Ham Radio KPC-3

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Ham Radio KPC-3

I hope there are some hams reading/posting here.

I have a KPC-3 TNC. I'd like to able to use it with my Apple IIgs. I have ProTerm and ZLink and a IIgs serial modem cable to connect the GS to the TNC. I can't seem to get the terminal programs set up properly.

Does anyone have any hints?

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

I'm not a ham, but my Uncle is one - and I can speak serial. My first guess is you need a null modem (i.e. printer) cable vs. a modem cable. Are you absolutely certain of what you have vs. what you need in terms of cabling?

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

I use a straight serial cable to connect to other computers. I mistakenly used a null modem cable the first time, and got nothing on the screen. When I discovered the error and switched, I started getting garbage, as if the comm settings weren't set, but I have set them to match the TNC.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Rick,

I'm not a HAM either, but have been debugging serial connections for the last 30 years.

Garbage on the screen is a good sign, meaning the physical connection is probably correct, at least Tx and Rx data are likely to be correct. Handshaking, DSR, DTR etc might still be an issue.

Most devices of that vintage are typically 2400 or 9600 baud. From experience garbage on the screen is a baud rate or character format error, ie stop, start and parity.

If you can drop the baud rate to something lower, its easier to debug at say 2400 baud.

I've also found many errors in manuals with regards data structure and baud rate settings.
If you have access to a CRO you can view the data stream and measure the duration of each bit, a capital U makes a good character to transmit, ie U = 55h = 01010101

One other scenario is poor voltage levels on the Tx data, ideally it should be +/-12V, some implementations use +5V only and can be intermittent or incompatible with some equipment, generally devices would use 1488/1489 or MAX drivers for maximum compatibility.

Having said all of this I would still be betting baud rate and/or character structure, ie the number of stop/start bits and the parity, ie odd, even, fixed as the cause of the issue.

Cheers, Martin...

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

I tried changing the handshaking in the GS modem port. In the software I have to change the baud rate when I start the programs. I'll try lowering the baud rates. I also wonder if the baud rate of the GS modem port should be faster than that of the device and software.

Thanks for the reply, Martin.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

I also wonder if the baud rate of the GS modem port should be faster than that of the device and software.

What? No! It needs to match exactly.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

I also wonder if the baud rate of the GS modem port should be faster than that of the device and software.

What? No! It needs to match exactly.

Good. One less thing to worry about Smile

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

I slowed everything down to 1200. The garbage was more orderly and filled entire lines.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Assuming the GS control panel is all set up with defaults (http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/images/iigsControl2.png) I wonder if your terminal program can be configured to ignore/strip the high bit. That might be what you're perceiving as garbage as coming from the device - just a different skew on the ASCII code.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Assuming the GS control panel is all set up with defaults (http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/images/iigsControl2.png) I wonder if your terminal program can be configured to ignore/strip the high bit. That might be what you're perceiving as garbage as coming from the device - just a different skew on the ASCII code.

I haven't seen anything like that in either ZLink or ProTerm.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

I know, a long time Smile
Can you suggest a comm program that strips the high bit, as you suggested?
I have also tried a Super Serial Card. I can transfer files using a windows machine using the SSC and the internal port, but still only garbage when trying to communicate with the TNC.

I have also tried with AppleWin (Windows IIe emulator). Proterm connected to the TNC as it was supposed to.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Hello Rick,
just some suggestions and remarks:
Due to the fact that the IIGS supports same like the IIe also upper and lower case
characters the transmission does not need to be stripped.
But according the the manual several points must be selected /preset before use:
at Computer and at KPX both should be set to default values:
9600 Baud
8 Databits
NO parity
1 Stop Bit !
As connection there should be used a so called "straight cable" meaning that pi2 at one end is
connected to pin 2 at the other end and so on.
The Computer should be set to Hardware protokoll / Handshake
This settings should be set with the options panel at the IIGS.
At the IIe it should be det at the Super Serial card by the selection switches.
And of course that same settings also should be setup within the used communication
programm because you don´t want to take risk that the software causes changes
to that setup by software override of the hardware.
Also you should be sure that at both sides of the communication the same language is selected.
( same ASCII tables at both ends of communication )
Otherwise special ( local used ) characters might be displayed with crazy fonts....

Pay attention to the page 33 of the manual of the KPX which
displays the required cablesetup / wiring !

The most communication programs used at proDOS offer the oppertunity to setup
the parameters of communication ( speed/databits/parity/stopbits ) in their
setup pages.

Similar is also valid to the programs used with CPM and the Z80 card.

If you are not sure about the communication cable setup you may also use
the regular PC for testing but in that case it´s also recommended to
first inspect the setup of the COM-port in the SYSTEM setup !
If you view the list of the hardware inside of the computer
there are also the COM ports displayed and you may define at that entries
by selecting the lash "properties" and then setting up the parameters.

sincerely
speedyG

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

The GS serial port, the SSC and the KPC TNC are set for 9600, 8N1.
When connecting with the serial port, I use a store bought GS Modem cable.
When connecting to the SSC, I use a homemade serial cable, which works with other computers.
I reset the serial port for hardware handshake this morning. No joy.
I'm not sure which manual you are reading. My KPC-3 manual has the wiring on 93.
My Windows com port is set for no flow control, and it works with the homemade cable and TNC.

To be clear. I gave an Apple IIgs with a SSC in slot 2. I have ordered a IIe. When using the SSC, the modem port is set to my card. The TNC is a Kantronics KPC-3.

Thanks for the info and help.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Update:
I have gotten a TAPR TNC 2. It seems to communicate with the IIgs at 9600 8,N,1. I see the start up screen, and issued a couple of commands. I have radio cables on order. Hopefully the IIgs will be a packet station soon. Next, I'll try to get the IIe and TAPR talking.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Another update.
The IIgs was put away when I could start communicating with TAPR TNC 2.
I have switched to 2400 8N1 settings.
I just tried using the IIe with the SSC set for 2400 8N1 using both ZLink and ProTERM.

There is no communication with the KPC-3 with either program. Using the TAPR 2 and ProTERM, I see the TNC boot screen correctly, meaning the TNC initialized properly and told the computer. However, I can't issue commands to the TNC.

Any ideas?

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3
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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Thanks for the videos. It is close to the problem I am having, but no solutions are shown.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

have you attempted a connection on a modern computer to be sure it works

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

have you attempted a connection on a modern computer to be sure it works

Yes, I have. The KPC-3 is now attached to a Raspberry Pi and a Baofeng UV5R, and is on the the SEDAN network.

I have an MFJ-1270B connected to the 2e. When I power on the modem, it displays the initial screen and then stops at "32k". Commands are then not forwarded to the TNC. I can also use that TNC with other computers. (TRS-Model 100, ACER Netbook, Windows and Linux, HP Tower, Linux).

I have used 2 Super Serial Cards, both set to 2400 8N1. I have used both SSCs to communicate with other computers.

I was hoping to have a TRS80 Model 100 talking to an Apple //e for Field Day. Interest in packet is picking up again in St Augustine. I suppose I can use the Pi and netbook, but using the classics appealed to me.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

what are the dip switch settings on the super serial

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

what are the dip switch settings on the super serial

1-1 off
1-2 off
1-3 off
1-4 on
1-5 on
1-6 on
1-7 on

2-1 on
2-2 on
2-3 on
2-4 on
2-5 off
2-6 off
2-7 off

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

try all on except for 1-1 and 2-7. Thats the standard setup for proterm

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

try all on except for 1-1 and 2-7. Thats the standard setup for proterm

Same results. To be clear, I am using the MFJ-1270B. When I was using the KPC-3, I didn't see the starup message. It seems the A2e can listen to the TNC. I can see the startup message of the TNC, but commands from the A2e are not recognized by the TNC. I have used the same 2e and cable to communicate with other computers using ProTerm on the 2e. I have the same results with another 1270B.

I can use both 1270Bs to connect to SEDAN using a netbook running Debian Testing.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

and you have flow control off on the TNC.... if not are you using the default ^S ^Q ?

