The K4KPN-15 2m APRS Digipeater/I-Gate will be turned off sometime in late January 2020. Due to my biz/future plans I no longer have any need to keep the location that currently houses that gear.
K4KPN-15 was always a temp fill-in location, low profile, and considerable previous notice of its shutdown has been given for awhile now. KYPN currently has no sites that would be friendly (either space or RF wise) to a busy 144 MHz transmitter.
The hopes have been that if there was enough 2m APRS interest in the area that others would step up and run a digi/i-gate at a better location. I personally offered the former WA4ZKO-15 TNC & radio “free to the cause” if someone had a good site and would assume 24x7x365 responsibility for it under their callsign….no takers.
I realize that the area’s 2m APRS scene has taken a lot of hits over the last few years. The loss of the Lawrenceburg (IN), Dry Ridge, and Edgewood KY digis really clobbered Northern KY coverage. The loss of the high profile Lexington digi did a number on Central KY coverage. A few low profile RX only gates have helped gate in trackers in a few areas, but they do nothing for 2-way messaging and other APRS network functions.
UPDATE: Jan 2, 2020 – Good news, it appears Edgewood (K8SCH-10) was restored this morning.
In a way I hate to turn K4KPN-15 off, but there just isn’t enough local interest in 2m APRS now nor do we have a good site for it going forward.
Due to economy related job relocations, retirement related moves, and a growing list of Silent Keys the original KYPN crew is now just a fraction of what it was in the 1990’s. It is what it is. Fewer and fewer ops and resources keeping quality RF infrastructure on the air. As we’ve seen with the slow demise of the KY and IN DMR voice systems/networks, these challenges are not just limited to the APRS/packet scene.
KYPN’s wallet and resources are also not without limits. As such we can’t run everything for everybody and will have to periodically evaluate where our finite time/resources should be devoted.
For 30 years KYPN has kept packet systems on the air except for about a month in the summer of 2016 when things went from a multi-port stack to a single port (6m) TNC Mailbox. Those three decades have seen a lot of changes and challenges. As we head into this new decade I suspect there will be more of the same combined with new threats to our spectrum and the hobby’s future. My biggest recommendation to every ham is to get on the airwaves, be active, try and use new bands. There is more to ham radio than HF and 2 meter FM.
K4KPN-6 & K4KPN-10 Future?
KYPN will continue to provide the HF and 6m APRS digis/gates 24x7x365. Frankly those alone are enough of a time/money/resource commitment LOL.
The K4KPN-6 6m APRS digi/gate (K4KPN-6) is more of summer/winter “propagation toy” and a free perk running on top of an existing 6m packet node/app stack. 6m APRS definitely comes in handy at times, but it is NOT intended to replace the 2m APRS network.
The K4KPN-10 HF digi/gate is a key and valuable site on the NOAM HF network due to both location and the site’s very low noise floor providing excellent receive range. To save some money we changed it’s internet feed around after the last move, but we have no plans to turn it off. K4KPN-10 meets some real needs and the one piece of KYPN APRS infrastructure that gets noticed if it is offline for more than few minutes for maintenance/etc LOL.
K4KPN-1 Packet BBS Future?
The BPQ32 node/BBS/chat server remain key components of our local EMCOMM strategy. As such there no plans to turn any of them off.
The BBS and node have already been switched over to the club callsign to facilitate a future location change to the backup site. That location change WILL involve the loss of the 2m port due to available space and RF environment reasons.
The 6m port’s future is not guaranteed, but I may keep it online nearby and remote serial-IP linked in over the Canopy inter-tower LAN. We could move it to the backup site, but the VHF noise floor there is pretty bad. We would also prefer to keep that rack space available for gear to support a future 40/17m HF Robust Packet (RP) port for user access and likely some eventual linking to the 7-land BBS. We will cross that bridge when the time comes.
Ports that are safe bets long term? The 70cm 9.6k and 220 1.2k primary ports and the 10m RP port. They are key to our operations and historically seen the most “real” usage over the years.
K4KPN-14 Winlink RMS Future?
I would expect a shutdown notice for it in the coming weeks. No date has been set yet.
I would note that this does not depend upon the upcoming FCC ruling. Plus let’s face it, the first ruling will likely be just the first of many rulings needed. It’s not hard to see and connect the dots of what is really driving that mess.
Plus it doesn’t seem that many (if any) of the Winlink HF gateway operators have learned anything from this mess. Still scattered all across the digital sub-bands with more than few poor frequency choices just asking for QRM problems. One only has to sort this list here by frequency and in many places be left asking “are they really that inconsiderate or just that incompetent/ignorant of the spectrum they operate in?”