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RE: [tracker2] ETA?

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  • scott@opentrac.org
    I want to start with kits because it s a lot easier to rework a kit than an assembled board. Once I ve got a fair number of units in regular use I ll feel
    Message 1 of 27 , Aug 3 1:55 PM
      I want to start with kits because it's a lot easier to rework a kit than an assembled board.  Once I've got a fair number of units in regular use I'll feel better about committing to mass production.  Not to mention the fact that between GPS purchases and enclosure manufacturing my working capital has been seriously depleted and will need a bit to recover.
       
      Eventually it probably won't even make sense to offer a kit.  If I can get enough of them built at one time, assembly is pretty cheap, especially for SMT.  How many people want to spend an hour soldering to save 10%?
       
      Scott


      From: tracker2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:tracker2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Tony VE6MVP
      Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2006 9:48 AM
      To: tracker2@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [tracker2] ETA?

      At 11:38 PM 2006/08/02 -0700, you wrote:

      Still debating on the price.  I want to have *some* assembled version available for somewhere in the $60-$70 range, but it's going to be easier to pull that off for a surface mount version.  Even with custom printing, the OT1x-style cases cost under $3, and the component cost is less - the MCU socket alone adds a couple of bucks to the OT2m price.

      Please do have some assembled versions available.  I'm just an "appliance" operator.  <smile>   Mind you I have soldered my own cable and power ends.   Just not any electronics.

      A TNC-X kit sells for $63 with the enclosure (no USB), so I guess $65 for an OT2m kit wouldn't be such a bad deal, considering what it does.

      Too cheap.   You have much more functionality.  

      Tony

    • Steven Palm
      On Aug 3, 2006, at 3:44 PM, ... And we want you to remain both sane, and we want you to be able to stick around
      Message 2 of 27 , Aug 3 1:59 PM
        On Aug 3, 2006, at 3:44 PM, <scott@...> <scott@...>
        wrote:
        > I'm not out to charge whatever the market will bear, but I do need
        > to bring in enough money to keep growing and make it all worth
        > doing. Comparing what I'm selling to what else is out there at
        > least gives me a sanity check.

        And we want you to remain both sane, and we want you to be able to
        stick around because this is still fun and interesting for you to
        do. :) I'll re-iterate what I put originally and say that I was NOT
        attacking your or your model, just curious where you came down on the
        determination.

        I've told you in private emails before, and I'll say it publicly, I
        think what you are doing and providing is an INCREDIBLE value, and I
        don't want you to have any other impression. In retrospect, I should
        have fired that last message off to you directly instead of to the
        list, but now I think that everyone can get some idea of where your
        heart/mind (and wallet? <smile>) is.

        Thanks again, and I'll stop bugging you now so you have time to
        work on getting the tracker2 out. :)

        Steve
      • Tony VE6MVP
        ... Fair enough. I had asked a local ham if my next to non existent soldering skills would be sufficient to do the TNC-X. (This was before I found out about
        Message 3 of 27 , Aug 3 2:18 PM
          At 01:55 PM 2006/08/03 -0700, you wrote:

          I want to start with kits because it's a lot easier to rework a kit than an assembled board.  Once I've got a fair number of units in regular use I'll feel better about committing to mass production.  Not to mention the fact that between GPS purchases and enclosure manufacturing my working capital has been seriously depleted and will need a bit to recover.
           
          Eventually it probably won't even make sense to offer a kit.  If I can get enough of them built at one time, assembly is pretty cheap, especially for SMT.  How many people want to spend an hour soldering to save 10%?

          Fair enough.  

          I had asked a local ham if my next to non existent soldering skills would be sufficient to do the TNC-X.    (This was before I found out about the Tracker2.)  He bluntly told me that he didn't recommend I do so.  However he'd be happy to loan me the equipment to do so such as the magnifier, temp controlled soldering iron and so forth.   Then he went on and volunteered to build it for me.  When I met him and the group for coffee a few weeks later and picked it up there were some chuckles in agreement as he stated he figured he should be doing the soldering rather than me.

          So I'll probably be asking him to do it again on this one.  <smile>

          Tony
        • Tony VE6MVP
          ... 1) Newsgroup Answers MDB - I designed the MDB to assist frequent newsgroup answerers, such as MVPs, in quickly locating and pasting in their favourite
          Message 4 of 27 , Aug 3 2:25 PM
            At 01:44 PM 2006/08/03 -0700, you wrote:
            (FWIW, I really appreciate the folks on the OpenTracker group who jump in and answer some of the questions, especially when it comes to radio-specific questions about rigs I don't have access to.)

