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Old 09-05-2018, 05:41   #1
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802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

Im pretty tech oriented, and I can safely say I understand "most" stuff dealing with computers. Im very new to the HAM, and much newer to the HAM/modem setup and intricacies.

My boat came with a nice 802/Pactor IIIusb setup. I have owned this boat for 1.5 years and after doing a lot of work on other every day stuff (you know, the dreaded to-do list, Im ALMOST caught up!) I decided to tackle the "let's get all this **** working so at least I can try and get some weather reports or e-mail whil offshore.

Now I have to be honest about something. I have an FCC General class license, but I have to admit, I kinda "cheated" my way to it. It's easier to just study the answers with the available websites than to try and understand the whole shebang for the test. I understand some, but have very little experience, because I don't have ham radio where I live, and Im pretty far from my boat. So when Im on the boat, I wanna spend more time doing boat stuff (and fix stuff on my todo list) and sailing. I do want to learn the HAM radio stuff, but it will come with time. Right now I just wanted to get the email/pactor stuff working. In the future Im also interested in learning how to get on the nets and all.

Now, for the ugly part. I also happen to have a Macbook on my boat (to complicate things further). As you know, Winlink (either with RMS Express or Airmail) only works in Windows. So I figured out the whole Crossover, how to install the thing, even how to re-route my Mac's "serial port" into Crossover, so I can use both my USB GPS and my USB Pactor on the Crossover/Windows side.

As a side note, but an interesting one, there is a WHOLE ****ED UP thing with USB-serial drivers. In case some of you don't know, your usb puck, your pactor modem, all those "usb devices" are not USB really. They just have a USB-Serial chipset in them. It will either be Prolific (2303 probably) or FTDI chipset. With the last few MacOS releases (I think since Sierra, maybe even before), Apple has begun to include an FTDI driver included with the system (buried in /System/Library/Extensions, which you cannot modify now unless you boot up in Recovery mode and do the csrutil disable thing because of System Integrity Protection). So when you install your Pactor/SCS provided driver, it conflicts with MacOS and you will randomly see your Pactor modem in the list of tty (serial) devices. You will want to pull your hair out, because it will make no sense! Why does it keep disappearing randomly? Well, it's the driver conflict. The easy fix for me was to remove the AppleUSBFTDI.kext from the aforementioned folder (by disabling SIP as explained), and then installing the SCS/Pactor driver. I like that driver because it will name the Pactor modem as such on the list of devices. Makes life easy. You can then build a symbolic link (via the command line) with your crossover bottle, and make it COM1. So far so good. If anybody needs any help with any of this, Im happy to explain further or be more "graphical" with explanations.

Now, everything works: RMS Express can see the modem, Airmail 3.5.0.36 can see the modem. I can login to my Winlink account on RMS Express thru telnet connection, but cannot login thru telnet with Airmail. It just tells me the password is wrong. I already changed my password to a simple no alpha numerical, no upper/lower case, and that doesn't work either. I only get "*** [1] Secure login failed - account password does not match. - Disconnecting (96.65.189.205)". There is more to this, because this is my first problem, that is related to my second, much more complicated roadblock; how the hell do I get RMS or Airmail to actually connect using my SSB/Pactor setup. I can clearly understand how Airmail seems a bit more friendly than RMS Express. But if I can't even login thru telnet, I won't be able to login if I do get to establish a connection. So my first woe is why in the hell is Airmail not allowing me to login to my winlink account? Has anybody faced this? I searched all over the net and came up with nothing.

Regarding the second bigger woe; I just don't understand how to actually connect with the 802/Pactor setup. Anybody in Lauderdale that wants to spend a couple of hours with me on this subject? I have beer and wine.

