHICH WE WANT YOU TO!!! (RMS Packet,Paclink,Airmail) also, that gets a bit more complicated.
You see, Winlink programs are a different animal. They are fancy high
level programs that, when they are started up on your computer, go into
your TNC and start changing stuff. That is what the .INI files in each
program are for. These programs change your TNC from TERMINAL mode to either KISS mode or HOST mode. Plus, they talk to your email program
in TCP-IP or some such nonsense and allow you to send email over packet. Complete with fonts, attachments, and formatting. Whoah baby!!!
Doing this enables the PROGRAM to do all the thinking and just use your
TNC as a dumb modem. If you just run Winlink programs on your computer, and NOTHING else, you will probably do fine.
Problems happen when you SWITCH between programs. WHY??? Because Winlink programs for some strange reason don't exit pretty. They go in, change your TNC to KISS mode, and then when you exit out of them, they LEAVE the TNC in KISS mode. And you are sad because your TNC wont initialize, and you want to run your TERMINAL program!!! So, to get it back, You either hard reset your TNC, and reenter a bunch of parameters or do some weird tricks i wont describe here.
But what if you want it ALL? You want to run Outpost, Paclink, RMS
Packet, Winpack, ALL at the same time. Enter AGWPE ------AGW Packet engine. What this wonderful program does is allow you to run all of these
programs on ONE TNC. Plus, if you want a program to control more
than 1 TNC, you can do that too, by setting up multiple PORTS on
AGWPE. I use the packet engine on my computer, and run Outpost,
Paclink,Winpack,and RMS Packet.
If i wanted to run a separate radio and TNC, and do APRS on a different
freq., AGW would route those packets also through another AGW port.
Then, I could ALSO have an APRS program like UIVIEW running also. That might
just happen soon!
The guy that wrote AGW has written a bunch of companion programs that
made to work WITH AGWPE: I'm just going to name a few. Go to the AGW
site and explore. AGWTERMINAL, AGWMONITOR, and one i just found out about that I REALLY LIKE---AGWUIDIGI.
WHY do i like UIDIGI? Well, two things you lose when you use the
engine is the ability to have a mailbox and the ability to be a node.
(however, there are now AGW programs that give YOU a mailbox too.. I
prefer Outpost.. but that's just ME )
But AGW UIDIGI gives you the ability to DIGIPEAT. Say D-I-G-I-P-E-A-T.
It allows others to use your station to get to others. AND vis versa.
Which in our area is a GOOD thing. In an emergency, having redundant
digipeaters can mean the difference between having a reliable route or
not. If you are a portable station at some shelter or hospital, you
THATS why I preach redundancy. If we all had 200 foot towers with
Stationmasters on them we could do with less. MAYBE!
I cant get to Ed's place by bouncing through WIPOLK all the time. But
if i could DIGI through Fred's or Johns station, maybe that would do it.
This message is way long, and i have so much more to say. (QUICK, SOMEONE STOP MARK... He's talking about PACKET again...!!!)
Just to whet your appetite, much of packet has moved to APRS. and we haven't even BEGUN to explore that. MORE than just vehicle tacking. Quite a mode and because of the extensive network out there, your
little station gets alot of bang for your buck. And then there's IGATES. But
that's for another time. And then there's OUTPOST. My all time favorite packet program.
Well, this has been fun. Lets enjoy this stuff.