Terminal Node Controllers / TNC’s…

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading up on AX.25 and packet radio.  I really like the idea of being able to send and receive emails in the middle of nowhere, or when the power is out using amateur radio over HF, a car battery and a few bits and pieces.  One of the items I’ve picked up to help me do this is a Terminal Node Controller (TNC).  I know very little about packet radio, AX.25 and TNC’s in general, but I do remember looking at them when I was 14 thinking it was really cool that computers could talk to each other and you could log onto BBS’s over radio waves using them.

The TNC I’ve got seems to be a Advanced Electronic Applications, Inc.  PAKRATT 232, model PK-232MBX.  Its actually pictured on the Wikipedia entry, but I think the one I have is an earlier model because from what I’ve read AEA changed the LED’s to be mixed colours on later models and mine are all read.  If this is what I think it is, it seems to be a decent TNC with a built in mailbox.

Its not in perfect shape though.  Its missing some of the outer casing screws and the daughterboard doesn’t seem to have any screws in either.  The ROM is dated 19-7-1990, so I’ll presume that’s the American format for 19th July 1990 – if that’s the case its going to be pretty old.

I’ve dropped AEA an email to see if they can help me work out what TNC I’ve got, and if there are any ROM upgrades for it –  maybe if I order the ROM upgrade they can sort me out with some case screws.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get it working by the summer – just in time to take full advantage of the Advanced License which I intend to sit soon!