Loose lips = October surprise!
Someone posted about the existence of this summer’s busy effort to create Robust Packet software that doesn’t rely on the Tracker DSP TNC or other SCS modem products. Since the cat is out of the bag concerning the future of Robust Packet, allow me to give a bit of history since the VAPN team plus some friends had significant involvement.
Get your copy
First though, please use the latest version of the WinRPR software (Alpha release) is 0.75.2. There is a Dropbox link out there somewhere, but you can download it from my server if you like…
- hash md5: 89d0baae139cc9662a08f0b9306d58fe
- hash sha256: f5519f7b13833497f34e6cb7e6d5b24c84dbe56a679c4411b67269e8ba41aebc
Do check the hashes for anything you download.
Beware virus check
My virus checking system flags this every time forcing me to exempt it on every new version. You might have the same problem. Just sayin.
Still with me?
Several of us love Robust Packet and want to see this fine modulation continue for the foreseeable future. I’ve been working with Peter from SCS closely to produce something for an off the shelf processor that can handle Robust Packet. The bare minimum would be a receive only solution to provide third party folks a way to monitor Robust Packet transmissions thus chewing away at the “effectively encrypted” mantra made by some technical folks. Peter achieved this and more.
A summer of development and testing
0.75.2 represents a summer long effort of testing, bug tracking, etc. to produce a program for Windows that effectively becomes a subset of the Tracker TNC. Once configured correctly (best done with a config file in my opinion) it can provide the same TNC experience via a serial port that you connect to a virtual serial port connector program. Open a terminal to this and you can command the TNC. Two of my testers and myself have successfully hooked Outpost PMM to WinRPR using these techniques.
Peter went further and made all this into a Windows GUI that shows well on most Win 10 systems, but has some formatting issues on Win 7 and some Win 10 screens. The base TNC/Modem function works the same however. Here is a view showing the text windows, spiffy spectrum display and a MHEARD window on the right…
Not just Robust Packet!!
WinRPR is a Robust Packet modem as well as 300 AFSK, 1200 AFSK and 9600 FSK. 19200 does not work, but no big deal right?
Basic commands only for now
For the moment only basic TheFirmware commands exist. No APRS specific parameters are available. Things like %B to set the speed, the usual AX.25 speed parameters, etc. do exist.
Yes. KISS works and very well.
A TNC with TCP/IP Connectivity… Finally!
One of the most hopeful aspects of this software is the ability to place a TNC on a TCP/IP socket. Most of us are familiar with APRS applications that do this via KISS on some TCP/IP port. This works very well with WinRPR. Placing WinRPR in %B 1200 speed and listening to APRS on your local 2m channel will fill the MHEARD list quick. Setup the TCP port in the config file and make sure to issue the KISS command, then attach something like PinPoint APRS to the port, and voilà, a working APRS mapping system with live RF feed.
This software is brand spanking new and it shows. Peter graciously put in a lot of effort during summer holiday, but has little time to continue currently as he is busy with SCS product development. It’s a stunning achievement, but more development is in order. I have organized several testers into an IV&V group. We hammer on the program and put it through its paces. Bugs and such are immediately cataloged into an online bug tracking system Peter monitors. This has worked pretty well to move this program to the point we are today.
VAPN crew is tracking the bugs
Feel free to send issues and bugs to my attention, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will add them to the unofficial bug tracking database. I say unofficial, but in reality it’s the only one so… yeah. For ardent testers, I can create an account for you on this database to skip the middle man.
Robust Packet lives on
There you have it. Robust Packet lives on. There is also a TeensyTNC effort in existence that also works, but has not received nearly the attention as WinRPR. This probably makes sense since WinRPR opens the door wide to a new generation of Robust Packet users.
If anyone is interested, I will be hosting a video chat session very soon where I can provide a tour of the program and the development effort.
Still SCS proprietary software
All of this I’m doing in league with Peter to benefit Virginia Packet Network, but this is still an SCS “product” of sorts. No open source is available and that’s just fine and legal.