[ct-user] overcoming laptop port limitations

Eric Scace Eric Scace" <scace@uu.net
Sun, 29 Aug 1999 08:32:04 -0400

   There is a proliferation of devices in the station which demand ports on
the computer; e.g.,

-- transceiver (more than one if operating SO2R)
-- amplifier (could be more than one)
-- bandpass filter switching at xcvr power levels
-- bandpass filter/stub switching at higher power levels
-- antenna switching: A-B, etc
-- antenna rotator(s)
-- TNC/packet cluster
-- CW, FSK, and PTT keying

Most of these items require COM ports.  Some can get by with the LPT port.
Semi- or fully automated filter and antenna switching boxes usually are
looking for band data in some form from either an LPT port or extracted from
the guts of the transceiver.

   I know there are workarounds for desktop computers to get additional COM
ports, but these require an additional card(s) to be added.

   What about for laptops?  Laptop computers these days have plenty of
storage, memory, and computing capacity for DXing and contesting... but
usually come with just one COM and LPT port (and often an Ethernet port or
PCMCIA card).  Are there any bits of hardware that could expand the number
of COM/LPT ports in a way that:
-- is easy to configure... and,
-- doesn't screw up the timing of CW, FSK, and PTT keying.

   For example, I've seen some descriptions of boxes that will sit on an
Ethernet and provide 4 COM ports and 2 LPT ports.  Has anyone used anything
like that in their station?

   -- Eric R3/K3NA

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