Packet radio at N5XU

One of our projects this semester was to get packet radio operations up and running once again at N5XU. After some hiccups with failed hard disks and a trip to UT Surplus, we are now successfully transmitting APRS packets from the shack. The TNC is a TNC-X given to us by Joe, K5EJL (thank you Joe!), connected to the FT-847. Here is the current lineup of equipment for the packet station:

  • Yaesu FT-847 transceiver (perhaps the FT-7900 could serve this purpose in the future)
  • TNC-X at 1200 baud (9600 baud serial interface)
  • 2mĀ horizontally-polarizedĀ yagi (future work is to use a vertical ant!)
  • YAAC software for sending and receiving APRS packets
  • Old Dell computer running Xubuntu and YAAC

I also tried yesterday to use the Linux AX.25 stack to log in to the KA5D BBS system, but somehow was not receiving packets from the BBS node. The BBS node itself is working correctly – Kyle helped me figure out it’s something on the software side at the N5XU shack. That is a work in progress…

In the future, hopefully we will get a vertically polarized antenna that we can keep connected all the time. Our tower is about 120′ AGL, on top of the ETC building at UT, so we disconnect the antennas in case of lightning strikes. Lightning protection and stuff will be another task for the future!

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