Congratulations to Dick de Grasse on a very fine and informative article on radio e-mail (“Voyaging e-mail choices,” Ocean Voyager 2000, Issue No. 105). I would like to add one important piece of equipment that was overlooked. In addition to the SCS PTC IIe, KAM ’98, and the MFJ terminal node controllers (TNCs), the HAL CLOVER TNC was available before PACTOR II made its debut. I purchased my HAL unit in 1992 and have found it to be a very satisfactory, high-speed radio modem. According to the product review team of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the results of which were printed in the April 2000 issue of QST, the speed of the PTC IIe and the HAL DXP-38 were equal at 1,200 baud.
I use my Clover TNC to connect with some five base stations that are linked by the WinLink, NetLink system. There are 12 Clover stations alone in the U.S. The HAL DXP-38 at $395.95 is a very cost-effective high-speed TNC; plus it allows the use of the APRS communications software program that provides not only automatic position reports but real-time weather from base stations.
> It is rather interesting to note that PACTOR II is the “new kid on the block,” and it had shown a remarkable surge in popularity even without the capability of APRS.
My first mate and I used digital (RTTY) amateur bulletin board stations to keep our family informed of our health and welfare as we cruised way back in 1979. Digital communications have come a long way since then.