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3 (now 1270B)

FLOW=OFF
TRFLOW=OFF
TXFLOW=OFF
XON=$11
XOFF=$13

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Used my TAPR TNC-2 this morning.
It got to a cmd: prompt, but did not respond to commands from the 2e.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

look for a value called XFLOW and not FLOW. FLOW is for AX25

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

XFLOW ON

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

turn it OFF

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

turn it OFF

I watched your video on ProTerm 3 more closely. It seems I have a similar problem, but I am using ProTerm 2.1. I can connect to the local SEDAN node. I connected to a friend's node via the local repeater and left some mail. But... if I type in display, I don't see anything. Once the TNC connects, I can see messages from the modem and my commands. If I'm not using half duplex, I can't see my commands to the TNC. So I turned on half-duplex until I connected, and then turned it off. Also, while I do see traffic back and forth between computer and TNC when connected with another node, I'm not seeing APRS packets. The light comes on indicating receipt, but the packets don't appear on the screen.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

and youve done the complete calibration and tx level settings?

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

No, I haven't.
Why should calibrations be done? I don't see APRS packets, but I do see SEDAN responses once I am connected. And the TNC works fine when connected to another computer using the same radio.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Well, I think something bad has happened to the platinum 2e. I had connected to a packet node as shown in the above video, and disconnected. I connected and when I issued the Bye command I heard a phfft type sound and screen went to black with loss of signal. When the video came back, it looked to me as if the 2e had crashed to the monitor, there was a * prompt.

I'll have to try looking around and see if I can find something, or maybe someone local who might be able to go through the 2e and restore anything that can be replaced/restored.

EDIT 5/6
I tried to connect to a SEDAN node this afternoon using both ProTerm 2.1 and ZLink. Before I connected, and after the initial startup screen, I didn't see commands from the 1270B. However, after connected, and using Proterm, everything seemed to work fine. I could go between converse and command mode. I connected to the local node and to other nodes through the local node. Apparently the * wasn't a crash to monitor.

With ZLINK I can see the startup screen, but that's it. The TNC doesn't seem to be seeing the connect commands when I type them.

Also, I do not see APRS packets on the computer. The radio is receiving them, the TNC lights, but it doesn't show on the A2E.

EDIT-2 5/6
It seems, using ProTerm, I can issue commands to the TNC, but I do not see the commands or the results unless connected. I was able to change my call while not connected, and change it back after I confirmed it was changed while connected.

Edit-3 5/6
Most of the above has be relating to a MFJ-1270B TNC. After learning I could connect blindly, I tried my KPC-3, the TNC in the title. When I started the KPC-3, I did NOT see the startup message, but I tried issuing the connect command, and I connected to the local node, and everything worked the way it's supposed to ... until I disconnected. So, the same thing is happening with 3 different TNCs. I swapped in another SSC. Same results.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

The TNC will not understand APRS... If you want to see APRS you will need to set MON ON, this will allow all packets to flow through

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

MON is on.
When the TNC is connected to other computers, it sees APRS packets and they show on the screen, just as they do on your TNC-1 video.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Using my newly acquired serial breakout box, I enabled only pins 1,2,3 which resulted in success. I have no idea why eliminating the other lines resulted in success. I was able to see APRS packets. I saw the characters echoed by the TNC prior to connection, and while connected everything was fine.

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

probably messup with protocoll lines.....
sometimes RTS and CTS are reverse twisted....
or in other words : Standards are there to be ignored......
-otherwise where would the fun remain for the users ?
lol
speedyG

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Have a look here for software with Packet Radio Software:
http://www.tigertronics.com/bay_soft.htm

sincerely
speedyG

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Re: Ham Radio KPC-3

Thanks, but almost all of that software is for Dos and/or Windows. I am trying to get an Apple II packet station online.

I've got the Apple IIe's working with MFJ and Kantronics TNCs and a couple of different terminal programs. I've got them talking to Baofeng UV5Rs for low power packet stations. Now I have to get proper cables made to connect a BTECH 20501+220 radio to the TNCs for a higher power station.

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