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Re: [CQ-Contest] Laptop and Contesting Software

To: CQ Contest <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Laptop and Contesting Software
From: Mike Coslo <mjc5@psu.edu>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 22:05:39 -0500
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Robert Shohet wrote:
> Hi,
> I need to buy a reliable quality laptop that I can use for business
> applications
> and must be able to use with contesting software, preferably
> networked with a second laptop or desktop computer.
> I would appreciate all recommendations based on actual experience
> in the work and contesting environments.
My recommendation based on personal experience is to either get a new 
computer running XP, (get 'em while you still can) or get a high end 
used one. But run XP. Dell is still selling laps with XP.

I can say from a disastrous experience during Field Day that Vista 
driven computers are a problem, problem, problem. Especially the bottom 
end ones. If you have to get Vista, get the fastest processor, and as 
much RAM as the thing will handle. Among other things, Vista driven 
computers can sometimes lose their IP for no apparent reason, and the 
cure is to shut down, then restart. The kiss of death for networked 
logging. That's only one of about a gazillion problems. Frankly the OS 
doesn't really work.

Another plus for a high end used laptop is that you can get a serial 
port on one. I don't know of any new computers that have them standard. 
Some can be ordered with a serial as an option.

If you get a new laptop w/o a serial port, there are USB to serial 
converters you can buy. Some work some don't (seems to depend on the 
application - better run the program through it's paces before 
committing. One of the best is one of the cheapest. Its a transparent 
blue cable end with transparent insulation on the cable. I think the 
name is HL.

I've used N1MM and N3FPJ software networked. Both worked okay.

    - 73 de Mike KB3EIA -

> Please list all recommended components/ports/drives and other items
> as well as those manufacturers that you found to be most reliable and
> why.
> For internet access, the laptop must be able to use wifi as well as
> cable modem (for broadband) and have a modem as well for dialup access.
> I want to be able to key the radio through the laptop and use a voicekeyer
> through the laptop, so please provide
> keying/voicekeyer suggestions and contest program suggestions as well.
> One other thing.... I would prefer to have WIN XP as the laptop OS,
> however, all laptops seem to have Vista as the OS.  Where can I find
> laptops with Win XP?
> Am I right to be concerned with using Vista or are there some of
> you that are successfully using Vista with your contest
> software?  Please advise.
> Thanks very much for all your help.
> 73
> Bob KQ2M
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