[CQ-Contest] Re: [Trlog] More on using TRlog on a WinXP machine with a thumb USB drive

Pete Smith n4zr at contesting.com
Mon Jan 31 14:27:43 EST 2005

Let me just add that I have had TR running from a thumb drive all morning 
here in DEBUG mode -- over 900 QSOs per hour.  In my case, I have DOS on 
the thumb drive, because my computer -- a dirt-cheap Dell Dimension 2400 -- 
will boot from a USB flash device; the option is found by hitting F12 at 
the beginning of boot-up.

The procedure for putting a DOS boot sector and system files on a thumb 
drive, also developed and documented by KD4D, is in the February 2005 PVRC 
Newsletter, to be found at <http://pvrc.org/Newsletters/feb05.pdf>.

73, Pete N4ZR

At 02:02 PM 1/31/2005, Tom Whiteside wrote:

>Sunday I posted success in an actual contest using TRlog on an XP machine 
>using a boot diskette and a USB Flash (thumb) drive.    I have done a 
>bunch of running TR using the debug simulator but nothing like a real 
>contest to fully engage Murphy.
>Mark, KD4D suggested I write a bit more so folks can see just how simple 
>this process was.    He also suggested posting this on the Contest 
>reflector - I'm 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 incompatible with DOS.    One solution is adding an appropriate 
>disk partition and using a dual boot arrangement as KD4D has thoroughly 
>documented.    This is probably the 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 a 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 does not allow that.   KD4D has documented an approach 
>for booting from a CD but my machine has a floppy and I just boot off of 
>that.   What could be more simple?
>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 the "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 
>     EDIT.COM
>     EMM386.EXE
>     MEM.EXE
>     MORE.COM
>There may be other DOS commands you find you need and you can copy them 
>onto the floppy as needed.   I located them using the Windows Explorer 
>file search facility.
>The AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files needed are very vanilla.   The 
>AUTOEXEC.BAT file is:
>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 sweat 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 use 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 ports and I can use the second one as a multiport or to feed 
>packet spots from another computer using DXTelnet.    W5TA was doing a 
>single op this weekend so packet 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 ND4D for his coaching in forgotten DOS lore and other encouragement.)
>Tom Whiteside N5TW

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