Platform Support


Serial TNCs | AGWPE TNCs | Operating Systems


Serial Terminal Node Controllers (TNCs)

One of the critical design assumptions around Outpost was that it would (or could be made to) work with any TNC out there.  The TNC setup window allows you to either use the default TAPR2 TNC commands, or define a different set if your TNC requires that.  So far, all Outpost users have reported that the default command set has worked with what they have.  Needless to say, not all TNCs have been verified.

Confirmed Functional

Here's what has been observed or reported.
TNC Notes, Date confirmed
AEA DSP-232 20-Jul-2003, by KN6PE
AEA PK-232 (1) 10-Apr-2006, by KC8VHR
AEA PK-88 (1) 6-Mar-2005, by KC8VHR
AEA PK-90 4-Oct-2005, by VE3SJO
AEA PK-96 30-Jun-2005, by VE3KR
Alinco (Tasco) internal TNC 41 (8) 21-Dec-2009, by N3USP
Dire Wolk (10) 9-Dec-2016, by WB2OSZ
Kantronics KAM (5.6) 20-Jul-2003, by KN6PE
Kantronics KPC3 (6) 11-Jul-2003, by KB9MMC
Kantronics KPC3+ (6) 10-Dec-2004, by KN6PE
Kantronics KPC9612x (6) 14-Mar-2008, by KN6PE
Kantronics MT-1200 11-Jul-2008, by KD7QWZ
Kenwood TM-D700 radio with built in TNC (2) 30-Jul-2003, by Jerry
Kenwood TM-D700A radio with built in TNC(2) 20-Oct-2003, by K6FUZ
Kenwood TM-D710 radio with built-in TNC(4)  
Kenwood TH-D72A  radio with built-in TNC (9) 6-Feb-2011, by Bob W6AJO
Kenwood TS-2000's built-in TNC 7-Jan-2005, by Dave N6DWC
MFJ-1270B 21-Oct-2003, by KG6POV
MFJ-1270C 30-Jun-2005, by VE3KR
MFJ-1274 20-Oct-2003, by WN6I
MFJ-1278 30-Jun-2005, by VE3KR
SCS PTC-IIpro Controllers (7) 6-Feb-2010, by KG6POV
Tiny Trak-4 27-Mar-2010, by K2ASP


1.Notes on AEA PK-232 PK-88

10/22/10: Per John, KG6EZX, "I made a TNC-radio cable, connected the PK-88 to my computer and radio, fired up Outpost and used the KPC-3 command set. I made no changes to Outpost or to the PK-88.  It worked just fine. So PakRatt is not required."

3/2005: You have to first load the TNC's with basic settings using AEA Pakratt... then they work fine with Outpost.

2. Notes on the Kenwood

8/8/08: Dave WB2FTX confirms that Kenwood TH-D7A(G) works fine with Outpost.

7/1/07.  Excerpts from the Outpost users group on the D700:  "The Kenwood Radios with the TNCs built in are only to be used for APRS they are not suitable for Outpost or Winlink in that configuration, but with the TNC turned off and a out- board TNC of good quality, the radio works very well."

Additionally, "The Tasco modem chipset used in the Kenwood and Alinco data radios have very limited buffers.  They were created to receive the relatively short APRS data streams.  For APRS and DXCluster messages, I think they work fine.  They are just unsuitable for general purpose packet messaging where the message size overloads the buffer."

Additionally, "Cannot handle frames larger than 255 characters in KISS mode.  It has no hardware flow control, while in TNC mode, so cannot be used for packet with terminal programs, since it is impossible to send Binary files, or long ASCII files.  If in APRS mode and a station sends a Beacon frame larger than 256 characters, the TNC resets itself. If this frame contains DX cluster info the transceiver gives up and switches off. They use a wrong connector type for the build in tnc serial port.  It is male but is wired as female!!!!  The good think is that behaves superb with an external TNC on 9600b. You must have in mind that needs a rather high output tnc.  It can be used with a txdelay up to 11.  Really fast VCO!!  It has a build in mailbox (American habit!!) with 128kb memory.  Imagine they waste so much memory for something that no one will ever use."

