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Reviews Categories | Packet TNCs | TNC-X Help

Reviews Summary for TNC-X
TNC-X Reviews: 31 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $$45.00 + $25 for USB
Description: TNC Kit with optional USB interface; 1200 baud; KISS Mode- Use with terminal software such as Pr4Win
Product is in production.
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WA9SDJ Rating: 5/5 Jan 8, 2012 10:11 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought direct from:

Kit was easy to build with good instructions. The USB version uses an FTDI chip so it works great with Linux.

Unit shipped the day I ordered and took ~1 hour to assemble and test.
W4TME Rating: 5/5 Feb 25, 2011 10:50 Send this review to a friend
Works Great!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
It was an easy kit to build. Customer service was excellent and the TNC does what it says it will do. I highly recommend it for a KISS only TNC.
KE0MF Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2010 22:20 Send this review to a friend
Fun To Build, Works Great!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I run a DXCluster node, and recently I had to switch out the original PK-232 I was using with the node because I had a need to be able to support some HF Pactor connects for another application. After going through a progression of used TNCs off of eBay and from swapfests and experiencing no end of issues, I finally stumbled into this simple little inexpensive KISS mode TNC. It looked like the perfect answer. After only a couple hours of construction I was ready to try it out. It came up immediately, and has worked perfectly, even without me doing any calibration. Many of the older MFJ units had issues with either getting them into or keeping them in KISS mode (which is required for my DXCluster software) but the TNC-X is ALWAYS in KISS mode, so that is a non-issue. I also had issues with getting the TX audio levels set correctly on the older units, but the TNC-X default setting seems to work flawlessly. The board is high quality, the parts were all supplied, and I also paid extra to get the USB and case options. If you need a simple TNC to run in a KISS mode application, this may be just the thing. Interestingly, it seems that MFJ sells this very same unit, but not as a kit, and it is more expensive. I had fun building mine, and also have the source code and a full schematic too. A super kit, IMHO. You CAN also buy it from Coastal Chipworks as a pre-built unit (and I think it is still cheaper than the MFJ) if you want. I highly recommend this unit!
KSAVES2 Rating: 5/5 Dec 9, 2009 19:16 Send this review to a friend
Great  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Built the kit about 8 months ago. Really started seriously testing it the last month. I began having problems decoding packets recently and was just starting to try to use my TH-F6A to transmit.
To make a long story short, ended up my unit had a bad memory chip and John took it back and found that was the problem and fixed it. I had built the unit from the kit but the memory chip is a pre-mounted SMT device.
I only had one other problem with the transmit locking on and that was fixed with a single .01uf capacitor. Received my unit back and it runs like a top! I really like it for tracking from a laptop base portable. Joining the TNC-X group is also a very great help for a user.(Especially about the .01uf fix.) Even though I had a little problem with my unit, I highly recommend it. John told me that out of over a thousand units shipped, mine was just the third with a bad memory chip. He didn't charge me a thing either for the fix. It is an easy kit to build. The SMT parts are already on the board. For the price it is a great unit.
WB8NUT Rating: 5/5 Oct 24, 2009 10:33 Send this review to a friend
Great TNC at a great price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Don't have time to build it right now, so I ordered it assembled. Looks easy enough to build and the next one I order, I will order in kit form. Nice quality and works wonderful.

I received the TNC-X about a week after I ordered it. Hooked it up to the FT-897 data port and it seemed to work pretty well on local packet channel (145.01). When I went to try it on the ISS digipeater, it would not decode anything. At first I thought it had to be something with the TNC-X, but after a lot of experimentation, it seems the fixed and unadjustable output of the data port on the FT-897 is really low.

So I connected the TNC-X to the speaker out of the FT-897 and then it worked perfectly since I could increase the audio with the volume control. I have since noticed that even with sound card digital programs using the FT-897 data out, the output seems to be rather low. So it obvious is a Yeasu issue and not an issue with the TNC-X.

The TNC-X is now performing flawlessly in the local packet frequency as well as digipeating through the International Space Station using UISS. Great product at a very affordable price.
KC8QNO Rating: 5/5 Sep 14, 2009 18:00 Send this review to a friend
Quality Unit  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have one with the X-Digi daughter board. I built both from a kit with ease. It's a few years old now and sits on top of my IC-2200H running about 25 watts. I have never had any issues. It works perfectly and has not failed once yet. The X-digi daughter board is well worth the extra cost and makes the TNC a fully independent unit. It does not need a computer to run and is capable of pretty much anything you want it for.
I also own a KPC-3 which is a quality TNC and the TNC-X works just as good.
WR5RR Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2009 20:25 Send this review to a friend
Very Capable TNC  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the kit version with USB and case. It was easy to build. No surface mount parts to wrestle, all through hole parts. The only problem I had was letting solder flow between to very close pads. This shorted out one of the oscillators, and the TNC wouldn't work.
I contacted John, W2FS, he gave me some points to check, and levels to look for. I found the problem, cleaned the board up, and we were good to go.
I use the TNC-X for APRS with UI-32 and it works very well with my ICOM IC-28A. It works every time with no problems with the USB cable.
Good support from John W2FS, and a very good TNC.
N3ZH Rating: 2/5 Nov 28, 2008 07:04 Send this review to a friend
Someone needs to warn the world about TNC-X  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I usually don't give reviews, but with everyone handing out 5s, I figure I need to warn the world so people don't keep repeating the mistakes of others.

