|What You Can Do On Packet|
This is a brief overview on what you can do on packet radio...one of the many digital modes of amateur radio. Much of the information is courtesy of Patrick Boyle, K0JPB. Contrary to popular belief, packet is not what you do to your TNC before taking it to a flea market at a hamfest (hi hi).
It doesn't take much to run packet...just a terminal node controller (TNC), your rig, a computer (such as an 8088 XT, or a laptop) with DOS or Windows 3.11, 95, or 98, and your favorite packet program (such as EZ Packet). I've even seen the old Radio Shack Model 100 and 102 run packet!!
Unlike some digital modes like RTTY and PSK31, packet is error free. What you send is what is received. This is crucial when passing traffic that includes message like ''10 casualties'' or ''100 casualties''. There's only a ''zero'' difference between them, but that one character makes all the difference in the world.
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* Connect to another packet operator's station (TNC), and chat with them like an Internet chat room, or leave them a pmail (packet mail) message if they're not available.
* Use ''nodes'' to connect to more distant packet stations, just as we use voice repeaters to connect to more distant stations.
You can also connect to a packet BBS and do many things, including:
* Sending National Traffic System traffic for routine and emergency traffic.
* Sending a Ham Gram to anyone, whether they are licensed or not.
* Getting callbook information on a specific amateur radio callsign.
* Send messages to other packet operators throughout the country.
* Joining a roundtable discussion group of other Amateurs. This same service is used during some ARES drills and disasters. The N0KFQ Packet BBS in Branson, Missouri has a digital packet net each Monday night at 7pm, Central Time.
Packet BBS's also allow you to:
* Read messages on about 60-70 topics ranging from Satellite operations, rig modification data, and even Bible discussions.
* Send messages thru a passing satellite in real time, and more.
In addition to traditional packet, there is also APRS packet that can send short messages, and automatically locate Amateurs on a map all across the country.
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