Thank you for visiting the Maine Packet Network website. Our mission is to build and maintain a packet radio backbone to interconnect several community-level networks and their respective emergency communications teams across Maine and beyond its borders.
Further, our goal is to pull together all the bits of information about packet radio operations scattered across the web, and to give operators of all skill levels one place to go to learn about packet radio and get connected with the network.
For more information about our group, please visit the About Us page. If you would like to contribute, please reach out to Brad Brown, KC1JMH.
Congratulations to the Franklin County ARES for getting a packet radio and APRS node online this week! This new node is located in Farmington, ME, and is listening for local operators on 145.030 MHz as W1FCA-15, and on the national ARPS frequency 144.390 MHz as W1FCA-1. This node is connected to the Maine Emergency Packet Network UHF backbone, allowing traffic to travel the state and beyond!
Stay tuned for more announcements, there are things in development that we’re eager to share!
From Dan K1DQ on Saturday, July 22nd: The K1DQ Packet will be off the air for a few hours on Sat. afternoon so I can switch the antenna over to the other 2 meter radio for some FSQ field coverage testing by KC1RWI.
We are excited to share our new Status page, accessible at the link in the menu to the left or by browsing to status.mainepacketradio.org. This page will provide live status for Internet connected nodes that the MEPN has been given information for.
As a cruel twist of fate, our status page itself had gone down for a little while due to technical difficulties shortly after implementation. It has been restored and continues to monitor our nodes.
We will continue to provide status bulletins and news for all nodes as we are made aware of changes to the network, including RF-only nodes, right here on this News page.
If you operate a node and would like it added to our maps and status page, or have news to share about it, please reach out to us. We can supply a dynamic DNS name and monitor its uptime.
We have been notified by the Shapleigh node’s sysop Dan, K1DQ, that the node will be down today, Saturday, February 11th, 2023, for an exercise which requires him to temporarily repurpose some of the equipment. The node should be back online this evening. We ask our operators to utilize our maps to locate the next closest node if it is required to pass traffic during this time. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The printable network maps have moved from our Files page to the author’s webserver, where it is easier for him to make quick edits and publish them more expediently. Links to these PDF files are located in our Nodes page under the interactive map.
We encourage amateur radio operators to download these maps for their station or their Emergency Operations Center in case the Internet is not available in the time of need.
Again, we want to thank Roger Pience, N1XP, for his contributions to the Maine Emergency Packet Network (MEPN) and the Southern Maine Packet Group (SMPG), who serves Maine’s Emergency Management Agencies and affiliated amateur radio clubs.
The Westbrook KC1JMH-15 node’s 2 meter VHF operator-access port was unavailable from February 20th until today, March 2nd. During which, the 70 cm UHF radio remained online and continued passing traffic along the statewide backbone between our other nodes.
We want to thank Richard Bates WD1O for going on-site and replacing a faulty component.
Have you ever wondered what all that obscure code means that flies by as stations transmit their connection requests and messages? The following link comes from one of the available software modems, which modulate and demodulate data to transmittable audio.
<RR P/F R1 > - this is a "ready to receive' (RR) packet simply acknowledging receipt of packet #0 and ready to receiver #1.
<REJ P/F R1 > - this is reject (REJ) packet meaning that the packet just received was out of sequence or a duplicate or not received accurately; ready to receive packet #1 instead.
The Maine 2021 Simulated Emergency Test or SET is scheduled for Saturday, October 9th from 0800 to 1200 EDT, during which amateur radio operators will be demonstrating the effectiveness of their capabilities to send formal traffic across the state. This traffic will exercise the Maine Packet Network (MEPN) nodes, their ability to route BBS mail throughout the system, and their ability to gateway Winlink RMS messages to NTS traffic coordinators.
We received an update from sysop Pete Thuotte, N1ZRL on December 7th:
N1ZRL Node situation. Need to drop the antenna and mast for gutter installation. Temporary re-installation to follow until, a final solution is found.
Pete Thuotte, N1ZRL
On October 5th, Pete Thuotte, N1ZRL, reported to us via our Facebook page that:
N1ZRL node not receiving well at all. Thought I found an issue with the 16 pin interconnect between Motorola Radius Gm300 and the TNC-PI. Well, it was a problem…replaced it basically rewired it all. Received well for awhile, not now. Maybe should rebuild setup, starting with antenna, mast and coax.
