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Sunday, July 28, 2013


KA6M/R, the first digipeater (Source: www.pprs.oprg)

Following up on yesterday's blog post, here is what I wrote about KA6M in my first book Your Gateway to Packet Radio in 1987:

"The United States amateurs did not let grass grow under their feet. Once the FCC gave the go-ahead, packet-radio experimentation south of the border forged ahead. The first US packet demonstration was conducted at the 1980 ARRL National Convention in Seattle, Washington. Most of the initial experimentation involved building and tinkering with the VADCG TNC*, but on December 10, 1980, the first "made in the USA" amateur packet development hit the airwaves: Hank Magnuski, KA6M, put a simplex digipeater (KA6M/R) on 2 meters in San Francisco. Hank's system used a home-built TNC based on the Z80 microprocessor and a Western Digital 1933 HDLC IC. Like packet radio north of the border, Hank used a Bell 202 compatible modem on his TNC because the modems were readily available as surplus equipment. As a result of Hank's operations, a group of interested amateurs joined him in the founding of the Pacific Packet Radio Society (PPRS)." 

* Canadian amateurs got the go-ahead to do packet radio in 1978, two years before amateurs in the USA. Vancouver Amateur Digital Communications Group (VADCG) developed the first TNC, which was available as a kit and became known as the "VADCG TNC."   


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