Radio email is awesome! Last night, I made my first big contact, and it was my lovely wife! The message went something like this: “I Love you! Even though we’re only about 6 feet apart, this message traveled 2000 or so miles, and it was worth the whole trip!” As far as I can tell, it went from my home QTH, to the Lake County Races Digipeater (K9IQP-7), the Winlink Gateway hosted by the North Shore radio club (NS9RC-10), the Winlink mail server in San Diego, a currently unknown Google email and web server, and back to a Verizon tower and to her Internet dongle. What a journey to talk to the person right next to me!
If you’ve read what I write here, it’s should be no surprise that a short while ago, I attempted to simplify my life a little and a large part of that was to no longer have a data cable in my house of any kind. So long Comcast! However it wasn’t long before I started missing a little bit of that, and more exactly wanted the kind of experience that I had using dialup BBSs back in the early 90’s. And it was for that purpose and many more that I turned to Ham Radio and it’s various digital modes.
My setup is like this:
- A Diamond x510 Base station antenna, mounted to an upright of my chain link fence.
- A Yaesu FT-60r handheld, tuned to 145.610, no power savings and squelch almost all the way off.
- A Kantronics KPC3 (not the +), connected to the radio via a cable created by BuxComm (www.packetradio.com).
- A far too long serial cable (It was all I had) to a Belkin Serial to USB converter
- An Asus EEE PC 1015 PE netbook, in this case running Windows XP. A very modest computer
- A running copy of RMS Express, setup with my information.
As with most things, and especially in ham radio, this wasn’t my own doing, but something that was the result of a larger effort. Special thanks to the volunteers of the Winlink group, the North Shore radio club and the Lake County Races group. Also a special thanks to Tom, AB9NZ, for the really nice base antenna he gave me, and the fellow who I bought the used TNC from and the Chicago FM Club Hamvention a year ago at the boon county fair grounds.
And yes, while I was doing this, I was watching the Mythbusters bust many of the myths that the moon landings were faked. Gotta love those guys.