Quote:> I was interested to read of the claim that the BBS in Estonia is the
> first in the USSR. This is incorrect. Earlier this year, an amateur
> packet radio bulletin board system was established in Moscow with the
> callsign RA3AT. I believe it can be accessed over HF radio through a
> HF/VHF gateway switch also in Moscow.
Well Phil, I knew, from my contacts with the local packet radio
ham community - such as Andy Freeborn, President of the Tuscon group
(TAPR) and Bdale Garbee - that there had been such packet radio bbs
set up in Moscow. But it requires a ham license! And for years I have
struggled with the contrast that modem users can be anybody, while
packet radio users have to be licensed hams, or use pretty pricey
commercial systems. So, yes the Packet BBS was the 1st - but only for
a closed group. The Estonian BBS is 1st for just about anybody.
I did something about that, by going out to get a business packet
radio license for my area, and then assembling amateur-design packet
controllers with low cost commercial radios. And *then* doing a
'patch arrangement' whereby the base station, instead of terminating
with a computer (BBS) terminated with a properly configured modem, so
I could go out to any other modem-answering system. (In fact we have
had a company make a set of packet controllers with radios and modems
to our specifications under our label).
An 'extender' of phone modem communications via packet to a field
or mobile location. Rather than just phone to phone, or radio to
radio. But computer to radio to radio to phone to computer.
Which seems to me to be one of the few practical answers for a
lot of countries which do not have good enough telephone service. As
well as many places in the US where either phone service is poor,
party lines exist, or costs to extend phone service is prohibitive, or
the cost of phone service itself is prohibitive. Such as in about
every school in the world.
If that Estonian BBS was packet-radio connected to Moscow at say,
9600 baud, terminating in a radio-packet-modem-Moscow-phone callable
direct dial from the US, the noise would be less of a problem, and
even the costs would be less (direct dial rather than operater
assisted, which is about $7.00 for the first three minutes).
But what is it going to take to get recognition that packet radio
as (1) a general communications service (2) as an extender of
phone-modem service is a desirable communications policy goal, not
only for the US (FCC) but for PTT's elsewhere? And get laws and
regulations amended accordingly. The solution cannot be for everyone
to go get a ham license, code or no code - since one cannot do
business over such nets, or encrypt to give even rudimentary privacy.
(And the Estonian BBS is for business more than anything else.)
You hams have done a wonderful job inventing the technology of
packet radio, but the Berlin Wall of Licensing-Use-Policy is still up.