[na-user] Dell / Windows 98 / Multiport cards

Dick Green Dick Green" <dick.green@valley.net
Mon, 30 Aug 1999 22:26:03 -0400

I'm on the verge of buying a new Dell Dimension that will be used, among
many other things, for contesting with NA. I'd love to hear any comments on
the following:

1. Has anyone had any bad experiences using Dell computers with NA?
Specifically, any problems with IRQ conflicts, RF interference from the
computer and/or Trinitron line of monitors, etc.?

2. Has anyone had problems (or no problems at all) running NA under Windows
98, either in stand-alone DOS mode or in a DOS window? I vaguely recall
having some communications problems when running NA in a Windows 95 DOS
window when I first switched over from CT, but I don't remember if it was
rig or packet that had problems, and I was using a different rig (Kenwood
then, Yaesu now). In more recent tests, NA seems to work fine from a DOS
window with two Yaesu rigs in 2-radio mode. Even so, in actual contest
operation I've been running NA in stand-alone DOS mode just to be safe. But
I'd much prefer running NA from a DOS window when I get the new system.

3. Has anyone found an 8-port or 4-port PCI serial card that works well with
NA under DOS on a Windows 98 (or Windows 95) system? Most of the cards I've
looked at are quite expensive, and most modern ones don't seem to have
drivers for DOS. ByteRunner looks like it might work and is pretty cheap.
Anyone use that card with NA?

4. Hard question (maybe only Dave can answer): If you run NA in a DOS
window, are special DOS drivers for the multiport card necessary or are the
Windows drivers sufficient? To show you what a dinosaur I am, the last
communications programming I did was under DOS. I stopped coding just before
Windows came out. Back in those days, we did I/O directly with the serial
chip because INT 14 was too slow or the buffer was too small (I can't
remember.) I'm guessing that NA doesn't do direct I/O because it works in a
DOS window. What I don't know is whether DOS is able to take advantage of
the IRQ sharing provided by the Windows multiport card driver or if there
has to be a special driver installed under DOS. Whew.

Thanks in advance for any help.

73, Dick WC1M

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