            1) Newsgroup Answers MDB - I designed the MDB to assist frequent newsgroup answerers, such as MVPs, in quickly locating and pasting in their favourite snippets of answers. http://www.granite.ab.ca/access/newsgroupanswersmdb.htm.   If you don't have Microsoft Access installed I'll be happy to build you a runtime package.

            2) Don't be afraid to redirect emails to this mailing list.  Develop a canned response for this.  Let us answer the simpler questions.  And maybe some of us can forward the tough ones to you.

            3) Don't answer the questions as soon as you see them.  Wait a day or so especially if it's a simple answer.  By then the person may have already found the answer on their own or by searching the archives.

            I'm not out to charge whatever the market will bear, but I do need to bring in enough money to keep growing and make it all worth doing.  Comparing what I'm selling to what else is out there at least gives me a sanity check.

            Don't go too cheap.   If you get very few complaints about the price then it's too cheap.  (Some people will always complain.)   If you get some complaints then it's about right.   If you get a lot of complaints then it's too expensive.

            Tony

          • Cap Pennell
            Thanks very much, Scott. I, for one, sure do appreciate all the work you have done and are doing for APRS. FB! Yes, a lot of appliance operators, like
            Message 5 of 27 , Aug 3 2:56 PM
              Thanks very much, Scott. I, for one, sure do appreciate all the work you
              have done and are doing for APRS. FB!

              Yes, a lot of "appliance operators, like myself" will be hoping to be able
              to buy and use "plug and play" assembled versions of the OT2. My experience
              with APRS (and 2m packet in general) tells me that that many OT2 users will
              be quite content with the basic (default) settings, despite the vast amounts
              of time and energy you've invested into making this project incredibly
              capable, flexible, configurable, and upgradeable. With us "appliance
              operators" in mind, I hope you will consider configuration parameter
              defaults that are quite conservative as regards the limited available
              airtime on the VHF APRS frequency. We know conservative digipaths and
              transmission intervals are courteous to all the other users hoping to share
              the frequency. Maybe default settings like "digi only MYcall and WIDE1-1
              and then only if no other digi is heard first" and "default digipath
              WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1" would be good for starting out.

              I know you've already thought carefully about these things too. Thanks!
              Good luck!
              73, Cap KE6AFE


              -----Original Message-----
              From: tracker2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:tracker2@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
              scott@...
              Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2006 13:44 PM
              To: tracker2@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [tracker2] ETA?

              The main consideration is of course the cost of the parts and labor (not
              counting mine) for the kits. If I was going solely on a business mentality
              I'd be pricing it up there with the KPC-3 or at least the uTNT.
              <snip>
            • Jason Winningham
              ... Actually, a better default would be don t digipeat at all , which happens to be the default. -Jason kg4wsv
              Message 6 of 27 , Aug 3 3:03 PM
                On Aug 3, 2006, at 4:56 PM, Cap Pennell wrote:

                > Maybe default settings like "digi only MYcall and WIDE1-1
                > and then only if no other digi is heard first" and "default digipath
                > WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1" would be good for starting out.

                Actually, a better default would be "don't digipeat at all", which
                happens to be the default.

                -Jason
                kg4wsv
              • scott@opentrac.org
                Actually I think that it s set to digipeat on MYCALL by default. The logic there is that no one s likely to use you as a digipeater accidentally, but if they
                Message 7 of 27 , Aug 3 3:35 PM
                  Actually I think that it's set to digipeat on MYCALL by default.  The logic there is that no one's likely to use you as a digipeater accidentally, but if they need the capability then it's there.
                   
                  Scott


                  From: tracker2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:tracker2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jason Winningham
                  Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2006 3:04 PM
                  To: tracker2@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [tracker2] ETA?


                  On Aug 3, 2006, at 4:56 PM, Cap Pennell wrote:

                  > Maybe default settings like "digi only MYcall and WIDE1-1
                  > and then only if no other digi is heard first" and "default digipath
                  > WIDE1-1,WIDE2- 1" would be good for starting out.

                  Actually, a better default would be "don't digipeat at all", which
                  happens to be the default.

                  -Jason
                  kg4wsv

                • Tony VE6MVP
                  ... Add $20 to the TNC-X for the digipeater daughterboard. And I suspect the X-Track daughterboard as well. So that s another $17. So yours should be at
                  Message 8 of 27 , Aug 4 12:20 PM
                    At 11:38 PM 2006/08/02 -0700, you wrote:

                    A TNC-X kit sells for $63 with the enclosure (no USB), so I guess $65 for an OT2m kit wouldn't be such a bad deal, considering what it does.

                    Add $20 to the TNC-X for the digipeater daughterboard.   And I suspect the X-Track daughterboard as well.  So that's another $17.   So yours should be at least $102 by the same comparison.     Make it $129 to make a decent profit.

                    Tony

                  • Steven Palm
                    ... I think that Scott should have a separate donate area for people who feel the product is too cheap. Go ahead, Tony, drop in as many shekels as you want
                    Message 9 of 27 , Aug 4 1:08 PM
                      On Aug 4, 2006, at 2:20 PM, Tony VE6MVP wrote:
                      > At 11:38 PM 2006/08/02 -0700, you wrote:
                      >> A TNC-X kit sells for $63 with the enclosure (no USB), so I guess
                      >> $65 for an OT2m kit wouldn't be such a bad deal, considering what
                      >> it does.
                      >
                      > Add $20 to the TNC-X for the digipeater daughterboard. And I
                      > suspect the X-Track daughterboard as well. So that's another
                      > $17. So yours should be at least $102 by the same comparison.
                      > Make it $129 to make a decent profit.

                      I think that Scott should have a separate "donate" area for people
                      who feel the product is too cheap. Go ahead, Tony, drop in as many
                      shekels as you want to into the bucket. :) On the other hand, I'm
                      hoping that he leans toward not maximizing profit, but instead
                      minimizing cost but without causing any personal loss or hardship.
                      Maybe that attitude comes from my choosing to work for a non-profit,
                      so not only is my money limited, but I'm focused always on doing
                      things for the efficiency of money, not the surplus of it.

                      And indeed, this is way off topic, so I should shut up now.

                      Steve
                    • Tanner Lovelace
                      ... There s a huge psychological barrier for something that costs over $100. If the raw parts cost is less than that, I d recommend not going into 3 digits.
                      Message 10 of 27 , Aug 6 5:35 PM
                        On 8/4/06, Tony VE6MVP <tony@...> wrote:

                        >
                        > A TNC-X kit sells for $63 with the enclosure (no USB), so I guess
                        > $65 for an OT2m kit wouldn't be such a bad deal, considering
                        > what it does.
                        >
                        > Add $20 to the TNC-X for the digipeater daughterboard.
                        > And I suspect the X-Track daughterboard as well. So that's
                        > another $17. So yours should be at least $102 by the
                        > same comparison. Make it $129 to make a decent profit.

                        There's a huge psychological barrier for something that
                        costs over $100. If the raw parts cost is less than that, I'd
                        recommend not going into 3 digits. That's not to say I don't
                        think profit should be made, I'm just trying to point out some
                        considerations.

                        Personally, I'm rather dismayed by how much radio gear
                        costs these days, especially being in the computer field
                        where costs on everything go down by leaps and bounds
                        every year. (Yes, I realize there are economies of scale,
                        but that's still another barrier for getting new people into
                        the hobby.)

                        Cheers,
                        Tanner Lovelace
                        KB4TYE


                        --
                        Tanner Lovelace
                        clubjuggler at gmail dot com
                        http://wtl.wayfarer.org/
                        (fieldless) In fess two roundels in pale, a billet fesswise and an
                        increscent, all sable.
                      • n0anhasan50212
                        Scott, If it s anywhere near the price indicated (assembled), I ll buy one immediately. I don t have time to do the assembly. If for no other reason, I would
                        Message 11 of 27 , Aug 9 5:04 AM
                          Scott,

                          If it's anywhere near the price indicated (assembled), I'll buy one
                          immediately. I don't have time to do the assembly. If for no other
                          reason, I would LOVE to put it on with ui-view32 at my home station to
                          evaluate the effectiveness of the "smart" digi-peater function with
                          hop count limiting. Everything I use is KISS mode with AGWPEpro
                          supervising the TNCs.

                          Will it run open squelch? (Wrong question...will it accept audio from
                          my radio that is open squelch. Lots of tncs won't..they refuse to key
                          up if noise is present, whereas the True DCD tncs don't look at noise
                          to the the hold-off, but actually look for packet tones to do the
                          hold-off) I'm using a PK-900 at the moment, running in open squelch
                          mode (true DCD). This feature is not the end of the world, but I
                          prefer it.

