“New” toys

Today I’ve got a new toy for my small, yet sufficient HAM shack. As I’m in to digital modes and been in to it on and off since the early days of my amateur radio career, I felt I just couldn’t let the chance go by when it passed. In the ninety’s, when i received my first ham radio license, this toy was on the top of the wish list. At least until the PTC-2 controller hit the market.

The units is a Kantronics KAM Plus modem which can work Packet radio, RTTY, PACTOR 1, AMTOR, G-TOR and some other modes. I found wpid-wp-1425245879441.jpegit on DX-radio, a Swedish ” Buy and Sell”, site for about 50€. It was untested and not used for at least 15 years. The purchase was a gamble, does it work or not?

After I got home from the small trip to buy the TNC, I plugged it in to the computer, realizing that it´s not only the TNC that is old. For some reason the hyperterminal software is no longer delivered with Windows why I had to look for a replacement for it. I found PuTTY which did the trick! To my surprise the TNC was in perfect mint condition with the internal battery backup still working as it had log traces dating back from year 2000. A connection cable between my IC-7410 accessory connector and the TNC was quickly assembled, double checked, and plugged in. It was working perfectly!

Except for the TNC itself the unit came with the original box, manuals, schematics and also an original software on a floppy disc. Just as the TNC itself, the floppy might seem a bit out of date. 🙂

So why buy this old TNC When you can get the same functionality with a sound card and an appropriate software? Well, there are two answers to that.

  1. Even though it is a bit out of date, it is a dream come true to finally have one. In other words, for sentimental reasons. As it uses a terminal interface for issuing commands it´s not really a graphical wonder as the modern digital mode software, but for some reason i find it fun to work with the command line interface and the kind of robust feeling of a modem. Its also have those cool flashing LED:s on the front! 😉
  2. The second reason is that it is a useful unit for doing some research for the next article I’m planning to write here on the blog. What it is? Well stay tuned and promise you will not miss it! 🙂

73 de SM7VRZ


2 thoughts on ““New” toys

  1. Hello Anders. Yes, I have a Kam Plus too. Had it in my closet for over 10 years and just decided to dust it off. It is like restoring a Model T Ford!

    I am happy that I am not the only one who has a love for a remarkable piece of equipment!

    73, de Marc VE7YE

    • Hi Marc and tnx for the comment on my post. 🙂
      I couldn’t agree with you more! It really is a wonderful piece of equipment!
      You do get a certain feeling just using it. The command line interface and the fact that you actually have to be quite active in handling both the modem and the rig makes it a bit of a challenge to use.
      And I just love the illumination from those Mark and space LED:s.. 😉

      Unfortunately my modem seems to have developed an issue with the RS232 interface which
      makes it impossible to communicate with. I suspect it is an effect of being in storage for so long before i purchased it. It might be some condensators in the serial communication circuit that needs changing.

      I hope you will get some really nice hours of fun with your KAM and hopefully I’ll meet you on the bands! I still haven’t worked any station in British Colombia yet. 🙂

      73 de SM7VRZ, Anders

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