Pete Thuotte, N1ZRL
We wish him luck with his repair efforts, and will keep everyone appraised of any updates as they are received.
Brian W1BKW submits our first radio interfacing guide on the site, for which we created a new folder in the Files section labeled “Radio Guides.” He worked closely with TigerTronics and Bridgecom to identify the jumper configuration and the code plug settings required to interface a SignaLink with an Anytone AT-D578UV.
The 2 meter frequency for the WS1EC-15 node has changed to 145.050 MHz to remove internode communications from the operator access frequency. Internode operations will continue on the 70 centimeter statewide backbone frequency.
The Maine Packet Network is proud to announce that updated printable maps are now available in our Files section! Roger Pience, N1XP, has put a lot of effort into these, working with individuals and groups all over the state to gather accurate information. We couldn’t have built our dynamic map page without his help.
While our dynamic map can help you quickly find nearby packet nodes, we strongly recommend carrying a printed map with you in case you find yourself without Internet access.
We have received word that the York County EMA node W1YCA has returned online on a new VHF frequency of 147.550 MHz, and it now supports the UHF statewide backbone! The application SSIDs have been renumbered to the standard scheme started by the Midcoast Maine Packet Network.
Roger N1XP, who reported the news to us, shares the following information, which will be included on our node map:
W1YCA-15 York Co. EMA Emergency Packet Network Node Returns on 147.550 MHz ! W1YCA-15 is part of the Maine Emergency Packet network reaching from New Hampshire into the Canadian Maritimes. https://www.mainepacketradio.org/
W1YCA-15 Node, alias YCAEMA W1YCA-2 BBS/Mail, alias YCABBS W1YCA-10 Winlink RMS, alias YCARMS A CHAT room will be activated later this month W1YCA-5 CHAT, alias YCACHT
Please contact Jimmy, KC1ETT [kc1ett@arrl(dot)net] if you wish to have a mailbox on a packet node in York County or Brad, KC1JMH [kc1jmh@arrl(dot)net] for Cumberland County.
If you are new to packet and interested in Emergency Packet communications a “How To” will soon be available on the above mentioned web site or contact one of the SysOps above.
Did you know that you can leverage Winlink to earn up to 200 points? As long as the connection starts over radio, it counts! You can leverage one of the nearby packet radio nodes with your free VHF 2m station while your friends are raking in the contacts on HF. See our Node Map to find a node near you.
7.3.5. Message Origination to Section Manager: 100 bonus points for origination of a formal message to the ARRL Section Manager or Section Emergency Coordinator by your group from its site. You should include the club name, number of participants, Field Day location, and number of ARES operators involved with your station. The message must be transmitted during the Field Day period and a copy of it must be included in your submission in standard ARRL radiogram or no credit will be given. The message must leave or enter the Field Day operation via amateur radio RF.
The Section Manager message is separate from the messages handled in Rule 7.3.6. and may not be claimed for bonus points under that rule. Available to all Classes.
7.3.6. Message Handling:10 points for each formal message originated, relayed or received and delivered during the Field Day period, up to a maximum of 100 points (ten messages). Copies of each message must be included with the Field Day report. The message to the ARRL SM or SEC under Rule 7.3.5. does not count towards the total of 10 for this bonus. Available to all Classes. All messages claimed for bonus points must leave or enter the Field Day operation via amateur radio RF.
Looking for contacts?
There’s a Google spreadsheet going around with a list of stations that you can contact during Field Day, and a form that you can use to add your group or station to the list.
The W1YCA-4 (soon to be -15) node in Alfred at the York County EMA has been taken offline as of June 18th due to VHF radio issues. Work was already scheduled for next week to add a UHF radio for connection to the Maine Packet Network backbone, to add a UPS battery backup (to augment the generator), and to renumber the node SSIDs to our statewide network standard. Repairing the VHF radio will be added to the work detail.
Operators are encouraged to leverage the K1DQ-15 node in Northern York County or KC1ETT-4 node in Southern York County at 145.730 MHz, or the KC1JMH-15 node at 144.930 MHz in Cumberland County, in the meantime.
This is Dylan, KC1PDS, a recently licensed amateur radio operator. Dylan made his first connection with the packet radio network after his club meeting with the Wireless Society of Southern Maine.
