Configuring a PK232 for BPQ

Preparing the PK232

Firstly, make sure you can talk to the PK232- getting the cmd: prompt is essential before we can begin.

If you aren’t getting a prompt, then the PK232 is likely stuck in either the wrong baud/speed, in AEA Hostmode, is already in KISS mode, or is in a combination. The best thing to do is reset the PK232 and let it’s autobaud routine kick in.

If your model of PK232 has the battery soldered onto the PCB, remove the jumper situated underneath the unit. If the PK232 has a removable battery then remove it, this will require opening up the PK232 by unscrewing the chassis screws.

Power up/down then reconnect the battery/replace the jumper.

Have a terminal program ready and set to 9600 (with 8 bits, No Parity, 1 Stop bit).

The PK232 should start to do auto-baud negotiation. Wait at the terminal until legible text is seen. Follow the instruction given on the screen.

Preparing the PK232 for Packet Operation

As soon as you have a cmd: prompt, its ready for setting into KISS mode. Be warned that once you do this and your PK232 has a battery, it will be persistent.

cmd:
KISS ON

Good to Know: Exiting KISS mode

After issuing KISS ON, the TNC will stop responding to command input. The TNC is now in KISS mode and only a special combination of control characters can force it back out into the command mode, or a hard reset (as documented above).

Excerpt from the PK232 Technical Manual:

HOST OFF: CTL = $FF
The HOST OFF command returns the PK-232 to the human or verbose mode. HOST OFF has no arguments.

$C0 $FF $C0 FEND CTL FEND

Sending the above special characters to the TNC can be difficult due to the way host operating systems interpret keyboard input. From memory, I believe the ALT-numeric keyboard codes for this are:

ALT-192
ALT-255
ALT-192

BPQ Port Configuration

PORT
        PORTNUM=1      ; Optional but sets port number if stated
        ID=PK232       ; Displayed by PORTS command
        TYPE=ASYNC     ; Port is RS232
        PROTOCOL=KISS  ; TNC is used in KISS or JKISS mode
        FULLDUP=0      ; Only meaningful for KISS or JKISS devices
                       ; Defining COM ports can be done 2 ways:
        ;IOADDR=B      ; IOADDR is a legacy method where ports are
                       ; addressed in hexadecimal. 
                       ; Win32: 1 = COM1, COM9=9, COM10=A, COM11=B
                       ; A friendlier way to define the port is using
                       ; COMPORT, it supports both Linux and Win32
                       ; notation. Examples: Win32: COM11
                       ; Linux: /dev/ttyUSB0
        COMPORT=/dev/ttyUSB0 ; Linux or Windows, see above.
        SPEED=9600     ; RS232 COM PORT SPEED set in the TNC
        CHANNEL=A      ; Only meaningful for multichan TNCs
        PERSIST=64     ; PERSIST=256/(# of transmitters-1)
        SLOTTIME=100   ; CMSA interval timer in milliseconds
        TXDELAY=300    ; Transmit keyup delay in milliseconds
        TXTAIL=30      ; TX key down, in milliseconds, at packet end
        QUALITY=0      ; Quality factor applied to node broadcasts 
                       ; heard on this port, unless overridden by a 
                       ; locked route
                       ; entry. Setting to 0 stops node broadcasts
        FRACK=8000     ; Level 2 timout in milliseconds
        RESPTIME=1500  ; Level 2 delayed ack timer in milliseconds
        RETRIES=10     ; Level 2 maximum retry value
        MAXFRAME=2     ; Max outstanding frames (1 thru 7)
        PACLEN=120     ; Default max packet length for this port.
                       ; PACLEN is ignored for APRS packets
        BCALL=PE1RRR-13  ; BTEXT call. unstated defaults to APP1 CALL
        L3ONLY=0       ; 1=No user downlink connects on this port
        DIGIFLAG=0     ; Digipeat: 0=OFF, 1=ALL, 255=UI Only
        DIGIPORT=0     ; Port on which to send 
                       ; digi'd frames (0 = same port)
        USERS=0        ; Maximum number of L2 sessions, 0 = no limit
        UIONLY=0       ; 0/1: 1 will stop any connects on this port 
                       ; ie it can only be used for UNPROTO traffic,
                       ; such as APRS.
ENDPORT

COM again?

