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SCS PTC-IIe Radio Modem

Fast PACTOR II email via SSB, upgradable to PACTOR III
Send email, transfer files, real-time data links. The PTC-IIe modem from Special Communications Systems is an affordable PTC data interface between your PC and radio equipment. From the German developers of the PACTOR I and PACTOR II protocol, comes the IIe with robust PACTOR digital modes built in. The PTC-IIe will maintain links in conditions with signal to noise ratios of minus 18 dB. That means data transfer with absolutely inaudible signals. The IIe is less expensive than its full featured brother the PTC-IIpro without sacrificing performance. The PTC-IIe is fully forward compatible with PACTOR III development.
Powered by a powerful Motorola CPU and DSP (digital signal processor), the PTC-IIe stands out as superior technology for HF radio data transfers. Packet radio operation for VHF and UHF up to 9600 baud rates are built into the IIe with no additional hardware to add.
Simple installation with compatible radios from Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu, SGC, SEA, Furuno, R&S and others. Use the PTC-IIe with commercial stations WLO, SailMail, MarineNet and others world wide, as well as the international network of amateur radio opertators (MBOs) that support PACTOR modes. PC software for Windows or DOS.
Marine, Commercial and B+ to PTC-II or Amateur HF SSB Transceiver Radio control from PC

Audio in/ out, PTT


Com port Com port

(depends on radio model)
Desktop Or Laptop PC Win95 / 98 or DOS


Commercial Government Amateur Marine
Special Communications Systems GmbH Roentgenstrasse 36, D-63454 Hanau, Germany
Distributed by Farallon Electronics 2346 B Marinship Way, Sausalito, CA 94965 USA 415-331-1924 Pactor is a registered trademark of SCS GmbH Farallon Electronics 1998 - 2002


Standard Features of the PTC-IIe Hardware
VHF/UHF Packet communications capable, built in. No extra modules to buy. Upgradable to PACTOR III development via onboard flash memory. 32 bit system with Motorola RISC 68360 processor at 25 MHz. 16 bit Motorola DSP 56156 at 60 MHz (30 MIPs). Firmware stored in flash memory. Easy update via serial RS-232 link to a PC. Modem tones (mark-space) and shift programmable in 1 Hz steps within all modes. Equipped for FAX (AM, FM, Meteosat), SSTV, CW operation with reception and transmission and full compatibility to nearly all modern PC programs. Built in mailbox with comprehensive features. Common access from all modes (PACTOR I, II, III, AMTOR, PACKET). Battery backup for the clock and CMOS RAM. No mail loss when switched off. Mail display at the front panel shows the operator there is new mail. Excellent tuning display, 15 LEDs with center function. All significant link and controller status are displayed on the eight front panel bi-color LEDs. The PTC-IIe is fully usable as a DSP filter for all modes (SSB, CW and others) as a denoiser with freely programmable sets of parameters. Features: Auto peak, auto notch, passband filter, inversion, delay line, function generator and more. Comprehensive filtering of all inputs and outputs for excellent electromagnetic compatibility. Hostmode, extended hostmode, CRC-hostmode. Fully compatible to nearly all modern PC programs. Integrates with FBB/Winlink networking and mailing systems.

Features of the PACTOR II Mode
Automatic frequency tracking allows the same frequency tolerance as with PACTOR I (+/- 80 Hz). The days of dithering fingers on the dial are over. Newly developed on-line data compression system (PMC) reduces the data transfered by nearly 1/2. Fully backwards compatible with all known PACTOR I implementations, including automatic mode recognition and selection. The unit always answers in the mode it has been contacted in (PACTOR I, PACTOR II, AMTOR). Utilizing the latest coding technology. Constraint length 9 convolutional coding is used with full frame interleaving and Viterbi decoder combined with very efficient Memory ARQ algorithms. Automatic transceiver output power adaptation to the quality of the HF link and the required data throughput. Programmable squelch function for RTTY operation. CW operation (RX and TX) with automatic speed adaptation using high sophisticated DSP algorithms. Users say: "the best cw receiving computer we have ever seen"

Available Options

Pre-made PTC-IIe to radio interconnect cables GPS data in Y cable Ferrite chokes, type 31 material for HF suppression


Dimensions Weight Voltage Power PC interface Audio out PTT Audio in Memory Operating temp 1 11/16 x 4 7/8 x 7 3/16 inches 43 x 126 x 183 mm 19.5 ounces (553g) 12 VDC nominal, 15 VDC max 3 watts average DB9 serial port, AT type 20 to 2000 Mv, 1k ohm impedance Switched, not greater than 1 amp 5 to 1000 Mv RMS. 47k ohms impedance 512k CMOS w/ battery backup -4 to 122 degrees F -20 to 50 degrees C
Transceiver minimum switching time is 20ms. Check your transceiver for compatibility
Distributed by Farallon Electronics 2346 B Marinship Way, Sausalito, CA 94965 USA 415-331-1924 Pactor is a registered trademark of SCS GmbH Farallon Electronics 1998 - 2002 Information subject to change without notice


2 Customer Support

Chapter Customer Support
If you have questions, problems, proposals, or comments relating to the PTC-IIe or PACTOR, please contact the following address.
Special Communications Systems GmbH & Co. KG Roentgenstrasse Hanau Germany Fax.: +23368 Order Fax.: +990238 EMail:


Visit our Internet sites: Here you will find: Information to PACTOR and our modems The actual firmware versions Additional interesting software for the PTC-IIe Links to related sites
On ourhomepage you can also subscribe to our mailing list to get actual information about PACTOR and the PTC-IIe automatically by e-mail.


If a problem occurs and its necessary to send your SCS product to maintenance, please take care of the following: Package the device with care. Use suitable and enough packaging material. Attach a cover note to the shipment. Do this always, also if you have emailed us or talked to us previously. Describe the problem as good as you can. Write clearly. Dont forget your return address!
If the PTC-IIe shows a strange behavior perhaps using the command RESTart can help. Sometimes and because of playing around important parameters may be misadjusted. The RESTart command totally restarts the PTC-IIe. The default settings of all parameters will be restored.

3 Installation

Chapter Installation
The installation of the PTC is simple, as all settings are done via software. You need only correctly configure the cable between the PTC and transceiver.

Figure 3.1:

The PTC-IIe rear panel.

Power supply

The PTC-IIe has two inputs for its power connections which can be used alternatively. Either connect via the DC-in supply socket at the rear of the unit, or via the connector for the short-wave transceiver (Audio). Both connections are decoupled with diodes and protected against reverse polarity. An input voltage between 1016 VDC is allowed, the current consumption depends due to use of a switch mode regulator internally on the input voltage and also the present processor speed. It is usually around 200 mA at 13.8 V. Basically the higher the input voltage the lower the current consumption. The power supply inputs on the PTC-IIe are especially filtered so that harmonics of the switch mode regulator cannot pass outside the unit. The inputs are protected by a self resetting fuse.

Table 3.7: Yaesu connection Smaller YAESUs use a 6 pin Mini-DIN connector, whereby with multiband transceivers two different connection schemes must be destinguished: - For HF and 1k2 Packet-Radio:
3 Installation Signal PTC Color YAESU GND PIN 2 white PIN 2 PTT PIN 3 yellow PIN 3 AF-OUT PIN 1 violet PIN 1 AF-IN PIN 4 green PIN 5 This cable is available completely assembled. Refer to Appendix A on page 182. Table 3.8: YAESU 6 pin Mini-DIN - For 9k6 Packet-Radio: Signal PTC Color YAESU GND PIN 2 white PIN 2 PTT PIN 3 yellow PIN 3 AF-OUT PIN 1 violet PIN 1 AF-IN PIN 4 green PIN 4 This cable is available completely assembled. Refer to Appendix A on page 182. Table 3.9: YAESU 6 pin Mini-DIN

Amplitude Adjustment

The PTC-IIe output amplitude has to be adjusted very carefully to the connected transceiver. If you dont pay attention on this item a signal much too wide will be the result! The output amplitude are adjusted separately depending on the modes FSK (PACTOR-I, AMTOR, RTTY, etc). and the modes PSK (PACTOR-II). A common adjustment with one command was in practice not the best way. The audio input sensitivity of most transceivers is adapted to the output voltage of a common dynamic microphone. 100 % modulation is reached at low MIC-Gain settings with 200 mV (Peak to peak) input voltage. It is not recommended to use very high PSKAmpl values and compensate this by lowering the MIC-Gain setting, because this may already overdrive the first amplifier stages which are very sensitive and located in the signal path before the MIC-Gain controlling device. We recommend for the first approach to use the default PSKA value of 140 and then regulate the output power for PSK with the mic-gain setting (if available). To do this connect the TRX to a dummyload resistor capable to dissipate the power or to an antenna with good SWR (Take care that the frequency being used is not already occupied). Entering U 3 <Return> starts the Unproto mode 3 (=100 Bd DBPSK). Now you can use the MIC-Gain knob to increase the transmitting power until the ALC voltage reaches the allowed limit. Dont overdrive the TRX because in this case the signal will be spreaded by intermodulation! With proper settings the peak envelope power will nearly be equal to the maximum output power of the TRX. In this case the average power will approximately be the half of the maximum power, so also continuous operation will not cause problems at all. Dont

5 PTC-Firmware system so that reliable time sharing of the one frequency between the various coast stations is possible. It is basically possible to decode NAVTEX using any AMTOR modem, however, it has proved in practice, that just reading the transmissions has a number of disadvantages, and is therefore not of great value. 1. In the flood of messages sent, without pre-selection and a form of buffer memory, it is very likely that the "interesting" messages will be lost. 2. The messages are sent more than once, the newer ones at least every 4 hours, the older ones at longer intervals. As SITOR-B is very prone to errors when signals are weak, the receiver should ensure that only the best copy of the message to date is stored, and available for the Radio Officer or Navigator. This is totally impossible by just "reading the mail". 3. As NAVTEX works on long waves, the reception is generally better at night than during the day. When sunny, the electrical energy requirements of small ships can be met by solar panels. At night this is not possible. The noise of a generator is also not exactly customised to enhance the sleep of the crew. The power requirements at night should thus be kept as low as possible. A continuously running laptop or other computer is a relatively large load for the energy supply of a small ship. A NAVTEX controller should therefore be able to operate without any additional computer, and use little electrical energy itself. The NAVTEX processor of the PTC-IIe solves many of the disadvantages mentioned above. It enables: Automatic, selective reading of NAVTEX transmissions. Either the code for the type of message or the regional code can be selected. Automatic processing of transmissions received more than once. Only the best copy is held. Old data is automatically deleted. A fast check on the type of received messages. A memory buffer is available without using an external computer, as the NAVTEX processor uses the PTC-IIe internal mailbox as a message store. It automatically lays down, if not already there, a subdirectory called NAVTEX in the PTC-box. Data written into the mailbox by the NAVTEX processor can be accessed via PACTOR or Packet-Radio.
The NAVTEX System in Detail
As mentioned above, NAVTEX messages are sent in plain language using SITOR-B coding. To mark the beginning, end, and type of message, NAVTEX uses a simple convention. Every message begins with the characters ZCZC, followed by a space. Then follows the four figure message identifier plus a carriage return. The actual message now follows. Every message finishes with NNNN. (If these end characters are mutilated, the NAVTEX-processor finishes writing the message at the latest after loss of receive synchronisation).
The message identifier is constructed as follows:
5 PTC-Firmware The first character is a letter, with a range of A to Z. This letter sets the area code and is allocated to one transmitter in the reception area. Which letter is allocated to which transmitting station can be seen relatively fast, as the transmitting station is usually also mentioned in the message itself.

PACTOR Duplex and Data Transparency
To simplify the PACTOR operation mode, that means to ensure compatibility to many mailbox and terminal programs made for Packet-Radio (PR) while using PACTOR, the possibility of working without the usage of special control key sequences (e.g. <Ctrl> + <Y>) had to be created. Programs written for PR do not know the commands for changeover used in the half-duplex mode on shortwave, because PR reacts in the halfduplex mode on the user interface more or less like full-duplex a changeover does not exit for PR. To avoid changeover commands using PACTOR the PTC-II offers a CHANGEOVERautomatism , the so called PACTOR Duplex. The PACTOR duplex is activated with the new command PDuplex (refer to chapter 6.70, page 67). The automatism works with the following relatively simple algorithm: 1. If the PTC-IIe is the information sending station ( ISS), that means controls the keys, the PTC-II automatically executes a CHANGEOVER, if his transmission buffer is empty (that means no data to be sent are available). 2. If the PTC-IIe is the information receiving station ( IRS), the PTC-II automatically executes a BREAKIN, if the transmission buffer is not empty, that means that data for transmission are available and the IRS state exists for at least 12 seconds. This automatism causes a variety of conclusions during practical operation that have to be mentioned, especially if the PTC-II with activated PACTOR Duplex has to work together with a conventional PACTOR system. The general usage of the PACTOR Duplex mode is not recommended at the moment, because especially old PACTOR mailbox systems have problems with the unnecessarily automatically executed changeover of the PDuplex-PTC. The conventional operation control in the personal Chat-QSO should only be switched to PACTOR Duplex mode, if the QSO partner is familiar with what happens and will not be confused by the changeovers of the PACTOR Duplex-PTC appearing accidentally. The following distinctiveness exists for the PTC-IIe itself when switched to PACTOR Duplex: 1. The CHANGEOVER bell is generally deactivated. 2. Open files for the PTC internal mailbox will not be closed by a CHANGEOVER any more.
5 PTC-Firmware 3. Mailbox access of users with PACTOR Duplex are executed correctly (the command interpretor will not be closed as usual by a CHANGEOVER, but generally by a Carriage Return).


Application for PACTOR-Duplex
1. PDuplex can be used excellently to make mailbox programs for PR working with the WA8DED hostmode (DPBox, DieBox, GP, WinGT, etc). also usable for PACTOR. The terminal- and mailbox program does not notice on the WA8DED hostmode side any difference between a PACTOR or PR-link, if PDuplex is activated. No transmission control character has to be send by the PC. The great advantage of these technique: The PR program used by a mailbox is compatible to all PACTOR users, independently if they use PACTOR Duplex or not. (It also doesnt matter if a user accesses to the mailbox with PACTOR-I or PACTOR-II.) 2. In combination with binary data transparency binary files can now be transmitted directly - e.g. in the Autobin mode via PACTOR without the detour using 7PLUS or other coding mechanisms. If a file shall be transmitted to a friend using the PTC-IIe too, both PTC-IIe are switched to PACTOR Duplex. Using a WA8DED hostmode program all features available for PR can be used on the PACTOR channel (usually channel 4) as well certainly also the AUTOBIN transfer! 3. Very convient operation with partners using PACTOR Duplex too. In this case the QSO can be made in the same way as in PR regardless of the actual transmission state of the connected PTCs. CHANGEOVER or BREAKIN arent necessary anymore. We want to point out that the selection of the QSO style is a matter of taste. The usual operation with manual control of the transmission direction is useful furthermore.

Default setting: 4 Parameter: X 2. 30, number of error free packets before up-speed.
Selection of up-speed parameter for automatic speed changing. MAXUp determines how soon the system steps up under good channel conditions (2=fast / 30=slow). Example: MAXUp 3 i.e. the PTC switches to a higher speed after receiving 3 correct packets in a row.
Default setting: 2 Parameter: ASCII mode with no compression Huffman mode & Auto-ASCII, if necessary (Level I compression). Full Level II compression with Huffman, Pseudo-Markow and run length coding and Auto ASCII if required. The 8 bit ASCII mode allows to transmit all characters from 0 to 255 (8 bit), inclusive the IBM special characters. Defined special characters (e.g. Idle, CANGEOVER characters, etc.) can be transmitted using the Ctrl-character (refer to chapter 6.26, page 48). In the Huffman mode only the ASCII characters 0. 127 (7 bit) can be transmitted. To transfer certain IBM/ATARI special characters (umlauts), the PTC converts these characters according to the following table: Umlaut ASCII 225 Transmitted Character 1 2
Table 6.2: Conversion of German special characters. The Huffman data compression, which can improve speed up to 80% (effective character length 4.5 to 5 bit) allows to reduce the middle character length. The data compression of lowercase letters is better as for uppercase letters. The ASCII mode will be useful only if the text contains non ASCII characters, or many uppercase letters. The PTC firmware scans through each packet determining whether HUFFMAN or ASCII coding will be more efficient for transmission, and selects the better one. Manually selecting the ASCII mode (MOde 0) makes the controller transmit ASCII anyway. Doing this should only be necessary in very special cases.
6 Commands Automatic mode also works on characters exceeding 127 decimal. Therefore 7PLUS files may be transferred without any user intervention. The parameter 2 is effective only with a PACTOR Level II link. With Level I contacts, the system behaves as if the parameter 1 had been chosen. The automatic compression used in PACTOR-II has proved to be very advantageous and reliable. Therefore, the MOde parameter should only need to be changed in exceptional circumstances (e.g. measuring the text throughput without compression) to a value < 2. There are no problems caused by leaving the Level II compression turned on, even when transmitting 7Plus, binary files or graphics. No manual intervention by the operator is required, as the PTC-IIe will switch automatically to uncompressed ASCII transmission for individual packets, if necessary.


This command switches to AMTOR listen mode (Mode L). In AMTOR listen mode, an existing AMTOR ARQ link between two stations can be read on screen. As the AMTOR listen mode requires a lot of computer time, it is not possible to receive any FEC transmissions or answer PACTOR or AMTOR connect requests in this mode! The PTC doesnt react on PACTOR or AMTOR ARQ connect requests. By using the CHANGEOVER character (refer to chapter 6.19, page 44), it is possible to re-synchronize at any time. If the PTC does not switch back to letters, due to poor reception conditions, using <Ctrl> + <B> Ctrl-B> will force a letter shift.

6 Commands After Ctrl-F, follows the channel number (binary, increased by 48) and then the codebyte, as is defined in WA8DED hostmode: Code Byte Meaning 0 Success, no text follows (Not used in Term 5) 1 Success, text follows (Not used in Term 5) 2 Error, text follows (Not used in Term 5) 3 Link status info follows (CONNECTED to. etc). 4 Monitor header follows / no monitor data 5 Monitor header follows / monitor data available 6 Data from the monitor follows 7 Data from the link follows Table 6.5: Code byte description The terminal mode 5 also extends the command prompt. Every command prompt, as in terminal mode 4 is proceeded with a Ctrl-D. after every Ctrl-D however, follows a byte with prompt information. Bits 5-7 contain coded information about the prompt sort: Bit 7 Bit 6 Bit 1 Prompt Not allowed cmd: Not allowed sys: aud: pac: Not allowed fax: Bits 0-4 0=cmd, 1=AMTOR, 2=MONITOR, 3=RTTY, 4=CW, 5=PSK31 always 0 always 0 always 0 present input channel (0-31) always 0 always 0
Table 6.6: Prompt coding The bits 0-4 contain additional information, depending on the actual prompt. After the prompt codebyte, there follows, as usual, the text prompt information, ended with a Ctrl-A. The pac:-prompt contains the channel number of the presently set input channel (Setchn) as plain text information before the colon. (Channel numbers of two digits are thus output by two ASCII number characters.) The prompt information of terminal mode 5 cannot be split. I.e. no other information can be pushed through between bytes. The prompt always begins with a Ctrl-D and always ends with a Ctrl-A.
Default setting: none Parameter: HH:MM:SS Desired time. Arguments are ignored during remote control.
6 Commands TIme is used to set or read the internal clock. If TIme is entered without a parameter, the current time is displayed. When the clock is set, leading zeroes must not be omitted. The colons can be omitted. Wrong entries cause a wrong programming of the clock chip. Setting the clock to 9 oclock 56 ninutes and 5 seconds cmd: TI 09:56:05 or cmd: TI 095605.
Default setting: 0 Parameter: 2 Simple PTC terminal mode. TNC mode with Ctrl-A echo. TNC mode with Ctrl-A echo and *-prompt.
Hostmode terminal programs are developed for pure PR controllers (TNC) with TheFirmware (TF) as firmware. But some properties of the simple command structure suggested by the WA8DED are not suitable for a modern multimode controller. Thus TF uses as prompt only an asterisk * - this is for a system with many submenus (e.g. PTCIIe) not very supportive. For example the PTC-IIe displays in the main menu cmd:. Switching to a submenu the prompt changes, so that the user has the advantage to know directly which menu is selected. Some hostmode programs test exactly if a controller with TF is connected most of all to determine if the used controller is already in the hostmode or still in the terminal mode. For this purpose, as response to the ESC character the asterisk prompt is expected. In the normal mode the PTC does not send the asterisk prompt, because the ESC character is responded with its own prompt (e.g. cmd:). Programs like SP or TOP will never switch to the hostmode but simply stop the initialization phase. Without a workaround this programs could not be used with the PTC-IIe. This workaround is represented by the TNC command. Using this command, the PTC-IIe, up to the desired extend, adapts its behaviour to react similar to the WA8DED command interpreter. The PTC-IIe reacts similar to a normal TNC if the TNC command is activated. This causes somewhat incompatibility to the own standard, but the necessary adaptions are tolerable. Description of the parameters: 0. normal PTC terminal mode, PTC-IIe prompt as usual. 1. As long as the PTC is not in the hostmode, the charcter Ctrl-A is always echoed. As it is unlikely in the terminal mode that a Ctrl-A is sent to the PTC, this is not really a restriction or incompatibility. (Binary data has to be transfered using hostmode). But the echo of the Ctrl-A character is necessary when using WinGT. Unfortunately without these echo WinGT will idle a minute after startup. But with TNC set to 1

