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TNC options?



Greetings & Happy Holidays to all,

After a 3yr hiatus, (IC910 sold   & packed away G3RUH dish & patch ant &
down converter after AO-40 died - plus I moved from ZL-land to VE7-land
which was a big distraction), I recently decided to get back into chasing
birds.  One of the deciding factors was my neighbour lost several big cedar
trees in his back yard in last year's wind-storms and I gained 120 deg of
unobstructed sky to the SW as a result! Re-joined AMSAT last month & signed
up to the BBS to watch & learn now I have a question to ask.

Hope to start with LEOS (i.e. Echo) and other easy-sats, to get my skill
level up.  Seems to be absence of VE7s on Vancouver Island to ask for help
but I'm taking the plunge anyway!   Ordered a IC-910 & 23cm module & UHF
preamp as my Xmas present to myself, still waiting on Icom Canada to
deliver, but soon!  Starting out simple with an Arrow 2m/70cm antenna & a
23cm loop yagi at a fixed 40deg angle, on a cheap TV rotor, with some good
info from Chip W7AIT who sent me all kinds of emails (thanks Chip!).

My question is, I want to try packet/data on sats once the IC-910 arrives.
Have an old AEA PK-900 1200b TNC on the shelf unused.  Wondering if its a
good idea to spend the $$ to get Timewave upgrades to give it 9600b
capability?  OR perhaps better to pick up a new KPC-9612PLUS  for about the
same $$?  The brochure I read indicates the 9612 goes up to 34000 baud?
Really? Or are there other off-the-shelf options I'm not aware of that are
better? Want to give myself maximum flexibility for present & future birds
on packet, but not too complex, a radio engineer I'm not.

I've ordered the AMSAT Digital Sat handbook a month ago, along with some
other books from the AMSAT store and they haven't arrived yet. But this is
more a real-world type question where I'm looking for answers from people
who've had experience with working sats and can recommend packet gear to buy
or tncs to stay away from?  Don't mind putting some time & effort into it,
but an off-the-shelf solution would work best for me.  Suggestions anyone?

Hoping to be on the air soon from CN88!

Thanks & 73,
Kevin  VE7OVY 


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