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Reviews Categories | Packet TNCs | Kantronics KAM XL Help


Reviews Summary for Kantronics KAM XL
Kantronics KAM XL Reviews: 15 Average rating: 3.5/5 MSRP: $399.95
Description: Kantronics third generation multi-modem TNC is a state-of-the-art design giving the customer operations on both HF/UHF and VHF, while supporting DSP modems and popular new modes of operation.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.kantronics.com/kamXL.htm
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WB9BVB Rating: 1/5 Sep 22, 2002 04:34 Send this review to a friend
Poor manual  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a new Kam XL at AES in Milwaukee,the sales staff knew nothing about the product they were selling. I bought this product mainly for doing email with use of Airmail software thru the pactor mode. I drive truck OTR and would like to make use of email. I found the manual on cdrom a problem finding setup or troubleshooting problems. I emailed Kamtronics for tech support and so far have'nt got a reply. You would think that someone selling a product could have some knowledge of their products uses and would include some info. I would have never spent the $399.95 if I knew that you were on your own after the sale. I should run it over with 18 wheels.
 
N2EXU Rating: 4/5 May 20, 2002 00:04 Send this review to a friend
Works well and less $$$  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I use this mainly for Pactor and RTTY and on a VHF DX Packet cluster. It's not perfect, but it works well for all these modes. Like all Kantronics products, the manual (on CD only) contains all the info, you'll just go nuts trying to find it. I've used other TNCs and the souncard software, but I wanted Pactor and this was the reasonably priced option for me. PSK-31 is a joke on the KAM-XL (or any hardware based TNC) compared to the soundcard modes, so if that's your focus save your money. I'm rigging a switch to the DATA port on my FT-100D and then I can mix and match the TNC and the soundcard.

I paid $249 at Burghardt for a used/demo unit (it was perfect and I saved $100). An SCS PTC-IIe would cost me about $400 more and I couldn't justify the extra expense for Pactor 2.

So with the exception of the PSK-31 mode, this works as advertised. All the dealings I have ever had with Kantronics have been positive, so I wanted to continue that relationship. Burghardt Amateur Center rules for customer service and I recommend them highly for any purchase.

Pacterm for Windows is the software recommended for this unit and that's where the weakness is. It works well enough if you have never used MixW or Digipan, but it really could use a better User Interface. I use Airmail for Pactor email via the Winlink 2000 system and the system and the software are really great.

Summary: For the money it's a really good piece of gear if you need it. If you need Pactor 2 (or 3) and have more cash on hand, you might want to try the SCS PTC series. However, if all you need are the modes available in soundcard software, save your money and enjoy the simplicity.

73,

Lonnie N2EXU
 
KF4SIR Rating: 2/5 Feb 28, 2002 06:53 Send this review to a friend
Well made but needs work on HF  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I received one of the first units Kantronics shipped and had nothing but trouble with it on HF pactor. Never did get it to work correctly on pactor. The weak signal RTTY was poor. Kantronics has been working on the firmware and the pactor problem might be fixed by now. The unit does have a lot of potential and given some time the pactor problem and poor RTTY might get fixed. I believe the real forte of this TNC may be VHF/UHF packet. It does have dual ports and should be great for BBS Ect. PS - be careful if you are thinking about any of the software from CSS, the demo versions do not demo much and if you buy the full version you will be stuck with it. No refunds and no transfers of purchased software to another ham call (you can not sell the CSS software along with the controller).
 
N9ESH Rating: 0/5 Dec 21, 2001 22:14 Send this review to a friend
KAN THIS TURKEY!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

I thought it was time to replace my trusty old PK-64 with a TNC that had Pactor and DSP. So I went shopping on the web. Well, the Kam xl looked like it would fit my needs. So I ordered one. BIG mistake.

For $400 I would expect, at least, to get a simple tnc to computer interface cable. Nope. Add $10.

For $400 I would expect a tnc to operate as specified. Nope. Add about $80 to purchase software to allow multi-port operation (its big selling point) and another $60 for wefax. The cheesy supplied demo software won’t allow the tnc to operate to its full potential.

For $400 I expected this tnc to actually function. No such luck. It would not communicate with either of my Win 98 or Me computers. Nothing. Nada. I tried all the troubleshooting info, nothing. Did I get a $400 lemon?

How about its DSP filtering capabilities ? Good question. The 201 page manual doesn’t say anything about DSP. The advertisements say “..while supporting DSP modems”. What does that mean? Does it or doesn’t it have DSP?

PSK-31 – Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to try this mode. It does look rather humorous compared to the simple sound card versions freely available. “ Since PSK31 is a very narrow signal, a fine tuning rate on the receiver (and a steady hand) is very helpful.” I’ll stick with DigiPan.

For $400 I expect a product to function as advertised without a lot of extra hidden costs or silly games.

I shipped this turkey back.

 
KY6R Rating: 5/5 Dec 12, 2001 04:34 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I needed a way to run UHF/VHF Packet and APRS and HF Modes (especially PSK31) using one COM port. My other COM port is used by DXBase 2002 to control my rig.

The KAM XL and Pacterm by CSS fit the bill, and the Pacterm software lets me run HF and UHF/VHF multi-modes at the same time, using multiple windows.

I also have UIVIEW32 running APRS with the KAM XL, but not at the same time as running Pacterm. That is the only limitation of this software / hardware combination.

I thought about running multiple Rigblasters through multiple USB ports (with USB to COM adapters), but chose this route.
 
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