Always check the log file of BPQ for errors concerning serial port permissions (linux especially).

The windows systems use COM# format and USB devices tend to be COM9 or something like that (check device manager), these can be represented in the legacy IOADDR field as hexadecimal- COM11 would be “B”, however for the sake of readability, COMPORT=COM# (or /path/to/device for Linux) is the preferred way to define COM ports.


PACTOR

If you want to use your PK232 TNC for Pactor with BPQ there is a guide for setting that up provided on the BPQ website. However, here is an example config with a breakdown of how the driver works.

Note: This driver requires the TNC to be at the cmd: prompt (not KISS mode).

PORT
    PORTNUM=9
    ID=Pactor Link
    TYPE=EXTERNAL
    COMPORT=/home/pi/dev/ttyV1
    ;IOADDR=
    SPEED=9600 ; COM Port Speed
    DRIVER=AEAPactor
    PORTCALL=PE1RRR   
    CONFIG                 ; Driver-Specific Configuration
           APPL BBS
ENDPORT

How it works

The driver is defined to BPQ32 as an External port, and needs some driver-specific configuration, this configuration is defined after the CONFIG statement for the port. The configuration is separate from the spool of preset commands that are sent to the PK232 to prepare it for PACTOR operation.

When the port is initialised, there are two groups of preset hardwired commands invisibly sent to the TNC. The first group (See Group 1 Presets) is sent. Then user-configuration is processed, then the second group is sent. This is necessary to get the driver to talk to the TNC properly.

For documentation purposes, these are the preset hardwired commands automatically sent to the TNC before user configuration is applied:

Group 1 Presets

RESTART
EXPERT ON
PTHUFF 0
PT200 ON
WIDESHFT OFF;
CONMODE TRANS
ARQT 30

Group 2 Presets

XMITOK ON
XFLOW OFF
RXREV OFF
FLOW OFF
AWLEN 8
AUTOBAUD OFF
8BITCONV ON
ALFPAC OFF
ALFDISP OFF
ACRRTTY 0
HPOLL ON
EAS ON
MYCALL 

To reiterate, you do not need to put these commands in your configuration.

”Config”

The port definition has two sections, the first part which sets up the port for BPQ, and the second part which enables you to do a few things such as telling the driver what APPL(ICATION) to connect the PACTOR link to.

The optional RIGCONTROL directive is then processed, and finally additional TNC commands to configure the PK232 (e.g. adjusting the retry count).

Example

PORT                       ; Defining the port for BPQ
    PORTNUM=9              ; Choose a number which isnt already in use
    ID=Pactor Link         ; Describe your port
    TYPE=EXTERNAL          ; Driver Type to be used
    ;COMPORT=/dev/ttyV1     ; Linux Comport (switch with below)
    IOADDR=1               ; Windows COM (1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/A/B/C)
    SPEED=9600             ; COM Port Speed
    DRIVER=AEAPactor       ; Driver Definition
    PORTCALL=PE1RRR        ; Respond to this callsign
    CONFIG                 ; Driver-Specific Configuration
           APPL BBS        ; Make incoming connects go to the BBS
                           ; Can be whatever you have defined as an
                           ; APPLICATION. E.g. RMS, CHAT etc.
           ; Below is the optional RIGCONTROL directive.
           ; <comport> <speed> <rig brand> <model> <IO address> <frequency parameters>.
           ; This is better documented on the BPQ RIGCONTROL website.
           RIGCONTROL COM2 19200 ICOM IC700 70 4 14.103/U1W 14.112/U1 18.1/U1N 10.12/L1
           
           ; Any TNC commands you want to send are put here.

ENDPORT                    ; End of port definition.

Here is the documentation for the the Rig Control feature.

Here is a downloadable copy of the PK232 Technical Reference Manual