8.11 8.11.1

Tips and Tricks IF-SHIFT
With the normal SSB speech reception, the speech frequencies stretch from 300 to 2700 Hz. Steep sided SSB filters usually have a 6 dB bandwidth of around 2.4 kHz. The FMFAX standard sets a center frequency of 1900 Hz. With standard resolution FAX and SSTV pictures, the signal requires a bandwidth of approximately 2.5 kHz. The audio limit frequencies that should be transmitted are 1900-1250 Hz and 1900+1250 Hz or 750 Hz and 3150 Hz. The frequency band for FAX/SSTV appears to be shifted about 400 to 500 Hz higher in frequency. With normal SSB reception, the higher FAX/SSTV tones suffer great attenuation and thereby cause asymmetrical reception. In order to help this situation, it is recommended that the IF-SHIFT control be used. With the TS-450 for example, it has been found that the best setting is around 3 oclock. The ideal setting is that at which the tuning indicator flickers symmetrically around the middle point when only noise is present on the receive channel.


We strongly recommend the use of a serial interface chip in the PC with a FIFO function. Otherwise, especially at the higher baud rates for high resolution FAX/SSTV, there is a great probability of data loss or mutilation at the serial interface.


We recommend the use of the so-called HiColor-Graphics in the JVFAX-configuration, so that optimum SSTV display may be obtained.


New phasing in SSTV
In the SSTV modes, it is relatively common that the vertical (frame) synch pulse is either not recognized, or that one will want to start receiving in the middle of a picture transmission. A manual picture start may be obtained with JVFAX by using <R> button, this means RUN.

9 Packet-Radio

Chapter Packet-Radio
The Packet-Radio-menu (pac:-menu) is activated with the command PACket. The command prompt takes the form pac:. The following commands are available in the pac:-menu: Aprs, Baud, CBell, CHeck, CMsg, Connect, CText, DIGIpeat, Disconnect, FRack, FSKFilter, FULLdup, Help, Jhost1, KISS, MAXframe, MCon, MFIlter, Monitor, MStamp, MText, MYAlias, MYcall, MYMail, PACLen, PErsist, Port, PRBox, Quit, RESptime, RETry, Setchn, SLottime, TRACE, TXdelay, Unproto, USers. All other (normal) commands are not available in the pac:-menu! Quit or DD exit the pac:-menu. The PACket command can be followed by a valid pac:-command as an argument. As with the other sub functions of the PTC-IIe, it is also possible to pass through direct commands. Switch off the Packet-Radio listen without using the pac:-menu cmd: PAC M 0 <Return>

