[Trlog] Serial Port Gone!

Steve London n2ic at arrl.net
Sun Jul 31 19:37:55 EDT 2005

This is slightly off-topic, but Dale's posting started me thinking and asking 
questions ...

While Mark, KD4D, has done a great job in documenting how to easily set up a 
dual-boot, Windows/DOS system (as well as use USB thumb drives ...) so that we 
can continue to run TRLog, there's a more basic problem that is pushing TRLog 
towards obsolescence.

How are folks dealing with newer PC's that have only USB interfaces and few (if 
any) PCI expansion slots ?  DOS certainly doesn't speak USB, although there are 
a few special-purpose USB DOS drivers out there on the internet. None of the USB 
DOS drivers support virtual COM ports, like the Windows-based USB-to-serial port 
boxes that are readily available. And what about parallel ports for controlling 
bandpass filters, etc. with TRLog ?  Virtually all of the new printers on the 
market speak only USB. Thus, I see parallel ports completely disappearing from 
PC's, if they haven't already. Is the answer something like "only buy PC's with 
lots of expansion slots, and cross your fingers that the surplus market 
continues to make serial and parallel ports available" ?

This seems vaguely dissatisfying. We're starting to see Windows-based contest 
software that speaks USB to external devices, along with standalone 
USB-to-many-serial-and-parallel port boxes. Win-Test and EZMaster come to mind, 
although I see that TLF (a Linux-based TRLog clone) now supports USB.

Hopefully, someone will tell me I'm off my rocker, and there are answers to 
these issues for TRLog.

Dale Martin wrote:
> I guess I don't know as much about computers as I thought... 
> Sometime ago, I turned in a my desktop (not-radio-desk) Gateway computer for
> service (Harddrive problems) which they fixed.  However, on putting the
> computer back on the computer desk, I found that one of the two serial ports
> was no longer being recognized by the system.  I should have taken it back
> immediately, but I didn't.  The loss of the 2nd serial port was not that
> much of a problem as I had a USB port available and the device that used the
> serial port was also USB-capable.  
> But, now, that computer has been replaced by a speedier, bigger and,
> hopefully, more stable computer, making it eligible to replace my old P100
> radio computer.  
> I have had no luck getting the Gateway's second serial port to work.  This
> is essential for SO2R, of course, and without it, I may as well stay with
> the P100.  
> Can anyone offer any suggestions on how I might get the second serial port
> restored to normal service? 
> Thanks and 73,
> Dale, kg5u

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