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Author Topic: Alinco DR-635 and APRS questions  (Read 17026 times)
KD8HAM
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Posts: 15




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« on: September 01, 2013, 04:21:22 PM »

I own a DR-635T (in the mobile) and plan to start using the APRS function in the future. I am looking to get setup for vehicle position reports on my lengthy commute to work. Unfortunately, I am fairly new to this and I have a few questions. Just wondering if anyone here is using the EJ-50U TNC, that Alinco makes? If so, what has your experience been with this? Easy to program?

Lastly, as stated, I will be using with conjunction with the GPS. So, will the 635 handle both voice and data at the same time? Or does putting the radio into APRS mode not let me transmit? Once again, thanks for your time and help!
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N3HFS
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Posts: 208




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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 08:45:04 PM »

I prefer the Argent Data Systems version of the Alinco on-board TNC circuit.

From http://www.argentdata.com/products/tracker3.html:
Quote
Tracker3 model T3-135

The T3-135 version is an add-on board designed to fit the Alinco DR-135T (as well as the -235 and -435) in place of the original EJ-41U TNC. Like the regular Tracker3, it acts as a bidirectional tracker (transmitting positions and plotting received stations as waypoints), digipeater, and limited KISS TNC.

This module has quite a few more features than Alinco's TNC does.

Quote
will the 635 handle both voice and data at the same time?

Not really, because you generally don't use voice on an APRS frequency and vice-versa.  The '635 is a one-frequency-at-a-time old-school monobander FM rig.  Edit: However, if you mean doing voice on some frequencies and APRS on others, then, yes, you can keep the mic attached and transmit voice on your favorite simplex and repeater channels and use the TNC features on APRS or other packet frequencies.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 08:50:30 PM by N3HFS » Logged
KD8HAM
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2013, 07:22:18 AM »



Not really, because you generally don't use voice on an APRS frequency and vice-versa.  The '635 is a one-frequency-at-a-time old-school monobander FM rig.  Edit: However, if you mean doing voice on some frequencies and APRS on others, then, yes, you can keep the mic attached and transmit voice on your favorite simplex and repeater channels and use the TNC features on APRS or other packet frequencies.

Yeah, that's what I meant. Smiley Looking to transmit data when not transmitting voice. The question is - does it do this automatically? Or do I have to go into the menu and turn the TNC off before transmitting voice?

Also, the Argent Data TNC does not work with the 635 does it?
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N3HFS
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Posts: 208




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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2013, 02:05:42 PM »

Yeah, that's what I meant. Smiley Looking to transmit data when not transmitting voice. The question is - does it do this automatically? Or do I have to go into the menu and turn the TNC off before transmitting voice?

Also, the Argent Data TNC does not work with the 635 does it?

The Alinco radio has a setting for each channel so that when you're on a configured data memory freq, it turns on and activates the built-in TNC board (a little symbol appears in the display when in this mode).  In this way, you CAN rapidly switch between chatting on your favorite repeater or simplex frequency with your mic on one memory channel AND using your built-in digi board on an APRS or other data freq on a different memory channel.  (You just can't do both talking and data at the exact same time, for somewhat obvious reasons.)

Argent Data has a version of their Tracker 3 (and discontinued, older Tracker 2) TNC that installs and operates in the Alinco x35-series FM radios in lieu of Alinco's own TNC boards.  The Argent version has considerably more features, including a digipeater.  I believe the board costs somewhere around $80-90.

As an alternative, there's also external TNCs available for this purpose; Argent and Byonics.com both make popular versions of this, but it requires power and data connections to the TNC box.  The advantage to this somewhat more complex setup is that it works with practically any FM transceiver (as long as you have a mic/audio interface cable appropriate for that radio).  What the Alinco 635 w/TNC board combo gives you is all of this functionality without the external cabling - the only unusual external item is the GPS puck that plugs into the radio.  Mic, power, and antenna will complete your needed connections.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 02:07:51 PM by N3HFS » Logged
KD8HAM
Member

Posts: 15




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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 02:10:38 PM »

Yeah, that's what I meant. Smiley Looking to transmit data when not transmitting voice. The question is - does it do this automatically? Or do I have to go into the menu and turn the TNC off before transmitting voice?

Also, the Argent Data TNC does not work with the 635 does it?

