Packet (user) problems

There was really no packet in my area other than APRS. None. Nada. Crickets. So I was really interested when a local ham threw up a WinLink gateway that allows you to send and receive internet email over radio. Awesome! (Of course, it’s low speed and governed by ham rules.. no commercial traffic, etc. But it’s a great fallback method of email.)

The traffic on the system is really low. Actually, he recently told me I’m the only one who’s used it in.. what?.. a year? Even then, I don’t use it much. I’ll pull it up every month or so to make a connection and make sure everything’s still working. Unfortunately, the WinLink client doesn’t run under OSX so I have to pull up Windows and.. well.. that’s just a nuisance. So I don’t do it often.

At some point, I built a new Windows virtual machine and reinstalled WinLink. Went thru the settings. Fired up the client. No connection. What? Started in on troubleshooting, which led me to turning up the handheld so I could hear my tones going out. Not sure what it was but it sounded like a wounded camel. Oh that’s not good. I reset the PK-232. I swapped cables. I tried a different radio. Ugh.. clearly my old and trusted PK-232 has gone to it’s eternal resting place.

As much as I love my PK-232, I can’t afford a new one and, let’s face it, most of those modes can be done in software now. But I gotta have my packet. And, yes, I know that too can be done in software but the last time I tried it.. well.. I hated it and it never really worked for me. And, as I find myself saying more and more, “ain’ nobody got time for that”. So, I ordered a new PK-96, which also gives me 9600 baud packet.. not that anyone has it around here. But I’ll be ready.

My modem came in and I got it hooked up. Of course, you KNOW the 12v plug was backwards from the PK-232 but I got that fixed and the little beauty fired up. Had some problems getting the serial connection going and, in the process, went into the settings on the WinLink client.

You know that moment when you realize you did something stupid?

My serial connection to the PK-232 was at 9600 baud. In the process of reinstalling it, I had selected 9600 baud. What I DIDN’T realize is that I had set the WinLink client so the packet would be 9600 baud. The PK-232 doesn’t support that. (Not even the new one, which I’m not sure I understand).

Are you telling me that….? I swapped the new PK-96 back out and put the PK-232 in. Set the packet speed for 2400. Hit the start button and the CON(nected) lights up on the PK-232. Everything works fine. <sigh> What an idiot.

Well.. I’ve wanted to buy another packet modem so I can do some coding and testing. And, it’s nice to have 9600 available. I just couldn’t justify spending the money. Problem solved. The user problem? I suspect I’ll see that one crop up again.

73,
Chris  AK4KZ

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One Response to Packet (user) problems

  1. Kevin Jensen says:

    was trying to find other winlink gateways in the area to hit on 2 meters. coming back up to speed on packet and the variations. so much variety now. N1KCG Kevin

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