XE2BNC, first gateway for Email and MPS in Mexico, xe2/n6kzb
Victor Pinilla, XE1VP, President of Mexico's FMRE, (ARRL), visited the Baja radio club in late 2010 to see a demonstration of a Winlink portable HF station.
The simple act of sending email to his smart phone via HF and to Mexico City, was enough to get his attention. Subsequent discussions and meetings led to a desire to provide a WinLink gateway with Mexico pride of ownership. XE1VP is also a professor and head of the University of Mexico Technology Department.
With his visit, the local radio club was able was able to secure the funding to complete XE2BNC with a Dragon modem and ICOM 7200. This allowed a gateway to be put on the air to further training and demonstrations, along with a beginning user base.
XE2BNC is located at a club radio site on the hills above Tijuana, that overlook the border and San Diego environs.
HF is accomplished with an ICOM 7200, (plug N play for Winmor), and an SCS Dragon modem.
The antenna system is our standard 4:1 UnUn with a 90 foot wire tuned via a MFJ auto-tuner.
The radio vault is located on top of a building so RFI and proper HF grounding was a choir to accomplish. The use of common mode in-line filters were a must.
Its has a local packet gate, XE2BNC-13, via a duplex packet repeater for enhanced speed and coverage. While packet may have a limited role, it does afford a training venue, and has a hospital net and other Emcomm groups that have used it.
The internet comes via a multi-hop 5 Ghz Ubiquiti private LAN that the club has to connect its radio sites. If internet fails, then traffic at XE2BNC can be moved via the Hybrid MPS network, or in the case of internet based Email, via HF Pactor. With auto-forwarding allowed in Mexico, this one feature alone has been WinLink's greatest selling point.
A second standard simplex packet gateway, XE2BNC-10, is located at a another club site that sees up and down the coast of both borders. It has a 5 Ghz LAN connection back to the XE2BNC HF system. RMS Packet at both sites are set to use the IP address of the RMS Relay that drives RMS Trimode. This way any internet loss, all inputs, HF and the two packet gates, are using the same local data base for auto-HF forwarding.
Internet loss has occurred a few times do to the local fiber input at our HUB site failing, and the provider hiccuping a few times. The users for the most part never even realize that their respective Email has been delivered via HF.
The radio site is secure and hardened as best can be done by the radio club. It has a battery bank with a solar input system awaiting for the panels to be funded. All Ubiguiti 5 Ghz links are also on battery and can deliver up to 100 MB LAN speed and up to 20 MB internet.
One feature that has seen use on both sides of the border is to have RMS Express or Paclink make a Telnet connection to the LAN IP address
of XE2BNC HF RMS Relay. This way the user gets the benefit of the Telnet connectivity speed and HF auto forwarding should internet fail.
The private LAN via Ubiquiti equipment has currently about 40 nodes and covers Mexico and the USA for EmComm purposes. (This is a whole post and story unto itself later). XE2BNC user base has both amateurs interested in emergency communications and sailors in the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean to the equator and towards Hawaii. Running WinMor 1600 and Pactor 3 or 4, its user base is growing.