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Reviews Categories | Packet TNCs | PacComm PicoPacket Help

Reviews Summary for PacComm PicoPacket
PacComm PicoPacket Reviews: 5 Average rating: 2.0/5 MSRP: $149.00
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N5PSP Rating: 4/5 Aug 23, 2002 15:36 Send this review to a friend
OK if not unattended  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used several PicoPackets for many years, and the memory reset problem seems to be common to several firmware versions and hardware configurations.

They make great trackers where you are also running a notebook computer in the vehicle. We use them for Skywarn running APRS on the notebook.

However, that annoying "BbRam loaded with defaults" bug is the only real drawback to using the PicoPacket in long-term unattended operation.

If someone finds and publishes the addresses in the firmware to "patch" to customize the default values (especially MYCALL and the tracker settings), then the units would be excellent for APRS. It may be necessary to also locate and patch the ROM checksum, although rumor has it they only checksum the executable code.

However, I have several TinyTrakII kits now, and because of their smart beaconing (and thus bandwidth conservation), I'll probably swap out the PICOs for them in the near future where one-way (blind) trackers are required, and only use the PICOs where a host computer can periodically "babysit" them when they default.

KE4NYV Rating: 1/5 Oct 26, 2001 03:25 Send this review to a friend
Was good, now, not so good.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my pico from a guy at a hamfest. It worled great fr about 2 years. My only complaint at the time was it's current draw. It would suck a battery dry in no time. I tried using 9 volt batteries mainly since I was doing alot of "pocket packet". Now, the unit will power, but I don't get any response from the unit. I won't do anything, it's basically dead now. After reading the customer service reveiws, I'm not sure if I want to even send it in to get looked at.
KC5ZJR Rating: 0/5 May 26, 2001 22:36 Send this review to a friend
Bad Experience here too  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had trouble with the Pico from the start. Never could get it to work correctly and their customer support staff was the worst I've ever dealt with. Although something might have been wrong with it from the start. I ordered it new from them, but it showed up all scratched up and ragged. After three calls of not getting a decent solution, I let me credit card company deal it out with them.

I followed up with a purchase of a Kantronics KPC3+ and haven't looked back.
KB8VMX Rating: 1/5 May 26, 2001 22:26 Send this review to a friend
Bad Experience with PicoPacket  Time owned: more than 12 months
Having used Kantronics TNCs exclusively, the purchase of the dual serial port PicPacket was a departure for me. Its small size and GPS input port, however, were unresistable features for my project to build an APRS tracker. It was bought at Dayton in 1999. From the start, it seemed difficult to keep the Pico transmitting packets that would be digi'd by other stations. The level adjust pot had to be just so. Then, every once in a while it got unhappy all by itself, and required re-adjustment.

This TNC has always seemed to lag a Kantronics in ability to decode packets even when they sounded fine and other systems would.

This year I decided to cut my losses and buy a KPC-3 plus (now that it too features a serial port for GPS.) (No, I didn't sell my Pico to some unsuspecting soul at a flea market.)

I realize that my experience is only one instance, but based on it, I could not recommend the Pico, no matter how nice the package and features.
KC7YCL Rating: 4/5 Jan 11, 2000 15:22 Send this review to a friend
Really small and works well but not worth the pric  Time owned: unknown months
I bought my unit with the built in GPS and battery pack. The GPS sucks the battery dry in a few minutes. If you put the GPS in "sleep mode" the battery will stay useful for around 15 minutes. The GPS will periodically reawaken and go back to sleep. It is not possible to turn it off entirely. When the GPS is active continuously the whole unit gets warm to the touch. It will make my 7 amp-hour gell cell beg for mercy after 2 or 3 hours. Other than a handheld radio, I've never seen something so small use so much power. Unless you've got a good source of power (and you can carry it) forget about taking a GPS equipped unit "pedestrian mobile". It is a lot of fun to use it in my car though. My family can see the APRS packets it puts out and find my position. It cost me about $700 and I kick myself for spending that much. Now that Kenwood has come out with the TH-D7A I can't think of any reason why somone would want to buy one of of these anymore.

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