Packet Setup

The minimum:

Two meter radio
1200 baud TNC
Suitable Antenna
Portable computer or terminal
Power Source


Internet hot spot or cell phone with data link for telnet access

Voice Setup

Two meter radio
Suitable Antenna
Power Source

Packet Station Notes:
All Race related documents are available on the “Download” tab; this is in addition/supplemental to the normal things you will receive at the Communications meeting at Sugarhouse Park.  These documents can be saved to your computer and printed as needed.

Depending on the checkpoint location relative to the CLAY, MDELL, PEAK or ISLAND nodes, the required antenna might be as simple as a vertical quarter wave. In most locations a small yagi is desirable, as the node station transmit power is relatively meager and multipath can be an issue. A hand held type radio is normally sufficient. Large amounts of transmit power only help the circuit in one direction. A suitable antenna is far more critical to successful node access.

If your checkpoint has cell phone system data coverage, as many do, it is highly recommended that you bring equipment that will give Internet access so that you can connect to the packet system via the telnet interface. This will give you a backup if you have vhf radio packet system issues or can be used as your primary access to the system. Since telnet access is not via amateur radio, non-licensed operators can utilize it without a supervising amateur operator. Logon to the telnet access is via callsign and to do so the callsign needs to be in the list of authorized logins.

Terminal software can be either Windows, OS X or DOS. Both Tera Term and HyperTerminal work well with Windows.  ProComm or ARESPACK can be used with DOS systems. A high speed computer is not necessary, as the system is limited by the speed of the 1200 baud packet link. More critical is the ability to see the screen of the computer in the light conditions at the checkpoint and sufficient battery power. Many color screens are very difficult to see in a bright environment.

TNC parameter setup is critical for successful interface with the system. With nearly twenty packet stations in use for the event, there will be a wide variety of types of equipment. This list is provided to give setup parameters that are generally optimal for interfacing with the network and database. It is strongly suggested that you set your equipment up, enter these TNC parameters, and then experiment with the system setup in the Salt Lake Valley well before the race.  Some of these parameters are entered to optimize a system with many simultaneous users, and a small improvement could be shown by changing them if you are the only station using the system. So please make adjustments with care:

TNC Parameters
TNC Command Value  Comments
BEACON 0 EVERY 0 in some TNCs
DEADTIME 30 300 ms – MFJ & TAPR TNCs only – equivalent to SLOTTIME
DWAIT 73 few modern TNCs have this command
FRACK 10 10 sec. TM-D700 default is 3. Change to 10.
MONITOR OFF Suggest turning monitor off for ease of use.
MYCALL CALL TM-D700 users be sure to put in your call. “NOCALL” not accepted.
PACLEN 234 TM-D700 default is 128. Change to 234.
PERSIST 63 TM-D700 default is 128. Change to 63.
PPERSIST ON not on all TNCs
RESPTIME 10 1.0 sec. TM-D700 default is 5. Change to 10.
SLOTTIME 30 300 ms – not on MFJ TNCs
TXDELAY 40 400 ms. TM-D700 default of 50 is fine.

Voice Station Notes:
The antenna setup will be similar to the Packet setup above based on the location of your station with respect to the repeater you will be using.  The repeaters utilized for the event are listed on the “Op Freq” tab.
Packet is the primary mode for sending and receiving runner data.  Voice is primary for reporting emergencies needing immediate attention. Voice is also a backup for runner data and coordinating with NCS and with other stations or operators.