So what does this thinga-ma-bob do exactly? Well for starters it does just about everything a
Windows machine (without M$, thanks to Linux) and a Kantronics TNC can do. But that’s just
for starters! It runs on 5V / 1A DC and can be powered on 12V by about .65A. It has 2 VHF
ports (so far), serving a packet node, full-service BBS with forwarding, and Winlink Gateways
on two VHF frequencies. It has an HF port serving ARDOP for the Winlink system on 80M and
20M (check Winlink.org for the latest frequencies) It offers tunneling to distant nodes over TCP/IP.
It can forward BBS messages and route them automatically over RF or the internet
when that’s available. It allows users to upload and download files such as IC-213 forms,
weather maps, etc. It forwards to othe BBS stations along the 223.6 packet backbone
for RF forwarding of BBS messages to most parts of Northern California and beyond.
In short, it does just about anything you can do with a computer and a few radios.
All this in something about the size of a bar of soap, all on 5v/1A minimal power.
Client stations (using a laptop or a home computer) only need Winlink Express and/or Pat, Outpost, or Airmail. Winlink Express is like a standard email client and looks like this:
If you want to set up a server/gateway on a Raspberry Pi or PC, here’s the software:
The above BPQ and LinBPQ are, in my opinion, the best options out there for server-side ops. Check this out.
An APRS iGate is also served by this little RPi.
Linux is supremely finicky, poorly documented and frankly a pain. But once you have a
good build, it’s rock solid! The Raspberry Pi is like a Lego Set for the technical mind. I highly
recommend getting one and looking around at all the things it can do on 5V.