                          73,

                          ...hasan, N0AN


                          --- In tracker2@yahoogroups.com, <scott@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Still debating on the price. I want to have *some* assembled version
                          > available for somewhere in the $60-$70 range, but it's going to be
                          easier to
                          > pull that off for a surface mount version. Even with custom
                          printing, the
                          > OT1x-style cases cost under $3, and the component cost is less - the MCU
                          > socket alone adds a couple of bucks to the OT2m price.
                          >
                        • Curt, WE7U
                          ... Actually, it _is_ an end-of-the-world feature! For a mobile or portable setup where I have to hook to speaker-out and mic-in, running with the squelch open
                          Message 12 of 27 , Aug 9 5:13 AM
                            On Wed, 9 Aug 2006, n0anhasan50212 wrote:

                            > Will it run open squelch? (Wrong question...will it accept audio from
                            > my radio that is open squelch. Lots of tncs won't..they refuse to key
                            > up if noise is present, whereas the True DCD tncs don't look at noise
                            > to the the hold-off, but actually look for packet tones to do the
                            > hold-off) I'm using a PK-900 at the moment, running in open squelch
                            > mode (true DCD). This feature is not the end of the world, but I
                            > prefer it.

                            Actually, it _is_ an end-of-the-world feature!

                            For a mobile or portable setup where I have to hook to speaker-out
                            and mic-in, running with the squelch open means I have one fewer
                            control to mess me up. The only controls I then have to worry about
                            are volume and power.

                            I've had my Jeep tracker performing poorly at times over the years,
                            often because I've accidentally bumped one or the other control.
                            Now that the radio and TNC are inside an ammo-can it happens less.
                            These days I'm often pulling my OpenTracker to burn in new firmware
                            versions, so the chances are going up again...

                            --
                            Curt, WE7U. APRS Client Comparisons: http://www.eskimo.com/~archer
                            "Lotto: A tax on people who are bad at math." -- unknown
                            "Windows: Microsoft's tax on computer illiterates." -- WE7U
                            "The world DOES revolve around me: I picked the coordinate system!"
                          • scott@opentrac.org
                            Yes, it ll run open squelch - just make sure the SWDCD option is turned on. Works well. Scott _____ From: tracker2@yahoogroups.com
                            Message 13 of 27 , Aug 9 7:44 AM
                              Yes, it'll run open squelch - just make sure the SWDCD option is turned on.  Works well.
                               
                              Scott


                              From: tracker2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:tracker2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of n0anhasan50212
                              Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 5:04 AM
                              To: tracker2@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: [tracker2] Re: ETA?

                              Scott,

                              If it's anywhere near the price indicated (assembled), I'll buy one
                              immediately. I don't have time to do the assembly. If for no other
                              reason, I would LOVE to put it on with ui-view32 at my home station to
                              evaluate the effectiveness of the "smart" digi-peater function with
                              hop count limiting. Everything I use is KISS mode with AGWPEpro
                              supervising the TNCs.

                              Will it run open squelch? (Wrong question...will it accept audio from
                              my radio that is open squelch. Lots of tncs won't..they refuse to key
                              up if noise is present, whereas the True DCD tncs don't look at noise
                              to the the hold-off, but actually look for packet tones to do the
                              hold-off) I'm using a PK-900 at the moment, running in open squelch
                              mode (true DCD). This feature is not the end of the world, but I
                              prefer it.

                              73,

                              ....hasan, N0AN

                              --- In tracker2@yahoogroup s.com, <scott@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Still debating on the price. I want to have *some* assembled version
                              > available for somewhere in the $60-$70 range, but it's going to be
                              easier to
                              > pull that off for a surface mount version. Even with custom
                              printing, the
                              > OT1x-style cases cost under $3, and the component cost is less - the MCU
                              > socket alone adds a couple of bucks to the OT2m price.
                              >

                            • scott@opentrac.org
                              Here s a solution to that: http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=7340 Install a waterproof d-sub connector on the ammo can and update the firmware without opening
                              Message 14 of 27 , Aug 9 7:49 AM
                                Here's a solution to that: http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=7340  Install a waterproof d-sub connector on the ammo can and update the firmware without opening it up.
                                 
                                Scott


                                From: tracker2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:tracker2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Curt, WE7U
                                Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 5:14 AM
                                To: tracker2@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: Re: [tracker2] Re: ETA?

                                On Wed, 9 Aug 2006, n0anhasan50212 wrote:

                                > Will it run open squelch? (Wrong question...will it accept audio from
                                > my radio that is open squelch. Lots of tncs won't..they refuse to key
                                > up if noise is present, whereas the True DCD tncs don't look at noise
                                > to the the hold-off, but actually look for packet tones to do the
                                > hold-off) I'm using a PK-900 at the moment, running in open squelch
                                > mode (true DCD). This feature is not the end of the world, but I
                                > prefer it.

                                Actually, it _is_ an end-of-the-world feature!