3. Notes on the Kenwood D7 Handheld.

Earlier versions of the D7A (not the D7AG) had a problem in KISS mode. Newer version support better the KISS mode, but still the lack of memory can cause problems. While in APRS mode if a station sends a Beacon packet larger than 76 characters the TNC locks and needs reset. Sometimes things are even worse, the whole transceiver needs RESET!! Of course cannot support frames larger than 256 characters.  It is very sensitive to computer interference. So put some ferrites to the serial port cable...

4. Notes on the Kenwood D710

30-Apr-09, The following is a note from Rick Muething, KN6KB, Winlink Development Team, in response to this radios "KISS bug". As posted to the BPQ32 yahoo group, Rick writes...

"The 710 “bug” is not a violation of the KISS protocol… it is the result of trying to use the same serial port for both a TNC and a Front panel control. The problem is when in KISS mode (which sends binary packets “encapsulated in the KISS protocol” it is possible to have the character sequence “TC 0<Cr>” as binary or character data within the KISS encapsulation. This sequence will be interpreted by the serial port controller in the Control head of the D710 as “escape to control mode” and which will switch the serial interface from TNC mode to front panel control mode. This can have disastrous affects when trying to transfer binary files using KISS.

"One solution would be to entice Kenwood to modify the firmware in the control head to having entered the KISS protocol to ignore all mode control commands including “TC 0<Cr>”. This would require using the standardized escape KISS sequence {0xC0, 0xFF, 0xC0} prior to any control panel commands and then re enabling KISS to continue TNC operation…This gets tricky and is very likely to impact existing programs that now work.

"The solution we used and which appears to work well and is solid is to escape the “C” character. So when any data is sent to the TNC in KISS mode, if there is an ASCII “C” it is replaced by the sequence <0xDB>”C” which essentially escapes the “TC 0<Cr>” sequence. The KISS protocol (in the D710’s KISS TNC implementation) removes the <0xDB> which is the frame escape so no modification of the transmitted data stream is actually made. Thanks to Peter Woods for figuring this out."

5. Notes on KAM

Very early versions of this TNC apparently have problems. For instance, for KAM firmware versions as early as v2.06, at least one user has reported receiving a INVALID STREAM messages when connecting to a telpac or RMS node, resulting in Outpost exiting unintentionally. While complete testing has not been performed, early versions of KAM firmware may be problematic. See the Kantronics/Firmware website for the history.

6. Notes on KPC's and KAMs

There are a few TNC commands that are popping up that need to be set correctly at the Outpost side for the TNC to work. These settings are:

cmd: LFadd OFF
cmd: Streamev OFF
cmd: Streamsw 0
cmd: mcom off
cmd: mcon off

See the TNC's users guide for details on these commands.

7. Notes on SCS PTC-II Controllers

The following information is from Jack VK4JRC and Lee KB9PIP: Regarding the SCS PTC-IIPro. See http://www.p4dragon.com/download/SCS_Manual_PTC-IIpro_4.0.pdf. That section also lists the packet commands and definitely does appear to imply that AX.25 packet can be supported with this DSP module.

There are 2 slots inside the Pro model, to fit up to 2 boards, run one at 1200, the other at 300 and make a gateway.  A cheaper modem would be the PTC-IIEx, which runs Packet, but has no gateway or transceiver freq control.

Additionally, per Wes KG6POV (2/6/10), "... Outpost won't drive an SCS tnc directly. You need to use AGWPE. I've got the PTC-IIex (with an RS-232 port instead of USB) but the AGWPE parameters should be similar (except perhaps for the com: port). If you install agwpe, paste the these settings into the .ini file, open agwpe, and then open Outpost and select AGW-local as your tnc, it should work."

8. Notes on the Alinco with (Tasco) internal TNC 41

22-Dec-09,Glenn N3USP reports that, "the Alinco (Tasco) internal TNC 41, was limited on the RAM side;  I figured I would have problems, but I was easily able to connect to my KPC3+ through RF and receive many multi-page bulletins without difficulty. Obviously, I was unable to upload large files using the limited Alinco tnc,

9. Kenwood TH-D72

6-Feb-11, Bob W6AJO reports that the TH-D72A appears to be have the same Tasco tnc as previous Kenwood radios. The good news is that it works well as a portable packet station when running in KISS mode (with AGWPE). Bob's configuration: Kenwood TH-D72A using internal tnc in KISS mode, Asus netbook (13hr advertised battery life), Win7 Pro, Outpost PMM, and AGWPE Pro.

