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Reviews Categories | Packet TNCs | TinyTrak4 Help


Reviews Summary for TinyTrak4
TinyTrak4 Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $65 (Kit and Case)
Description: APRS Tracker with packet decode to gps waypoints.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.byonics.com/tinytrak4/
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You can write your own review of the TinyTrak4.

N1TX Rating: 4/5 Aug 28, 2012 15:54 Send this review to a friend
Reliable, flexible, but a few rough edges  Time owned: more than 12 months
A few intrepid hams and I are building out the Interior Alaska APRS network to cover an area about half the size of Texas. It is no small job, and many of the installation locations are very, very remote. The environment can be downright hostile. Thus, flexibility and reliability are key features we need in TNCs.

The TinyTrak4 is far more powerful than its little brother TinyTrak3 Plus and can function as a tracker, standalone digi, or KISS TNC. It's about the size of a deck of cards. Of course, you can purchase these as kits ($65) and pre-built ($75). Add a GPS2 for $65 more.

I have purchased several TT4s, one of which has been in service at KL1WE-1 in Anderson, AK, for about a year. It has proven to be extremely reliable, even surviving in an ice chest in an unheated garage throughout the winter with outside temperatures tapping -55F. I have used the TT4 in KISS mode at the N1TX igate as well, when I had to take the KPC3+ out of service for some minor changes. Dan KL1JP has successfully built and deployed TT4 systems at very remote locations to provide digipeater/weather/telemetry
services. No technical issues, although he has proven the TT4 is not bear-proof.

Updating firmware or configuration settings is easy from a terminal program (Windows/Linux/Mac), or you can try the Byonics configuration utility (Windows only). Frankly, I detest the configuration utility and have considerable difficulty getting it to communicate properly with the TNC. You have to cycle TNC power every time you want to communicate with it, and this is where the problems lie. (The TT3 configuration program does not require such nonsense.) So I use a terminal program instead.

There are two down sides to the Byonics units from my point of view. First, the cases are plastic or polycarbonate, which do not provide adequate shielding in high-RF environments. Although I have not experienced any interference issues, some users have. The cases seem fairly rugged, however. The second _highly qualified_ negative is that remote control and configuration is not possible (yet). This feature has been promised on the TT4 for some time, but firmware development appears to have slowed to a crawl. Thus, I would hesitate to put the TT4 in a mountaintop digipeater for this reason.

Mobile, portable, or fixed, the TT4 is simply great for almost any application.
 
K1ZXX Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2011 17:53 Send this review to a friend
Awesome  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I must say that I had no idea what I was doing with APRS, I talked to a few friends and found the Tiny Track line through Byonics, this has got to be the best going for aprs from the ALL in ONE to the tt units and now we have the tt4 that can digi and do packet with a screen and optional keyboard hook up for texting, I have to hand it to Byon, he really has a good product and the help is one cue, although we have only had these items for a short time I can honestly say that between the product and the support we will be supporting Byons business more in the future, this is how hams should be treated!!!!
 
K6LCS Rating: 5/5 Sep 19, 2010 10:45 Send this review to a friend
Incredible Support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am embarassed to admit that this is my first formal foray into the world of APRS. Byonics had a booth at the ARRL SW Division Convention this weekend, and had "package" pricing on setups. When I got home, I plugged the display and GPS2 into the TT4, attached the Kenwood cable to power and the radio, and fired it all up. Worked immediately. I need to (a) devise an enclosure for it all, especially to protect the display, (2) decide which radio to really commit to it, (3) actually set it up via the Windows software - I will dedicate a little Netbook to APRS, and (4) learn a lot more about this great aspect of our hobby.
 
EI8JB Rating: 4/5 Apr 1, 2010 16:27 Send this review to a friend
Great Product  Time owned: more than 12 months
The TT4 is the first Byonics product I have purchased, as my entry to APRS.I purchased my TT4 built and tested with the Cables and GPS Antenna. It took a few hrs of playing around to get it up and running with figuring out the commands and setting the config etc.

I found any e mail I had wrote for support was promptly answered by Byon who was always very helful.The only addition I have made was to fit a battery lead for a 9v battery so that I could take the unit with my HT portable.

Im sure had I been more familiar with APRS settings and configs I would not have had the delay I had while I was trying to figure it out.Since I have had my TT4 setup I have not had any probelms with it and I have it about 1.5 yrs now.

73's de
Charlie EI8JB
 
KB9BPF Rating: 4/5 Jul 1, 2009 12:27 Send this review to a friend
Terrific little box  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
While there is still some tweaking to be done by the developer, even in it's present form the TT4 offers good performance and amazing flexibility in a small, affordable, and easy to use package.

I purchased the pre-assembled SMT version and the GPS2 combo along with a variety of pre-made cables. Usually I like to do my own assembly but I thought I'd save myself just a bit of time and effort.

