Outpost Packet Message Manager

Packet Radio for Emergency Communications



 
Most Recent Version:  Outpost v2.8.0 c042
Recent Date:               October 6, 2014  

Welcome to the Outpost Project Page.  Here's what you will find here.

What's New (News, Notes, and Updates)
About Outpost
About Interactive Packet
About Outpost Scripting
Downloads
Documentation (Docs, Application Notes, Training, Presentations)
Platform Support (TNCs, O/S, BBS's, Troubleshooting)
HOW-TOs (on-line help files)
Terms of Use
Release Information
Feedback
Outpost User Group


About Outpost

Outpost is a Windows-based packet message client that lets you send and receive packet messages with almost any Amateur Radio Bulletin Board System (BBS) or TNC Personal Mail Box.

Outpost was designed for the ARES/RACES packet user community.  The thinking behind it was to create an intuitive, easy-to-use program that lets ARES/RACES organizations focus on the "message," not the "medium," as they pass digital message traffic to and from an Operational Area BBS.  So, what are the overall design goals?

  • Hide the complexity of the native packet environment and shorten the learning curve

  • Provide an MS Windows-based packet messaging client

  • Automate the packet message handling environment

  • Create a program that behaves like your email client that you have at work or home… 
    …create, send, receive, read, delete, reply to, or forward messages

  • Support the response efforts and requirements of our local municipalities and served agencies

Outpost has a similar look and feel to other contemporary mail clients.  It features Windows-driven forms and screens that handle creating, sending, receiving, storing, and printing packet messages from your PC.  It also can run automatically where it periodically checks for out-going and in-coming messages.

Outpost does not yet support any packet message forwarding protocol or SMTP.  Instead, it interprets the information  sent from the TNC and BBS, then generates the TNC and BBS commands needed to send, list, and retrieve messages from the BBS.  It essentially automates the keyboard entry and interpretation performed by the user.  

Outpost uses BBSs and PBBSs as mail drops where a user can leave a packet message for someone without the other person needing to be on line at that point in time.  Support for many BBS and PBBSs has been built into Outpost with new ones being added as they are identified.

Outpost has undergone several releases of functionality identified by the Outpost user community.  Find information on the last few Outpost releases here...

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Downloads and Updates

 

Version 2.8

See the Readme280.txt file for NEW USER and EXISTING USER Installation instructions.

To download the latest installation program, double-click on the link below to run it from the website, or right mouse-click on the file, select "Save Target As...", and choose or create your download directory. 

File/Package

Date

Version Description

opsetup280i042.exe

28-Sep-13 2.8c042 Outpost v2.8 for Windows 98, NT, 2000, Me, XP, Vista, W7, W8
5.4 Mb, with Keyspan USB-Serial Adaptor Problem fix. This program installs all programs, documents, sample, and setup files needed to get Outpost up and running on the latest release.  See the Readme280.txt file for other information.  See the Release Info for changes in this version.  This is a single distribution for all supported windows operating systems that you use.

MD5 Key: 5FAD1A35557D06EE47FE9CC219499742  (what is this?)

Ics213setup280i000.exe

21-Sep-13

2.8c000

Ics213mm for Windows 98, NT, 2000, Me, XP, Vista, W7, W8 
2.3 Mb, This install program delivers the Ics213mm program into its own directory.  Use this installer when setting up a remote PC that does not need the entire Outpost application suite installed.

MD5 Key: C26C9754F51FAC4228F42866144D5A9B  (what is this?)

MD5.zip 25-May-05   MD5.exe is a freeware program from DiamondCS System and Security Software for Windows that implements the MD5 algorithm.  Why is it here?
       

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Documentation, App Notes, Training, Presentations

Current Documentation

The Outpost v2.8, Outpost Scripting, and ICS 213 Messaging User Guides are all available.  Check out the 13 tutorials for a hands-on introduction to Scripting.   To directly download a specific user guide, right mouse-click on the link below, select "Save Target As...", and choose or create your download directory.

File/Package Date Version Description
Outpost300RCD.pdf 6-Oct-14 3.0 v3.0 Release Content Description
Outpost280UG.pdf 21-Sep-13 2.8 2.1Mb, Outpost User Guide for v2.8 release
Opscripts260UG.pdf 9-Apr-12 2.6 722Kb, Outpost Scripting User Guide.  Includes changes to command and control methods around tighter integration with Outpost.
Ics213280UG.pdf 21-Sep-13 2.8 1.1Mb, ICS 213 Messaging User Guide.  Includes information on the form and fields, and describes the end-to-end / round-tip flow of an ICS message and reply.
Outpost280RCD.pdf 9-Sep-13 2.8 v.2.8.0 Release content description.
Outpost270RCD.pdf 9-Jan-13 2.7 v.2.7.0 Release content description.
Outpost260RCD.pdf 9-Apr-12 2.6 v2.6.0 Release Content Description.
Outpost250RCD.pdf 21-Nov-10 2.5 v2.5.0 Release Content Description.
Outpost240RCD.pdf 28-Dec-09 2.4r3 v2.4.0 Release Content Description.
Outpost230RCD.pdf 21-Sep-08 2.3 v2.3.0 Release Content Description.
Outpost222RCD.pdf 1-Jun-08 2.2.2 v2.2.2 Release Content Description.
Outpost221RCD.pdf 16-Dec-07 2.2.1 v2.2.1 Release Content Description.
NTS-14.pdf 10-Apr-06 1.4 300Kb. Introduction to the NTS Traffic System for Packet, a good reference to NTS operations on packet.
       

