Pacific Packet Radio Society gateway | history | photos | papers | links | packet audio | video | contact
spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer
PPRS Audio / Video PPRS radio top right spacer
PPRS radio left of display PPRS radio screen display PPRS radio right red light spacer
PPRS radio panel under display spacer
ARRL Gateway - Issue One PPRS History PPRS Photographs PPRS Papers and Documents PPRS Links PPRS Packet Audio spacer
PPRS Radio Base spacer

Pacific Packet Radio Society
35th Anniversary

Wireless Digital Communication was introduced (in the United States) by Dr. Hank Magnuski (Co-founder of PPRS), when his historic KA6M-1 Digital Packet Radio Repeater began operation on:

December 10, 1980

Dear Packet Radio Enthusiast,

Thanks very much for the letter of inquiry which you sent me. The response I've received to the initial publicity about the packet repeater has been very enthusiastic, and I have been deluged with requests from hams, both locally and from various points around the country, for more information about the repeater, for schematics, for listings, specifications, modems, proms, SDLC chips, Vancouver boards, and for talks at clubs. Needless to say, all this activity, plus continuing development on the packet hardware and software has kept me very busy, and I apologize for the long delay in responding to your letter. Let me bring you up to date on what has happened, or is happening, since the initial announcement of the repeater, which went on the air in December of 1980.

KA6M/R - Packet Radio Repeater, 1980 ~ Front View
World's First Digital Repeater for Wireless Data Communications
KA6M/R - Packet Radio Repeater. 1980 ~ Front View ~ PPRS photos

KA6M/R - Packet Radio Repeater, 1980 ~ Back View
World's First Digital Repeater for Wireless Data Communications
KA6M/R - Packet Radio Repeater, 1980 ~ Back View ~ PPRS photos

In the early months of this year, the packet repeater was operating out of my residence, and was still an experimental machine. Since then, we have installed a couple of upgrades to the control software, we have used a better CPU card, increased the power level, moved the repeater to 700 feet elevation, and integrated its operation to be 100% compatible with the protocol used by the Vancouver Digital Communications Group (VADCG). The repeater has changed from being a laboratory curiosity to a major Bay Area repeater heard from Berkeley to south San Jose, and the user community has grown from a couple of stations to a network of some 30 users. The packet system here now has a mailbox on-line 24 hours a day, several on-line personal computers, and network links (courtesy of a commercial packet network) to the other active packet radio centers in Vancouver and Ottawa. We have also just installed an HF port on 20 Meters, and are beginning some experiments aimed at establishing connection with AMRAD in Washington and with equipment located at W1AW.

VADCG TNC built by C. Spangler, N6ECT
VADCG TNC built by C. Spangler, N6ECT ~ PPRS photos

Most of the original packet radio experiments were done in Canada (in part due to the Canadians' pioneering communications spirit, and in part due to less restrictive regulations up there), and three main centers were at work: Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. The technology employed by each of these groups differed, and each approach has its own merits. My thinking and ideas very closely paralleled the work started by Doug Lockhart, VE7APU, and I can best report on what is happening with groups which have adopted HDLC (High-level Data Link Control) framing as the basis of their protocol. The HDLC/ SDLC frame is a new, universally accepted standard in the data communications industry, and Doug and I feel it offers a good starting point on which to build a packet radio network. As it turns out, groups in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, El Paso, Denver, Sacramento, and Hamilton have also taken up this technology, and it is likely that we already have a sufficient number of people using this technique that it will become the defacto standard in the amateur radio community.

It would be impossible for me to completely describe the protocol and equipment being used in this letter, so I will briefly cover some of the topics and give you some pointers on where to find additional information. As you might guess, this is a new area for amateur radio, and tutorial material and handbooks simply do not yet exist. Many issues and problems remain to be discussed, and there is opportunity to make substantial contributions to the state of the art. [Snip] [Click to Continue Reading] - Thanks again for your interest. See you on the net.

Best regards,

Hank Magnuski, KA6M

[Click for More Papers and History]

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional