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What TNC?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KK6WLS, Apr 29, 2013.

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  1. KK6WLS

    KK6WLS Guest

    Recently I've gotten involved working with WINLINK. Now I've been doing my communicating using TELNET over the Internet. However, my next step is to connect via VHF. After a couple of purchases (SignaLink and RigBlaster - fortunately not a lot of cash expended) I have seen my error in judgement. Those are fine for making an echolink connection or PSK, etc. but, they don't work for Packet without a lot of extraneous work which may fail for numerous reasons during a critical situation. I need a real TNC not just an auxillary sound card. Soooo, I am looking for recommendations for an inexpensive TNC that WILL work with Packet (RMS Express).

    Byonics Tiny Trak 4
    PacComm Several Versions (i consider these expensive)

    Thanks in advance,
  2. W4RAV

    W4RAV Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I spent the time to research and answer the same question for myself, I decided on the Kantronics KAM XL. I got mine used around $150. They're not cheap, but certainly cheaper than some others. Has many modes and features. Get a recent version if possible. Works flawlessly with RMS Express too. I'm sure I even have a sample of it somewhere here.

    I was looking for a rig that worked with both VHF and HF (using Yaesu FT-7800 and Flex3000 if that matters), lots of modes, and something with a good software suite or two available.

    I wanted to avoid having to use hyperterm or the likes. That's where the Radio Operations Center for Kantronics (with weather) made it a complete package. Another $150 for the software, but from there, you can do everything, including access to DM780 for other modes.

    They still make them here if you want it new. Also has specs.

    ROC for Kan:

    I do believe with those two things, you'll not want for much else. A serious package for a fraction of Pactor 2/3/4 TNCs. Watch out for single-mode modems, unless that's what you want.

    Hope the opinion helps. I too would like to hear some. Keep us up on what you decide.
  3. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Most TNCs have gone the way of the Dinosaur thanks to the Internet and Email explosion. Packet BBS's have all but dried up. Some still use Packet for APRS, but thats about it for Packet use. Winlink is NEW LIFE for TNCs.

    The TNC U want is a KPC-3. They are still plentiful and I have picked them up for $5 at the swapmeet. I use them tomake Trackers, but a better choice is the Tiny Tracker 3. You CAN'T use a Tiny Tracker for WINLINK. Won't work! I doubt U can use the TNC-X too. But there are still ZILLIONS of KPC-3s (Or KPC-2, 4, 3+ and 9612s) out there. Even PK-232s will work fine. They are pretty to look at, with lotsa twinkling lights.

    Now these are ONLY good for VHF. For HF, U need PACTOR! A TNC WON'T WORK! There is a very VERY Pricey Pactor HF Winlinkers use (STS somthing) that goes for about (OMG!!!) $700!!! So forget about HF Winlink and just do VHF with an old KPC-3 or such.
  4. W4RAV

    W4RAV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Maybe it's out of context or I just don't get that line. I use my TNC on HF often. I'd have to fire the software up again, but pretty sure I used it w/both Winlink and RMS Express.
  5. N9DSJ

    N9DSJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, there is a fair amount of ax25 packet world-wide on HF (sorry Pat). One certainly does not "need PACTOR" (best left at that).

    There are active packet networks, various nodes, HF APRS, BBS's, mail forwarding, keyboard to keyboard traffic and such on 20, 30, 40 and 80 meters (that I know of).

    Not sure how many use hardware TNCs as sound cards and appropriate software function as well or better.

    Check out as the "soundmodem" offers quite a few advantages.


    Bill N9DSJ
  6. W7ND

    W7ND Ham Member QRZ Page

    A couple of guys in my area are trying to get packet going around here for ARES. They went with the TNC-X's and have been very happy. I'm consitering their new Raspberry Pi addon model to give it a try myself.
  7. KB1NXE

    KB1NXE Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here and recommend the AEA PK-232. Why? Well, it's the only one of any of them listed STILL IN PRODUCTION! Timewave still offers up to date ROM, interfaces (like a retro-fittable USB), DSP modules, etc. You can generally pick up one is decent condition for about 50 to 100 bucks and then add the upgrades from Timewave you need. Also, the PK-232 will run in KISS mode as well as supported by just about any software written. With the sound card interface, you have a fully capable (think digi modes as well) system.
  8. N5MDT

    N5MDT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    And the pk-232 is supported by RMS Express for HF where the Kantronics line is not, yet.

    Of course, only the SCS line of TNCs can do Pactor 2+ but Pactor 1 is still received by most RMS Servers.

    I recommend the KPC-3 or plus model for VHF ARES use because it will operate from an internal 9v battery, and it has a tiny footprint for use in a go box.
  9. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    My Digi Story

    About 20+ years back a digi fanatic friend wanted me to get on packet and even bought me a AEA TNC for Xmas one year.
    I got it home, loaded the programs on my DOS computer and printed out the massive manual.
    Read thru the info, memorized some of the basic keyboard commands, made up some cables, hooked up to my TS700A radio and monitored the packet FM channel for a while and tried to make sense of what showed up on the monitor screen .
    I finally made a on-air "connection" with a local ham, on packet, the QSO was roughly, "yes your system is working , goodbye".
    That marked the end of my digi experience. Good riddance and a waste of a week of my time.
    The TNC is now sitting in it's shipping carton somewhere in my garage.
    End of story.
  10. K6AQ

    K6AQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    For Winlink I use Winmor on HF and the built-in TNC on the D700 on VHF/UHF. Out of curiosity, what extra work's required to get the SignalLink working for packet?

    (BTW, I found this link while searching, but it seems to still need some kinks worked out.)
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