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2. Prerequisites

Before setting up your personal radio-email server, there are a few things that must be dealt with. In addition to the hardware, there are a number of pieces of information required.

2.1. Radio IP Address

Because the radio IP network is a part of the Internet, you must have an Internet address for your radio. If you intend to run more than one system at the same time, for example, have a station for your go-kit, you must have an address for each station.

Important

You should obtain your IP address before even ordering your Raspberry Pi and TNC. The IP process can take some time.
The packet network domain, ampr.org, is a "Class A" Internet network. That means that there are 16,777,216 addresses available for packet radio. That address space is divided into subnets of 65,536 addresses each. In the U.S. each of those subnets is assigned to a state. Within Michigan, those addresses are further divided into counties. Depending on population, each Michigan county has between 512 and 4096 addresses assigned to the county. (Exception, there are only 768 addresses assigned to the entire Upper Peninsula.)
This organization allows the HamGates to know how to route packets across the world. If everything is to work properly, there are a few requirements:
  • Your address must be unique in the world
  • Your address must be associated with a unique name
  • Your address must be known to the global Internet database
  • Your address must be an address assigned to your county (there are special considerations for mobile stations)
To ensure that these requirements are met, each state has a network coordinator, responsible for managing addresses within the state. In Michigan, that coordinator is the Assistant Section Manager for Digital, Jay Nugent, WB8TKL. (Like all Section staff, his contact information is on http://ares-mi.org.)
The Michigan Digital Radio Group (DRG) has established a web form to register for packet addresses http://www.mi-drg.org/ip-addr-form.html.

Warning

Here be dragons!
Unfortunately, the global ampr.org database is currently undergoing an upgrade which is taking longer than expected. Because of this, you should contact Jay directly, or work with the sysop of your local HamGate to obtain an IP address for your radio. you will still want to fill in the web form, but you need to note the assigned address in the comments.