[CQ-Contest] More on using TRlog on a WinXP machine with a thumbUSB drive

Gerry Hull gerry at w1ve.com
Fri Feb 4 09:33:41 EST 2005

Cool Solution.

Another is running Microsoft Virtual PC... $100 or so from many spots on the
web.  Virual PC allowws you to run any X86 compatible OS in a window or
XP, Win2K etc.  I've built Virtual PCs for DOS, Win98, Linux, Mac emul;ation
etc.  You can configure Parallel and Serial Port support in the VPC.  

Just a thought.


Gerry, W1VE

-----Original Message-----
From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com
[mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of kd4d at comcast.net
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 2:09 PM
To: cq-contest at contesting.com
Cc: tomw at ecpi.com
Subject: [CQ-Contest] More on using TRlog on a WinXP machine with a thumbUSB

Good day, all:

Success running TRLog in a real contest, booting from a floppy and running
TRLog from a USB stick.  This should work fine with CT as well.  And, if you
don't have a floppy available, you can use a DOS boot CD!

Not all BIOSs will do this, but the ones that will make this easy to do!

Thanks to Tom for using this in a real contest and N4ZR for preliminary


Mark, KD4D

----------------------  Forwarded Message:  ---------------------
From:    "Tom Whiteside" <tomw at ecpi.com>
To:      <Trlog at contesting.com>
Subject: [Trlog] More on using TRlog on a WinXP machine with a thumb USB
Date:    Mon, 31 Jan 2005 19:03:17 +0000

Sunday I posted success in an actual contest using TRlog on an XP machine
a boot diskette and a USB Flash (thumb) drive.    I have done a bunch of
TR using the debug simulator but nothing like a real contest to fully engage

Mark, KD4D suggested I write a bit more so folks can see just how simple
process was.    He also suggested posting this on the Contest reflector -
not a subcriber so perhaps someone can forward if you think this is helpful.

OVERVIEW:  The concept is very simple - TR and XP are basically incompatible
and the NTFS file system that new XP computers are built on are also
with DOS.    One solution is adding an appropriate disk partition and using
dual boot arrangement as KD4D has thoroughly documented.    This is probably
best approach but my goal was to do this on a stock computer without
changing anything.

Here is all I have to do:   Boot the computer under XP and plug in the thumb

drive which has TR and my contest stuff on it.   Insert a DOS floppy and do
restart boot with the right autoexec, etc and voila - I am running TR on the

Thumb drive.   Some computers support booting from the USB device but mine
not allow that.   KD4D has documented an approach for booting from a CD but
machine has a floppy and I just boot off of that.   What could be more

Here are more details on what I did:

Setting up the thumb drive:
    Simple - these already use a FAT file format for compatibility - just 
created a TR directory and put my TR data in there.    This drive is seen as
"C" drive on boot.  Mine is a 512MB drive - this process probably won't work
on one bigger than 2GB.

Setting up the floppy diskette:
    I used a Win98 machine to format a diskette by right clicking the A:
drive and choosing to format the diskette with system files - you need that
to allow it to boot.
Next, I copied the following DOS commands from the Win98 system to the


There may be other DOS commands you find you need and you can copy them onto
floppy as needed.   I located them using the Windows Explorer file search 

The AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files needed are very vanilla.   The 

lh smartdrv.exe  C+ 16384 2048
cd tr
smartdrv.exe /c

A couple of comments - the USB thumb drives are painfully slow without using

SMARTDRV.   Notice that I made the disk cache huge by DOS standards but no
for a modern computer.   The SMARTDRV.EXE /c last line is to insure that any

latent cache writebacks get handled when the autoexec completes.   You could
a RAM disk to minimize writes to the drive but that seems like a good way to
lose a contest to me....

Here is the CONFIG.SYS file:

device=emm386.exe noems

Nothing exciting here.

I had to do absolutely nothing unusual in the TR cfg file - all works just
like normal.  I'm keying a DX Doubler with a parallel port and have a Ten
Tec Orion 
on one of the native serial ports.    My Dell XPS computer has two serial
and I can use the second one as a multiport or to feed packet spots from
computer using DXTelnet.    W5TA was doing a single op this weekend so
was not being used but my testing has been with packet and TR simulator in
debug mode.

What allows this to work in a modern computer is that the thumb drives are 
recognized and managed at the BIOS level.   I don't know why I have to run
XP to 
get the drive going rather than a cold boot to DOS but I do.    

The bottom line is that this is EASY and it seems to work flawlessly here.

Give it a try!   (Thanks to N4ZR for his NCJ blurb on doing this and to KD4D
his coaching in forgotten DOS lore and other encouragement.)

Tom Whiteside N5TW
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