Cheers.
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Old 10-05-2018, 05:19   #2
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Re: 802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

I am still unable to get Airmail to connect to Winlink (authentication error). Im completely in the dark about this one. Tried every single reasonable alternative. So I continued to delve into RMS Express which can connect (via Telnet) to the Winlink servers and download my winlink email. At first I couldn't get the Pactor modem (and RMS Express) to control my ICOM 802. Airmail did it fine, RMS Express wouldn't. I found the culprit:

- You need to set your TNC baud rate to comm to the radio at 4800 baud. Otherwise your TNC (Pactor) won't control the Icom radio (it will just click but not change frequency)

So now I am almost 100% working on RMS Express. I tried contacting a station (best channel) and downloading my email, but it will connect, handshake for a minute or so and disconnect. There is no "connection unsuccessful, problems connecting" nothing that will tell me what the hell is going on. The logfiles in RMS Express are useless, because they just state the same stuff you get on the windows themselves. I can't find a transcript of what the Pactor tells RMS Express regarding the success or not (evidently) of the connection.

Any pointers?
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Old 10-05-2018, 16:54   #3
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Re: 802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

Well, nobody reads or replies to this post, so like crazy old people, Im talking to myself. But, I do know that someone, at some point will find this post searching for the answers to the same questions, and will cherish that I put some of the info I did on this post.

I finally achieved downloading my first e-mail over SSB, using RMS Express and my Winlink account!! Im so happy.

The setup:

MacBook Air 11" under OS X 10.13 (High Sierra) running Crossover 17.5 and RMS Express 1.5.12 and a Winlink account

ICOM IC-M802, Pactor IIIusb (no bluetooth), AT140, insulated backstay, grounding foil and plate

One first note: there have been changes in Crossover ("wine" actually which Crossover is really a port of), now serial ports are much better handled. The whole symbolic link kind of works, but not really (it will get deleted time after time). So now, with the newer versions of Wine (post 2.8) or Crossover (post 17 I believe), you need to forget about symbolic links and do a bit of regedit.

Just select "Run command ..." from the shortcuts in Crossover main window and type in "regedit", and press Enter. That will launch registry editor and you can add this keys. This is old school Windows, so it's kind of iffy. You will have to get used to the lousy interface. If you have a nerdy friend/son/daughter's boyfriend, get them to help you out on this one.

You need to add keys to the registry for your serial ports. You get the serial port names from doing

ls -l /dev/tty.*

In MacOS X terminal. In my case I have three I was interested in: The Pactor modem / driver (as I stated before, an FTDI chipset USB/serial custom driver), the usbserial device (that's actually a GPS puck with a Prolific 2303 chipset for the USB/Serial interface), and configured Bluetooth as COM3 for the future (In case I get the darned bluetooth thing for the Pactor).

I attached a screenshot.
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Old 10-05-2018, 17:10   #4
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Re: 802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

Screenshots:



Registry:



And the screenshot for the TNC/RMS Express configuration. It's important if you control the radio from the TNC to select 4800 bps for that connection (between TNC and Radio, not between TNC and your computer, that can be 57600 (not sure about 115200).


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Old 10-05-2018, 17:15   #5
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Re: 802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

Good you got it running. Most boats that use HF email use a Win PC, even if they are Apple team mates.
What version of Windows is running in Crossover?
Does this setup support Airmail?
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Old 10-05-2018, 17:29   #6
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Re: 802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaucho View Post
I am still unable to get Airmail to connect to Winlink (authentication error). Im completely in the dark about this one. Tried every single reasonable alternative. So I continued to delve into RMS Express which can connect (via Telnet) to the Winlink servers and download my winlink email. At first I couldn't get the Pactor modem (and RMS Express) to control my ICOM 802. Airmail did it fine, RMS Express wouldn't. I found the culprit:
Any pointers?
You are probably entering your password in the wrong place.

In Airmail, when you click the lightning bolt and connection settings, the settings are:

Callsign: WL2k
Host: server.winlink.org
Port: 8772
Local Callsign: [yourcallsign]
Password: CMSTelnet
Protocal B2

Note that is not YOUR password. Use CMSTelnet instead.

