Introduction to Packet Radio

Data packet technology was developed in the mid-1960's and was put into practical application in the ARPANET which was established in 1969.

Initiated in 1970, the ALOHANET, based at the University of Hawaii, was the first large-scale packet radio project.

Amateur packet radio began in Montreal, Canada in 1978, the first transmission occurring on May 31st. This was followed by the Vancouver Amateur Digital Communication Group (VADCG) development of a Terminal Node Controller (TNC) , also known as the VADCG board, in 1980. This was then followed by TAPR (Tucson Amateur Packet Radio) with the creation of the TNC-1 in 1982 and then the TNC-2 in '84-'85.

Ten years ago, the packet radio revolution ignited when TAPR sold over a thousand TNC-2 kits.

The TNC-2 was what was needed to make this mode, that a few experimenters were playing with, into something that every amateur could enjoy.

From its humble beginnings, where it was good luck to have more than three packet operators in the same city, packet radio now has thousands of amateurs using it daily, various manufacturers making and selling TNCs (terminal Node Controllers), and over a hundred thousand TNCs having been sold to date. What growth! No other mode of amateur radio has seen such explosive growth!

Like any mode in the amateur service, it provides a group of amateurs with a way of having fun and meeting one of our primary aims, 'improving the radio art.' Packet radio was a new mode in the early 80's that many of the outstanding amateur experimenters worked on and developed.

The result, ten years later, is something that provides a lot of different operating opportunities. No longer is it just packet radio, but now it is bulletin board systems, DX Clusters, chat bridges, networking, emergency communications, satellite operations and much more.


Links Associated:

What´s Packet Radio ?


Getting on the air with packet

Digipeaters and nodes

Introduction to the BBS

BBS commands

The Packet message

Packet message adressing

Tips for better PR operation