It is time for Coastal ChipWorks' annual summer vacation.  We will be closed from August 26th

through September 3rd.  Orders received by noon on August 25th will be shipped before we

leave.  Orders received after that will be shipped when we return in the order in which they are received.



The First TNC to Offer Both USB and Bluetooth

Just $50!


BlueTooth is Now Available for TNC-X!

--So you can now use APRS from your Android SmartPhone (details here)!



goto ordering information

goto USB driver installation information

TNC-X Documentation Page (manual, schematic, source code, etc.)

What is a "KISS Mode" TNC and why would I want one?

Daughter Boards for TNC-X:

X-BT: Bluetooth for the TNC-X.

APRS on Your Android Smart Phone!

X-Digi: Add A Digipeater to TNC-X!

X-Track: Make your TNC-X a Tracker!

TNC-X with USB option installed


NEW!!! TNC-Pi    A Specialized Version of TNC-X For the Raspberry Pi

TNC-Pi is a special version of TNC-X designed to interface directly with the Raspberry Pi computer. It can connect to the Pi either via the Pi's serial port, or via the I2C protocol. In the latter case, a single Pi can support multiple TNC-Pi's at the same time, since each TNC-Pi can be given a unique I2C address.

TNC-Black on BBB

NEW!!! TNC-Black    A Specialized Version of TNC-X For the Beaglebone Black

Like the TNC-Pi, the TNC-Black is a specialized version of TNC-X. It is designed to stack on top of the Beaglebone Black. Like the Raspberry Pi, the Beaglebone Black is an inexpensive single board computer. But the BBB has a beefer processor with better graphics and MUCH more I/O.

Connectors (Left to Right): Auxilliary Serial port, Serial Port, USB Port, External Power, Radio Connector


TNC-X is a Terminal Node Controller (kit) design based on the Chepponis/Karn KISS protocol. It is implemented using a Microchip PIC 16F628A microcontroller, a CML MX614 Bell 202 (1200 baud AX.25) modem chip, an 8K Ramtron FRAM, a MAX232A level converter chip, and an op-amp which provides active audio filtering for the modem. From the beginning, this TNC was designed to be small, inexpensive, have low power consumption, and expandable.

TNC-X features an 8 pin expansion header that allows the addition of "daughter boards". Power is provided to the daughter board through the expansion header. In addition, signals that would otherwise go to or from a host PC can be intercepted by the daughter board at the TTL level and processed. The I/O on the expansion header speaks "KISS" so that any daughter board only has to send and receive data packaged in KISS format to access the core module. This makes the development of daughter boards fairly simple and inexpensive. For example, daughterboards are now available that can turn TNC-X into a digitpeters (see a X-Digi) or into a stand alone Tracker (see X-Track). In addition, the expansion header provides access to a second on-board serial port. The X-Track daughterboard, for example, uses this port to receive data from a GPS receiver. The data is then processed and formed into packets and an APRS beacon is sent.

TNC-X is available in two versions: with and without a USB port. Both versions contain a standard serial port, but the USB version also allows the TNC to be connected to a computer via it's USB port as well. Drivers that are shipped with the module make it appear to the host PC as a standard serial port. Thus PC software that expects to see a serial port on the computer will interpret the TNC-X as being connected to such a port, even when the PC has no serial ports, or they are all used by other applications. In addition, when the USB option is used, the TNC can be powered from the USB port of the computer; no other power supply is needed.

Even without daughter boards (or the USB option) the device works as a fully functional stand alone KISS mode TNC. The idea behind the expansion options was to provide a platform that would allow additional functionality to be added to the unit with the investment of very little design time and very few parts.

A complete technical description of TNC-X is provided in a paper that was presented at the 2003 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference in late September in Hartford Connecticut. A copy of this paper can be accessed here. Please note that there have been a few design changes since the publication of this paper. At some point I will revise the paper, but I've not as yet had an opportunity to do so.

Any questions concerning TNC-X can be directed to the developer, John Hansen, W2FS.

Are you planning to use TNC-X with a Baofeng HT (UV-5R or similar)? Read this for a discussion on connecting the Baofeng to the TNC-X.

Here are some common configurations you can order with one button press:

Complete TNC-X kit with USB and Enclosure ($88)

Complete Wired and Tested TNC-X including USB and Enclosure ($123)

Or customize your own TNC-X by ordering just the features you need:

TNC-X rev 2.6 Kit without enclosure or USB($50 plus shipping)

TNC-X Wiring and Testing Service - Complete Unit ($35)

USB option for TNC-X ($20)

Note: This option works only with rev 2.6 boards and must be ordered at the same time as TNC-X.

X-BT BlueTooth Daughter Board Option for TNC-X ($25) Currently Unavailable

TNC-X Custom Drilled Enclosure for TNC-X ($18)

Note: This enclosure will only work with revision 2.2 thru 2.6 boards.

5 Pin DIN Plug ($2)

Note: The radio connector on the back of TNC-X is designed to work with pre-wired MFJ and BuxComm TNC to Radio cables. Or you can build one of your own. This plug, which used to be available at every Radio Shack store, is no longer carried there. For your convenience, you can order one here if you need it.

We generally do not sell TNC to Radio cables because there are so many different radios available. There are, however, other companies that sell these cables including BuxComm and MFJ. In addition , there is one packet connector that is used on a lot of radios (for example: ICOM IC-207, IC-208, IC-2720, IC-2800, IC-9100, IC-880H, Kenwood D-710, TM-255, TM-455, TM-733, TM-833, TM-G707, TM-V7A, TX-480, TM-V71, Yaesu FT-100, FT-1500, FT-300, FT-450, FT-7100, FT-7800, FT-7900, FT-8000, FT-8100, FT-817, FT-8500, FT-857, FT-8800, FT-8900, FT-897, FT-90, FT-950. The radio jack for this connection is a 6 pin mini-DIN jack (like you used to see on PS/2 keyboards and mice.). For these radios only, we do sell the following pre-wired cable: 5 Pin DIN to 6 Pin mini-DIN pre-wired cable. ($20).

5 Pin DIN to 6 Pin Mini-DIN TNC/Radio Cable ($20).

In addition, we now offer a cable for the Baofeng UV-5R or similar:

TNC-X Cable for Baofeng UV-5R or Similar ($20).