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Virginia Digital Emergency Network (VDEN)

November 26, 2023

Date: 2023/11/26 14:11
Subject: November Packet Radio Bulletin Net Results

R:231126/1411Z 2164@KN4LQN.#RICH.VA.USA.NOAM BPQ6.0.24
R:231126/1405Z 35642@N3MEL.#EPA.PA.USA.NOAM LinBPQ6.0.24

Thank you to everyone who participated this month. Check-ins were a 
little down from last month but with Thanksgiving not to bad at all!

We will be taking December off and will return on the 3rd Sunday in 
January which is the 20th.

We will use the Packet Radio HTML form "Net Check-in", and I will be 
asking for you comments in regards to Packet Radio and EMCOMM.

You can install the html to text forms from this link:


Have a great Holiday Season, stay safe & warm.

Call	  Country	 Grid	  Mode	Band
KX4EF	United States	FM17fo	Digital	80
KC0WEA	United States	DM78ou	Digital	2
KA1VSC	United States	FN31rr	Digital	2
WW4BSA	United States	EM90dd	Digital	2
W1LEM	United States	FN41xs	Digital	2
KM4WSA	United States	FM17gl	Digital	80
KA3VSP	United States	FM29ep	Digital	80
N4HOK	United States	FM17cq	Digital	80
N4WLC	United States	FM17fl	Digital	80
KO4UOQ	United States	FM17fm	Digital	80
W5PWS	United States	FM17fm	Digital	80
N4VEM	United States	FM17em	Digital	80
K0WAV	United States	EM36ek	Digital	2
KN4LQN	United States	FM17ei	Digital	40
NY3J	United States	FN20mc	Digital	2
N3MEL	United States	FM29dx	Digital	2
KE4QCM	United States	EM73ws	Digital	2
KB3PCY	United States	FM29ev	Digital	2
NC8Q	United States	EM79wq	Digital	2
KP3FT	United States	FN22hm	Digital	80
N3FUD	United States	FN10nf	Digital	2
K6RKY	United States	CM95ql	Digital	2
WG0A	United States	EN34iv	Digital	2
KK6HWN	United States	CM97ak	Digital	2
WB2CMF	United States	FN30lu	Digital	2
WY7EMT	United States	DM41vw	Digital	2
KN4KNL	United States	FM17em	Digital	80
KC3QVF	United States	FM29kw	Digital	2

73 de Glenn N3MEL


(View as PDF)

Packet Bulletin Net - PKTNET@USA
November, 2023

Net Control:
   Glenn N3MEL

View net reminder bulletin from N3MEL

WHO: All amateur radio operators
WHAT: Packet Bulletin Net - PKTNET@USA
WHEN: Sunday, November 19, 2023 - 0000 UTC
              Saturday, November 25, 2023 - 2359 UTC
HOW: This net will accept check-ins via BBS Bulletins only. Send a check-in via any participating BBS, with active forwarding, any time during the week.

The coming months will be about sending standard text based forms that can be easily used via Packet Radio Messaging.

Below is a text version of the Field Situation Report (FSR) form. This month N3MEL is asking that we fill out the form and send it back as a Packet Bulletin.

Subject: Callsign, Name, City/Town/County, State
Message (example):      


Packet Radio Bulletin Net


DATE/TIME:= 2023-11-11 10:43:58Z    TASK:= # 01

FROM:= Your Call


INFO (CC):= Your Call, Your Name, Your Town & Your State (This line 
should also be your subject line of you check-in bulletin)

1. Is there an EMERGENT/LIFE SAFETY Need = NO

2. City:= Your City

2a. County:= USA

2b. State:= Your State

2c. Territory:=

3. Reporting Grid Sq:= Your Grid

4a. POTS landlines functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

4b. VOIP landlines functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

5a. Cell phone voice calls functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

5b. Cell phone texts functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

6. AM/FM Broadcast Stations functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

7a. OTA TV functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

7b. Satellite TV functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

7c. Cable TV functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

8. Public Water Works functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

9a. Commercial Power functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

9b. Commercial Power Stable?:= Unknown - N/A

9c. Natural Gas Supply functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

10. Internet functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

11a. NOAA weather radio functioning?:= Unknown - N/A

11b. NOAA weather radio audio degraded?:= Unknown - N/A

12. Additional Comments: Select the best choice above that best 
describes your location.

13. POC:= Your Call


The participant map will be updated throughout the duration of the net at:


Don't feel obligated to enter a detailed message if it's difficult; the important part is the Subject line!

Here's a simple web form here to help create the Field Situation Report (FSR) plain text:


The VDEN website (https://vden.org) includes information about the Central Virginia BBSes, how to send personal mail and bulletins, and methods for connecting over RF (Packet / Vara via Terminal / Winlink / Outpost).

Bulletins created on the N4VEM BBS will be forwarded over Vara FM to the KN4LQN BBS, which will then forward over Vara HF to the N3MEL BBS and the wider regional packet network.