9.4 9.4.1

KISS, SMACK and SRP for Packet-Radio Operation KISS
KISS 4 means Keep It Simple, Stupid, which already implies the simplicity of this interface protocol. In KISS mode, the PTC is degraded to be a pure modem and its intelligence is limited to the physical protocol level (modulation, demodulation). All higher protocol levels (e.g. AX.25) are processed on the PC or whatever the KISS-mastersystem is. Hence KISS just acts as simple transport medium between the higher protocol levels and the physical modem level. The modem does not have any knowledge any more of the higher protocol levels. Because of this, KISS is not suitable for e.g. PACTOR: The timing-critical PACTOR protocol cannot easily be implemented on a PC with multitasking operating system and transported via a KISS interface to the modem. Via KISS only Packet-Radio modems can be accessed. PACTOR operation is not possible with KISS. ATTENTION: As soon as KISS mode is started, a running PACTOR connection is terminated immediately. With the dual port PTCs two KISS ports are available in parallel, with the KISS addresses 0 and 1. (With SRP the Ring addresses are assigned automatically, see below.) A complete description of the KISS protocol exceeds the limits of this update information and can be found in relevant literature or in the Internet. Activating KISS-mode, the commands KISS and @K
The KISS-Mode is activated with the commands KISS or alternatively @K out of the normal command mode. This usually happens automatically by the KISS-PC-software or a KISS capable controller (e. g. TNC3). The KISS-mode is terminated by a system reset (power off/on cycle), but can also be terminated by software with sending the decimal byte sequence 192, 255, 192. The termination by sending the byte sequence is usually done automatically by the software as well, and may just once be configured correctly in the setup of the program.
SMACK 5 means Stuttgarts Modified Amateurradio-CRC-KISS. It represents a KISS mode with added checksum for data protection. SMACK is supported by many KISScapable systems. To switch into the SMACK-mode, first the normal KISS more needs to be entered. KISS-master and KISS-modem then automatically negotiate if CRC protection (SMACK) can be enabled. A complete description of the SMACK protocol exceeds the limits of this update information and can be found in relevant literature or in the Internet.
KISS, Phil Karn, SMACK,
SRP 6 means Serial Ring Protocol and has been developed by Jimy Scherer, DL1GJI, for XNET, respecticely the TNC3. It is an extended SMACK with the possibility to operate several modems together with one SRP master in a Token-Ring. This provides the possibility of establishing a complex system of digipeaters. With this, e.g. two PTCIIpro can be operated on one TNC3 (as master) in a ring (network). The addresses (ring adresses) of the single ports are assigned automatically. A dual ported modem (e.g. PTCIIpro) receives 2 ring addresses, e.g. 0 and 1, one address per port. The SRP master can access both ports independently. With a ring of one TNC3 (without internal modems) and two PTC-IIpro (as modems) four modem ports are available (physically provided by the PTC-IIpros) for this digipeater. Two ports can e.g. be used for Robust-Packet-Radio on shortwave, one port can be configured as 1200 baud access point and the fourth one as 9600 baud access point. To switch into the SRP mode, first the KISS mode has to be enabled. KISS master and KISS modems automatically negotiate if SRP can be enabled. All modems in a SRP-ring must be capable of SRP! A complete description of the SRP protocol exceeds the limits of this update information and can be found in relevant literature or in the Internet.

9 Packet-Radio With FIX-Position (Aprs 2, see 9.5.1) and automatic timer, the firmware sets the interval independent of the speed data from the GPS receiver to 1800 seconds.
Default setting: 1200 Parameter: X Baud rate for the radio link.
Setting / checking the radio link baudrate. Without a parameter, the Baud command shows the currently set baudrate. If a valid baudrate is given as a parameter the DSP is programmed respectively. Valid values are: 300, 1200, 9600 baud. For 9600 baud operation a suitable transceiver is necessary. With a value of 300 additionally the tuning display is activated (refer to 9.3 page 112).
Default setting: ON Parameter: OFF ON Connect bell off. Connect bell on.
Turns the connect bell on, or off. If the connect bell is turned on, then every connect is signaled with an acoustic signal, and, additionally, the PTC-IIe sends a bell character (<BEL>, ASCII 7) to the terminal.
Default setting: 300,000 Parameter: X 0. 3,000,000, time in milliseconds.
The CHeck command sets the T3 or link activity timer. If nothing is heard from the partner station during the time T3, then the link status is queried.
Default setting: 1 Parameter: 2 Switch connect text off. Switch connect text on. Switch connect text on and evaluation of special functions.
Enable or disable the connect text. If CMsg is set to 2, the following sequences //B <CR> and //Q <CR> are accepted additionally. The two sequences are noticed if they occur at the beginning of a line and are closed directly with <CR> or <Return>. //B initiates the sysop-bell (duration about 14 seconds). After receiving //Q the PTC initiates a disconnect. The sysop-bell is set using the BEll command of the cmd:-menu. To disable this function (refer to chapter 6.11, page 42)
Default setting: none Parameter: <target-call> [<Digi1> <Digi2>..]
Connect sets up the AX.25 link. Connect to DL1ZAM: pac: C DL1ZAM <Return> If the link takes place via one or more digipeaters, then the list of digipeaters should be given directly after the target callsign. Connect DL6MAA via DB0KFB pac: C DL6MAA DB0KFB <Return>


Default setting: OFF Parameter: OFF ON Time stamp off. Time stamp on.
Activates the display of time stamps on connect and disconnect messages.


Default setting: 0 Parameter: 2 Time stamp switched off. Time stamp for connect and disconnect messages. Time stamp also in monitor.
Switches the time stamp display on and off.


Default setting: none Parameter: X 0 31, channel.
Requests the link-status, a list of the channel condition being given. This command is only used by the hostmode program. The user cannot enter this command.


Default setting: N Parameter: N I U S C Monitor switched off. Info frames. Unproto transmissions. Control packets. Monitor also while connected.
M sets which frame types will be displayed in the monitor.