Then, under tools->options->settings tab->ham tab
Enter you Callsign and winlink password
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Old 10-05-2018, 17:30   #7
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Re: 802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Good you got it running. Most boats that use HF email use a Win PC, even if they are Apple team mates.
What version of Windows is running in Crossover?
Does this setup support Airmail?
I used Windows 7 bottles (that's what Crossover/wine calls the emulation sessions). It's important to FIRST install .NET Framework 3.5, with all the SP patches, and after that you will be able to install all the software you want. I usually keep a duplicate .NET 3.5 bottle ready for new installs of anything. Basically most installers need THAT much.

Regarding Airmail, I have Airmail 3 running without a hitch. It can communicate with the TNC, 802, everything works perfectly. My problem with Airmail has to do with my inability for it to connect with my Winlink email account. Absurd ... but that's what's keeping me from using Airmail. Everything else works accordingly if you are a Sailmail user, you can go ahead and use Crossover with all the info I put up and use Airmail as your client.
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Old 10-05-2018, 17:33   #8
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Re: 802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by wholybee View Post
You are probably entering your password in the wrong place.

In Airmail, when you click the lightning bolt and connection settings, the settings are:
Thanks Warren. But that's how I have it. There is something fishy going on with Airmail (the version I have) and the new authentication system in Winlink. I already converted my password back to no special characters, and it's still not working. I will try using a different version of Airmail to see if that fixes the issue.
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Old 21-05-2018, 17:04   #9
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Re: 802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

Well found a fix for my Airmail 3 and password problem with Winlink. This is very important, because it is a relatively new change in the Winlink system, and there are not a lot of cases to reflect on proper solutions if you search the web. This of course doesn't affect Sailmail users, only people using the Winlink ham radio e-mail solution.

Winlink changed it's password system at the end of 2017. Originally it wasn't case sensitive and didn't accept even numbers I believe, so all passwords were stored and checked against an uppercase version. So Airmail is expecting an uppercase password, but today, you can have a Winlink account with lower/mixed case characters and stuff like numbers.

The solution (and because Airmail rarely gets updated, I guess will be the solution for a long time) is to go into your winlink.org account, change your password to something ONLY CHARACTERS, ALL CAPS. If not, you won't be able to login using Airmail. RMS Express has been updated to use the case sensitive passwords, and that's why it was working.

Anyhow, I hope this helps somebody else in this conundrum in the future. It's been almost a month of trying to get everything to work together, and all the pieces of the puzzle solved.
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Old 23-05-2018, 22:42   #10
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Thumbs up Re: 802/Pactor IIIusb/Mac woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaucho View Post
Well found a fix for my Airmail 3 and password problem with Winlink. This is very important, because it is a relatively new change in the Winlink system, and there are not a lot of cases to reflect on proper solutions if you search the web. This of course doesn't affect Sailmail users, only people using the Winlink ham radio e-mail solution.

Winlink changed it's password system at the end of 2017. Originally it wasn't case sensitive and didn't accept even numbers I believe, so all passwords were stored and checked against an uppercase version. So Airmail is expecting an uppercase password, but today, you can have a Winlink account with lower/mixed case characters and stuff like numbers.

The solution (and because Airmail rarely gets updated, I guess will be the solution for a long time) is to go into your winlink.org account, change your password to something ONLY CHARACTERS, ALL CAPS. If not, you won't be able to login using Airmail. RMS Express has been updated to use the case sensitive passwords, and that's why it was working.

Anyhow, I hope this helps somebody else in this conundrum in the future. It's been almost a month of trying to get everything to work together, and all the pieces of the puzzle solved.
Thanks for talking your self through this issue. It just helped me out as I was having the same issue all of the sudden (I had changed my password to include lowercase)
I have emailed Jim at Sailmail. Hopefully it's an easy fix for the Airmail program.
Gary
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