We have finally arrived at something special. It is a pleasure to announce the arrival of HF APRS & HF Winlink to Android devices. This update comes to the community via an updated Robust Packet TNC called the Teensy RBR TNC. The Teensy is a Robust Packet TNC, enabling HF APRS and HF Winlink on Android (and soon iOS) devices. Based on the SCS Tracker discontinued in 2020, the Teensy enables APRS Tracker, KISS Mode TNC, RPR WInlink … on:
- WoAD app (Winlink on Android Device (KISS Mode)
- HF APRS on APRSDroid app (KISS Mode
- Winlink Express Windows (RPR)
- PAT Winlink Linux/Windows, … (RPR)
- Stand-alone Tracker with integrated GPS
The Teensy can function as a fully stand-alone APRS Tracker. It has its own internal GPS, and external GPS antenna port. It can also function in KISS mode or RBR, expanding its utility to applications not supporting RPR natively.
The Teensy uses a 6 pin mini-din port compatible with the SCS Tracker for connectivity between itself and your radio. It also has a micro-usb port ( yeah I know 🙁 ) for connectivity between itself and your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
The kit version to be released soon, has added Bluetooth to the Teensy. Bluetooth not only gets rid of the wire mess between the mobile device and Teensy, it also enables iOS application developers to implement Teensy support, without the need for attaching or certifying physical hardware to an Apple device. This is HUGE!
If you were a fan of the Mobilinkd KISS TNC, the Teensy should be very interesting for you. This first video is basically just an announcement about the Teensy RBR TNC. Once the kit is released and I have the final version in my hands, we’ll follow-up with a second video, showing the Teensy capabilities at home, and in the field.
I had hoped a turn-key version of the Teensy would be made available. This idea was shut down early on, and very disappointing. Still hoping makers like Digirig or Mobilinkd pick up the project developing their own almost ready to run versions of the Teensy in a Digirig or Mobilinkd TNC format. The files for the current version can be found at the link below.
The videos and blogs were a long time coming. I didn’t want to release another unobtainium video or blog post, to get the community all worked up, without them able to get their kicks. The reason this video and blog were posted is simple. The project files and software are already out there. This means anyone can already build their own Teensy RPR TNC. So it isn’t vaporware! It just requires Operators to put in some work to get started.
Despite early frustration, this really is an epic project. The only negative things I can say about the Teensy are the closed-source (but freely distributed) software and having no ready-to-run version. These are annoying, but definitely not show-stoppers. In fact, with developers moving toward Windows-only software modems, the Teensy is a welcome relief for those of us looking for less-complex microcontroller-based modems, independent of the Windows operating system. For this, I am immensely grateful to the Teensy development team Robert DM4RW and Peter DL6MAA.
You can build your own Teensy by downloading the docs and software here: http://robust-packet.st/teensy-rpr-tnc.html
For information on robust packet HP APRS or availability of the Teensy kit, visit http://robust-packet.st or contact Robert DM4RW.
Why isn’t there (or is there?) an open-source data mode like ARDOP, able to operate in KISS mode, and also able to run on a microcontroller? Software modems are great with the high performance computers and mobile devices available today. However, far too often we give up wider OS support, for the convenience of a Windows-only modem. A microcontroller based KISS mode modem can run on any OS. KISS is already widely supported by application developers, and quite “easy” to implement. Seems stupid to need a Windows PC to run a VaraHF modem fo an Android smartphone over Wifi connection. The Teensy is the bridge between where we currently are, and where we should be.
Who do I have to kill to inspire the community to adopt mobile operating system support in ham radio?
Food for thought
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