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Last Updated August 15, 2012

 

 

Telephone Pioneers Amateur Radio Club


About TPARC

TPARC is dedicated to promoting the use of Amateur Radio Networking to support emergency data communications.

Our goal is to provide a wide-area, linked, data repeater network that facilitates digital communications between communities and Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) Headquarters offices in BC.

TPARC is the founder and implementer of the BC Digital Emergency Services Network. TPARC conceived this public service project in 1989, under the visonary guidence of then president Farrell Hopwood, VE7RD (sk).

TPARC is a registered Canadian charity. We accept all monetary donations, as well as in-kind donations of suitable hardware. Tax receipts will be issued, where applicable. Contact the TPARC President (see below), if you wish to make a donation.



Network Vision

In 1989, then club President Farrel (Hoppy) Hopwood had a vision of being able to send text messages from our capital city, Victoria on Vancouver Island, to the interior city of Kamloops during a state of emergency. Hoppy felt that the use of voice messaging was too slow and at times inaccurate. He felt that if a message could be typed and sent out as packet file to the receiving station at high speed and printed as a hard copy, the number of messages sent could increase by six times.

Our original plan was to build all our own equipment with the exception of the radios. Over time it became apparent that this would not work.

Instead, Terminal Node Controllers (TNCs) were purchased. These modems had been in use in the Amateur community for many years. The radios would be supplied to us as surplus equipment by the British Columbia Telephone Company, now TELUS. The Harris radios were once used for the Autotel phone network as mobile radio telephones. They are UHF full duplex Mil. Spec. units that had to be modified to suit our necessary bandwidth.

We planned on interconnecting with existing NetROM and Internet Protocol (IP) based digital communications backbones serving the greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Seattle in Washington State with its connections. We also planned to interconnect to the Inter Provincial Amateur Radio Network (IPARN) satellite links that cover Canada through the Anik E-2 Satellite.

While some of those networks have ceased to exist over recent years, we still plan to undertake network affiliations that will help us add levels of redundancy to our systems.

Our current network has 29 TNC modems on our backbone. Sixteen of those are user interconnection switches at nine sites with the remaining thirteen acting as point to point 19k2 baud trunking switches on full duplex UHF.

This configuration, along with appropriately equipped amateur service (Ham) stations at the Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centers (PREOCs) and at municipal emergency operations centers (EOCs), would allow the rapid transmission of communications in an emergency situation.

When not involved in emergency communications, the network is open to all licensed members of the amateur radio community for general digital communications.

Future plans will explore the possibility of overlaying a high-speed TCP/IP radio network on top of the core trunking route and providing high-speed drops to key network locations. These changes will ensure adequate bandwidth is available to handle the major volume of communications necessary during a full-scale emergency, as well as a redundant underlying network as a backup.



TPARC Project Team

The TPARC Team is made up of current and retired employees of BC Tel/TELUS.

The current Executive is:

Name

Callsign

Mike Sankey
President
VE7CND
Jim Swain
Vice-President
VE7JTS
Robert Douch
Secretary
VE7FRU
Hu Reijne
Treasurer
VA7HR
Bryan Farrar
Emergency Co-ordinator
VE7BFY
Bill Parkes
Island Co-ordinator
VE7PAR
Art Sanderson
Director at Large
VE7MES
Lee Woldanski
Network Director
VE7FET
Bob Holowenko
Assistant Network Director
VE7WNK
Curtis Bidulock
Alberta Co-ordinator
VE6AEW


Project Sponsors

TELUS Communications, formerly known as BC TEL, supports our initiatives by providing space at their radio sites as well as various surplus radios and equipment for our use. Along with the space and equipment, their antenna crews have installed tower mounted antennas to provide optimum coverage.

All the surplus equipment donated is commercial, carrier grade, quality. The sites are all equipped with uninterruptible power and are seismically hardened. We hope this should prevent network failures in the event of an earthquake.

The value of their contribution to our project is very small by corporate standards, however, to us, it is invaluable. Without it, our project costs would make building and maintaing our network impossible.

Without the aid from TELUS, this project would never have developed into the World Class packet network it is now.


Province of British Columbia, Ministy of Public Safety and Solicitor General, through the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP), has established a strategic alliance with TPARC.

PEP, (formerly ESS) has made a number of monetary and in kind grants to TPARC for the provisioning of digital switching equipment over the years. For more information regarding PEP contact our liaison, Bryan Farrar, VE7BFY

TPARC's network is used to connect the PEP headquarters in Victoria and Kamloops together via amateur radio using digital packet.


TPARC has established another strategic alliance with the BC Wireless Amateur Radio Network. BCWARN is an affiliation of participating amateur radio groups that are pooling their resources to create a high-speed TCP/IP based RF network between strategic locations.

With this affiliation, we are able to link some of our sites together with a high-speed 11MB/s TCP/IP trunk, versus our conventional UHF 19k2bps trunk links. We are continuing to develop this potential as we move forward.

BCWARN also provides us with server space to host this webpage, along with a connection to the greater internet for our other network services.



Operational History

In Operation

Switch Address

Call Sign

Frequency

Location (Coverage)

95 Apr 14

604466

VE7HNY-3

144.930+600

Haney BC (Mainland East&South)

95 Apr 16

604433

VE7TEL-6

443.425+5.0

Vancouver BC (Mainland North&West)

95 Sep 01

604465

VE7HNY-6

443.075+5.0

Haney (Mainland East&South)

95 Oct 25

250747

VE7TPS-3

144.490SIMP

Duncan (Mid Island with further coverage through the Lower Mainland, throughout the Sunshine Coast and into the Fraser Valley)

95 Oct 25

250748

VE7TPS-6

442.975+5.0

Duncan (Mid Island with further coverage through the Lower Mainland, throughout the Sunshine Coast and into the Fraser Valley)

95 Nov 09

250380

VE7TPV-3

145.050+600

Victoria (South Island)

95 Nov 09

250381

VE7TPV-6

443.900+5.0

Victoria (South Island)

96 Mar 10

604432

VE7TEL-3

145.090+600

Vancouver BC (Mainland North&West)

96 Jul 01

604794

VE7TPC-6

443.375+5.0

Chilliwack and Fraser Valley

96 Jul 01

604794

VE7TPC-6

443.375+5.0

Chilliwack and Fraser Valley

96 Jul 18

604869

VE7TPH-3

144.450SIMP

Hope and Coquihalla Hwy/Manning Park, parts of Fraser Valley

97 Mar 12

250378

VE7TPY-3

144.490SIMP

Merritt&Logan Lake

99 Aug 15

250376

VE7TPK-3

144.470SIMP

Kamloops area

07 Aug 06

604869

VE7TPH-3

145.050SIMP

Frequency Change

15 Aug 07

250545

VE7TPO-3

144.450 Simplex

Permanent Install at Silverstar Mountain

12 Aug 08

250545

VE7TPO-3

144.450 Simplex

Power plant repair at Silverstar to get it permanently on the air.
Covers Vernon and area.

11 Jul 10

Installation of High Speed backbone between UBC and Smith Hill, via Saltspring Island.

June 2012

Burnaby, Haney, Chilliwack, Merritt, Kamloops, Duncan, and Victoria converted to FPAC nodes from hardware ROSE switching.