Reach out if you have any questions!
David KN4LQN

Previous net reminders, results and maps:

PKTNET@USA - November 19-25, 2023
PKTNET@USA - October 22-28, 2023
PKTNET@USA - September 17-23, 2023

(View as PDF)

Table of Contents:

  1. Central Virginia BBSes with active forwarding
  2. WIP Quick run-down on RF methods
    • Radio (getting audio and PTT)
    • TNC (hardware vs software)
    • Application (Keyboard Terminal, WLE, Outpost)
    • Special note, if wanting to use Winlink Express and receive bulletins, need BBS forwarding config
  3. Quick example using Keyboard Terminal
  4. BPQ BBS commands
  5. WIP Connecting via Packet Terminal (EasyTerm, AGWTerminal, etc)
  6. Connecting via Vara Terminal (FM, HF)
  7. WIP Connecting via Winlink Express (packet, vara fm, vara hf)
  8. WIP Connecting via Outpost Packet Message Manager (packet, and ??)
  9. Additional resources

Central Virginia BBSes with active forwarding:

BBS Callsign Mode Freq (Dial) Hours (ET) Via Digipeaters
N4VEM-1 (VA) Packet AX.25 1200bd 145.730 0000-2359 KN4LQN-3
  Packet AX.25 1200bd 145.090 0000-2359 KN4LQN-3
  Vara FM Wide 145.090 0000-2359 KN4LQN-10
KN4LQN-2 (VA) Packet AX.25 1200bd 145.730 0000-2359 N4VEM
  Packet AX.25 1200bd 145.090 0000-2359 N4VEM
  Vara FM Wide 145.090 0000-2359 N4VEM-10
  Packet AX.25 300bd 7103.2 USB
3596 USB
@ 1000c
  Vara HF 7103.2 USB
3596 USB
@ 1500c
N3MEL-2 (PA) Packet AX.25 300bd 7103.2 USB
3596 USB
@ 1000c
  Vara HF 7103.2 USB
3596 USB
@ 1500c

Quick example using Keyboard Terminal:

*** Connected to N4VEM-1
Hello David. Latest Message is 419, Last listed is 323
de N4VEM>

Enter Title (only):
:> KN4LQN, David, Virginia, N4VEM
Enter Message Text (end with /ex or ctrl/z)
:> 1. Various Packet/VaraFM Winlink gateways are in the area, with one well-positioned central standalone digipeater
:> 2. Regular daily HF NTS voice nets but not much on VHF in Central VA
:> 3. Still using mainline UZ7HO Soundmodem but will give QtSoundModem a try for IL2P
:> /ex
Message: 420 Bid: 420_N4VEM Size: 232
de N4VEM>

:> BYE
*** Disconnected Fm N4VEM-1

In this example, the lines in bold are typed in by the operator and ":>" is the BBS prompt.

Practice by sending private messages to other local operators or bulletins to ALL@N4VEM, ALL@KN4LQN, etc!

BPQ BBS commands:

Command Description
? or Help Displays a list of commands.
B or Bye Disconnects from the BBS.
N Enters or modifies your name (max 12 characters allowed).
Home Enters or modifies the Home BBS. A point deletes the current Home BBS.
Q Enters or modifies QTH.
Z Enters or modifies the Zip Code.
I callsign Gives the information on callsign taken from the white pages database. Callsign can include wildcards.
OP <# of lines> Enables or disables the paging of output.
A Abort the BBS output while paging.
L Lists the new messages since the last usage of this command.
LM Lists the personal messages to you.
LB Lists bulletins.
R msg# msg# Reads the messages by their numbers.
RM Reads new messages to you.
S[type] callsign Sends a message or a bulletin. If the type is not specified, sent as private.
SP callsign Sends a private message.
SB category@route Sends a bulletin. eg, SB ALL@N4VEM
SR Msg# Replies to a message.
S callsign @ BBS Sends a message to a station AT another BBS. The message must be terminated by a Ctrl/Z or /EX followed by a return.
SC Msg# Call @ BBS Copies a message or bulletin to the specified callsign.
K msg# Deletes a message identified by its number.
KM Deletes all the messages addressed to you, that you haven't yet read.

Connecting via Vara Terminal using Vara FM / HF

Vara is a newer mode that is robust and fast, using scaling speeds with OFDM modulation.

Vara FM can use WIDE audio bandwidth signals for faster speeds, depending on hardware setup, and includes digipeating functionality similar to AX.25 Packet.

Vara offers an optional $69 license for the use of faster speeds and FM digipeating.

The Vara Terminal application uses either TNC to connect to a remote BBS to give keyboard terminal access.

Download Vara FM and HF TNCs and Vara Terminal:

Click here for full instructions

Additional resources:

BBS spec:

AX.25 Packet spec:

Automated Packet Reporting System (APRS) spec:

Improved Layer-2 Protocol (IL2P):

BPQ mail user commands:

Kenwood-style TNC commands:

Kantronics-style TNC manual:

For more information about Winlink in Virginia, please see the Virginia EmComm public Facebook group.

For more information about the Central Virginia digipeater, N4VEM, please see VDEM Amateur Radio Communications Auxilliary (ARCA).