[nos-bbs] Update - JNOS development (or lackthereof) and PK232...

Bob Donnell kd7nm at pugetsound.net
Wed Aug 13 16:08:27 EDT 2008

Hi Mark, and all,

As someone who worked at AEA as a customer support tech, during the time
that the various flavors of PK-232 evolved, Mark's time line is not quite

The original PK-232 was introduced with October 31'st 1986 firmware, in the
first week of November, 1986.  As a non-employee beta tester, I received S/N
10, and still have it.  The original circuit board design was manufactured
up until about S/N 35000 - no, I don't know the exact number.  After that
point, in late 1989, the same main circuit board with red LED's was still
used, but the daughter board, allowing use of larger EPROM's, was installed
in all new production, up to about S/N 45000.  At that point, in 1993, I
think, the later circuit board was instituted, with the multi-color LED's,
and the circuitry that had been on the daughter board was integrated on to
the main circuit board.  Serial numbering was reset, and had a prefix "M"
character.  To the best of my knowledge, all units that were
factory-manufactured with the Packet Mailbox capability had PK-232MBX
silk-screened on the front of the chassis.  But many hundreds of upgrade
kits were sold, and all were supplied with the PK-232MBX sticker, to be
applied over the original silk screen PK-232 nomenclature, by the person
installing the upgrade kit.  The first Pactor firmware releases (V7.0?) were
shipped before I left AEA, but V7.1 firmware came after my departure.  While
AEA was in business, all of the upgrades it designed for the PK-232 were
designed such that any unit made, in the history of the product, could be
upgraded to identical capability to the then current production.  It was a
stable enough platform that TAPR also designed product enhancements to tap
into the large number of PK-232's shipped.  Mine has the MBX daughter board,
the TAPR modem disconnect header kit, and the TAPR 9600 baud modem kit

As a further note, all early AEA packet and multimode products
(PK-64/PK-232/PK-87/PK-88/PK-96/PK-900/DSP-1232/DSP2232) were programmed by
the same programmer.  Later products, the PK-12 and DSP-232, were programmed
by one or more of a series of programmers.  The management at AEA from 1992
until about 9 months before they closed their doors, micromanaged engineers
and programmers into quitting, and pretty well ran the company into the
ground.  They so impressed their dealers that many of the dealers wouldn't
order AEA products to stock - only on customer request.

73, Bob, KD7NM

-----Original Message-----
From: nos-bbs-bounces at lists.tapr.org [mailto:nos-bbs-bounces at lists.tapr.org]
On Behalf Of Mark Phillips
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 3:03 PM
To: TAPR xNOS Mailing List
Subject: Re: [nos-bbs] Update - JNOS development (or lackthereof) and

Hi Angela,

Does your unit support PACTOR? I don;t think that it does unless it's full
of daughter boards where someone has upgraded it at some time.

When AEA issued the PK232MBX model they changed the LEDs to different
colours so as to tell them appart visually. Then they queered the pitch by
making an MBX addon for the non MBX boards. Later they made DSP and even
PSK-31 addon's.

You can do regular packet with it by using the KISS mode but frankly that's
a wast of a multi mode unit.


On Mon, 2008-07-28 at 20:46 +0000, Angela M1SCH/PE1BIV wrote:
> Hi All,
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Mark Phillips" <g7ltt at g7ltt.com>
> > Thanks very much for your efforts on the PK232 front. There are so 
> > many of these things floating around that they would make a fine 
> > addition to the HF linking efforts of JNOS users.
> >
> > A recent look on ebay showed that a PK232 with V7 firmware goes for 
> > about US$100 however they sell for less than US$50 at hamfests (I 
> > bought
> > 2 just this past weekend).
> I actually bought a PK232 last year at an auction by offering 5 euro 
> for nostalgia (it was initially set in for 50 euro).
> I had not yet thought of really using it.
> > For those of you with PK232 aspirations the one you want to get has 
> > multi-coloured LED's on the front. The one with the all red LED's 
> > can be used but the hardware is a few revisions older and you MAY 
> > need to spend money on it. Frankly it's not worth it.
> The unit I bought is the version with only red LEDs, but as far as I 
> could see it was fitted with the original MBX upgrade.
> I never used a PK232 before, but as I recall the upgraded version was 
> further identical, firmware and capabilities, with the units newly 
> sold as PK232MBX, except for the \coloured LEDs.
> So, I guess it's also worth while to check for the upgraded version.
> FYI. I use JNOS on a system with the HZP OptoSCC cards (2) and 
> external modems.
> The system is currently a P166, but I want to swap the board for an 
> AMD K5-300. The JNOS version is still 1.11f.
> A 2nd JNOS system is used as web server (Internet and Packet Radio) 
> and incoming mail server (Internet). I still want to set up NNTP on a 
> 3th system for the Packet Bulletins.
> Rgs, 73, Angela
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Mark Phillips, G7LTT/NI2O
Randolph, NJ

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