10. Dire Wolf

9-Dec-2016, John WB2OSZ reports that the Dire Wolf software TNC now has connected AX.25 capability; Outpost can now use it as a higher performance drop in replacement for AGWPE.

Per the Dire Wolf website, "Dire Wolf is a software "soundcard" modem/TNC and APRS encoder/decoder. It can be used stand-alone to observe APRS traffic, as a digipeater, APRStt gateway, or Internet Gateway (IGate). It can also be used as a virtual TNC for other applications such as APRSIS32, UI-View32, Xastir, APRS-TW, YAAC, UISS, Linux AX25, SARTrack, RMS Express, and many…" See the installation instructions for setting this software up.


1. Problematic

The following TNCs have been reported to be problematic and are not supported.

2. Pending verification

The following TNCs have not been verified.

If you have verified a different TNC, please let me know and I will add it to the list.

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AGWPE-supported TNCs

Because Outpost supports AGWPE, all of the AGWPE-supported TNCs should work with Outpost as well.  However, they all have not been confirmed with Outpost.  If you have tried one and can confirm it operational, please let me know and I will update the list below accordingly.

Check out George SV2AGW's link of AGWPE drivers and modems (TNCs) for what is supported with AGWPE and on what O/S, as well as the AGWPE download section. In the meantime, the following is a list of the AGWPE supported TNCs..

TNC Notes
Any TNC with KISS mode
Baycom Dummy Modem
Baycom Picpar 96
Baycomm USCC
DRSI Cards
DRSI PCPA-1
DRSI PCPA-2
DRSI PCPA-3
DRSI PCPA-4 1296
Express Tracker 2-Feb-2016, Mark G7LTT/NI2O, sold by RPC-Electronics. Take a look at some of the configuration screenshots posted on Mark's Website.
G4XYW 9600
Kantronics, all models
Kenwood D7, D700, D710, TS2000
MFJ, all models
mUSB TNT, all models
Nord><Link Eprom
OE5DXL 9600b
OptoScc (4 ports)
PetSCC
Sound Card Parallel Port PTT
Sound Card Serial Port PTT
Sytek, all models
Tigertronics BP-2m
Tigertronics BP-96
Tigertronics Signalink USB 3/23/08: Not listed in the AGWPE pull-down TNC list. However, see the write-up on how to configure AGWPE with Tigertronics Signalink
TNC 2 and clones
TNC-X 4/1/08: Not listed in the AGWPE pull-down TNC list. However, see the write-up on how to configure AGWPE with TNC-X
WA8DED TNC2
YAM

If you do not see your specific TNC on this list, it may still work, but just not listed. George SV2AGW's drivers and modems link states that all TNCs with KISS mode is supported (last entry). This may also apply to off-board sound-card TNCs such as the Tigertronics Signalink USB TNC. You may need to experiment with AGWPE and different options with you particular device to determine if it is supported.

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Verified Operating Systems

Outpost has been confirmed to work on the following OS platforms:

Microsoft OperatingSystems

One user has Outpost running on Windows 95; see the Outpost-on-Window95 application note.

If you get Outpost to work on a Windows '95 platform, please do the following: Go to START, Select Run, then type winver (for Windows Version), then press enter. The current Windows OS information will be displayed.  Please send me the information listed on this form.

Linux

March 2007.  Two users have successfully installed and used Outpost v2.1 under Wine on a laptop running Linux. While extensive testing was not performed, it was reported that the user was able to transfer messages both via TNC/radio (a Kenwood D7A no less) and via telnet connection. Another user reported it running on his laptop, but was painfully slow. Watch for an update or application note in the area.

Intel MAC Book Pro

7 August 2007. John KC9KKO reported the following: "This week I installed Outpost on my INTEL Mac Book Pro and it runs nicely.  First I installed a product called Crossover MAC from the Codeweavers site, then ran the OUTPOST installation executable, and then ran OUTPOST. I configured it to access the BBS’s using the TELNET. It works, and it didn’t take any effort thanks to a well written application. I might tackle serial port access in a couple of weeks."

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updated:  May 23, 2013