Three inter-connected packet nodes were installed in our repeater hut by VARPA some decades ago. They were handed over to SSIARS in early 2015. We gladly took over ownership because we didn't want to see them disappear. They are valuable part of the communications infrastructure for the whole Vancouver / Nanaimo / Victoria area. With that said, VE7SPR-6 failed in 2018, followed by VE7SPR-7 in early January of 2019, and finally VE7SPR-8 went down in March of 2019. All failures were caused by the TNCs. VE7SPR-8 and VE7SPR-7 were put back in service on April 17 2019, but for now, they are not interconnected. When VE7SPR-8 was resurrected, it was still using the original PK-80 TNC, but VE7SPR-7 was using a KPC-3+.
VE7SPR-6... down temporarily
VE7SPR-7... now using a KPC3+Because of this, you may need to modify your scripts that use VE7SPR-7 to include "!WAITFOR Help ?" after the "CONN"... e.g.
!WAITFOR Help ?
As of Dec 5 2019, the RMS VE7SPR-10 was running on 144.970 MHz on Bruce Peak. It is using a TNC-Pi connected to a Raspberry Pi 3B+ running LinBPQ, the Linux version of BPQ32. The packet node VE7SPR-8 and the RMS VE7SPR-10 share the same TNC.If you could previously connect directly to VE7SPR-8, you should be able to connect directly to VE7SPR-10 now. If you can't hit it direct, you can of course go through another packet node on the same frequency that is within earshot to get to it.
While there is no need to go through VE7SPR-8 to get to VE7SPR-10, you can go through it to get to other RMS gateways or to P2P stations. However, you will now need to insert a port number into your scripts... e.g.
C 2 VE7SKR-10
VE7GDH for years ran P2P on 144.970 MHz on Salt Spring Island, but changed over to Winlink format in July of 2019 and started using ARDOP and VARA on HF with good success. For several months, it was QRP running just 5W from an FT-817 and a SignaLink USB. The same 5W station made a number of contacts with JS8 to Australia and New Zealand on 40m. While the FT-817 is still available, VE7GDH has been using an FT-991A with a built-in sound card since August of 2019, now mostly using VARA with the radio running 25W, but sometimes turned down to 5W. The FT-991A has CAT control and access to the built-in sound card on a single USB cable. As well as using VARA HF, tests have also been done with VARA FM on 2M and 6M again with good results. In March of 2021, VE7GDH connected with just 5W to KD7UHR in Collinsville IL on 17m, a distance of 2890 km. This works out to about 1.7 mW/km. Days later, he connected to VK3DPW in Red Hill VIC in Australia on 40m, also with 5W, a distance of 13185 km. This connection worked out to 0.38 mW/km. Who says QRP doesn't work, or that there's no propagation!?
Messages in Winlink format can be sent to our "club" station VE7RAS, but it is seldom attended while the COVID-19 pandemic is still going on. Until the pandemic is over, messages sent to VE7GDH will be viewed more often.
Winlink Express can be downloaded from winlink.org. It can be used at 1200 bps and 9600 bps on VHF/UHF and can also ARDOP or VARA with a sound card type of interface such as the SignaLink USB (or a radio with a built-in sound card) on HF. WINMOR has now been depracated. VARA FM can be used on 10M and up. Winlink Express can also use a PACTOR modem, but they are quite pricey.