                                For a mobile or portable setup where I have to hook to speaker-out
                                and mic-in, running with the squelch open means I have one fewer
                                control to mess me up. The only controls I then have to worry about
                                are volume and power.

                                I've had my Jeep tracker performing poorly at times over the years,
                                often because I've accidentally bumped one or the other control.
                                Now that the radio and TNC are inside an ammo-can it happens less.
                                These days I'm often pulling my OpenTracker to burn in new firmware
                                versions, so the chances are going up again...

                                --
                                Curt, WE7U. APRS Client Comparisons: http://www.eskimo. com/~archer
                                "Lotto: A tax on people who are bad at math." -- unknown
                                "Windows: Microsoft's tax on computer illiterates. " -- WE7U
                                "The world DOES revolve around me: I picked the coordinate system!"

                              • J. Lance Cotton
                                ... So what does it do with SWDCD is off? -- J. Lance Cotton, KJ5O joe@lightningflash.net http://kj5o.lightningflash.net Three Step Plan: 1. Take over the
                                Message 15 of 27 , Aug 9 7:51 AM
                                  scott@... wrote:
                                  > Yes, it'll run open squelch - just make sure the SWDCD option is turned
                                  > on. Works well.

                                  So what does it do with SWDCD is off?

                                  --
                                  J. Lance Cotton, KJ5O
                                  joe@...
                                  http://kj5o.lightningflash.net
                                  Three Step Plan: 1. Take over the world. 2. Get a lot of cookies. 3. Eat the
                                  cookies.
                                • scott@opentrac.org
                                  Then it goes by the energy detect on the demodulator chip. White noise or voice will trigger it. _____ From: tracker2@yahoogroups.com
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Aug 9 9:45 AM
                                    Then it goes by the energy detect on the demodulator chip.  White noise or voice will trigger it.
                                     

                                    From: tracker2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:tracker2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of J. Lance Cotton
                                    Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 7:52 AM
                                    To: tracker2@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [tracker2] Re: ETA?

                                    scott@opentrac. org wrote:
                                    > Yes, it'll run open squelch - just make sure the SWDCD option is turned
                                    > on. Works well.

                                    So what does it do with SWDCD is off?

                                    --
                                    J. Lance Cotton, KJ5O
                                    joe@lightningflash. net
                                    http://kj5o. lightningflash. net
                                    Three Step Plan: 1. Take over the world. 2. Get a lot of cookies. 3. Eat the
                                    cookies.

                                  • hasan schiers
                                    Thanks Scott, I can t wait! 73, ... From: scott@opentrac.org To: tracker2@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 9:44 AM Subject: RE: [tracker2] Re:
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Aug 9 10:42 AM
                                      Thanks Scott, I can't wait!
                                       
                                      73,
                                       
                                      ...hasan, N0AN
                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      From: scott@...
                                      Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 9:44 AM
                                      Subject: RE: [tracker2] Re: ETA?

                                      Yes, it'll run open squelch - just make sure the SWDCD option is turned on.  Works well.
                                       
                                      Scott


                                      From: tracker2@yahoogroup s.com [mailto:tracker2@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of n0anhasan50212
                                      Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 5:04 AM
                                      To: tracker2@yahoogroup s.com
                                      Subject: [tracker2] Re: ETA?

                                      Scott,

                                      If it's anywhere near the price indicated (assembled), I'll buy one
                                      immediately. I don't have time to do the assembly. If for no other
                                      reason, I would LOVE to put it on with ui-view32 at my home station to
                                      evaluate the effectiveness of the "smart" digi-peater function with
                                      hop count limiting. Everything I use is KISS mode with AGWPEpro
                                      supervising the TNCs.

                                      Will it run open squelch? (Wrong question...will it accept audio from
                                      my radio that is open squelch. Lots of tncs won't..they refuse to key
                                      up if noise is present, whereas the True DCD tncs don't look at noise
                                      to the the hold-off, but actually look for packet tones to do the
                                      hold-off) I'm using a PK-900 at the moment, running in open squelch
                                      mode (true DCD). This feature is not the end of the world, but I
                                      prefer it.

                                      73,

                                      ....hasan, N0AN

                                      --- In tracker2@yahoogroup s.com, <scott@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Still debating on the price. I want to have *some* assembled version
                                      > available for somewhere in the $60-$70 range, but it's going to be
                                      easier to
                                      > pull that off for a surface mount version. Even with custom
                                      printing, the
                                      > OT1x-style cases cost under $3, and the component cost is less - the MCU
                                      > socket alone adds a couple of bucks to the OT2m price.
                                      >

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