All the tests you mentioned above were all working normally from the image installation. Thank you again for detailing these, I have save this post for future checkouts.
To make a really long story short here is what fixed PAT running on the NW image:
1. Added a line to the /etc/ax25/axports file in the format: wl2k KD7UM 1200 255 7 Winlink
2. Did a sudo kissattach /tmp/kisstnc wl2k
It all worked. Now two things for me to do: create a script when starting PAT to do the kissattach and then the pat http command.
This help came from Scott:
"I believe this is the video that I used to get setup for PAT over ax25:
Having said all this, and given my Newbie status, I am going to investigate patlink-unix knowing now that this is the supported product.
Again, thank you and all the moderators and contributors for your time.