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Author Topic: Pactor TNC  (Read 13496 times)
WA9AFM
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Posts: 207




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« on: September 08, 2005, 06:21:12 AM »

Looking to get into Pactor.  Any recommendations on a TNC???
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12667




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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2005, 08:27:17 AM »

Well the top of the line is the SCS PTC-II series. They are fairly expensive, the least being around $700 as I recall. They are the only ones that will do Pactor II and III.

There are a number of less expensive units such as Kantronics and AEA that will do Pactor I.

I guess the first question to answer is what exactly do you want to do with Pactor. Do you have a particular application or do you just want to try and make some contacts?
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WA9AFM
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2005, 10:38:02 AM »

I'm looking to use it for ARES communications.  I've seen the prices on SCS-PTC TNC; they're VERY proud of those puppies.

How about the PK-900?
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AA4PB
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2005, 05:10:32 AM »

The PK900 is okay but like everything not SCS it only works Pactor-I.  Check with your ARES people and see if they are using (and planning to continue using) Pactor-I (the original Pactor). Some ARES groups are moving to Pactor-II and Pactor-III and WinLink which would require you to have an SCS PTC.
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W3JKS
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2005, 09:17:40 AM »

A PTC-II is only required if you are running a PMBO.  If you are simply using the Winlink network as a normal user, any PACTOR TNC supported by Airmail will do.

There are a handful of PMBOs which will accept only PACTOR II or III, but they are a minority.

73,
john W3JKS/AAT3BF/AAM3O/AAA9AC
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N1ZZZ
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Posts: 160




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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2005, 12:28:18 PM »

Pactor I controllers are usable, but much slower and much less robust.  I would avoid MFJ 1278 as many of them don't have the huffman compression.

A general run down is this: Pactor I controller is abt $150 use, has 100-200 bps speed and is only moderately robust.

Pactor II controllers run about $750 new (few are available used) and are much faster (100-800 bps) and more robust.

Pactor III needs a firmware upgrade ($150 added to the PT2 controller) and is much faster and about as robust as PT2 (200-3600 bps).

If it's for ARES, you might look into grant money for the orginization as the SCS boxes are a bit pricey.

I have used all three modes from all over the world, and I use Pactor III if at all possible.

73
Jeremy N1ZZZ
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W4KYR
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Posts: 462




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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2013, 02:59:15 PM »

 I know this is an old thread from 2005. But I have a few questions that are along the lines of this thread.

I saw a video on Youtube by "Commsprepper"  The ham was using the SCS PTC-IIusb modem. I understand that Pactor II and above is proprietary and the modems are expensive, but the results seem pretty good (from the video called "Bugout bag now has email capability") .

My question is, does anyone here use the model SCS PTC-IIusb as seen in the video?

Where can you get them used? (I looked on E-Bay)

How much did you pay for it (used or new)?

And in your opinion how much faster are they for sending email versus using Pactor I? And is there any other advantages than faster email? Do these TNC's provide other 'features'? Does anyone use Pactor III or Pactor 4 ?

I asked these questions here instead of asking the person making the video in order to get a wider perspective from the ham community as a whole.

Thanks
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 03:04:54 PM by W4KYR » Logged

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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2355




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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2013, 08:10:45 PM »

I haven't used the SCS Pactor II USB box, but I _did_ use the older serial-port version for several years on a sailboat, 2004-2007.

. . . Pactor II and III are _wildly_ faster than Pactor 1.

If you want to send and receive messages of any size -- say, a page or more -- and your EMCOMM group is using PACTOR, I'd advise biting the bullet, and spending the money on an SCS Pactor III modem.

The gang developing WINMOR (there's a Yahoo group) has managed to write free PC-based software that is competitive with (and incompatible with) Pactor II.  But I don't think it's quite up to Pactor III speeds.   And the WINMOR network of "base stations" is considerably smaller than WinLink.

