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2004-12-21

Packet interface for HT and featherweight notebook PC

I've got a one-kilo featherweight notebook, a Fujitsu P1032 (700 MHz Transmeta CPU, about like a Pentium III-450MHz) I picked up for travel. It has no serial port, and the thought of adding a serial->USB adapter plus a spendy TNC has kept me from adding packet to my Yaesu VX-5R. I'd have to tote around:
1. HT
2. HT's power brick
3. HT's antenna
4. Cable into HT
5. Laptop computer
6. Laptop's power brick
7. USB to serial adapter
8. Serial cable to TNC
9. TNC
10. TNC's power brick

I suppose I could add the $67 Tigertronics Signalink ( QST review here with its cable kit and then add the fitting for the four-pole 3.5mm connector and a $10 power brick for it... but I wanted portable operation.

There's a comparison chart of other sound card interfaces here and here. The $80 USB RigBlaster nomic appears to be the simplest but does require a USB-serial adapter as well as a tangle of cables plus an adapter cable for the four-pole Yaesu VX-5 cable.

Here's packet software for sound cards. What have y'all used which works best when starting with a USB-only laptop, and does adding a dedicated sound adapter help (and if so, which)?
Multiplatform Soundcard Packet Radio Modem by Thomas Sailer, HB9JNX/AE4WA (PC Flex/Net & DirectSound-compatible drivers required)
PC Flex/Net
PC sound for packet overview with PTT circuit ideas
$50 MixW software w/ 14d trial (req. 'SoundBlaster compatible')
$49 Packet Engine Pro plus various packet programs
AGWPE
Rascal GLX (with some interesting reviews)
Other Packet Radio sites

And, here's a QST reprint on the subject.

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