Packet Radio in Central Kansas
The major 24/7 nodes in the area run on 145.070MHz. They are:
Mulvane, KS (Wichita)
- Call: N0KTA
- Node: KSMLV (N0KTA)
- BBS: MLVBOX (N0KTA-1)
- Owner, maintainer, and sysop: Joe N0KTA
- Equipment: Kantronics KPC-3+ with PBBS, no PC. 50W @ 120ft
They, and many others, use OutpostPM, a graphical client for BBSs. They have a nice slideshow presentation on their site about it.
Using the nodes
The nodes are something of a hub for communication. Many hams have a node built in to their TNC, so there may be dozens of active nodes in the area at any given time. These can be fun to explore and let you do useful things.
But primarily here, we are concerned with the two "big" nodes: N0KTA and W0BZN. These are both located on high towers and are intended to be kept running 24/7.
You can connect to a node and do things right there. More usefully, once you're connected to a node, you can connect from it to something else. Say you're station A, and you want to talk to station B. But B is pretty far from you and you can't see B. But both you and station B can talk to the node very easily. So, you connect to the node, and then tell the node to connect to station B on your behalf. The node will relay traffic back and forth between you and B, and the end result is you can talk. Fixed nodes are very helpful. During emergencies or special events, mobile nodes built into TNCs can establish a helpful method of communication
N0KTA and W0BZN nodes use different kinds of nodes. The commands available on them are similar but not identical. W0BZN also offers links to distant systems in Connecticut, Kentucky, and New York.
Most people will first connect to whichever node is closest to them, and branch out from there. I'll discuss them both here. Click on whichever is closest to you:
System and Link Map
A comprehensive map of the system and its links to other systems is available.
Legend for the map:
- Black lines are VHF links
- Red lines are HF links
- Blue lines are Internet links
- Solid lines are links understood to be 24/7
- Dashed lines are periodic, non-24/7, or as-needed links or systems