Long distance communication via pactor

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I moved from California in 1993 and have been living in Fiji ever since, located on a small island 40 miles from the nearest sizable island having airports, stores, resorts, etc. Because it seems possible that we may be cut off from our usual internet and phone communications systems due to y2k problems, I obtained a Fiji ham operators license and established a ham station here, consisting of a 100 watt transceiver and a half wave vertical antenna located on a hilltop. I would like to be able to communicate with people in the US (and elsewhere) to obtain news, share information, etc. if other lines of communication are down. Due to the low power of my transmitter and relatively low gain non-directional antenna, voice communication with US stations is usually limited to high power stations with large beam antennas.

The best means of communicating long distances I have found is a digital mode called pactor. There are other digital modes that are also very good, but pactor is the one I am familiar with. Just as Morse code is more readable than voice, this digital mode is also much more readable than voice, and because it is computer driven using sophisticated encoding and error correction methods, it is much faster than Morse. I have a computer and a modem (terminal node controller, or TNC) to interface the computer with the transceiver, and I have been experimenting with pactor. Using 100 watts and a good antenna, I believe I could communicate with another pactor station just about anywhere in the world on the 20 meter band (barring unusual atmospheric disturbances).

Pactor is commonly used in this part of the world by people living on yachts to send and receive email via landbased internet gateway stations. Pactor is a bit more complicated than Morse or voice because it requires a computer, a TNC, and some special software, but once set up it is easy to use.

I am planning to set up a pactor mailbox here where I could receive messages, and I would like to be able to contact other y2k preparation minded individuals via pactor. If there are any such individuals who maintain a pactor mailbox, or have pactor capability, I hope they will drop me a note via email.

I have plans for a power boosting amplifier, and directional high-gain antennas, but due to time and money limitations, I doubt these will be in place by January 1. There is no doubt that lower power methods are better because they require less equipment, less money, and less power.

We obtain our power from diesel generators; we have stored enough diesel for six months of normal operations, and, if necessary, we could stretch it out some. We also have some solar panels that could be pressed into service if necessary.

Best Regards,

Stephen Curtis 3D2SC

Email: Stephen_Curtis@adidam.org (Please note there is an underline character between Stephen and Curtis)

-- Stephen Curtis (Stephen_Curtis@adidam.org), November 04, 1999

-- Stephen Curtis (Stephen_Curtis@adidam.org), November 07, 1999


Long distance communication via Pactor

As it happens, I have Pactor capability. I agree with your analysis that digital modes may be very important next year. I'd be interested in trying to have a Pactor QSO with you. What frequency would you like to try, and at what UTC time?

-- Steve Heller (stheller@koyote.com), November 08, 1999.

Pactor QSO

I have a high SWR on my antenna, so I need to take it down and find the problem. That should take a couple of days. I will get back to you when I am ready.

-- Stephen Curtis (Stephen_Curtis@adidam.org), November 09, 1999.

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