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Ron Stordahl ron.stordahl at digikey.com
Sat Feb 19 23:32:36 UTC 2005


Henk

Do you really think for one minute that it would be wise to put a PC at 
a remote site that runs 40 F below in the winter and 100 F above in the 
summer and is subject to regular power failure/restores?

If so, come here and take over the maintenance of 15 remote sites please!

Ron, N5IN

Henk de Groot wrote:

> Mark Conner schreef:
>
>> I agree that if one is installing a new digi and has new hardware 
>> purchased,
>> a KPC-3 may not be the way to go for future flexibility.  However, a $30
>> refit kit for existing digis might be more palatable for KPC-3 owners 
>> than a
>> pricer replacement.  
>
>
> I wonder, why spend $30.-- for a refit kit? This thing can already 
> talk KISS, so you can turn it into an excellent digipeater as is!
>
> The big problem to advance into the future seems to be todays need for 
> a PC in a state of the art digi, eventhough the software runs fine on 
> a scrap 286 machine. I'm talking about PC's for which people almost 
> pay you if you take them away.
>
> Old laptops are ideal, they use not so much power (approx 15 Watt, 
> much less than the transmitter) and are small. Most of them still 
> operate at 12 Volt and you can run them from battery to cover power 
> outage. Yesterday I saw a ham advertize, this ham wants to get getting 
> rid of his old 90 MHz pentium laptop because the screen is defective; 
> cost $0,00. These are great machines to use in a digipeater!
>
> Our own digipeater, PI1APK, runs from an 486 HP Omnibook (also a gift) 
> and PI1APA ran from a 80286 Tulip PC. PI1APA used a harddisk and last 
> year the disk died, the machine was donated to the garbage collector. 
> Now it runs from an old 166 MHz Pentium 1 I had laying arround after 
> my daughter (7) got a better machine (800 MHz Pentium II).
>
> Both PI1APK and PI1APA boot from floppy and run in ramdisk - no moving 
> parts at all while in operation. PI1APK has run non-stop over a year 
> without any maintenance, it only stopped for replacing the software 
> and relocation. The floppy acts as persistent storage with all the 
> settings, it doesn't ware out since the drive is always idle during 
> operation.
>
> I can't imagine that these kind old machines are not available in the 
> US, its very cheap and very reliable. The PC's are outdated but by no 
> means worn out. The only real extra expense compared to a KPC box is 
> maybe energy. Even that is only a few Euro's per year. Better spend 
> those $30.-- on that.
>
> When you have this setup, you have plenty of options to play with. 
> Trapping large WIDEn-N for example, not only WIDE7-7 but also all the 
> others. The number of aliasses is limited only by memory size.
>
> Why was this solution, or any other solution, not implemented in all 
> those 1000's of sites that Bob keeps mentioning? Simple. 4 years ago 
> we, or more accurate Bob, didn't have the guts to move away from 
> todays limited TNC implementations. And eventhough we have not 
> progressed an inch since then, still the same argument is repeated. So 
> after then next 4 years we will still have todays limited TNC 
> implementations operating everywhere (in the US). All the people with 
> great ideas will have moved on into other parts of the HAM radio hobby 
> that give them more rewarding opportunities.
>
> In my opinion it is not a cost issue. The PC's you need for this are 
> give-away machines and I bet a lot of Hams already have these laying 
> arround collecting dust.
>
> Of course there are sites depending on solar pannels, they would have 
> to use something like an UIDIGI prom. But when we start moving into 
> the future I'm sure these solutions will become available.
>
> Building something new and something better als gives energy to start 
> working on new TNC designs or to build extensions that work in 
> conjuction with for example a TNC-X. What kind of incentive is there 
> today to work on that?
>
> Maybe even Kantronics will add new features to their TNC's as soon as 
> they realize they are going to loose market share if they keep sitting 
> on their hands.
>
> Worst case is keep the current Kantronics boxes at those solar-powered 
> sites and have the surrounding digi't be aware of that and adjust the 
> route by explicitly using this box's callsign in the path.
>
> Start upgrading those 1000 sites and you will have a better network 
> tomorrow.
>
> If in The Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy its not a problem to 
> deploy PC's in digipeaters, why is it such a problem in the US? I 
> don't get it, but maybe that is because I'm European.
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Henk.
>
>
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