Initially I tried the tracker-only version of the firmware, and it worked just fine. Then I flashed the alpha version of the advanced firmware which supports a 20x4 LCD display of received packets (which I think is pretty cool!)

I thought the ability to adjust TX level and twist using the config program was pretty nice. I also liked the RX adjustment with the config program. I did, however, notice that it seems to have difficulty decoding incoming packets that are over-deviated and rough-sounding. (The documentation warns about this. Too bad so many people pay so little attention to properly setting their TX audio level...) Dedicated hardware modems such as are used in more old-fashioned TNCs seem to do better in this regard. Maybe the developer will be able to further tweak the software modem to improve this facet of decoder performance.

The TT4 has a lot of features and performance. It's really amazing what a talented programmer can do with the new generation of advanced microcontrollers.
 
AC0LP Rating: 5/5 Oct 26, 2008 19:09 Send this review to a friend
A work in Progress  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Lots of potential applications on the drawing boards but even as is, the TT4 is a great tool for APRS. Assembly is easy, just take your time and use a fine tip temperature controlled soldering iron. A few hours later and you are set to load the operating system and then the APRS application.

Adjusting the microphone input level to your VHF may take some experimentation to avoid overdriving - but that is not too difficult.

There is a very active Yahoo Group (unofficial) available to ask questions if trouble comes your way.

 
WA4SCA Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2008 03:58 Send this review to a friend
Continues to progress  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The TT4 is a worth successor to the TT3. Construction is straight forward if you take your time, and double check that you have the correct resistor using a meter. The latest version has the option to enable a digipeater function. As a test, I configured mine as a WIDE1-1 and left the equipment in my car powered up while I saw a movie. When I got home, I checked the UI-VIEW32 log, and sure enough, several stations were shown as having used it. Properly used, this has potential to be very useful for things such as covering marathons or SAR operations. Improperly used, a source of needless QRM. Documentation is clear and accurate, but sometimes lags a bit behind the hardware. Byon is good at responding to questions, and there is an excellent support group.
 
KC0VCU Rating: 4/5 Jun 19, 2008 23:00 Send this review to a friend
Multi-purpose Tracker/TNC  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As of June 20, 2008, the TT4 is available only in kit form. Options are kit without case, and kit with case. The $65 is for the kit with the case.

Assembly is fairly straight forward and rapid. The documentation suggests that assembly should take about an hour for someone experienced with soldering and kit assembly. I wouldn't say I was the 'best' at this, but don't consider myself to be bad at assembly. The first kit I assembled took about 3 hours, and the second and third took about an hour and a half to two hours. Instructions are fairly clear. The only problem I encountered was that it was occasionally difficult to match up where a component needed to go, with the instructions. If you encounter what looks like bit-errors in the communications with the device, verify all your solder connections are good.

I purchased 3 kits, and converted one of the kits into TT4D kit, which ads a display that will show the received position reports. One of the planned updates is to add a keyboard.

The PIC in the kit is distributed with a 'test' image on it that sends the value of the temperature and variable resister values once a second to the serial port at 19200 8N1. The instructions for burning one of the alternate images are usable. There are three images that are part of the documentation download, the 'test' image, a Tracker image, and a KISS-TNC image. The TT4D image is a separate download.

I have not tested some of the planned capabilities of the device. I don't have a weather station to try against it, and I don't see any immediate indication that the planned feature for a smart digipeater has been implemented. New software images are being published though. So keep checking. (I see digipeater features appear to be enabled in the June 7th update, which I do not have installed yet.)

One of the TT4's is in my car as -15, and one has been configured as a KISS-TNC and is acting as a TNC for Xastir which is digipeating. (I will need to upgrade the radio for that though.)

The tt4d kit enhancement requires an additional resistor, an 20x4 line LCD display. Byonics does sell a kit with the necessary parts, or you can get alternatives on the internet.

Configuration is much the same as for the TT3 and TT3+. One difference to consider is that the TT4 has jumpers to make available 5 or 12 volts to a GPS over the serial port. You do not have to provide voltage, i.e. leave the jumper off entirely, or you can provide whichever voltage your GPS receiver needs. The 12 volts is not regulated and is actually whatever voltage the TT4 is provided. 5 volts is regulated.

From what I can see, you could use the TT4D with a scanner or other receiver to get 'most recent' position information. In this capacity it is a replacement for the picpac, however there does not appear to be a complete 'package' for this, including a case and wiring yet.

There is a Yahoo group in support of the TT4 and varients.

I happen to think where the product is today is 'Great!' but since I have not used it as a stand alone digipeater, and that is one of the things I want to use, I'm only giving it a 'Good' rating. It's still a work in progress though, so give it a shot.
 


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