“Packet radio operates on the 2 Meters band or Very High Frequency (VHF) at a 145.05 MHz, , 144.91 MHz & 144.93 MHz frequencies, and are similar to the internet, but primarily text and at a much slower transfer rate of 1200 baud.” (From BARK packet page) Berryessa Amateur Radio Klub also has a Facebook page.
There is an active packet radio group in the Sacramento Valley and a network of Digipeaters called K-net.
It is not necessary to use a hardware TNC anymore to operate packet. A program running as a virtual TNC and a sound card interface to your radio will suffice.
Then you also need a terminal program to operate packet radio on your desktop. a good simple one is AGW Terminal.
Stands for Automatic Packet Reporting System. Yes it reports position, but a whole lot more!