Dylan is interested in setting up his own gear for use with packet radio. He has a Yaesu 7800r, just like the club uses for the WS1EC-15 node in Windham.
Brad, KC1JMH and Vice President of the club, discussed the equipment he would need, provided him a quick rundown of the software used, how to connect, hot to move around from node to node, and how to send and receive BBS and Winlink RMS mail.
We look forward to seeing Dylan’s call sign on the nodes again in the future!
With the recent work done to the Southern Maine Packet Group network to enable and connect to the Midcoast Maine UHF Backbone, the Knox County quarterly exercise was able to expand and share their simulated emergency test to Cumberland and York County.
The packet network was used to send messages between Knox, Waldo, Lincoln, Cumberland and York Counties around May 22nd, to and from representatives of each of the county’s Emergency Management Agency offices.
A full write-up is available on pages 6 through 12 of the Maine Telegraph Newsletter, June 2021 edition.
With the construction of new nodes and the addition of UHF to several others, we are working on updating our maps.
Roger N1XP is working on an updated printable PDF, which will be located in the Files section.
Brad KC1JMH has replaced the card style Nodes list with an interactive map that can be filtered and sorted. Looking at the list below the map, nodes will appear in order of distance from your location if you allow your location to be shared in your web browser (a pop-up should present itself to ask you).
As noted on our pages, this is a work in progress, as time allows between work and personal lives. If you spot anything wrong or missing with our data, please reach out to one of us. Our email addresses are good on QRZ, or you can use the Contact form in the menu to the left.
We want to share accurate and timely information from across the state, and we need your help!
We have received word that K1DQ-15 in Shapleigh is now on the air, sharing tower space with an amazing DMR repeater. The packet radio node SSID’s are -2 BBS and -15 Node, Winlink RMS is pending and will likely be -10.
This is a dual-band site, providing York County and points well beyond due to its altitude with access to the statewide network.
Node information including frequency and available applications will be posted to the Nodes page as the site continues to develop.
As of Saturday, May 15th, The WS1EC UHF backbone connection is now online, and with it the Midcoast is reachable again from Cumberland County! The node is able to reach the new KC1JMH-15 node in Westbrook and on occasion the N1QFY-15 node in Gardiner, on UHF.
Of note, the node’s SSID’s have been updated: It is primarily accessible at WS1EC-15, BBS is now -2, CHAT is now -5, Winlink RMS remains -10.
The existing station consisted of a 2-meter Kenwood TK-760H that was donated by Brad Brown KC1JMH, connected to Raspberry Pi running linbpq node software with TNC-X hat via a custom TNC cable, all built and assembled by Roger Pience N1XP.
On May 15th, Brad met with James Fraser KB1SDK, a member of the Cumberland County EMA. An unused repeater was disconnected and a jumper run from the hardline to a Yaesu 7800r which was donated to the Wireless Society of Southern Maine. The radio was then connected to the Pi using a DINAH USB radio interface, which Brad had displayed at a club meeting in March, and curious to see how well it worked, had donated to the cause. On one end is an 8-PIN DIN or data interface port, the other is USB, inside is a CM108 soundcard that supports push-to-talk.
Direwolf was installed to be a KISS TNC sound modem. It took some tinkering with Direwolf to make it play nice with the DINAH USB radio interface; it turned out that the version of Direwolf in the Raspbian repository (1.3) is too old to support PTT over the CM108 chip in the DINAH. Once Direwolf was installed fresh from the git repository (1.7), there were no further problems.
Future planned updates include swapping out the higher-altitude 2-meter antenna with a dual-band antenna and connecting both radios via a duplexer. James plans on setting up a radio rack for the repeater, which will eventually see a higher-altitude UHF antenna, and a tray included to help consolidate the packet station into a neater but still air-gapped package.
Thank you James KB1SDK for making yourself available for this work detail, and Roger N1XP for the phone support for the software changes.
As some of our astute hams have noticed, KC1JMH-15 has appeared on the BPQ nodes maps. Located in Westbrook, ME, and having both VHF and UHF radios, this node is our key to connecting Southern Maine with Midcoast Maine, allowing traffic to flow from New Hampshire to Canada along the i95 corridor.
Information on this node will be made available on our Nodes page and our printable maps as it continues to be developed and implemented.
A special thanks goes out to Richard Bates WD1O for his hard work and coordination to get this done. This could not have happened without him!