Back in the mid 90s, when packet radio was well established in the
PNW, Vancouver Island, the B.C. mainland, and the Puget Sound area
was well served by a network of nodes and BBSs. The 1200 baud
network used 2 meter, 220, and 440 frequencies to link node stacks
such as VIC, SPR, PTN, SKAGIT, NMSL, BRMRTN etc. That network
moved a lot of information around for the multiple BBSs in the
area. Most of that network is now gone along with the BBSs which
used that network for information distribution to hams.
VHF packet radio is still alive and well on Southern Vancouver
Island where it is used to support local authorities in times of
disaster when infrastructure fails ( 13 municipalities and 7
districts surrounding the Greater Victoria area. ) As well,
Pactor 3 / 4 is used for long distance information exchange
for EMBC, PSC and CFARS.
It is my hope that with the UDR-X that a version of that former
network can be established as a point to multi-point "when all else fails"
backup for internet infrastructure which is so now embedded in
operations by local authorities. That is where my interest is
dedicated in using the UDR-X and in support of that interest I
have 7 UDR-Xs on order. 1200 baud is fine for text messaging and
text emails. 1200 baud does not support picture and data base
file transfers. It has been a long time coming for hardware that
can provide a dramatic jump in data speed for the Amateur Radio
Service. I had high hopes for the Icom ID-1 but with high feedline
loss, line of sight propagation issues in the area, and high cost
it did not become popular for use in my area. I did setup a trial
where it was used in the Swiftsure boat race several years ago and
many megabits of data...still pictures and 15 second videos were
sent from several boats to a land based server...the weather,
especially fog, decreased received signal to unusable levels...not
really good for TCP/IP nets!
So, hopefully 440 will be the high speed data backbone answer. I
can wait for NWDigital to put out a quality product complete with
end user apps for those that don't or can't roll their own. Keep
up the good work NWDigital Team and looking forward to receiving my
order and start building the PNW Network.