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Connecting to existing TARPN

TARPN is about building links between ham radio operators and ham radio operator locations. You have a location. Somebody else has a location. Ideally you can find two that can talk to one another.

Step 1

Find somebody on the network map that you can contact, or send out a quary on tarpn@groups.io. Go to their QRZ page or reach them via the local repeater. Talk to them about getting connected.

Step 2

Test your connection capabilities by having a simplex voice conversation with your target link partner. Figure out what work needs to be done to make the connection work. You will eventually need a full quieting signal.

A standard method to test this is one of you uses a 25 watt base station with the expected antenna, and the other attempts to hear the transmissions using an HT. If an HT can do it, the packet link will probably work with good antennas on both ends. Maybe the other station already has a link on the band you'll use? If so, try to hear it with an HT. Again, if you can hear it at all, then with a mobile rig and base station antenna outdoors it should work. Indoor to Indoor is hard, but workable.

If doing an indoor antenna, you'll probably need to be in 440 range. 2m indoors usually is crappy because of household electronics and LED light bulbs.

HTs generally make crappy packet transceivers though if you have sacrificial HTs and you are next door to each other, it may be worth trying. If you have to use an HT, choose one without a microprocessor in it, like an IC2AT or IC4AT. The established operator will probably have some opinions on this.

Be careful with trying to have two links into the same house on the same band. The antennas will have to be well separated. It's easy to test for desense once you have both links in place. Just connect out and back across one link, and make it busy, then push the test button on the other link's TNC. Does having the test button held down (causing that link to transmit) interrupt the traffic on the other link? If so, then you have to do some antenna work to keep the links from interfering. Cavity filters will make a huge difference and can sometimes be cheap. Cheap cavity filter is $25 to $50. New 2m cavity filters can be $400 to $600. The big-hamfest used market is very good for cavity filters. If no hamfests, try emailing to the local club email reflectors?

Step 3

Set up a packet TNC and radio on the destination end that can talk back to you. Set up packet radio gear on your end and establish a connection. You can test that packets get through with antennas, radios and NinoTNCs, without actually installing software or even obtaining a Raspberry PI.

Step 4

Obtain and configure the Raspberry PI on your end to link back. It may be worth getting two Raspberry PIs in the first place, and along with two NinoTNCs you can explore the TARPN software. Fully assembled NinoTNCs are easy to sell or use in other projects.

Step 5

Configure both ends to set up the neighbor link to point at each other. Don't forget to set up BBS and CHAT where appropriate.

Step 6

Test, play, run and find out.

Step 7

Find somebody else to add to the network (This is the pyramid scheme aspect of TARPN!)
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