The Virginia Packet Network (VAPN) is an AX.25/802.11 hybrid RF only system serving amateur radio interests in and around northern Virginia. This includes service along the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park where cellular service is sporadic to nonexistent, but within easy reach of HF and VHF amateur radio signals. A utilitarian packet-message to Internet-email capability connects remote VAPN supporters with loved ones.

Prototype up and running

The prototype node is up and running from a location in Opal, Virginia with two ports: 145.030 MHz 1200 AFSK and 3598 kHz (dial).

  • Up and running on new frequency VHF 2m 1200bps AFSK @ 145.550 MHz  and is available via the Blakey Ridge node “BLKYND” – This is the traditional 1200 bps AFSK compatible with just about every sound card digi program out there. Traditional hardware TNCs should work perfectly fine as well.
  • Down for the moment – HF 30m 200-600bps RPR @ 10145.5 kHz (dial) USB – The Robust Packet frequency is allegedly the well known spot for the NET30R activity including general BBS use. We may well add HFPacket to the mix, but for now we will stick with the superior capabilities of the SCS proprietary mode.
  • Up and running * – HF 80m RPR/HFP @ 3598 kHz (dial) USB or thereabouts. We have been switching between Robust Packet and HF Packet as users continue to experiment with this port. It will always be one or the other – RPR@1500 Hz or HFP@1700 Hz. Scanning may be the answer in time. Antenna is an Alpha-Delta DX-DD, apex 35′, with 80m tuned right on 3598 kHz. Reports are positive for Mid-Atlantic NVIS coverage.  Visit http://wa8lmf.net/ for more information on the tuning of digital sound card signals on SSB.

Note you must connect to the VAPN node first with “c w4vpn” and then select CHAT or BBS from the prompt. Stop on by and drop a message to kx4o, kx4ku or kd6akc.

*This was down for much of the month of January 2020 while we used the RF gear to demonstrate Pactor/Winlink monitoring to the FCC and others with regard to my several ECFS filings concerning HF digital.

Target service area by radio bands


Coverage details and commentary available here.

Recent news & articles


HF/VHF/UHF: Despite its age, we believe AX.25 can compete with the slick newer digital technologies. This figure diagrams where packet fits into the digital landscape…

Where packet fits
Where packet fits

More explanation is available on the “about” page.

AX.25: Our focus is an AX.25 system with a central BBS and Chat node located with the radios on hilltop real estate. A primary feature is 9600 bps access on UHF and as many other VHF ports as practical without abandoning traditional 1200 packet users. Leveraging our amateur frequency allotments, a variety of band ports is a key attribute of the VAPN . VHF and UHF are the primary access RF ports, but HF is an important adjunct.

802.11: We plan connection with the local 802.11 HSMM-Mesh network(s) to provide a hybrid approach to access our central messaging system. This blends microwave high speed modern networking with field proven traditional HF, VHF and UHF access.


Currently the VAPN is in a preliminary design status with a prototype system running in the Opal, Virginia area. A request has been made to the landlords for radio room and antenna space covering 30 m to 70 cm.  While we wait for approval, our design efforts for a high reliability system continue.  View the News and Articles for the latest happenings.

At some point a fundraising effort will commence to help gauge interest for the VAPN.  If all goes well, we hope to have something functioning by mid 2017.