[aprssig] AEA TNCs and NEWn-N

Bob Donnell kd7nm at pugetsound.net
Sun Oct 23 14:33:50 CDT 2005

Hi Brad,

As an ex-AEA customer support person, I can definitely state that the PK-232, 
PK-88, PK-900, and DSP-2232 can not be caused to use the UIDigi firmware - 
not without rewriting UIDigi to support the hardware in those TNC's.  As far 
as I'm aware, the only people ever licensed to use AEA firmware source code, 
besides Timewave, when they bought those assets, was the folks in Europe 
(Germany?) that wrote a version of TheNET to run in the PK-88.  There is a 
potentially UIDigi compatible AEA TNC - the PK-80.  The PK-80 was AEA's 
licensed clone of the TNC-2 design, just as the MFJ-1270 was MFJ's licensed 
clone.  So that's an alternative that your friend could be looking for also.

On the other hand, using a computer running Digi_NED, WIDEn-n digipeating is 
very possible, and can be extended significantly beyond simple WIDEn-n 
digipeating.  That would allow using AEA TNCs in KISS mode as components in 
an intellegent APRS digipeater.  And the definition of a computer is being 
extended to simpler hardware requirements.  

A friend is currently modifying the version of linux that's been ported to run 
on the Linksys NSLU2, to add AX.25 packet support, and he's also working on 
porting Digi_NED to it.  The NSLU2 was designed as an appliance to act as a 
way to put a USB disk ,either a hard drive or a USB Flash memory drive, onto 
an ethernet network.  As such, it has the hardware support to act as a USB 
Master device.  And it does this with about a 3-watt (0.6A @ 5V) power draw.  
The friend has added USB serial port support, for some of the common USB 
serial interfaces.  That even includes the serial interfaces that are built 
into current USB TNC offerings.  

An alternative interface to the NSLU2  is waiting in the wings - there's a 
very inexpensive USB soundcard device that actually includes PTT circuitry, 
and we probably try to get it supported in the enhanced NLSU2 kernel also.  
At under $30, this little USB sound card could become about the cheapest way 
to add a computer/radio interface to a station available in the marketplace - 
and without having to use the primary soundcard on a computer at all.

73, Bob, KD7NM

On Saturday 22 October 2005 14:08, Brad [VE3BSM] wrote:
> Are any of the AEA TNCs (specifically the PK232MBX but the question applies
> to all) capable of being run as NEWn-N digis? It seems they're not UIDIGI
> compatible, and I can't find any information to tell me whether they can be
> "persuaded" to work properly as WIDEn-N digis.
> If the answer is No, then I can tell the owner to hunt around for something
> else (preferably a TNC-2).
> Thanks;
> Brad
> P.S. Are the archives of this list supposed to be searchable? I try a
> search on the lists.tapr.org site and it *always* fails no matter what I
> put in.
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