The Delaware Packet Network (DEPN) objective is to document and promote the development of a RF-Linked Amateur Radio AX.25 Terrestrial Packet Network within the State of Delaware and surrounding areas.

We are interested in building a RF-linked ham radio packet network throughout the State of Delaware and surrounding areas by creating community-based AX.25 Packet Networks linked together using BPQ32 NET/ROM compatible AX25 networking Node/BBS/Chat nodes. Assistance with Packet radio networking using TNC Nodes, Winlink Gateways, Digipeaters, and NETROM Nodes featuring full-service BBS and Conference Chat is also addressed and documented. If you are interested in setting up and hosting a Network Node, or need assistance setting up a packet station, please contact us using the Contact page.

Building an AX.25 Packet Network

An AX.25 Packet Network is built using Nodes, such as network layer protocols NET/ROM, X1J, ROSE, K-Net, and/or Ka-Nodes and digipeaters. Most Kantronics hardware TNC’s, especially the later firmware versions, include Ka-Node and/or K-Net functionality. Other TNC’s offer node functionality with firmware upgrades.

The simplest method for an AX.25 packet station to add to building a local network is to enable the digipeater function of the TNC. This will allow local stations to digipeat through the packet station to increase range. However, there are some downsides to digipeating. Digipeating is good for short hops. Packets are acknowledged between each end-to-end sender and receiver. If a packet is lost between sender and receiver, the entire packet is lost and must be resent.

Popular NET/ROM Network compatible node software includes BPQ32 and JNOS. Both are relatively easy to get started, install and maintain. Versions are available for Windows, Linux, and even Raspberry Pi installations. A NET/ROM compatible node offers the greatest method of connecting to the rest of the world via RF-Linked nodes, AMPRNet, AXIP or HF packet. The advantage of a NET/ROM compatible node is that each node sends out a broadcast which builds and updates routes. Also, packets are acknowledged between nodes instead of requiring nodes or stations downstream to acknowledge each packet.

The KA-Node, featured in most Kantronics TNC’s, is a simple packet-networking node, when enabled, the station can be used by other stations, not only as a digipeater but also as a node, helping them to find pathways to other stations that they can not reach. KA-Nodes, like other networking nodes such as NET/ROM, operate more efficiently than do digipeaters as a link between two stations. End-to-end acknowledgement of received packets is not required with the nodes; instead they handle errors between each other, rather than from end to end (which can cause extra traffic when errors or interference occurs). A KA-Node, however, is “silent” in that it does not automatically connect to and exchange routing data with adjacent nodes, as do fully featured nodes such as NET/ROM, X1J, or Kantronics K-Net.

Active Packet Radio Stations/Nodes in Delaware

Map of active Delaware area packet stations and nodes is available here. Add your packet station to the Delaware area map of active packet stations and nodes here.

Club and Hamfest Presentations

If your Amateur Radio Club, local to Delaware and surrounding areas, would like a packet radio demonstration at an upcoming meeting, please Contact Us to schedule a demonstration. Meeting presentations and area Hamfest demonstrations will be announced on our Latest News page.

If you have questions, would like to participate in an email discussion group regarding packet radio operations within the State of Delaware, or get invitations to any packet radio networking meetings, please feel free to subscribe to our email group.

This site will be updated frequently – Last update: November 27, 2021