The TNC-Pi arrived on Wednesday from Coastal Chipworks. I already had a Raspberry Pi that I wanted to re-purpose, so I just had to disable a couple programs that I was running on it and “plug and chug”. I purchased the assembled and tested TNC-Pi. I’m not too sure of my soldering skills and I’m not quite ready for even that simple of a build. The only thing I needed to do was decide which radio I was going to use and build a cable.
My radio choices are my Icom 207H or a Baofeng handheld. Since I want to start out with and iGate and play on APRS, I’m going with the Icom. Another plus for the Icom is that it uses a 6 pin DIN, aka a PS2 cable and I just so happen to have one of those laying around the house. I made a quick trip to Radio Shack to get the DSub 9 pin connector that I needed for the TNC and I was set to make my cable.
As I said before, my soldering skills are sketchy at best. However, the job seemed fairly straight forward. I used my Google-fu and found a great resource for the TNC-Pi. www.marcelpost.com has a great wiki on the TNC-Pi and has pictures and diagrams for making cables for various radios. Here’s the link to the Icom 207h cable. Pretty straight forward.
The Raspberry Pi that I’m using is an RPi3. The instructions that Coastal Chipworks have on their website to setup the Pi are easy to follow. You cannot go wrong with them. A word of advice though read the instructions all the way first. They are not that long and it will help. Once you have the Pi setup its on to the APRS software.
Xastir is an open source APRS program that runs on the Raspberry Pi. It provides mapping, tracking, messaging, weather and several other features. The good news is that Xastir is a simple install. Once again, the Coastal instructions are solid here. Now you just have to figure out how to get the the software to do what you want it to do. The good news is that you can do quite a lot with the set up. On the flip side this is pretty much where the Coastal Instructions stop. (Not a slam on the instructions at all.)
I want to set up an iGate. Amateur Logic did a show on setting up an iGate and their instructions are pretty good. Here is a link to the show where they cover the TNC-Pi and setting up an iGate. The discussion of the iGate starts about the 45 minute mark. However, the show is pretty interesting and worth watching all the way through. One of the hosts of Amateur Logic built a TNC-Pi and there is video of it on another web show called Ham Nation. Here is that link. It is worth a view if you are considering building the kit. Its starts about the 36 minute mark.
Here is how I have mine set up.
The Station Configuration looks like this…
I put in my call with -10 SSID, but you can choose the one that fits your station.
-0 Your primary station usually fixed and message capable
-1 generic additional station, digi, mobile, wx, etc
-2 generic additional station, digi, mobile, wx, etc
-3 generic additional station, digi, mobile, wx, etc
-4 generic additional station, digi, mobile, wx, etc
-5 Other networks (Dstar, Iphones, Androids, Blackberry’s etc)
-6 Special activity, Satellite ops, camping or 6 meters, etc
-7 walkie talkies, HT’s or other human portable
-8 boats, sailboats, RV’s or second main mobile
-9 Primary Mobile (usually message capable)
-10 internet, Igates, echolink, winlink, AVRS, APRN, etc
-11 balloons, aircraft, spacecraft, etc
-12 APRStt, DTMF, RFID, devices, one-way trackers*, etc
-13 Weather stations
-14 Truckers or generally full time drivers
-15 generic additional station, digi, mobile, wx, etc
Next, Configure your defaults. The main thing here is to allow iGate traffic
Next you will want to set up the Interface. Again, in the Serial KISS TNC you will want to allow traffic. Also, you want to add the Internet traffic, it makes things more interesting. You will need to get a password. Open up a terminal and put in callpass with your call sign and it will return your passcode. Enable the internet and put in your password. Be sure that the status of both of the interfaces is UP before you close and Bob’s your Uncle.
Next I’m going to download maps and start planning my mobile tracker. Using maps on the Pi over the internet is a little pokey. I need to download maps and find what I like there.