TO: ALL WOOD COUNTY ARES MEMBERS (OFFICIAL)
ALL ARES AND NON-ARES AMATEURS ANYWHERE (INFORMATION)
FROM: KEN HARRIS WA8LLM ARRL DISTRICT 3
EMERGENCY COORDINATOR WOOD COUNTY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS INC.
WOOD COUNTY ARES BULLETIN NR 21.07 DATE: February 14, 2021
SUBJECT: PACKET RADIO
Is Packet Radio still a usable form of communications? The answer is, yes. Even though Packet Radio only operates at 1200 baud per second, or about 1440 words per minute, on the VHF frequencies, it can still handle emergency traffic. To this date, I don't know of anyone who can type that fast. Higher speed data systems may be needed to handle large volumes of messages, but if you are at a disaster scene all you need is to get messages to, and from a communications center. A portable Packet Radio can be set up to do that very easily.
A portable Packet Radio system can handle messages from a disaster scene a lot faster then with voice. With voice communications you may need to spell certain words that are very hard to pronounce, and need to be repeated and spelled, several times. During transmissions Packet Radio uses error checking and correcting. To make sure that messages get through, they could be sent several times, and still be faster than voice.
Portable Packet Radio stations can send their traffic either direct to a communications center, or relay them through high profile nodes or digipeater stations. All that is needed to make a portable Packet Radio system is a laptop type computer, a TNC (Terminal Node Controller), and a hand held radio. All of these devices can be operated from battery power.
So if you are ever asked if Packet Radio is still a usable form of communications, you can answer it, yes.
Ken Harris WA8LLM
Wood County WV