AEA Packratt PK-232 not displaying received data

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KC2SDS, Aug 6, 2013.

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  1. KC2SDS

    KC2SDS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Got a bit of a frustrating issue with a PK-232. I'm trying to use it for APRS at the QTH, but it won't display any incoming data. While monitoring a freq I hear classic packet stations on, I see connect and disconnect messages (ie KC2XXX>K2YYY [C]) and can even connect to one of them (*** CONNECTED to KC2XXX), but once connected, I see no text/data. CON and MCON are maxed, command mode works fine. I should be able to power the thing on and see the UI traffic from APRS. Any ideas?

    Jeff KC2SDS
  2. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you have MONITOR function ON ?

    MON 1 (2 for DX) for AEA PK-232

    Document version: 8.3.4
    Document dated: 9 Mar 1999
    Author(s): Bob Bruninga, WB4APR
    AEA.TXT Details of differences with the AEA PK-232 TNC's

    AEA TNC's have a different command set than the TAPR-2 standard.
    APRS tries to set up your TNC for simple display of monitored packets as follows:


    therefore it turns off extra linefeeds, timestamps, and other special headers:

    TAPR COMMAND | AEA PK-232 | CMD Function
    ------------ -------------- -------------------------------
    MON ON MON 1 (2 for DX) Sets up MONITOR function
    SCR 0 ACRDISP 0 Turns off screen length limiter
    LFADD off ALFP off Turns off outgoing Linefeeds
    AUTOLF off ALFD off Turns off incomming LineFeeds
    MST off MST off Turns Time Stamp off
    HEA off HEA off Turns Header line off
    MDigi ON So that you see packets that are digipeated through you! (via RELAY)

    If you have your PK232 battery removed for PACKRAT, you must first use the OPS
    COMM command to setup your TNC autobaud. Hit several ***'s until the TNC res-
    ponds. Then hit ESC to return to APRS. In APRS, hit alt-S and T to initialize
    the TNC. Also AEA dualport TNCs toggle HF/VHF, so they will not switch bands.
    Some programs leave the AEA TNC in HOST mode. This will not work with APRS!
    Make your TNC work with any dumb-terminal program, and it will work with APRS!
    KI7MJU likes this.
  3. N5MDT

    N5MDT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I believe on a PK-232 you should set MONITOR to 6, assuming a current firmware.
  4. N5MDT

    N5MDT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I also assume you are on a frequency that you would expect to see APRS traffic on? Been a long time but isn't it 144.39? I would not expect to see connect/disconnect frames on a frequency normally used for APRS, unless it is also used for conventional packet.
  5. KC2SDS

    KC2SDS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the advice. I have confirmed my settings, MON was 6, but still no received data display. I usually use a KPC3+ for APRS, but I want to take that mobile, so I'm quite familiar with what should be displayed.

    The thing that gets me is that the pk-232 is actually doing something with received data, as demonstrated by my ability to connect to a packet node. the status light goes from CMD to CON, and I get a *** CONNECTED to KC2XXX message. I'm able to control the TNC and see it's cmd: output in response to commands, so I'm sure the serial port working is okay in both directions.

    I suppose I can open it up and check to see all of the socketed ICs are seated properly.
  6. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The AEA PK-232 was based on the popular Zilog Z-80 (8-bit) microprocessor family.

    What version of firmware (EPROM) are you using with this PK-232?? v7.1 or v7.2 ?
    I have performed Timewave upgrades on a number of the original AEA PK-232 units.

    SOME modified in late 1980s / early 1990s to optimize RTTY performance (170 Hz shift) - K0BX,
    OR permit AMSAT satellite usage (AO-13) and UoSat 9/11.

    AEA PK-232 Modifications through the years
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  7. KC2SDS

    KC2SDS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd have to open it up again to check the EPROMs, but it's showing 25.JUN.87 release.
  8. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. KB1NXE

    KB1NXE Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Two Things:

    Upgrades are available from Timewave, including new EEPROMS.
    Second, make sure the TNC is in KISS Mode (Kiss On).

  10. N5MDT

    N5MDT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've never used a PK-232 in kiss mode for APRS unless UIVIEW put it into kiss mode for it's operation. I wish I knew more about kiss mode.

    @OP - Are you simply using a dumb terminal to interface with the PK-232 or are you using UIVIEW or some software made for APRS? And NXE is correct. Some of the firmware upgrades specifically addressed APRS use.
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