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[aprssig] Laptops with true Serial Port

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Tue Feb 6 16:47:39 UTC 2007

bruninga at usna.edu wrote:
> We need to purchase NEW laptops but have to have a serial port.
> Our purchasing department says they cannot find any.  I know
> they are hard to find if at all.  Does anyone have any leads?
> Not Ebay, not used.  Must be in current production.
> I have heard of many problems with USB to serial adapters, and
> want to avoid that.  We must have COM1 or COM2.
> Bob, WB4APR
> _______________________________________________
> aprssig mailing list
> aprssig at lists.tapr.org
> https://lists.tapr.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/aprssig

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-51 (15" Screen 1.6GHz Intel Dual-Core 
Celeron) has a real serial port.  Toughbooks are ruggedized laptops that 
tolerate high operating temperatures and are intended for mobile 
operation.  (The upper-level Toughbooks have all-metal cases and are 
used in military vehicles, police cars, etc.)  Details on my 
"semi-rugged" Toughbook here:

  < http://toughonline.com/features.asp?item=464 >

The is the machine I use for my mobile APRS operation with the D700.  
See the installation here:

  < http://wa8lmf.net/mobile >

It does have a real serial port but no PARALLEL port, although oddly it 
shows in the Windows Device Manager. (Apparently the parallel port 
circuitry is in the machine but the DB-25 connector is in the accessory 
docking station for this machine. 

[ NOTE: Aside from the lack of SERIAL ports on modern retail laptops, 
one should be aware that nearly all also lack PARALLEL ports, and also 
lack stereo LINE-level inputs to the sound system. (Nearly all have 
monophonic MIC-level inputs only. This can be an issue with sound-card 
based ham applications.) ]

The only more-or-less off-the-shelf laptop with more than one serial 
port (that I am aware of) is the Amrel Rocky which is also a metal-cased 
ruggedized machine sold into the military and public-safety land-mobile 
market.   In terms of processor generations, it's not a bleeding-edge 
design, being very conservatively based on a Pentium III Celeron and 
older-generation interface-logic and video chip sets.   This means no 
issues with esoteric drivers for audio/video/Ethernet .  Even Win98 will 
install out of the box on this unit with no external drivers required.   
Details at:

  < http://www.amrel.com/asl_rugged_computer/asl_laptop_features.html >  


Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at) aol.com
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