AEA PK-232MBX Configuration

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by KB4MTO, Nov 18, 2010.

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  1. KB4MTO

    KB4MTO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just purchased a used AEA PK-232MBX/DSP. It took me a while to get the RS-232 cable figured out, but I am now communicating with the TNC. My question involves plugging a radio into the TNC. Just to see it work, I plugged the audio out from a Radio Shack Pro-164 scanner into the Radio 1 Audio In port. When I powered up the 232, the display no longer had the standard AEA initialization message, but instead displayed "ORT". I unplugged the radio and it still did this. I opened the unit up and removed J1 for 5 minutes. The TNC then started up fine. But when I connected the audio again, the same thing happened.

    Does anyone know what could be going on? I am new to this TNC and want to get it going.

    Thanks in advance.


    Hank Lambert
    KB4MTO / TA5ZC
  2. K7GQ

    K7GQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    I believe that the message indicates that the TNC is in "host mode" - I can't imagine why.

    You might wish to use software from Creative Services Software at and get away from "command mode".
  3. KB4MTO

    KB4MTO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the reply. I have downloaded and installed the Radio Operation Center from CSS. When I started it, it immediately went into the TNC wizard and detected and identified the PK-232 MBX. When the program opens, it checks for Host mode, KISS mode, and for New User mode. Then I get an INIT01 error stating that ROC had a communications error with the TNC, and that I should call CSS. However, when I open Tera-term, I can control the TNC and key and unkey the radio. However, I don't see anything in Tera-Term when I receive Packet signals. I don't know if I have a bad TNC, a mis-configured TNC, bad or incorrect cables, or a combination.

  4. KD8ATF

    KD8ATF Ham Member QRZ Page

    mine is doing the same hope to find out what is wrong with it (fingers crossed)
  5. KB4MTO

    KB4MTO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I found out what that means. When you get a ORT on your terminal screen, that means the TNC is in host mode. I also found out that some of my problems are due to only using 3 wires in my RS-232 cable. Three wires is OK for terminal use, but host mode software will require the RTS/DTS wires hooked up as well.


    Hank Lambert
  6. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The RS-232 cable (25-pin at PK-232 to 9-pin at computer) is a standard PC Modem cable.
    Pin assignments, shown here:

    This cable has been readily available as an off the shelf cable since 1984, when IBM introduced the IBM AT with the now familar 9-pin (DE9) connector.
    Older computer shops should have this cable in stock and millions of these cables have been manufactured over the past 3 decades.

    For the DIY cable builder, the Internet has the correct pin assignments/wiring for such a cable (links above)
    and Jameco sells a 25 foot 9 conductor gray cable (24 AWG), part number SC9-25,
    that I have been using since the 1980s for building custom length modem, null, and straight-through serial (RS-232) cables.

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  7. KB4MTO

    KB4MTO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks. I got the TNC working today with the help of the Clay County ARES Group here in Florida. I replaced my cable with a pre-made RS-232 and everything is working great. I was hesitant to use a standard cable because the PK-232 manual says only use pins 1-8 and pin 20. The standard cable also uses pin 22, but I was told that hasn't been an issue for quite some time.

    They also showed me how to set us the CSS Digital Desktop software, and how to move around in the terminal.

    Thanks again for the help.


    Hank Lambert
  8. WJ6R

    WJ6R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Was it an older manual or the newer one from Timewave.?I know they made some changes a few years back. We've updated everything to the 21st century of computer in hardware and software.

    Glad those guys could help. Ill send em a thank you. I could have also logged in via remote and given you a tour of the software. I want us to be #1 in support, and #1 with the hams. I remember your mail to me over the weekend, gotta have RTS/CTS for host mode.


    Rick - W4PC
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