Donations Needed (West Michigan Packet Cluster)
We are looking for donations for purchasing equipment for the
backbone packet system for the Packet Cluster. This backbone system
will be operated and maintained by the Holland Amateur Radio Club.
The following is a list of items we're going to be installing.
GE Delta Radio (5 units) @ $200 each: $1,000
Kantronics KPC9612 TNC @ approx $350: $1,750
2 Meter Rigs (5 Units) @ $200 each: $1,000
440 Mhz 5-element beams 5 ea @ $40: $ 200
146 Mhz Vertical Antenna 5 ea @$80: $ 400
500 foot Coax Hardline @ $1 per ft: $ 500
Misc. Connectors etc. @ 5 sites: $ 200
Estimated Total for complete system $5,050
This sounds like alot, and I'm basing the prices on purchase of new
equipment (reconditioned GE product) but this gives us a budget to
Personally I'm working on the first system for Grand Rapids myself,
I've purchased a KANTRONIC KPC9612 and working on purchasing a GE
I currently have 1 each 146 mhz vertical, 440 mhz 5 element beam and
all the hardline and connectors for the first site, along with a
kenwood TM241A 2 mtr transceiver. This is my personal stuff, that
I'm donating to the Holland Amateur Radio Club to get this first site
up and running.
I have bid on and won a Kantronic KPC9612 for $220 on ebay from
another ham radio operator in VA, and will be sending the money out
for that soon, along with the purchase of the GE Delta 100W 440 Mhz
commercial radio, tested, wired and configured for 9600 baud on 440
I've had some people ask me, what does this do for US? Hopefully I
can explain here alittle bit about what this is and does.
Currently the packet system here in holland on 147.56 simplex for the
DX Cluster. Currently is is reachable via 2 mtrs from Grand Rapids,
South Haven, and Grand Haven with little effort. However it limits
the amount of THRU PUT by operating at 1200 baud and digi-peating
from station to station to get thru.
The new system will provide this.
Each site is setup, for example Grand Rapids, is setup with a 2 mtr
rig to receive @ 1200 baud local hams, and digi-peats to the onsite
440 Mhz rig, that pumps up the signal to 100 Watts, and transmits it
to the Holland Hospital @ 9600 baud, 8 times the speed at which the
receiving hams are communicating. With the increased power, and
higher thru put to the hospital, less retries are need, less traffic
pumping into the hospital, and the hospital will see the majority of
its traffic on the high speed 9600 baud thru put. Thus reducing the
traffic on the local Holland 147.56 freq for local operators as well.
With this type of configuration, someone in Grand Rapids, with a 1/2
W HT, using a TNC will be able to directly connect to the holland
amateur radio clubs DX CLUSTER with very little effort, reducing
thier purchase cost for equipment and antenna arrays to hit Holland.
Now I realize that Grand Rapids is fairly close, but were looking to
reach out to Lansing, Michigan and Mt. Pleasant, Mi as well WHY you
Lansing mainly for the Red Cross, and digital communication backbone
that does not exsist at this time, thru our network, any and many
types of emergency communications can be handles at a great rate of
speed via the 9600 baud backbone, that can only be imagined with any
type of digi-peating system @ 1200 baud on 2 meters. Down falls with
2 meter digi-peating are obvious, stations that were there, are not
there anymore, or only there when they want to be there, etc. So each
time you try to digi to Lansing, more than likely you have to find a
new route each time you attempt it. With the backbone, 9600 baud,
the system is dedicated to packet, and the DX Cluster, their up and
running 24 hrs a day, supported and maintain for that specific
By introducing ourselfs (Holland Amateur Radio Club) community to
Lansing, will obviously create great exposure for our selfs, and
eventually create more interrest in our club, goals, and membership.
Mt. Pleasant, Why there? Mt. Pleasant for #1, is located in the
center of the Lower Pennisula, obvious a SPOKE WHEEL HUB for the
center of the lower part of the state. We have a gentlemen there
willing to donate space on his 100 foot tower and electricity and
shelter for us to install all the equipment we would like, he is also
a Future ham radio operator. By installing at this location, it
opens a whole world of connects from Midland, Bay City, Saginaw,
Gaylord, Traverse City up for feed thru to the Holland DX Cluster.
With the DX Cluster, the more LOCAL (within the state of michigan)
hams we have inputting their contacts, and DX (rare ones) the more
likely the Cluster information will be accurate for those of us here
in Michigan wanting to work that RARE ONE. Remember if they worked
them in say Midland on 14.300 say D68C station, at 599, then theirs a
good chance you'll be able to work them as well because your in or
around the same location. Currently if a station W6 lander W6abc
works D68C, well he's in 6-Land, CA, so chance are you may or maynot
be able to work the D68C station due to your geographical differences.
What I'm asking for is for the folks to realize the cost factor in
doing this, their are alot of hams not only here in Holland, but thru
out michigan that are willing to donate something to get this system
up and running, I'm not only asking Holland Hams, but hams from other
communities as well to consider some sort of contribution, remember
this system is for everyone, and everyone will have the advantage of
Oh, by the way, for those of you that ARE NOT DX CLUSTER operators,
but only like to use packet for something else? Realize this, you to
can be able to say be in Holland, Michigan with a buddy in say
Lansing, Ann Arbor, that can Connect from 2 meters 1200 baud from
Holland to the BACKBONE, 9600 baud, pump thru to Lansing @ 9600 baud,
and drop back down to 1200 baud output to your friend in Lansing, or
Ann Arbor... Nice, direct communications straight thru to lansing at
lightning speed (compared to 1200 baud).
Where can this go in the future you might ask, currently the radios
I'm looking at are capable of operating at data thru put @ 38400 baud
but obviously the cost factor for such a modem is alittle on the long
shot for the time being, several stations in Arizona, and Texas are
operating at the 38400 and some even at 56k. Just like your modem on
your computer when you connect to the INTERNET, Oh whala, theres
something imagine, connecting to the BACKBONE system and its LIVE
real time on the internet, email, browsing, etc. It is possible and
it is being done today on many system thru out the United States. But
with Dreams, come reality and we must start somewhere to grow.
If you like what you see, or don't like what you see ither way please
drop me a note and express your oppinion. If you can see some
benifits please reach inside your wallet and consider a contribution
to this project.
For all contribution, please make checks payable to:
Holland Amateur Radio Club
West Michigan Packet Network project
If you wish to donate say a 2 meter rig, please let me know what it
is, and I'll let you know whether or not we'll be able to use that
rig for this application. Especially the 70 cm rigs, at 9600 baud,
the equipment must be extremely stable, and tested at 9600 baud
before we can utilize it, considering the bandwidth restriction that
amateur radio operator must maintain when operating at high speed
baud rates via packet.
Thank you for your time, I hope to hear from you all soon.
Robert Underwood, President
Holland Amateur Radio Club