I’ve heard about this one mode before – a couple of local hams do sailing on our big lake and make a run way up north now and then. They use HF (mostly 80m I hear) to check in and get updates to the weather, pass traffic etc. VE4DXR and VE4ESX both utilize the bands to stay in contact with folks ‘back home’. Leor was using some mode that I had not really heard of before – winlink. It’s a messaging system that can utilize different mediums to exchange messages with other hams – be it HF, VHF or regular internet technologies. The interesting thing on this is that the winlink system has grown to be more of a fault-tolerant, redundant, multi-mode communications hub for store/forward of traffic. Seems it also has it’s place in the ham emergency communications arena, widely used as a backup communications mode for a number of emergency and relief agencies. So, timeliness, another local ham VE4UA had been running his local packet bbs system (since the days of yore) and it was really not getting any usage from what Werner was indicating, so he was thinking of re-purposing the gear to be something more useful. Others got wind of the information and mentioned about setting up a WinLink system for EMCOMM – so he decided to repurpose his gear for that local mode, and was looking for some trials. Me, not being active on packet (since the days of yore as well), decided to take my trusty Yaesu FT1500 mobile and MFJ 1278 and the cable I got provisioned to me by another local ham (VE4VR) to set out and try this new mode. Within the hour I was able to get software downloaded onto my trusty core2 dual processor machine running win10 (another gift from VE4VR) – (which by the way HAS A DB9 SERIAL PLUG! yes!) – got the registration completed and offered the winlink team a donation for their fine work they do, hooked everything all up and away I go — the current meter on the power supply goes to 8amps with the 50watt output of my radio – hooked up to my dual stacked 5/8 on top of the house and I get a FULL SCALE reply back from Werner’s system. Soon enough, I figure out the software and send/receive messages galore on packet winlink. Interesting. I’ll have to try scaling back the power a bit – we might have a better RF connectivity than I had anticipated. Looking around a bit at the winlink system, there’s no real HF gateways in the RF dead spot of the prairies – maybe there is opportunity for a local group to establish an EMCOMM HF gateway and serve the locals sailing up north and beyond! hint hint …
Seems our national news picked up on a story emanating out of the east coast – where it appears someone decided to slice up a couple of strands of fiber-optic cable servicing the WHOLE REGION. Hmmm – so much for redundancy there! The word was that most forms of communications were cut – cell, internet, etc. So the local ham groups had been put on alert for setting out to provide emergency traffic passing. Although the service was restored fairly quickly, it did highlight some pressing issues that need to be reviewed. The local news of the area: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/amateur-radio-atlantic-canada-bell-phone-outage-1.4236756
and our local news a little ways back:
Interesting that there was only FM discussion, no HF discussion – but, there you have it.
It’s summer time and is great to be out on my bike again – the XYL and I took a ride out to the local park and enjoyed the ride and the relaxation of the park. While on the way I happen to spy a few antennas here and there, so thought I’d add a little item on ‘spot-the-antenna’ … whom are these:
seems I keep looking up when riding around, trying to see who has what kind of gear in the air.
Some other cool things are happening with the ham geekdom these days. Expansion and refinement of our local high-speed network VA4WAN has progressed a bit further. The guys spent a fair amount of time organizing and then spending the ENTIRE DAY on top of the building in what must have been the hottest day of the year! Contrast that with the coldest day of the year here: http://ve4drk.keizer.ca/?p=182
More work done on the networking (hardware wise) and cleaning up the connections. Fiber connection will be replacing the current copper connection to our friendly ham provider les.net, who continues to offer us his inter-bits! An addition of another camera on the south, and hopefully some more 3GHz gear running will help smoother the connectivity out a bit.
Our Dugald road site connection is also in operation – after a slight downtime at the interim site at 60C due to power issues. (So, now i have a small project to take the thermometer William donated and hook it up to a pi to start registering what the temps are in that enclosure a bit more. More to come on that later. With the inter-bits back on-line at Dugald road, I reconfigured the IRLP machine to be a new node to replace the old venerable VE4WRS system. Thanks to Walter VE4VB for the use of his repeater (VE4CNR) to host this system. It is currently connected, but we need to pay it a visit to get the one-way audio corrected – I’m sure it will only be a few minutes to figure it out – or we have some bad hardware to replace on the computer system. Either way, having a reliable repeater with our ham connectivity will be great.
I’ve re-programmed my DMR radio again – trying out another local DMR system – seems there’s some growth in them thar’ hills – William was able to setup a 2.3 system to give to Shaun to get his system on the air and we got the DNS registered to have it updated as well, so will keep an eye on that front.
Seems I have more uses for radio than I have cable for – so I’m in search for some decent RG213 or 9913 or LMR type of cable. Looking at the shack, I currently have 6 radios in constant operation! and of course I want to put more on-line too – so – more cable is in the works. If you know of a source, drop me a line — i’m good @ RAC.
Enough for now – time to get on with the day and have some more summery fun.
73, Dan ve4drk