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Old 28-09-2016, 11:45   #1
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Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Finally came down on the side of SSB for email and weather rather than a Sat Phone, running costs and loss of "one to many" were my drivers.

So I have picked up at reasonable cost an Icom M710, AT130 Tuner and a Pactor IIex modem, so far I'm into this for a little under $600. Will need a Kiss-SSB and probably a rope antenna of some description (no backstay it's a cat).

The modem has a serial number and I have checked with Farallon that for $169 I can upgrade to Pactor III.

My question is simply this, Modem has a serial port and my laptop doesn't, so I presume I just need a serial to USB adapter???

Or should I talk to the good people at Farallon, who I must say were polite prompt and informative?

Kind regards

Richard
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Old 28-09-2016, 12:04   #2
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

... sometimes there are problems (compatibility issues hardware / OS) with certain chipsets in the USB converter so you might ask Farallon if they can tell you what USB adapter will most probably work.

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Carsten
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Old 28-09-2016, 12:08   #3
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluffflinger View Post
Finally came down on the side of SSB for email and weather rather than a Sat Phone, running costs and loss of "one to many" were my drivers.

So I have picked up at reasonable cost an Icom M710, AT130 Tuner and a Pactor IIex modem, so far I'm into this for a little under $600. Will need a Kiss-SSB and probably a rope antenna of some description (no backstay it's a cat).

The modem has a serial number and I have checked with Farallon that for $169 I can upgrade to Pactor III.

My question is simply this, Modem has a serial port and my laptop doesn't, so I presume I just need a serial to USB adapter???

Or should I talk to the good people at Farallon, who I must say were polite prompt and informative?

Kind regards

Richard
Confirm with Farallon (or Dockside), but having just read a ton of stuff about Pactor modems in order to install and configure mine, I am confident you just need an adaptor. You may need to put ferrites on the cable, however, if you have an interference problem.

FWIW, I think you made the right decision. As an alternative to sailmail, you may wish to get a ham license and use winlink (free) instead.
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Old 28-09-2016, 12:24   #4
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Bin running Pactor serial into MacBook USB for quite a few years... no probs.

I think you may have to get one chipset rather than the other in the cable but I'm sure that is covered in the Sailmail documentation.
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Old 28-09-2016, 12:55   #5
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Thanks guys,

Just had an email from Gary Wood @ Farallon on a separate subject so I replied with this question and said yes no problem and he has suggested a dual port SIIG-2 Dual Port USB-Serial adapter.

One for the modem and one to control the radio.

They have been tremendously helpful and quick to reply to any questions or queries.

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Old 28-09-2016, 13:29   #6
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Farallon had all the answers and parts to get my Pactor II upgraded to III and the cables to hook it to computer and ICOM 718 radio.
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Old 28-09-2016, 13:52   #7
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Glad you got it worked out with the usb -> com adapter. Yes indeed there are issues because the regular com may transmit more data then the usb. There is a ton of different adapters. Some work, some dont.

In regards to the antenna...
A tunes backstay kind of antenna is honestly really a ****-tenna. Yes, it may tunes in many diffent bands and frequencies but it has a efficiancy which is really really poor compared to an antenna which is actually resonant where you are going to use it.
If you transmit 100w into a resonant antenna all that power will be transmitted over the air. Using a non-resonant tunes backstay may in some worst cases leave less then 5w to be converted to "air power". The rest is tunes away in your tuner and becomes ground or heat.
This in turn will let you use alot more power from your batteries to get your traffic transmittet and recieved ok.

