Sunday, July 10, 2005

Packet Radio and the SWPPG 

I have gotten off path with one of my projects for ham radio that being to become more active in packet radio again. While having fallen way behind the state of the art in terms of wireless data communication packet radio still a lot of fun and has a lot to offer amateur radio and the person that likes to tinker in both the radio and computer hobbies.

I have everything I need to get a station on the air except the time. Seems like there is always something else needing done that is higher in the priority stack. Be that as it may. I am thinking about taking a vacation day sometime this month with the sole purpose of putting that station on the air. There is a meeting coming up at the end of the month and it would be great to be able to tell the guys at the club that I am finally on the air.

Like with so many other hobbies one of the best ways to lean something new is to join a club or group of folks with similar interests. There is a really great group here in the Pittsburgh area for packet radio and they are the South Western Pennsylvania Packet Group. Started by Geno, WA3IOU, this club has put together a network of packet nodes that has to be seen to be believed. There is an incredible amount of time, effort and money invested in this system which is kept on the air twenty four seven by Geno and a core group of dedicated volunteers. Follow the link to their site to see a map of the system and its coverage area. I think you will be impressed.

The group meets several times a year and the next meeting will be held on Saturday, July 30th 2005, at 10:00 AM. The location is the Blue Flame Restaurant on Rt. 51 just south of Century Three Mall. All are welcome and you need not be a licensed amateur or member of the group to attend. The only requirement is that everyone who attends is asked to by some food or beverage. We are given a large meeting room at the rear of the restaurant at no charge and feel that it is only right that we patronize their services in return. The food is excellent and if you come for breakfast there is an all you can eat buffet at a very reasonable price or you can just have coffee and rolls. Up to you.

The meetings are always informative and interesting. I have made every meeting except one since joining the club and have never come away disappointed. If you have any interest in digital modes and or packet radio you should be there. Packet radio has become a real asset in emergency services and public service events.

So come on out and join us and see what it is all about. Bring a friend and introduce them to both packet and ham radio. You might be the one that lights that spark that starts someone on the path to a life time of enjoyment in amateur radio. I hope to see you there.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to drop me an email.

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