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Lazarus and Packet radio

Jeff Davis wrote:

> for *most* people, packet type communications doesn't smack as "Star
> Wars" technology. it is more "spark gap" technology and while there is
> nothing wrong with that if you want to play with it, it is not the
> future of the hobby, it is the past.
> packet is still dead. spread the word.

Packet is as dead as CW is or ever will be, perhaps less.  Every time we send
info to and fro on the internet we are sending using packets.  The packets
principally travel on wires as opposed to RF but I am sure there is still a
microwave link or two, certainly a commercial Sat link in there as well.
Packet for this reason alone will always be with us.  Not to mention the fact
that it has grown from its humble beginnings to be the dominant form of data
communication across the planet for good reason.  It works.  Without packet
there would be no internet over which we could argue such matters... But more
to the point.

Who wants to compete with the internet?  Not I!

There are things that we can do with packet that the internet has no interest
in.  Bob Bruninga has pointed out a few dealing with APRS.  Others have pointed
out the emergency uses of Amateur packet systems.  As long as we keep packet
going in the amateur service we can integrate data transfer seamlessly, along
with voice, in times of trouble.  The ability to do so is one of the
fundamental tenants of Amateur radio.  As ammeters it is our duty to continue
to support all forms of helpful radio communication no matter how arcane or out
dated the mode may seem.  A mode's popularity may come and go but I hope I
never hear CW fall silent in the amateur service, no matter how much I struggle
to learn it and no matter how "obsolete" it may be accused of being.

Modes of communication like Packet and CW are much like old technology.  Most
of the students I deal with don't know how a vacuum tube works.  In a
semiconductor, digital ciriculum I am not surprised by this yet when I explain
to them how a vacuum tube works a light goes on in their heads and FETs and
MOSFETs all of a sudden have more meaning to them.  It also gives them a sense
of wonder about radio and electronics that can get lost in their hustle through
their studies.  This is a good thing and though valves and thermionic emission
have given way to silicon and GaAs they still have their uses in a small but
vital way.  "Obsolete" communication modes suffer the same ignominy, equally as
unjustified and yet equally valuable.

If Packet's popularity is down, great!  Let us take the opportunity to draw a
breath, dust it off, think for a moment and do something with it that is relay
useful.  Why snatch defeat from the jaws of victory??  Lets think positively...
not like Microsoft.

The history of Packet has yet to be written.  It is a work in progress and will
remain so for the foreseeable future.

Bronson Crothers
17 Charles St.
Orono  ME  04473

Phone: 207 866 0405
Fax:.....207 866 0405

Radio Call: N1ZAQ

--... ...--

Email: bronson@eece.maine.edu

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