[nos-bbs] Local Emergency communications but able to do e-mail if necessary

sv1uy sv1uy at ham.depa.gr
Tue Feb 13 17:04:37 EST 2007

Hi Rick,

I have been following this thread with interest and I would like to tell you 
my opinion on this matter. 

First of all AGW can work with Airmail2000 provided you download 2 free 
linking programs that allow you to connect AGW with Airmail2000. I have done 
this last week and I can use Airmail2000 with my TH-D7 yes my TH-D7 (using 
Maxframe 1 and PACLEN128) giving me the opportunity to download/upload e-
mail even with attachments on a 1200bps channel via my TELPAC NODE here in 
Athens. I never had a single crash on my TH-D7 V2.0, early TH-D7s have a big 
problem with KISS mode though.

You can use AGW even with a soundcard for 1200bps and some people have 
claimed success with 9600 bps even depending on the radio they use (i.e. if 
it is a fast switching data radio, 9600 really flies otherwise it is best to 
stick to 1200 bps).

As for PACTOR and SCS well if you really want to get somewhere on HF you 
need the speed and the only fast modem today is the SCS-PTC modems which 
starts from 600 EUROS for PII or 772 EUROS if you want PIII but then again 
PIII is not absolutely necessarry since PII is nearly as fast as a 1200 bps 
packet radio TNC on VHF. And of course PACTOR can be used with Airmail2000 
and JNOS and FBB and in terminal mode with PLUSTERM and with ET4 for file 
transfer. So really all you need is an HF radio, an SCS-PTC controller and a 
cheap laptop. This is only 600 EUROs dearer than an HF radio and a laptop 
and a person that can afford 700 EURO for a cheap HF radio and 600 EURO for 
the cheapest laptop today (I bought a new one for 500 EURO last week) can 
easily afford the extra 600 for an SCS-PTC modem. 

Of course there is PSKMAIL that supports ARQ but with PSK125 and an 
effective speed of 100 bps it can hardly compete with PACTOR III at nearly 
5000 bps in a good channel and with its robustness through QRM there is 
nothing, even military modes, that can beat it for effectiveness and 
performance. Really nothing even comes close to PACTOR III. Compare the 
speed difference of the most expensive PACTOR to PSKMAIL is 50:1. If PSKMAIL 
ever manages to support RFSM2400 (which is less than half the speed of 
PACTOR III but not at all as robust as PACTOR III when QRM/QSB/Multipath 
Distortion is present) then we might have some hope but then again RFSM2400 
is not OPENSOURCE at all, which takes it again out of the game. But I 
personally doubt this is ever going to happen since RFSM2400 works in 
Windows and PSKMAIL works in LINUX.

If money is the problem then probably your best bet is to use VOICE ONLY 
emergency comms. Nothing can beat VOICE for simplicity and cost 

Also, noone is ever going to spend the extra money or time to setup 
something for emergency if he/she does not get anything out of it. And this 
something is at least the satisfaction of using a fairly fast system to 
exchange at least a decent e-mail that he/she can rely on for everyday use 
when there is no emergency. This way one will be trained on how to use such 
a system and this will prove very useful in case of a real emergency since 
the operator will be familiar with the system.

This is definately not something that can only do 100 bps. 

As for saving 600-770 EUROS is what one is after then one should better 
stick with VOICE communications which is a lot cheaper since you do not only 
save on the SCS modem but on the laptop too so the saving is at least 1500 
EUROS leaving you with the price of an HF/VHF radio only. One can easily 
serve his/her local community this way.

Airmail2000, JNOS, FBB and many other systems are decentralised systems if 
one wants to use them as decentralised systems but you must find the people 
who are willing to leave their systems switched on 24/7 which is very 
difficult to do.

Only Winlink2000 is not a decentralized system and relies on Internet 
although the guys who support Winlink2000 will assure you for the opposite.

I use Winlink2000 when I am on holidays away from an Internet Cafe and WiFI 
access and I like it very much because it is fast but I am not sure how good 
it can be when Internet goes down, that is why I run two 24/7 JNOS systems 
with HF/VHF/UHF ports here in Athens and not a Winlink2000 PMBO.

Finally I would like to say that it is not only hardware that makes a 
network but the people who make the network. Sometimes politics get in the 
way and people get sick of it, so no PACTOR MODEMS or Computer sound cards 
can save us. 

73 de Demetre Valaris - SV1UY
e-mail: sv1uy at ham.depa.gr

More information about the nos-bbs mailing list