 Application Notes

The more I play with it, the more I discover what Outpost can do.  The following application notes go beyond the user guide and looks at trying to solve practical problems with Outpost.  

If you have a specific topic that fits this category, please pass it on and we'll include it here. 

File/Package Date Version Description
Spell checker for Outpost 14-Jan-12   93Kb.  Describes how to add a spell checker to Outpost or any other application that takes text input. 
TNC Settings for Santa Clara County Packet 3-May- 10   500Kb, this paper describes how to set up Outpost TNCs to reduce packet channel traffic.  Through these settings, County reduced their packet traffic by 80% (the series of sends and Acks between 2 stations).
Setting up KA-Node, Netrom, and telnet access 23-Mar-2014 2.8 318Kb.  Revision 2.  Describes how to configure a BBS to be accessible using KA-Nodes and Netrom nodes.  Update includes access to BPW MailChat through the BPQ32 switch. Four examples are discussed with descriptions on how to identify, define, and configure your own nodes.
Poor Mans Attachments
5-Oct-09

164Kb, describes a way to send small binary attachments.  This is a manual work-around until Outpost is updated to handle this.
KPC-3P BBS-in-a-Box 19-Jan-09   496Kb, This describes how a KPC-3P could be used as a standard alone PBBS.  This is possible by using the latest KPC firmware (with concurrent access capability) and a 512Kb memory upgrade.  Firmware and memory upgrades are also described.
Outpost QST Article April-08   653Kb.  This article that was published in the April 2008 issue of QST, page 35.  Note that the AGWPE links referenced in the article subsequently were changed.  See the AGWPE HOW-TO for updated links. 
Outpost Implementation Guide for Santa Clara County RACES 16-Apr-07 2.2 158Kb.  This is a packet implementation recommendation that describes not only the policies that Santa Clara County RACES will adopt, but also the steps needed to set up Outpost to implement the policies.
FBB Implementation Guide Dec-06 2.1 121Kb, F6FBB Implementation Guide, introduction and description on how I brought up an F6FBB Bulletin Board System was to support our local county hospital packet infrastructure.
Getting Outpost to work on Windows 95 19-Feb-06   52Kb.   A summary of the work performed by Bruce KC6VHR on getting Outpost to run on Windows 95.  This Windows Version has been problematic for many users since W'95 is out of support and update files are no longer available from Microsoft for download.
Sending Spreadsheet data 24-Mar-04   231Kb, Describes how to send spreadsheet data by Outpost.
       
Training
The v2.4 training package is still in progress.

A version of the formal (PDF'ed) slides is also available in Microsoft PowerPoint for localization. The screen shots are a lot cleaner in this file, and may make a good starting point for customizing any local training.  Note that the slide's "Speaker Notes" are INCOMPLETE, and are just my initial thoughts on some key points.  Also, if there are other ideas for presentations (different audiences, materials, etc), please send me your suggestions.

File/Package Date Version Description
Outpost v2.2 Training Handout 26-Apr-07 2.2 1.7Mb.  Outpost 2.2 training and Tour.  This is a pdf version of the slides that can be used for training, or just as a plan overview (instead of reading the user doc). 
Outpost v2.2 Training PowerPoint 26-Apr-07 2.2 1.6Mb, This is a PowerPoint version of the training that can be further customized or integrated into your local training.  It includes screen shots of the different forms, and a reasonable explanation of what is going on.
LAARES Outpost Training 25-Mar-07 2.1.2 1.0Mb, This is customized training material developed by Jim N6JRC used in several classes put on by Los Altos ARC for its members and members of Santa Clara County RACES.  See the  slide+notes version for the narrative for each slide.
       

Presentations

Here are .pdf versions of several presentations.  If you would like the original PowerPoint slide set, please contact KN6PE.

Title/Package

Date

Description
Amateur Packet Radio Overview  27-Mar-11 2.5Mb, Santa Clara County RACES, this is a good overview on how Santa Clara County set up their Packet System.
Update -- Packet Changes at Santa Clara County 30-Jan-10 8.2Mb, SPECS, CA.  Update to the below presentation describing the changes to the County's Packet environment  with a networked JNOS implementation.
Packet Changes at Santa Clara County 24-Oct-09 808Kb, SVECS, Santa Clara, CA.  Presentation describing the changes to the County's Packet environment with a networked JNOS implementation.
Packet Radio and Emergency Communications with Outpost 2-May-09 1.33Mb, EMCOMMWEST09, Reno NV.  Presentation covers (i) a Quick Intro to Outpost, (ii) What's new since 2007, and (iii) What's next (highlights).

