Kachina 505DSP Transceiver    The origional software controlled radio

Users Resource Website



It would be really nice to post "source code" in an open-source fashion here for all of the Kachina 505DSP software and firmware. All attempts so far have not met with success. Here is a Kachina Discussion List message that was sent May 31, 2007 that will explain a little. Also refer to KUN001 for more information (KUN = Kachina User Note).

Kachina Owners:

If anyone on this list has (or knows of anyone who has) any of the source code for the Kachina 505DSP, please read carefully! By source code, we mean any version of the firmware (contained on EPROMs or the ROM card), control software (KC505.exe), or test/diagnostic programs (LAST2.exe, KCCAL.exe, etc.). "Source" in this context means the assembly language or "C" or other high level language statements used to make the executable programs we use on our PC's.

Back in 2001, Tom W3FRG, attempted to obtain the source code(s) from Kachina Communications, Inc in a formal request to Mr. Cameron Earnshaw.

In a reply to his request, Mr. Earnshaw wrote:

Reference your questions regarding the 505DSP source code, we have in the past made the source code available to select individuals. We have been careful about who we released it to, not so much because we considered it proprietary, but because we did not want to have to provide technical support for someone else's project.

Recently, we have had some discussions with various companies who may have an interest in purchasing the 505DSP design, not necessarily for amateur service. Not knowing whether any interested party would approve of our making the source code generally available, we have decided NOT to release it for the time being. If we later receive permission to do so from whoever buys the design, we will make it available to the public via our web site.

At this time, I do not have any further information about when this might be.

I hope this clears up the confusion.

Best regards, Cameron Earnshaw Vice President Kachina Communications, Inc.

On May 30, 2007, Tom again sent a carefully crafted email to Mr. Earnshaw at his present business (Swift Wireless) as follows (in part):

It has been a long time, unfortunately, since we have had any contact and I believe the last time was in the summer of 2001 when I made a formal request to you for the release of the 505DSP source code. Your reply to that request is contained in Attachment 1 (Below), dated June 2001, which is the main purpose of this communication to you today.

There is currently significant attention being paid to the Kachina 505DSP radio with regard to its life cycle. Even though it has been six years since the radio was discontinued, there still exists a ready and active community anxious to keep their units operating.

In your reply it was mentioned that in the past you had made the source code available to select individuals. You were also very careful about who you released it to, not so much because you considered it proprietary, but because you did not want to have to provide technical support for someone else's project.

It was also mentioned that not knowing whether any interested party of the design would approve of your making the source code generally available, you decided not to release it for the time being.

And finally, it was stated that consideration would be given to its release at a future time and if we later receive permission to do so from whoever buys the design, we will make it available to the public via our web site.

It is at Kachina's option for releasing the code and your original concerns of supplying technical support to the recipient of the source code was indeed a valid concern, but today, for this project, this would not be the case.

Of prime importance to Kachina, it should be noted that the project we are currently requesting the source code(s) for would be, and is designated as such, "Open Source".

Possibly, Kachina could consider releasing the Source Code(s) under the "Open Source GPL License"?

The source code(s) that we are requesting from Kachina would be made available for use in maintaining and providing control programs and upgrades for all existing 505DSP units in the field, world wide.

For this proposed task, there are software and hardware professionals involved and once in hand the source code would be thoroughly dissected to best understand its potential and expansion to provide the best operational, control and diagnosis programs available for maintaining the radio, eliminating user's concerns world wide.

(end of letter)

The disappointing reply came quite rapidly:


Sorry I cannot help. I wouldn't even begin to know where to find it at this point, even if I had the time to go searching for it. All of what is left of the Kachina Communications, Inc. stuff was put into storage several years ago and much of it was disposed of. Kachina Communications, LLC is another company-- a wireless Internet Service provider not involved in radio manufacturing of any type.

Best regards, Cameron Earnshaw Kachina Communications, LLC dba Swift Wireless Internet

Now, let me (AE5K) do some commenting here.

We are still pursuing another path to obtain source code and will eventually report on those results. Our chances do not look good, but we are trying to exhaust all possibilities.

In reading Cameron's reply it should be noted that for legal purposes, the company (corporation) we all bought our Kachina 505DSP's from no longer exists. (This is the one with "INC" after the name.) It also appears to me (I'm not a lawyer!) that they have abandoned their intellectual property (the source code), so that ANYONE who has a copy should be able to give it to us without too much worry about being sued by a non-existent corporation.

I am appealing to anyone who has a copy of any source code to please donate it to our "open source" effort of advancing the 505DSP. Or the very least, send me a copy and if you wish to remain anonymous for legal reasons, I'll promptly "forget" where it came from. It will save countless hours on my part so I do not need to spend my last years on this earth doing disassembly of the 505DSP firmware.

For the rest of you reading this long email, it appears to me that any proposed legal action (class action lawsuit that has been proposed by several Kachina owners) would be fruitless. It is also non-productive to "cry over spilt milk" as the saying goes, that is, continue to gripe and tell everyone how bad Kachina Communications Inc. was to throw us to the wolves.

Your support and kind words (most sent privately) are appreciated. Let's continue to move forward in a positive way.

73, Don AE5K
June 1, 2007