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Packet Radio

Packet radio is easy to use as a means to communicate from computer to computer via VHF ( a very popular ham radio medium, with low cost readily available transmitters of considerable power ie 100 watts).

Legally you need a ham ticket in all countries to own and operate a packet station, but that is not too hard to get especially as a limited ticket with out morse code will allow you to operate VHF ham radio. In the Aftertime there will not be too many radio inspectors running around. It is all plug and play stuff, i.e. a 2 metre VHF (or UHF or HF) radio transmitter, a TNC interface between the transmitter and the computer, some simple software readily available, your computer, and you are on the air.

As ham radio VHF repeaters are able to link packet stations, range is way beyond typical line of sight and distances of thousands of kilometres are available with absolute reliability. Plus of course with this medium it is all free, i.e. no service provider needed, no one controlling the transmission, and the way the software works is that each station is in fact a repeater and can function as a repeater for others. While you are in communication with other parties all that is needed is to know a path, type in the call signs and the soft ware makes all the connections.

I built up a packet TNC in 1984. Even then we were using computers to communicate all over Australia via ham VHF. It is a much more sophisticated network now and completely independent of satellites and telephone lines or cable. Visit a local ham for a demo or check it out at a ham radio store and you will find "packets" of info flying over the radio waves in a big way.

Authored by Darryl.