The Alinco radio has a setting for each channel so that when you're on a configured data memory freq, it turns on and activates the built-in TNC board (a little symbol appears in the display when in this mode).  In this way, you CAN rapidly switch between chatting on your favorite repeater or simplex frequency with your mic on one memory channel AND using your built-in digi board on an APRS or other data freq on a different memory channel.  (You just can't do both talking and data at the exact same time, for somewhat obvious reasons.)

Argent Data has a version of their Tracker 3 (and discontinued, older Tracker 2) TNC that installs and operates in the Alinco x35-series FM radios in lieu of Alinco's own TNC boards.  The Argent version has considerably more features, including a digipeater.  I believe the board costs somewhere around $80-90.

As an alternative, there's also external TNCs available for this purpose; Argent and Byonics.com both make popular versions of this, but it requires power and data connections to the TNC box.  The advantage to this somewhat more complex setup is that it works with practically any FM transceiver (as long as you have a mic/audio interface cable appropriate for that radio).  What the Alinco 635 w/TNC board combo gives you is all of this functionality without the external cabling - the only unusual external item is the GPS puck that plugs into the radio.  Mic, power, and antenna will complete your needed connections.

Thank You, Sir. Smiley

Looked in to the Argent Data T3-135 board. Their website says that this is compatible with the 235 and 435 radios. No mention of the 635. Did a little looking on the Yahoo group. Looks like this is a no go. Different connections. Scott (of Argent), opines that people buying a dual band for APRS, might spend more money and just get the Kenwood. However, that post is from 2007. Sent an email to Argent to verify if this is indeed the case. Still awaiting a reply. Looks like I might have to go the route of the Alinco TNC (EJ 50U), which does have a digipeater built into it.

In any case, what is a good GPS puck to use with these TNCs? Any recommendations?

Thanks again for all your help!


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N3HFS
Member

Posts: 208




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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2013, 02:56:34 PM »

Thank You, Sir. Smiley

Looked in to the Argent Data T3-135 board. Their website says that this is compatible with the 235 and 435 radios. No mention of the 635. Did a little looking on the Yahoo group. Looks like this is a no go. Different connections. Scott (of Argent), opines that people buying a dual band for APRS, might spend more money and just get the Kenwood. However, that post is from 2007. Sent an email to Argent to verify if this is indeed the case. Still awaiting a reply. Looks like I might have to go the route of the Alinco TNC (EJ 50U), which does have a digipeater built into it.

In any case, what is a good GPS puck to use with these TNCs? Any recommendations?

Thanks again for all your help!
Hey, it's a pleasure! Smiley

Just went to take a look at which Alinco I have...it's the DR-135 MkIII.  Can't keep all these model numbers straight anymore in my middle aged brain!  I just figured that since the board was compatible with all sorts of Alinco's x35 models, yours would be included as well.  Sigh!
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KD8HAM
Member

Posts: 15




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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 03:36:37 PM »

Thank You, Sir. Smiley

Looked in to the Argent Data T3-135 board. Their website says that this is compatible with the 235 and 435 radios. No mention of the 635. Did a little looking on the Yahoo group. Looks like this is a no go. Different connections. Scott (of Argent), opines that people buying a dual band for APRS, might spend more money and just get the Kenwood. However, that post is from 2007. Sent an email to Argent to verify if this is indeed the case. Still awaiting a reply. Looks like I might have to go the route of the Alinco TNC (EJ 50U), which does have a digipeater built into it.

In any case, what is a good GPS puck to use with these TNCs? Any recommendations?

Thanks again for all your help!
Hey, it's a pleasure! Smiley

Just went to take a look at which Alinco I have...it's the DR-135 MkIII.  Can't keep all these model numbers straight anymore in my middle aged brain!  I just figured that since the board was compatible with all sorts of Alinco's x35 models, yours would be included as well.  Sigh!

and from Scott at Argent data - "I'm afraid the 635 has a different connector and won't take the T3-135.  You'd have to use an external tracker like our OT3m and connect it to the external data jack. "

Any recommendations  on the GPS puck?

Thanks,
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N3HFS
Member

Posts: 208




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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2013, 07:10:16 AM »


Any recommendations  on the GPS puck?

Thanks,

I have a couple of GPS2's from Byonics - they're DB9 serial-port units, now being replaced by USB, I believe.  I'm perfectly happy with these.

here's the page:  http://www.byonics.com/tinytrak/gps.php

I'm sure that Argent's units (from https://www.argentdata.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=23) are just fine, too, although I don't have personal experience with those.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 07:13:38 AM by N3HFS » Logged
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