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

Maiko Langelaar (ve4klm) maiko at pcs.mb.ca
Fri Feb 23 12:41:59 EST 2007

Hi Rick,

> Our local group is looking for a low cost mode(s) that will allow us to 
> easily connect digital stations to transmit messages, store messages if the 
> operator is not present (simple BBS), and route through the internet if you 
> need to. Ideally, this would be an adhoc system, with some stations set up to 
> operate from typical hams homes and others for portable or even mobile.

Sounds exactly like the packet radio networks and systems that many on 
this list have been using for the past 20 years. That's exactly what you
are describing here at first glance.

> I know this is backwards from the Winlink 2000 view that most digital traffic 
> should go through the internet unless you need to bridge a broken part ...

I wouldn't call it backwards. Ironically, alot of the packet radio networks
from the past 10 years have opted to use internet anyways to forward between
systems (using axip and/or axudp tunnels over the internet). Why ? Too much
distance between systems, and a lack of desire (or money perhaps) to try
and build a pure RF network. I mean why spend tons of cash on radio stuff
when the internet is free (cheap cheap cheap). I'm trying to be funny.

> We just don't have that much digital traffic.

Same here.

> indication is that most messages are fairly short and are relatively
> easy to send over voice channels if you need to.

Same here. I guess the reality is that voice is the choice.

> Airmail has the ability, if you have the right equipment, to act as a peer to 
> peer VHF as well as a VHF and HF connection to the internet.

For peer to peer VHF, so does Winpack, or PR4WIN, and countless others.

For VHF and HF connection, so do NOS, FBB, and other systems.

> But to do much of that you do need the SCS modem. Based upon documentation
> you know it is oriented toward the SCS product.

This is the part that puzzles me. Why do you think it is so oriented
towards the SCS product. Do the LATEST versions exclude all the other
modems ? The Airmail client I use has allowed me to use an MFJ, a KAM,
a DXP, and of course the SCS. I'm sure the PK232 is in there as well.

Sure, the focus might be to spend the most time on the newer modern 
products, but I am able to use my *older* tncs still with more or less
little problems.

> It is also only able to operate on MS OS.

And probably there's not much one can do about that. That's the platform
of choice for the developers. Of course, by doing this, the developers 
have given you the freedom to choose :-)

> But I think an open source and cross platform approach would be better
> for amateur radio.

I am guessing that the WinLink developers simply are not interested in
that approach. They have every right to do it the way they want. The so
called market out there will at some point determine if they made the
right decision or not. Isn't that the way all products work ?

If you truly want an open source approach, then ditch WinLink and/or
the AirMail stuff, and look at the alternatives, some of them below :

* The newer generation of software like PSK-Mail (which looks like some
   are touting as an alternative to WinLink 2000). I'm sure there is alot
   more other stuff hidden out there as well.

* Or the older generation of software like the NOS and FBB systems, and
   whatever else people still run.

> I don't see much growth with Pactor modes ...

Comments noted. To me it's a tool, I don't care if it grows or not.

    *** Any connectivity is better than NO connectivity ***

> Our Section (State) discontinued Pactor and the State Pactor BBS system and 
> now use it for the SHARES program. They also shut down the packet BBS system 
> a while back. Their preference is to route all digital traffic through the 
> internet from Telpac sites.

Sounds to me that someone has already decided what to do then :-)

> I strongly believe that we need to have more ARQ sound card modes. We have a 
> few, but most are weaker signal and slower with very narrow bandwidths. That 
> is good for much of the time but we need to have other modes which can go 
> much faster.

With all due respect, this is the wrong mailing list then.

I am certainly excited about some of the past sound card modes, for example
Thomas Sailer wrote sound card modules that I've tried in linux NOS (kiss 
interface). It is SOOO cool, and I'm sure things will get even more exciting.

I would certainly add these modes to NOS, problem is alot of this sound
card software has limited to no API to interface with (please jump in if
anyone has more accurate information). I thought about this over a year
ago believe it or not. I guess one needs to colaborate (or try to) with
the soundcard authors (a sutle hint to myself).

> PSKmail could be used if we get other hams to switch to Linux.

I spent a bit of time last year, seeing how PSK Mail and similar
software did this. The idea was to see if I could use the API used
by PSK Mail within NOS. Anyways ...

> One possible direction that intrigues me at bit would be to move toward an 
> all HF approach for digital and VHF for tactical voice. This makes it simpler 
> for short or long distances on HF. Antennas are a slight problem, but we 
> won't be using that much digital unless there is an extended disaster to deal 
> with over a wide area.

Being that voice is so desireable among agencies, one of our senior ARES
people complained that voice is great, but HF voice with tons of noise is
just useless. Enter a new product from AOR communications :


Perhaps this is one way to sell digital to the voice people, in particular
the HF SSB modems (look under products / other ):


      ARD 9800 or the ARD 9000 MK2 Digital Voice Modem

> As a past NTS operator handling traffic, on CW and SSB, and sometimes even as 
> NCS, I know that the motivation for many hams putting in as much time as they 
> do, with very little to show for it, is the camaraderie that occurs when you 
> have a group that gets together periodically.

Yep, I agree. I miss our old WARP group coffee days.

* (Winnipeg Amateur Radio Packet)

> This is not as easy to do with BBS systems or digital networks ...

Amen !

Maiko Langelaar / VE4KLM

More information about the nos-bbs mailing list