RMS Express/Winlink Packet and PK232MBX

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by K4HYJ, Nov 3, 2015.

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  1. K4HYJ

    K4HYJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hey folks...
    Some of you may have read my other post regarding a TNC-X for winlink and digipeating. It is back at the developer for ROM revisions due to code problems with digipeating for Winlink. In the meantime I dug up a clean PK232MBX from a friend that I would like to set up for RMS Express and possibly as a stand alone digipeater. Not looking to use it on HF - just VHF. I know there are upgrades available, but according to the manufacturer, I should be good with what I have if I can get it to key the radio. I can do terminal to terminal keyboarding over the air with another ham.

    I have it hooked up to my PC and VHF radio and it checks out ok - I can make the radio transmit. I've selected the PK232 TNC in RMS Express but it won't start a session. The modem initializes fine, but upon starting a session it says the COM port is unavailable.

    Knowing almost nothing about the PK232's setup, I'm guessing I have to put the TNC into the proper mode before I can use it - just not sure what that is :) So far searches have revealed little help here and elsewhere for the VHF side of things.
  2. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sounds like it is a computer software problem, possibly related to the OS. There are many posts in the digi forums about difficulty selecting COM ports. I recommend do some searching in the threads about this. Ensure that you are are selecting the COM port from within the software program. With the Windows OS's it is possible to have different programs using different COM ports.

    You might mention which OS you are using.

    Check the Time Wave website to be sure you have appropriate drivers loaded on your computer. I had trouble with the drivers last year and solved it by deleting them, rebooting, then reloading them.

    Have patience. bill

    Shots in the dark:
    -Have you replaced the hold up battery?
    -Cleared the PK-232 memory and rebooted computer?
  3. K4HYJ

    K4HYJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Running Windows 10. Using terminal software, I can have a packet "conversation" over the air, so I'm thinking the USB drivers are good (FTDI drivers supported by Windows). I'm sure I have the correct COM port because RMS Express will initialize the TNC and lights will change etc. I did a reboot of the PC and reset the TNC.

    Is there a particular ROM version required for RMS Express? Any other settings on the TNC?

    I will check the battery.
  4. WA9UAA

    WA9UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    The PK 232 comes up in VHF packet mode so you should be good to go there. What you need is an original hardware manual to learn how to setup and connect the PK-232 for it's other modes. hth
  5. N7XRD

    N7XRD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just recently setup my PK232MBX I can email you a manual?? I have been using Outpost and IpSerial with no problems. Just last night I was playing around with RMS express and had it running but after a time I received the same message I had to power off the TNC and restart to get it to work again.
  6. K4HYJ

    K4HYJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have finally dug up a manual. If you could send me a screenshot of your setup screen for RMS and the procedure you do to initialize it - that would be awesome!!!
  7. N7XRD

    N7XRD Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. K4HYJ

    K4HYJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well...my PK232MBX stopped working - no lights, no anything. It also has a nice burnt odor. I may send it to Timewave. I have gotten fond of it for RTTY - it copies quite well. I'm not so sure that some of my issue wasn't a component going south. I couldn't get it to work with RMS Express using the above mentioned settings no matter what I did. It did work in KISS mode a couple of times - but that is a pain to set up.

    Maybe returning to the mothership will get it squared away. I could buy another used one - it will work out about the same cost wise. While it's at Timewave, any upgrades you guys would do? Maybe the SC upgrade and do away with my Signalink - only have one "box" for HF and VHF/UHF?
  9. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Henry -

    Timewave service department will get it squared away.

    Timewave Technology Inc.
    23 Empire Drive
    St. Paul, MN 55103-1856
    Voice 651-489-5080
    Fax 651-489-5066

    They can also install the USB port option -- if that is what you desire.
    I have installed the Sound Card (SC) option for other radio amateurs,
    who desired to reduce the external boxes on their radio desk.

    PK-232 Upgrades

    Timewave Product Support

    Two (2) COMMON issues with 1990s TNCs and
    multi-mode controllers (AEA, Kantronics, Paccomm, MFJ, etc.)
    The outside world (and owners not checking proper wiring) is a hostile place.

    1. The RS-232 level converter (RS-232 standard to UART/TTL) often becomes damaged due to static electricity (ESD) events. This will result in no response seen from the TNCs serial port.
    Newer models have ESD protection up to 15 kV --
    IF a pin-compatble version exists from Maxim ... that it what I use for replacement.

    2. Voltage regulator (usually +5 Volts) provides the DC rail for integrated circuits on the PC board.
    I have found tantalum capacitors on the input/output of regulator that have failed, as well as regulator failures. Reversed 12 VDC input connections are bad events as well.

    Timewave support files for the AEA/Timewave PK-232

    Support documents for Legacy AEA Equipment --
    Repeater Builders Technical Information Page (RBTIP)
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  10. K4HYJ

    K4HYJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for all the replies!!!

    Well...did the upgrades: Sound card, low power (CMOS chips), and ROM upgrade to 7.2. Now it has a USB port and some awesome connectivity! I have one USB cable between the PC and the PK now to control 2 radios, a TNC, a USB soundcard, and FSK RTTY. The soundcard seems to have a better S/N than my USB Signalink - very scientific evaluation!

    BTW...the pk works great with RMS Express using the PK232 settings. Timewave (Randy) helped me with the setup - everything was correct except that the PK-232 defaults to 9600 baud - not 1200. He said the defaults on the PK were always for 9600.

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