#1: Introduction to Packet

#2: EOC Operations; Extending Outpost's Reach

14-Mar-09 747Kb, 1 Mb, EMCOMM University, Two presentations were delivered to this event; The first presentation (748Kb) introduces Outpost and shows how Outpost aligns with packet policy.  The second (1Mb) is a discussion on how Outpost could further enable EOC operations.
Getting Started with Outpost 7-Jan-09 651Kb, Alameda County Sheriff's Communications Team, Introduction to Packet, Outpost, and a brief overview of the hardware that is required.
Amateur Packet Radio and the Emergency Response 10-Sep-08 736Kb, California Emergency Services Association, Coastal Chapter September Conference, San Jose, CA.  Introduces Amateur packet radio, describes why we would use Packet, and some examples on how Packet has been deployed. 
Packet Radio and Emergency Communications - SVARES 8-Mar-08 733Kb, Sacramento Valley Section ARES Conference, Yuba City, CA.  How Outpost can support an organization's packet policy and operational mission. 
Packet Radio and Emergency Communications - ECWest07 5-May-07 EmCommWest07, Reno NV.  Includes an Outpost overview, highlight of changes in v2.1 and v2.2, a survey of PBBS and BBSs, and Outpost futures.
SARES-OutpostTNT204.pdf
MVARES-OutpostTNT204.pdf
 

999Kb, Two similar presentations made to the Sunnyvale CA ARES and Mountain View CA ARES organizations.

An Enabler for Packet Radio Emergency Communications - ECWest06

4-May-06

766Kb, EmCommWest06.  The approach for this presentation was less on Outpost training and more on introducing the notion of Outpost as a tool to enable emergency packet communications policies.  See the follow-on Santa Clara County RACES App Note on this topic. 

     

 

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Previous Releases

The following downloads are for reference only. 

File/Package Version Description

opsetup270i021.exe

2.7c021

Outpost v2.7 See the Readme270.txt file for more information.

MD5 Key: C8640F6000FDDB55F736861A2C5BF70E  (what is this?)

opsetup250i033.exe

2.5c033

Outpost v2.5, See the Readme250.txt file for more information.

MD5 Key: C8640F6000FDDB55F736861A2C5BF70E  (what is this?)

opfloppy250i033.zip

2.5c033

Outpost v2.5, See the Readme250floppy.txt file for more information.

MD5 Key: 25BEB46EED8744ADC52388306207F4D9  (what is this?) 

opsetup240i099.exe

2.4c099

Outpost v2.4, See the Readme240.txt file for other information. 

Outpost v2.3 Full Install (opsetup230i13.exe)

2.3c024

Outpost v2.3, 4.17 Mb, Previous Version.  Replaced by Outpost v2.3c028.

MD5 Key: F3B4EFDB560C14642A88B7F6B85EA0BA  (what is this?) 

Outpost v2.2.1 Update 2.2.1c085 Application Update, 465Kb.  This contains the latest release of all Outpost programs.  Requires Outpost v2.2.0 to be installed first.
Outpost v2.2 Install

2.2.0c194

Outpost v2.2.0, See the Readme220.txt file for more information.

Outpost v2.2.2 update 2.2.2c027 Application Update,  478Kb.  This is an executable-only update to the main installation package listed above for Outpost.exe, all Interactive Packet Programs, and Opdirect.exe.  Several user-requested enhancements and bug fixes are included.  See the README222 file for installation information and the Release Information section for a list of changes included in this and past releases.
Outpost v2.2.0 sample Configuration Files 2.2 Outpost Configuration File sample, 4 Kb.  For first-time users, a zip file of the key configuration data files with samples.  A good place to start if you are new to Outpost.
Outpost 2.1 Install 2.1.2 v2.1 was introduced in November 2006 and delivered Tactical Calls and KA- and Netrom support.  This was a full release.
outpost204u.zip 2.0.4 Upgrade files to bring Outpost up to release 2.0.4.  This was not a full release, and relied on Outpost 2.0 to be previously installed.  This zip file contained only program and configuration files; the setup process required manual movement of files into the Outpost program directory.
op200.zip 2.0.0 The 2.0 release introduced Telnet and AGWPE capabilities.  This is a full release of Outpost; previous releases should be uninstalled prior to beginning
op130.zip 1.3.0 v1.3 release included aspects of collaborative messaging (receipts, etc) and other usability enhancements.  This is a full release of Outpost; previous releases should be uninstalled prior to beginning
     

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General Feedback

Please send any feedback to

 

updated:  October 6, 2014