In Whatcom County, Washington, in the far Northwest corner of the continental US, a group of Amateur Radio operators that are enthusiastic about data communications have created a number of Multipurpose Remote Nodes (MRNs) in key locations within the county for Amateur Radio data communications nodes that can reconfigured as needed by remote control via Internet.
Most Amateur Radio Operators are familiar with single purpose data communications nodes such as APRS digipeaters / IGates, or Winlink Radio Mail Servers (RMS), or fldigi (fsq) relay nodes. Typically, such nodes are placed in “practical” locations. For example, APRS digipeaters are typically placed on high locations such as mountaintops or towers. APRS IGates are placed in locations that have reliable Internet access. Winlink RMS stations are usually at an individual’s home where a Winlink RMS station will have Internet access.
A Multipurpose Remote Node (MRN) effectively combines all of the above. Because MRNs are multipurpose, and fully remotely configurable (via Internet), they can be placed opportunistically at locations that offer good coverage of a specific area, Internet access, and provide services in a specific area. When the need arises, such as an Winlink RMS is needed in a communications emergency, an MRN can be reconfigured remotely to provide a new service
The MRNs in Whatcom County can also be remotely reconfigured to different frequencies either in the 2-meter band (144-148 MHz) or the 70-centimeter (440-450 MHz) band.
Prerecorded video provided to the 2021 DCC – https://youtu.be/x9Hftc1y6oI
2021 DCC Presentation Slides –
2021 DCC Proceedings Paper –