DTN Equipment Bank
The DTN Equipment Bank, managed by Dave, WB2FTX, the Eastern Area Digital Manager, is available for all three DTN areas. A new operator wishing to become active in DTN as either a Digital Traffic Station or possibly a region hub or MBO can obtain the loan of a PACTOR 1 capable modem/TNC for a flat shipping charge of $15. Your operation as a Digital Traffic Station must also be coordinated through your Area Digital Manager or regional MBO/hub operator.
Along with the loan of the equipment, Dave will provide personal assistance in getting the equipment operational through the first connection to the “home” MBO/hub for the station. This includes helping to get the right cables for both TNC to radio and the needed serial cables and optional add-on serial ports or USB to serial converters as needed to control the TNC from the station computer.
The modem is yours to keep and use even for other non DTN operations until such time as you leave DTN or upgrade to something better. At that time you are obligated to return the modem to the equipment bank for possible loan to another new operator.
Dave has the following advice for new operators: “I've seen people planning to spend $400 to $500 on the current models of the KAM XL and the PK-232 MBX DSP, but for DTN use it still will only give them PACTOR 1 and a very poor implementation of the original PACTOR 1 protocol... For an investment of a $15 shipping charge they have essentially the same thing to operate. Or they could buy a used one for the typical prices the Equipment Bank lays out to acquire them. If they really like the borrowed TNC/modem, the Bank will sell it to them for the typical acquire price of $50
If they have the money to spend $500 on a current Kantronics or Timewave product, I advise them to not do that. Rather, save up a little more money so they can purchase a used fully PACTOR 3 capable SCS modem when we find them on sale. As part of managing the DTN Equipment Bank, I search the classified ham ads and Ebay looking for equipment to acquire. When I find a PACTOR 3 modem or an upgradable PACTOR 2 modem, I circulate this information to my entire Eastern Area DTN email distribution list with a note asking Chuck W5KAV for Western Area and Don KM0R for Central Area to forward it to their DTN operators."
The Equipment Bank is always looking for donations both of equipment and cash to keep it operational.