Packet radio activity in the region of the Radio Farm

  • 9600 Baud Full Duplex Digital Repeater
  • Internet/Packet Gateway
  • Packet Radio Server
  • Amateur Radio and the Iowa Fiber Optic Network
  • 56 Kilobaud Radio Links

  • 9600 Baud Full Duplex Digital Repeater

    The Cedar Valley Amateur Radio Club has sponsored and promoted a full duplex packet repeater on the 440 MHz band in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. This system now links many of the backbone channels out of Cedar Rapids with the main BBS system in the area, WA0RJT. Additional activity on this channel includes TCP/IP and packet-cluster.

    This full-duplex system enables systems 40 miles or more from the repeater site to have one-hop connectivity with all other stations on the repeater channel. Currently active stations on the repeater include nodes from Waterloo, Anamosa, and Iowa City. Additionally, the nodes providing the "long-haul" VHF/UHF hops out of the Cedar Rapids area have dual-band capability, placing them simultaneously on the repeater channel and their point-to-point channel. This system provides a powerful means of forwarding digital traffic.

    Internet/Packet Gateway

    Iowa's first (and currently only) Internet/Packet gateway has been operational since early in 1995. This gateway allows local TCP/IP packet traffic to access packet activity in other parts of the world. These gateways are quite popular throughout the world, with folks participating in chat sessions, amateur radio specific internet news, file transfers, etc.

    If you are on the amateur packet network and have access to your local internet gateway, you can access machines in Iowa "automagically" through the routing services provided by these internet/packet gateways. If you are in Iowa and would like to take advantage of this system, you can send email to kd9kx, or contact your local packet guru. If you are in Cedar Radids area, utilizing the gateway can be as simple as defining a default route to gw.kd9kx or k0vm-sw1. If you are not in the Cedar Rapids area, pointing your default route toward Cedar Rapids will probably get the job done.

    Packet Radio Server

    Associated with the Internet/Packet gateway is a general services machine. This machine provides:

    This machine is known as []. Atanasoff has no direct radio interfaces, but lives on the same ethernet as gw.kd9kx. By routing through gw.kd9kx, packet users can access atanasoff with no appreciable delay over accessing gw.kd9kx. [Gw.kd9kx has no local user services - its only purpose in life is to route packets.]

    This server is named in honor of Dr. John Vincent Atanasoff (1904-1995). Dr. Atanasoff developed the first electronic digital computer while working at Iowa State College (now University) in the late 1930's. His work on the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) predates the work of J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly on the more widely-known ENIAC project. For further information on Atanasoff, you can check out the Atanasoff Archive website at Iowa State University. The use of Dr. Atanasoff's name on one of Iowa's packet radio servers is intended to promote awareness of his prominent role in computing history.

    Amateur Radio and the Iowa Fiber Optic Network

    The Iowa Fiber Optic Network is a major initiative launched by the state of Iowa. The primary goal of this network is to link governmental and educational factilities throughout the state. A great deal of the network is in place as of this date, with further improvements being debated in the state legislatures. Amateur radio organizations are participating in experiments to augment packet radio links with some small bandwidth from the state fiber network. This is occuring through the auspices of the state emergency management organizations.

    As of this writing, the author is aware of only one operational link. The link between Cedar Rapids and Des Moines has been operational since early 1995. Currently, primary usage of this link has been BBS forwarding. The link provides a asynchronous 9600 channel between TNC 2 class hardware running ROSE software.

    56 Kilobaud Radio Links

    Several of us are working on 56 kilobaud radio links. The plan calls for use of the GRAPES WA4DSY modems. Several of these modems are in various states of assembly at the radio farm. Currently, a 56 kbaud radio link exists between our internet gateway and one of the more significant packet switches in Cedar Rapids, k0vm-sw1.

    The existing stations are using the older DSY modems combined with the Down East Microwave transverters. The digital interface for the two existing sites are Gracilis products: the gateway uses a PackeTwin in a 386DX-16 machine, the packet switch is a PackeTen 5-channel stand-alone switch. The local activity is taking place on the 222 MHz band. Long term plans include the development of a full duplex in-band repeater on 222 MHz.

    Ron Luse, KD9KX
    Last modified: Tue Oct 24 21:55:14 CDT 1995