Great minds think alike :>). I've had similar thoughts over the past
couple years - that's easy to say, at least Jim put it to paper. I have
come close to breadboarding something up but never crossed that line.
The only thing I would add is that it use a serial interface rather
bus and be external to the PC. That way, the computer hardware is a moot
point (Someone could write for Macs - if anybody contests with those? :>)
It also makes it easier for someone to build themselves if the project is
simple enough to be published. Limited to speeds such as used by TR, the
hardware and programming should be a snap. My design was based on the 8031
family of microcontrollers ($3 in quantity) with built in serial ports but
that's because I have an emulator, assembler, and C compiler handy for it.
Of course, there are many other candidates!
A couple of hurdles - the major one being cost. Hams are cheap,
are cheaper and no one is going to make money on this. Breaking even would
be nice. (No? how many of you are running unlicensed contest S/W? Or on a
286 your Grandmother would find slow?) The second hurdle will be
standarization and convincing S/W writers to adopt. Who ever does the first
one needs to think about the User Interface. It needs to be simple but
flexible or it'll never fly (much like many contest keyers of old -
including a Z80 based one I did).
Remove the burden of keying from the computer and you may find a whole
batch of logging S/W pop up within 12 months written for moderm O/S's. Of
course, none will have the customer service that Tree provides.
At 10:45 PM 14-12-98 -0700, you wrote:
>Let me put a bug in the ear of a hardware designer / programmer. This has
>been an idea of mine for quite some time, but due to other priorities it
>probably won't come to pass from me. It would address the timing and
>compatability problems people have when running under NT/95/98, etc.. Here
>is the idea....
Michael Dinkelman, N7WA
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