10.4.10 N

Default setting: 10 Parameter: X 0 255, number of repeats.
Sets the maximum number of repeats, and if this value is exceeded, then the PTC-IIe gives out the message: LINK FAILURE with <call>

10.4.11 O

Multiport Default setting: 7 Parameter: 7, Number of unacknowledged packets.
Maximum number of unacknowledged info packets (I frames) in a link. Maxframe also sets how many packets the PTC-IIe transmits together. The value should be reduced for bad links.

10.4.12 P

Default setting: 64 Parameter: X 0 255, persistance. The persistence value sets the probability that a packet is transmitted, after the radio channel is acknowledged as free.

10.4.13 PR

Switches the PTC-IIe to Packet-Radio operation and loads the DSP respectively. The Packet-LED lights. This command is necessary that the PTC-IIe can accept Packet-Radio connects attempts from a distant station after e.g. having just finished a PACTOR connect and the PTC-IIe still is in PACTOR-mode. Refer also to 5.5 on page 21.

10.4.14 PS

When a GPS receiver is connected to the PTC-IIe then with the PS command the position data can be read out. In opposite to the POSition command in the cmd: -menu the output always has NMEA format. The NMEA compatible string usually looks like: $GPGGA,192552,5005.430,N,00845.983,E,1,03,2.7,106.3,M,47.8,M,,*4F

10.4.15 PT

Switches the PTC-IIe to PACTOR mode and loads the DSP respectively. This command is necessary that the PTC-IIe can accept PACTOR connects attempts from a distant station after e.g. having just finished a Packet-Radio connect and the PTC-IIe still is in Packet-mode. Refer also to 5.5 on page 21.

10.4.16 T

Default setting: 100 Parameter: X 0. 30,000, TxDelay in milliseconds. Sets the time between keying the PTT and the initial transmission of data. T 50 sets the TxDelay to 50 ms

10.4.17 U

Default setting: Switch connect text off. 1 Switch connect text on. 2 Switch connect text on and analysis of special functions. Enable or disable the connect text. U defines the connect text. Parameter:

10 Hostmode U 1 Here is the PTC-IIe The PTC-IIe switches on the connect text and the text will be Here is the PTC-IIe. U 1 asks for the connect text U 0 switches off the connect text If U is set to 2, the sequences //B <CR> and //Q<CR> are accepted additionally. The two sequences are recognized if they occur at the beginning of a line and are closed directly with <CR> or <Return>. //B initiates the sysop-bell (duration about 14 seconds). After receiving //Q the PTC initiates a disconnect. The sysop-bell is set using the BEll command of the cmd:-menu (refer to chapter 6.11, page 42)

10.4.18 V

Gives a longer version string.

10.4.19 W

Default setting: 100 Parameter: X 1. 30,000, slot time in milliseconds.
Defines the slot time for the transmitter control. The PTC-IIe can transmit at particular times only. W (Slottime) defines the period between these times.

10.4.20 Y

Limits the number of channels available for remote users. Y 5 limits the number of connects from outside to five, so if the PTC is presently connected to by 5 stations, and a further station attempts to connect, this connect request will be refused. The Y command allows any incoming PR-connect to be transferred to the PTC-IIe PRmailbox, but only if Y has to be set to 0. This will allow for example, that on exiting the terminal program, (e.g. automatic de-initialization with Y0 in GP) the PTC-IIe can be brought to a condition where a connect using the normal MYCALL (i.e. without the -8) will be transferred to the mailbox. This is useful, as many potential users would use the normal MYCALL to connect to the PTC-IIe. If the terminal is off-line, and the configuration is correct, (Y0) then all calls, irrespective of if they are the normal MYCALL, the MYALIAS, or the BBS-MYCALL, will be transferred to the PTC-mailbox. The Y-command has no effect on self initiated connects, the number of channels is not limited for the user. It is thus possible, with Y = 0 to initiate up to 31 PR-connects in parallel!

10.4.21 @B

Shows the free buffer available. This command is virtually only used from the Hostmode program to find out how much memory is still free in the PTC-IIe. This command is only used by the hostmode program. The user cannot enter this command. command.

10.4.22 @F

The hostmode command @F allows to setup FAX reception under hostmode control. Receveiving FAX images through the hostmode interface means that the data transfer between modem and PC is highly buffered and error-corrected (CRC hostmode). Thus Skew or jumps within FAX images caused by data loss on the interface side (high PC operating system latency, etc.) can be completely avoided. Besides that, the @F command eases incorporating FAX reception to application software that mainly builds on the hostmode. Default setting: none Parameter: @F @F0 (no parameter) Clears the FAX data buffer, see below. Disables hostmode FAX reception and switches back to normal PACTOR Standby operation. @F1 Activates hostmode FAX reception in FM-FAX, sampling rate = baudrate/32. @F17 Activates hostmode FAX reception in FM-FAX, sampling rate = baudrate/16. @F2 Activates hostmode FAX reception in AM-FAX, sampling rate = baudrate/32. @F18 Activates hostmode FAX reception in AM-FAX, sampling rate = baudrate/16.