I purchased the TNC-X assembled and tested from the factory (the guy who designed and sells the kits on the internet). I got the USB option and the nice metal case option. All I'd needed was to make the cables. All Assembled and ready to go - just like if I purchased a REAL TNC from an online retailer.

Well, I had two problems - I could not receive packets, and if I used more than 5 watts into my indoor jpole, it would go into a run-a-way transmit state.

So, everyone needs to know that if the TNC-X is exposed to too much RF - even from its own VHF antenna, it will constantly transmit until you power the TNC-X off. If you are not nearby to shut it off - it will transmit all day.

I sent it back.
I must say there was superb excellent customer service - the best!

He found that the TNC-X was randomly dropping received packets. He completely rebuilt it on a new board. This makes me think that when I originally paid for assembly and testing - the testing was skipped or it wasn't much of a test.

For the run-a-way transmit problem he added 3 capacitors to the transistor, a solution posted at the TNC-X yahoo group. I offerred to pay something extra for the capacitor install, but he did it for free.

Once again - I experienced superb customer service. This is a good person to do business with.

After the capacitor fix, now the problem is that when exposed to too much RF, the TNC-X will NEVER receive a packet unless it is turned off and on again. In addition, there is no warning or indication that it is incapable of receiving packets unless someone complains to you - hey, I can't connect to your RMS Packet station, digipeater, BBS, or whatever you are using the TNC-X for.

I have confirmed that other TNC-X owners experience this same problem. So, why isn't it mentioned here? Well, now it is.

I purchased the biggest supression beads I could from and put them on the mic, speaker, and USB cables. Well, this did not help.

After what I've spent, I could have spent $50 more and purchased a reliable TNC.

My SCS pactor 3 TNC has no such RF vulnerability problem. Except for an occasional VHF packet test, I am certainly not going to dedicate it for RMS Packet use when I can buy a VHF only TNC for 1/5th the price. My point is other popular professionally made TNCs do not have this problem.

However, if you are not running any kind of packet server - and thus you will not need RELIABILITY,

and you are going to really save lots of money assembling it yourself, and NOT buying the metal enclosure box, and NOT buying the USB option, then maybe it will be SO LOW COST as to be a good choice for many people who can not afford any factory made reliable TNC.

Now, I know many of you will disagree with me, and post more "5"s to dilute any negative ratings - you are in love with every decision you make and can't admit you made a mistake - or that it is not a good decision for all people. You may state you never experienced the RF exposure problem, or that it doesn't matter in your case since your VHF antenna is outdoors on top of your tower. That's your choise. This is my opinion, based on my experiences. This is not a forum. I will not respond to your comments. This is a place to leave ratings.

People should be able to learn from others' mistakes. I made a mistake buying the TNC-X.
KD8FJH Rating: 5/5 Oct 10, 2008 16:16 Send this review to a friend
Great TNC for the buck  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have several of these in service. One APRS Igate and 2 running as digis with the uSmartDigi daughter board. Never had any problems with any of them after putting into service. I also have 2 more digi's with TNC-Xs ready to go as soon as the sites are ready.
N0AN Rating: 5/5 Sep 29, 2007 15:01 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After having two different brand new KPC-3+s spit out (receive) garbage after 3 days on 144.390, I decided to give the TNC-X a try. I ordered 3 of them, assembled and tested (based on the very favorable reviews on eham).

I changed nothing in my setup (agwpe pro)and installed two of the TNC-X units. Both have worked PERFECTLY with no receiver garbling after a week solid. Excellent reliability.

Service: Excellent in that shipping was timely, emails were responded to.

Build Quality: Very impressive, solid construction, very good soldering and neat wiring.

TNC Performance: Super! It receives everything my prior TNCs (including Paccomm Tiny2, MFJ 1270 with DCD Mod, and KPC-3+)did. As previously noted, it did not garble packets after 2 or 3 days of continuous operation like the KPC-3+'s did (and I confirmed that other stations are having similar problems in our area with the same TNC in KISS mode). Full non-squelched receive operation is a plus. No problems noted on transmit. I didn't even have to change my transmit audio level.

This TNC is being used heavily, as it runs a full-service wideN-N digi on aprs, UI-View32, and ISS software on another TNC-X.

Setup: Very easy in my case as all I did was cut a network cable in half and wired three necessary wires (Blue = Ground, Blue/White = PTT, Green/White = Tx Audio)for the Kenwood TM-271a to a pre-made stereo mini cable.(Tip = Tx Audio, Ring = PTT, Braid = Ground.) It couldn't have been easier.


Excellent service, quality construction, very fair price (even for assembly and testing), FANTASTIC performance.

Caveat: The coaxial power jack is not one I'm used to seeing. It was different that all the other TNC's and other devices I had around the house. A power connector WAS NOT PROVIDED (it would be a good idea to provide one with assembled kits). I found Wal-Mart universal supplies that had 6 or 7 connectors and one of them did fit.

Service Over and Above the Call:

When I contacted John about the connector he noted that there is no standard for the power connector that he could adhere to, so he just picked one and that is what he uses. He said he thought about going to the one used for the FT-817, PK-232, KPC3, and a few others (they are all the same), but it would cause his existing customers problems). He then sent me (FREE), 3 of the right size plugs, which I got in two days. Now that's service!

p.s. Current draw of the TNC-X is about 30 ma, so little universal supplies will run several. I cut off the connector on my Wal-Mart special (300 ma.), and it is running 3 TNC-X's just fine.

Congratulations to John Hansen for a fine product and outstanding service at a VERY fair price.
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