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