UK Packet Radio Network Wiki
This is a resource for sharing information about the UK packet radio network. The purpose of this site is to support the restoration and improvement of a UK-scale amateur radio-centric data network. The site is newly created, with content being added as contributed.
Anyone can contribute - to do so, please see Contributing.
Please also consider joining the ukpacketradio groups.io, particularly as a node owner.
The UK packet radio network consists of the following nodes which have an NoV, plus stations which choose to run under personal callsigns (although not all of these are listed here as there's no central list). There is a map of stations with an NoV here, driven by current ETCC data, and a live connectivity map driven by data from nodes currently online (NB this contains only partial data as node software support is added and upgraded.)
RF connectivity between packet nodes in the UK remains relatively patchy, with connectivity being internet-based or indeed totally absent, which this initiative seeks to help address.
GB7xxx calls are “nodes with mailbox”, and MB7Nxx calls are simply “nodes”, i.e. “nodes without mailbox”. “Mailbox” commonly refers to packet mail service and/or BBS. “Node” is a rough synonym for “station” - the top-level entity at a given location. A node may provide services such as chat, mail, BBS or others, or nothing at all apart from onwards connectivity to other nodes.
If you become aware of a packet node which isn't in the list above, please consider creating and populating a page for it.
I built a node, now what?
There's been a wave of people hearing of a resurgence of packet radio, and hurriedly putting up a station of some kind, applying for the NoV, announcing it somewhere like Facebook and/or https://groups.io/g/ukpacketradio, and then finding not a lot is happening.
The enthusiasm is fantastic, but putting up a node in isolation might be a recipe for disappointment.
A packet node in isolation will work just fine, serving as a test bed for experimentation, learning, and maybe providing some services for the locals. However, without links to a wider network, interest (and momentum) may quickly wane and be wasted.
Inter-node linking via the internet is a practical option for those truly isolated, but before building a node, or indeed afterwards, do take a look at the node map and have a look to see if you have neighbours, and if so, listen out for them (click the map for callsigns and frequencies) or better still, reach out and have a chat to discuss plans. You can always submit a change of frequency request to ETCC to ask to move your node to their channel. It did bamboozle ETCC a little when we explained we actively wanted nearby nodes to share a channel, since this is the exact opposite situation as is desirable for the internet-linked digital voice modes / hotspots which have become so popular, but they have come around to this idea now.
If you find that you have no neighbours within RF range, it can absolutely make sense to hook up to your geographically most reasonable neighbour over the internet. But in this situation, we would definitely encourage you to go out actively looking for nearby link partners who might also want to run a node. These might be local club members, those new to packet, or people you find online. Ask around in places such as OARC to find people. Set up your station to beacon. You never know who will come out of the woodwork!
When the network becomes busier, it can make a lot of sense to introduce a second/third channel, ideally on a different band altogether, alleviating the “hidden node” problem and providing more capacity for traffic, however that is a nice problem to have, and until then, new areas are better off sharing a common frequency with their neighbours.
So please do consider your neighbours, and also what you want to get out of packet radio, when forming your plans!