.       Charles

PS -- my information about WINMOR may be out of date -- I suggest you check it yourself.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2013, 07:21:46 AM »

I could be wrong, but I don't think Winmor is compatible with Pactor. It is a different protocol. Some of the mailboxes are capability of accepting either Pactor or Winmor connections.
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W4KYR
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Posts: 462




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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2013, 06:19:12 PM »

Thanks for the replies. I been looking at some of the videos on Youtube of Pactor I,  Winlink, Winmor and the SCS Pactor II, III and IV modems. I don't think I'll be sending enough email to justify a $1,000 modem anytime soon.

Perhaps if I was running some kind of emergency net or ecomm event, then I guess an SCS modem might be up there with a generator as a "must have". I'll keep an eye out from time to time for used SCS modems on E-Bay and elsewhere. 
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VE7NAE
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2013, 09:44:24 PM »

Pactor I controllers are usable, but much slower and much less robust.  I would avoid MFJ 1278 as many of them don't have the huffman compression.

It depends on what you want Pactor for. If you're looking for Winlink, you are gong to buy SCS, simple as that. Many of the Pactor Winlink nodes will not take a Pactor I connection, they require the higher speeds. On those that do, many of the non-SCS Pactor I controllers are not really compatible. I have an MFJ 1278B, and its only role on Winlink HF is in keyboard mode to manually list and delete messages that are clogging your mailbox. You can not send or receive messages with it at all. I was told, but can not confirm, that this is true of all the MFJ "Pactor Controller" TNCs, and that poor Pactor implementations like that one are the reason why SCS has kept Pactor II/III/4 locked tight.

If you want Pactor for a keyboard mode, though, the MFJs are cheap and they work. My MFJ 1278's previous owner used it back in an age when people did keyboard QSOs with Pactor, and it worked well enough for him. It's a good for box for VHF packet too (and does work fine for Winlink packet nodes), and if I had a receiver that would pull it in, it would decode NAVTEX too, that's sort of neat.

VA7CPC, what you say was true about three years ago, but there's quite a few more Winmor stations than there used to be. Heck, you're in Richmond, VA7DEP opened a Winmor station on 40m in Delta.

As far as speed goes...

Speed (bps)Mode
160-ish?Pactor
330Winmor 500
800Pactor II: Pactor-er
1,300Winmor 1600
3,600Pactor III: Pactor With A Vengeance
10,500Pactor P4: Live Freeware Or Pactor
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2355




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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2013, 10:30:27 PM »



VA7CPC, what you say was true about three years ago, but there's quite a few more Winmor stations than there used to be. Heck, you're in Richmond, VA7DEP opened a Winmor station on 40m in Delta.


Yes, and I think I've used it.   You're right -- I'm out of touch.  The WINMOR group is active on Yahoo -- well worth a visit.

.              Charles
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N9AOP
Member

Posts: 134




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« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2013, 08:25:23 PM »

Depends on whom you are going to communicate with.  The Illinois RACES station in Springfield has a P3 unit on the ham side as well as on the MARS side.  They also have Winmor.  I have a Dragon modem and I have to say it is very fast and works like a swiss watch.  Costs as much as one also.  I do a lot of P4 on army MARS and hope that this mode will be one day soon allowed on the ham bands in the US of A.  During the last state SET I sent some situational awareness reports to the state RACES station via pactor and they went quickly and accurately.

Winmor, although slow compared to P3 and P4 is something that anyone can put on their computer for free and works quite well.  The comment about there being more Winmor stations appearing is true.
Art
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AA4HA
Member

Posts: 1377




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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 05:19:36 PM »

For Pactor IV isn't the FCC limitation preventing its use on amateur bands based upon symbol rate? I thought there was also a proposal before the FCC to eliminate that ancient restriction and just give us the opportunity to use any modulation technique as long as it fits into an SSB bandwidth?

Pactor I seems to have been open-sourced. I know that Pactor II and III are still under the auspices of SCS.

Pactor+SCS = $$$  but that is their prerogative. I would love to have the latest SCS TNC.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
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