A good option is to select a few stations you are going to listen/connect to and make resonant dipole antennas for those bands. Raise it high and make it look like a inverted-V. That is actually what they are called, an inverted-Vee dipole. And you can make several of them on the same feedpoint.
Raise feedpoint high and connect the ends via non-conductive lines to the front and rear corners of the cat. Starbord or port as fits.
Another option if you have a davit or some kind of place to mount an vertical antenna in the aft.
There are several companies who make an antenna whith a insulated tubing. On the bottom there is a motor and it will let out enough antenna in the tube to become resonant where you are transmitting. Works wonders and is very effective on long distances as if your in salt water you have a great take-off using a vertical antenna as it will use the salt water as a ground conductor.
You can control the antenna resonance from a controlbox inside at your helm station. They are usually rated for 3Kw so there is no way your little Icom M107 is going to blow any coils or overheat it.
One such antenna manufacturer is Stepp-IR and the make 2 verticals. BigIR which is 10m tall and covers 6,9-54MHz and LittleIR which is 5,5m tall and cover 13,9-54MHz.
Now these are the frequencies to use for long distance communication, it is possible and lower frequencies although it is a tough one from a boat with the conditions in mind.
I would go for one of these verticals and then make 2-3 dipoles for lower frequencies for more closer communication.

PS. I agree with earlier advice. Get a ham license........ It is quite easy, the morse code requirement is also removed so you can get the highest licence class with just a little knowledge of electronics and studying frequency charts and learning some about propagation, antenna theory, the alpha bravo charlie talk and what bands is useable when and where and how. Easy........

Cheers
Magnus
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Old 28-09-2016, 13:54   #8
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Here is a link to said antenna:

Vertical Antennas (BigIR, SmallIR and CrankIR) | SteppIR, Inc – Antennas for Amateur Radio and Industry

It costs some money....... But it is about 40 times more effective than a tunes backstay.

Quality does not cost anything in comparison to non-quality
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Old 29-09-2016, 07:03   #9
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

The two main types of chipsets for USB to serial adapters are FTDI and Prolific. There are many cheap, Chinese copies of USB/serial cables with pirated copies of the Prolific chipset in them. Prolific has recently taken steps to stop this (a very reasonable thing for them to do). As such if you have a Chinese knock-off with the pirated Prolific chipset, it will probably not work with a Windows 8 or 10 operating system.

There are ways to make these Chinese copies work, by finding and installing older drivers, and then setting your system so that it accepts the old driver and doesn't try to update. Frankly, though, if you know enough to make this work, you don't need the advice of an internet forum to do it.

So, for the rest of us, what we need to do is either get a USB/serial adapter with an FTDI chipset, or get one with a genuine Prolific chipset. Either will work fine. Personally, I recently got a cable with the FTDI chipset and it works great in my Windows 10 machine. After connecting it all I had to do was tell my machine to update the driver, it found the right one on the internet, and all is now good.

This is the adapter that I am using: http://tinyurl.com/gwvpbtr

Good luck!
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Old 29-09-2016, 08:14   #10
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

After 20 years of this stuff we've standardize on the Tripp Lite sold Keyspan 19HS Serial to USB adapters; well supported in Windows, Mac, and Linux. Others sometimes work these seem to ALWAYS work. A few more $$ but well worth it.
https://www.tripplite.com/keyspan-hi...apter~USA19HS/
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Old 29-09-2016, 08:18   #11
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Berg View Post
After 20 years of this stuff we've standardize on the Tripp Lite sold Keyspan 19HS Serial to USB adapters; well supported in Windows, Mac, and Linux. Others sometimes work these seem to ALWAYS work. A few more $$ but well worth it.
https://www.tripplite.com/keyspan-hi...apter~USA19HS/
The Keyspan adpater works great. I needed two serial ports and used the Gearmo adapter.
Don
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Old 29-09-2016, 10:16   #12
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Yes, call gary at Farallon. You might also contact Dustin Fox at
​Fox Marine
510.868.5041
www.FoxMarine.us​
Dustin is really "on it" with SSB installation and software/computer setup.
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Old 29-09-2016, 17:55   #13
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

FWIW:

My older prolific USB-Serial adapters worked well with Win-XP and Win-7, failed with Win-8 and 8.1, but appear to be working with Win-10. Go figure.

Bottom line, make sure the one you get works with your operating system.
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Old 30-09-2016, 04:58   #14
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Re: Pactor II serial to USB any issues?

Keyspan makes (or made) a 4 port adapter. I have one



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