The PAPATECH team just completed construction of a portable AllStar node for use at PAPA events or emergency deployment. The node will make its operational debut at Quartzfest (www.quartzfest.org) next week. If you are attending Quartzfest you’ll be able to talk into the PAPA System with your portable from the event site. If Quartzfest isn’t on your schedule, you’ll be able to check out the new portable node at the Yuma Hamfest.
Unlike a typical hotspot, the PAPA portable node is capable of operating with an RF output power of up to 12 Watts. Placed on the top of a building or mountain, the portable node can provide quick reliable fill-in or extension coverage for the PAPA System. The node can operate from either an AC or DC power source and automatically switches between the two to provide instantaneous backup. In addition, the node can provide DC power to ancillary devices and charge cell phones or other USB type devices.
The portable node is not a repeater, it’s a half-duplex node like the commercial products that are currently available. In some instances, the node might be configured to operate on a simplex channel such as 446.500 where the transmit and receive frequencies are the same. At other times, the node might be operating on the reverse of a given PAPA repeater. For example, at a hamfest outside the coverage of PAPA 1 on Oat Mtn., the node might operate on the same frequency and PL settings as the PAPA 1 repeater. If your handheld radio is programmed for the PAPA 1 repeater, you won’t have to make any changes to use the portable node. The telemetry (courtesy beeps) is the same as the repeaters on the PAPA network. As long as you wait for the beeps, you won’t detect any major difference between operating the portable node or one of the PAPA repeaters. As with any PAPA System project, the creation of the portable node was a team effort involving computers, radios, electrical and mechanical skills, and plenty of donated time. We hope you enjoy the new capability represented by the portable node.