The Indicator Unit

The LED indicators are built up using modern SMD combined with lightguide technology. A additional display board as used within the PTC-II could be eleminated this way. The lighting console consists of 8 2-colored LEDs and a 15 LED tuning indicator. A multicolored frontpanel printing eases the assignment of the LEDs to the various functions of the PTC-IIe.

The Construction

The PTC-IIe is made up of a single printed board of 100*160 mm. This board is a six level multi-layer construction, and contains internal ground and supply voltage areas. On the back is the DC input, an ON/OFF switch, an 8 pin DIN socket for the transceiver conection, as well as a 9 pin SUB-D socket for the terminal connector. The construction is largely SMD. Every single pin of every socket has its own T-filter, in order to improve the HF rejection in strong RF fields, as well as to prevent unwanted radiation of electromagnetic energy. This method is not only used to meet the restrictions of the government, but it is used in practice as well. The PTCplus, decoupled with the same method has furnished proof to bear up under the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear explosion (tested by 50kV/m field strength in a NEMP simulation plant of the German armed forces). The whole is enclosed in an aluminium profile case. Both front and rear of the case are multicolored printed.

15 Basics

Chapter Basics

15.1 Why PACTOR?

PACTOR (Latin: the mediator) is a modern radio teletype mode developed in Germany by DF4KV and DL6MAA to improve on inefficient modes such as AMTOR and PACKET-RADIO in weak short wave conditions. The AX.25 PACKET protocol certainly has its advantages on VHF/UHF FM channels, but gives a lot of problems on short wave: The data rate of 300 baud combined with a large packet length used by many radio amateurs is very susceptible on fading or multipath conditions and QRM. The large protocol overhead dramatically reduces the amount of information contained in a packet.
AMTOR had been developed specially for transferring text on an HF channel. Even weak signals under distorted conditions, where a PACKET connect would never be possible, could be copied. But AMTOR also has its disadvantages: Using 5 bit code makes it impossible to transfer the whole ASCII character set or binary data. Detecting and correcting errors is insufficient for error free transmission of binary data. The effective data rate is only 35 baud.

15 Basics PACTOR-II utilizes exactly this modulation scheme, using two tones, and a modulation rate of 100/sec. This is a relatively low value, and is a good compromise between robustness in noise, and resistance to multipath effects. As the two tones work in parallel, the PT-II system reaches a total modulation rate of 200/sec. The reason why differential PSK is used on HF links is that signals are much too unstable and noisy (or with too large a frequency error) to be used effectively by "normal" coherent PSK detectors.

Figure 15.1:

Raised-Cosine-Pulse, Sampling points marked X or x.

300 Bd FSK

Figure 15.2: PACTOR-II spectrum and 300 Bd FSK (200 Hz Shift) For arguments sake, if there are only two possible phase changes between the steps its called differential binary phase shift keying (DBPSK). Every step contains exactly one bit of information. If four different phase changes are allowed, then the modulation is called "differential quadrature phase shift keying" (DQPSK). Every step of course then carries two bits of information. With eight or sixteen allowable phase changes, the modulation is called 8-DPSK or 16-DPSK, each step containing three or four bits of information respectively. The required signal to noise ratio, however, climbs rapidly, as the number of allowable phase changes increases. Table 1 shows the total bit rates for the PT-II modulation scheme (without data compression).
15 Basics Modulation Scheme DBPSK DQPSK 8-DPSK 16-DPSK Total bit rates (Bit/s) 600 800
Table 15.1: Total Bit Rate The complex PT-II modulation scheme is totally different to the simple FSK. Therefore it is IMPOSSIBLE to use the FSK modulators found in some transceivers to generate the signal. The PT-II signal must always go via the indirect route, by using SSB to generate the HF signal. This has actually no disadvantages, providing the transceiver is not overdriven (see below). A further very essential difference between the older FSK modulation and the multi-tone DPSK modulation has to be mentioned. With FSK modulation the output power of the transmitter remains constant during the entire transmission because alternating square wave pulses of each tone are transmitted, and mathematically the total amplitude adds up to a constant function. This could be called a constant envelope. As the amplitude remains the same, non-linear amplifiers, or even class C power amplifiers, can be used without problems. Speaking about a complex modulation method, e.g. used in PT-II, a more or less variable envelope must be considered. This means, in practice, the following two points have to be observed: In all modulation methods using a changing amplitude HF signal (e.g. PACTOR-II, SSB-speech modulation, AM etc)., it is NEVER allowed to overdrive the transmitter because intermodulation products will be generated broaden the signal. How to adjust the maximum transmitter power will be described in the PSKAmpl command (refer to chapter 6.73 on page 68). It always has to be taken in consideration that, with a variable amplitude modulation system, the effective average power is lower than the peak power. With PACTOR-II this ratio between peak power and average power is almost exactly 2. (For insiders: the square root of this ratio is called the crest factor, and with PT-II has a value of around 1.45). This value is considerably lower than with other multi-tone systems, and has shown itself to be very well matched to the usual SSB transmitter. If one sets a peak power of 100 watts, then the PT-II signal produces an average output of about 50 watts. The full PEP output of an SSB power amplifier can be thus used without great fear of overload, conditions being similar to those existing during normal SSB speech transmission.



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