St. Louis Metro ARES® packet operations
St. Louis Metro ARES®
has a VHF Packet Mailbox setup in order to help educate and train packet
mode users in the use of a store and forward method of digital
communications. Packet radio provides a way of sending non-critical
messages and bulletins during an emergency in order to free up other modes
of realtime communications for more urgent traffic. It also can be used as
a keyboard-to-keyboard method of communicating, although this is very
cumbersome and would generally be reserved for less mission critical
applications. Similar to moving a QSO off of a repeater when simplex would
work just as well.
The station is operational 24 hours a day and can be reached via the MSTL
node on 145.070 MHz. Or if you're in the South County area, you can try
communications with it direct.
Please use it at your conveinence to practice sending messages to each
other, obtaining non-critical bulletins that are posted, and to verify
that your packet gear is functioning correctly.
Supplement to the ARES Operations Manual
Basic Packet Station Configuration
Two methods of configuring a packet station can be employed.
METHOD 1: A traditional hardware setup would include a PC or dumb
terminal connected via serial cable to a hardware TNC (AEA, Kantronics,
MFJ, etc) and the TNC is then interfaced to the mic or data jack on the
METHOD 2: A PC replaces the dumb terminal, a soundcard interface with
appropriate cables to interface between the radio and the PC are then used.
Additional software is configured to emulate the packet radio TNC thru the
soundcard of the PC. Although this method does work, it is often frowned
upon for packet use due to software configuration and less forgiving
soundcard configuration to modulate the proper tones for packet usage.
St. Louis Metro ARES® would
like to thank the owners and operators of the Missouri
Emergency Packet Network for their guidance, continuing
support, and for allowing us to use the MSTL digipeater
for our practice sessions.
How-To log into the St. Louis Metro ARES Packet Station/Mailbox
Frequency: 145.070 MHz (Simplex, No CTCSS Tones)
- Tune your packet radio to 145.070 MHz.
- Connect to MEPN using the following command:
- Wait for the MSTL node to respond with: *** CONNECTED TO MSTL
- Once connected, send the following command:
- Wait for the N0ARS-1 station to respond with: *** CONNECTED to
- Once connected to STLBBS:N0ARS-1, you should receive the following
prompt: MSTLCO:N0ARS-5} Connected to BBS
- The BBS prompts will be: de N0ARS>
If you are a new user, you will be prompted to enter a few items
such as your name, QTH, and Home BBS. You can enter in either just
your first name or first/last name. QTH is self-explanatory. For
the Home BBS, enter in N0ARS. This way if someone else creates a
private message to you, they will not be warned that your message
may not be delivered due to a Home BBS not being set.
- After successfully connecting to N0ARS-1, you should then issue the
"List Last 10" messages available to be read by issuing
the LL 10 command.
If you are done creating, reading, and deleting your messages, you
can simply tell the mailbox "bye".
- Issue the following command: B
- Wait for N0ARS-1 to reply with: Thanks for stopping by. 73!
If you connected directly to the BBS, your packet session is
disconnected and complete.
If you connected thru MSTL, you will be connected back to MSTL node
to complete any other additional tasks you would like from MSTL.
If you are done with MSTL, make sure you disconnect from it
correctly by issuing the QUIT command.
CONGRATULATIONS! You have now completed your weekly message to St.
Louis Metro ARES and verified that your packet station is working
If you are close to the packet station in South County, you can always
try a direct connection instead of going through MEPN:
- Tune your packet radio to 145.070 MHz.
- Once connected, send the following command: C N0ARS-1
- Wait for the N0ARS-1 station to respond with:
*** Connected to BBS
- Pick-up where STEP 6 leaves off in the "Using MEPN" instructions
If at any time you get lost or are unfamiliar with the BBS commands,
you can ask for help.
- While connected to the BBS, issue the following command: help
Example: de N0ARS> help
- The BBS will respond with the following:
A - Abort Output
B - Logoff
D - Flag NTS Message(s) as Delivered - D num
HOMEBBS - Display or get HomeBBS
INFO - Display information about this BBS
I CALL - Lookup CALL in WP Allows *CALL CALL* *CALL* wildcards
I@ PARAM - Lookup @BBS in WP
IZ PARAM - Lookup Zip Codes in WP
IH PARAM - Lookup HA elements in WP - eg USA EU etc
K - Kill Message(s) - K num, KM (Kill my read messages)
L - List Message(s) -
LISTFILES or FILES - List files available for download
- L = List New, LR = List New (Oldest first)
- LM = List Mine L> Call, L< Call = List to or from
- LL num = List Last, L num-num = List Range
- LN LY LH LK LF L$ LD - List Message with corresponding Status
- LB LP LT - List Mesaage with corresponding Type
- LC List TO fields of all active bulletins
N Name - Set Name
NODE - Return to Node
OP n - Set Page Length (Output will pause every n lines)
POLLRMS - Manage Polling for messages from RMS
Q QTH - Set QTH
R - Read Message(s) - R num, RM (Read new messages to me)
READ Name - Read File
S - Send Message - S or SP Send Personal, SB Send Bull, ST Send NTS,
SR Num - Send Reply, SC Num - Send Copy
X - Toggle Expert Mode
Currently there is no automated path out of the N0ARS station to the
nationwide packet network to route NTS messages in or outside of the
Saint Louis area. Full RMS functions will be added after testing. Once
the functionality is added, this will be updated to provide direction.
If you need assistance in setting up, configuring software, or have
any general questions regarding packet mode operations, please feel
free to contact Peter Brisbine,
© 2017 St. Louis Metro ARES