Got a PK-232, what software to run it?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by K3RW, Feb 26, 2019.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: abrind-2
ad: Subscribe
ad: Left-3
ad: Left-2
ad: L-MFJ
  1. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Long alas I got a borrowed PK-232MBX packet controller working with the computer last night. Its running a 31 OCT 1989 firmware, and if I end up using it much I'll likely update it or acquire a PK-900.

    Anyways, I've been using PuTTY to connect to it. Seems to do at least most of what I tell it to, but my understanding of it is extremely limited. I changed my callsign, turned VHF on/off, etc. Now, how do I get it to do anything?

    I see there are packet controller programs out there, but many are MS-DOS, etc. I suppose I could run a DOS terminal and try to use that to run the controller. Timewave had some proprietary software, long gone I suppose, but not sure if its compatible with WinXP, Win7, etc.

    I'd be tempted also to try a Linux distro, if there's something that works well in that.

    I'd like this to be a APRS setup and digi-peater, and at least do some basic packet check-ins on the county club server. Maybe NAVTEX, a weather setup, etc. But I don't know what to use to run this box other than PuTTY, and I know about zero commands for it.

    N2JAI likes this.
  2. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've used both minicom (linux) and PuTTy with the 232. I never did anything fancy with it, so any kind of terminal emulator worked fine.
    KA2FIR likes this.
  3. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is there a list of PuTTY commands that I can run, to get the 232 to do this/that/the other?
  4. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    K3RW likes this.
  5. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    With putty or any character terminal, you can run the '232 in every mode, except wefax. They never published the (presumably binary) protocol for that. Should be straightforward, but I haven't looked at it yet.

    If you want to run the classic windows 3.1 era software, say for wefax, do it in a VM, virtual machine.
    K3RW likes this.
  6. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you want to modernize your PK-232, I would suggest two available options:
    -SC (Sound Card): a modern sound card equivalent to that in a computer
    This would allow you to run any modern software modes without needing a DOS interface.

    -USB Port: If you don't have luck with Serial to USB converters, a USB port can be installed in the box.

    Drivers downloads are free on the Timewave site.

    You can install them yourself, (Not for beginners!) or the helpful and friendly Timewave folks will install for you.
    KA2FIR and K3RW like this.
  7. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is a DOS-based APRS program that would work fine under the XP command-line prompt if that is part of your aims. If you want to run a digipeater, the software that you are running may not be quite as versatile as Procomm(tm). Early versions of Procomm were 'shareware', and made it easy to pick a comm port, handshaking, start/stop bits, etc. Yet in later versions, they had a scripting language called Aspect(tm) which would allow for anyone with a knowledge of flow-charts to do a whole lot more- including sending messages to different devices- should the hardware be expanded to accept the commands on your PC. I have no financial interest in Procomm(tm), and there have been many other programs ( notably one with the metal GOLD in the program name ) that can adapt to the PK-232( and 232-MBX ). Just be aware that one old logging program had a date-expiration built in. Sometimes it helps to ensure that your computer thinks the year is prior to 1980 before running older programs. If you need to run a dual-boot PC ( say Windows 7 on one partition and Windows 95 on another ) - remember that newer versions of Windows will only allow TWO different versions of Windows per PC. Unless you are running an expensive VM program that you know can handle more than two- be sure you have good BOOT systems for all your operating systems on write-protected media. That means you may need to dig out a 3.5" or 5.25" diskette or floppy drive. Many modern computers have no provision for that, so having optical or memory stick versions of the boot and format and DOS utilities would be a good idea. This is one reason that many packet operators keep an old PC and test it from time to time. An idle PC ( for more than two years ) can require special help due to the BIOS battery storage. Your PK-232MBX also has a battery, which is used to store your callsign and other information. The manual has info on resets.
    W4KYR and K3RW like this.
  8. K4AGO

    K4AGO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You do not use putty commands. You use TNC commands. search online for a pdf of the 232 documents. They give the commands you need.
    KB0MNM, KA2FIR and K3RW like this.
  9. KA2FIR

    KA2FIR Ham Member QRZ Page

    The PK-232 is a Multi-Mode Controller that also supports packet radio. It is not a TNC.
    KK9W likes this.
  10. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The PK-232 can be controlled using some variants of Linux in the KISS mode, also something found in the manual. I believe that either debian or Red Hat was used on a server with connection to an FT-51r through the PK-232 over 10 years ago. KB0TTF may have more details from 'Clark P.' about that and the use of the database. Once the signal is AX.25, the terminal program is invisible to anyone except the operator or folks watching. Unfortunately, I had my hands full with other pursuits during the hilly 'rally'-timed event- feeding numbers to Clark.

Share This Page