[na-user] NA Memory

k8cc k8cc <k8cc@mediaone.net>
Tue, 15 May 2001 23:13:18 -0400

At 11:09 AM 5/15/01 -0700, KEN SILVERMAN wrote:

>We're getting ready for WPX CW, and ran into a snag on memory.  Anybody have
>any ideas?
>We've got a Toshiba 430 CDT P100 with Win 95 loaded, but we are booting it
>into DOS.  There is 32 Meg of memory.
>NA only recognizes sufficient memory for about 4500 QSOs.  The NA book talks
>about NA using XMS memory and says that having the DOS HIMEM.SYS driver in
>the config.sys file will provide the XMS driver.  This is apparently not
>working for us.  The config.sys file has that driver installed but we still
>don't get the memory NA needs.
>Any suggestions?


I just did some experiments with my 1998-vintage Dell Inspiron 3000 laptop 
that I use for traveling contesting.  This is a P-200 MMX, 32 MB RAM 
running Win95.  Here are some results:

Going into DOS by interrupting the Windows bootup process:  632K RAM free, 
NA can hold 16383 QSOs

Starting a DOS window and launching NA:  608K RAM free, NA can hold 16383 QSOs

Based on what you reported, NA is finding XMS memory.  When conventional 
memory (i.e., no XMS) only is used, the limit is 3275 QSOs for reasons that 
I won't bore you with.  I believe that your problem is not the lack of XMS, 
but a lack of conventional DOS memory.

Briefly, here's how NA's memory gets allocated.  Since NA is a DOS program, 
we can only use XMS through special code in the program and for certain 
uses.  The QSO records (the actual data for each QSO) is the major consumer 
of memory and speed is not crucial, so we use XMS for these (40 bytes per 
QSO).  The other big time memory users are the dupesheet as well as the 
callsign and multiplier link lists (20 bytes per QSO for single mult 
contests like WPX).  Usage of this memory needs to be fast, so its in 
conventional DOS memory.

Once NA loads all its stuff, the remaining conventional memory is measured 
and the number of QSOs is sized to fit.  Since we believe XMS is enabled, 
NA must have found only 99K (4500 x 20) of free memory after the program is 
loaded.  On my Dell, NA must have found 328K.

I would suggest getting to DOS and doing the MEM command to see what memory 
is free before loading NA.  Compare this to the numbers from my Dell and 
look at what your Toshiba has loaded for some ideas on what you can toss 
overboard, if perhaps only temporarily.

Here's the way I've run my Dell for three years with good results.  I have 
a little batch file on my Dell called WIN.BAT which has a single line:


This batch file aborts the Win95 process and takes me to "DOS".  (We can 
argue whether this is really DOS, but it looks and smells like DOS.)  I use 
my laptop to write NA code so its used in this DOS mode more than in 
Windows.  I have a second batch file called DOSMODE.BAT which sets some 
paths, invokes K6STI's FONT.EXE and a few other useful DOS things.  I have 
another batch file called GOWIN.BAT which simply contains:


This batch file can start up Win95 perfectly as long as DOSMODE.BAT has not 
been invoked.

The other alternative is to create a DOS floppy and boot from that.  You 
can run NA as usual from the hard disk as long as the DOS floppy is in the 
drive.  We did this from K8CC/C6A in the 1998 ARRL DX CW with zero 
problems.  However, once I discovered the batch file method, booted from a 
floppy again.

Hopefully, one of these suggestions will help.

Dave Pruett, K8CC
DATOM Engineering
http://www.datomonline.com QRV soon!

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