Homebrew contest 1st place: Packet Radio Go-Kit with node.js Packet to Twitter bridge

Super excited (and rather surprised!) to win the 1st place prize in the Homebrew Contest at this month’s River City Amateur Radio Communications Society club meeting last night!

My entry was something I’ve been working on over the past few months on and off to get ready in time for this month’s contest. There were two parts to my entry:

1. A self-contained, portable 2m Packet Radio Go-Kit. I put this together using:

  • 10″ waterproof gear case (from MCM)
  • 2m HT radio
  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • 7″ touchscreen
  • a TNC-PI packet add-on board for the Pi, from Coastal Chipworks (which I assembled as a kit)
  • ax25 apps (for axlisten and axcall)

2. A Packet Radio to Twitter bridge (implemented using JavaScript on node.js). While the goals and benefits of a portable Packet radio kit are somewhat more obvious, writing an app that receives Packet Radio transmissions and then retransmits them as Tweets on Twitter doesn’t have many practical applications. The main motivation for this part of the project was that I thought it would be an interesting blend of old tech and new tech. The popularity of Packet Radio declined with the arrival of easy access dial-up information services and BBSes in the 80s and then access to the internet in the early 90s, so linking the two together seemed an interesting idea. Plus, it’s an interesting stepping stone and talking point from common-place tech used on our wireless devices today, with data communications enabled via Amateur Radio.

I put together a number of articles as I was assembling my project and working on the Packet to Twitter interface. If you’d like to read more, here’s links to my previous posts:

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