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[aprssig] COM Port Sharing - Status (Final?) Report

Claude Head III k5dtn at swbell.net
Tue Jan 22 19:48:59 UTC 2008


A few days ago I queried this SIG about utility programs for COM port sharing.

I needed some way to allow my Dell Latitude C600 computer (1 COM port, 1 USB port), used almost exclusively in my Suburban, to run DeLorme Street Atlas and at the same time use the GPS (Garmin GPS-48) data to keep the C600's clock on time. There are actually two different programs needed to fulfill this requirement; one to use the GPS data to set the computer's clock, and a second to allow the time keeping program to share the GPS data with Street Atlas. 

Thanks to all who responded so quickly and generously with their time and knowledge.

Here are the programs I have decided on, and some comments about them:
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Time Keeping Program
NMEATime    http://www.visualgps.net/NMEATime/default.htm

This program has considerably more capability than I actually need. However, it worked quickly and easily the first time I tried it, and I was sold on it right from the start. It does need a $20.00 permanent license fee, but can be tried for free for 30 days. 
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COM Port Sharing Program
XPort            http://curioustech.home.insightbb.com/

This program works by having the real physical COM port assigned to it. It then will generate up to 8 virtual ports (you select how many you need), and then the other programs that need the COM data are assigned to the virtual ports as needed. I assigned XPort to the real COM1 port, and defined that I needed two virtual ports, COM2 and COM3. I then assigned Street Atlas to COM2 and NMEATime to COM3. It all worked just right on the first try! This program is freeware/shareware. The author does not require any payment, and the program will work indefinitely without one. However, he does suggest that if you like the program a payment of $5.00 or so would be welcome. I will make a donation to him.
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It seems to be getting harder and harder to find a program that will do just what it is supposed to do without any fuss, muss, or bother. Finding two of them at the same time is cause for celebration!

Once again, thanks to all who helped in the solution to this problem. Your comments, advice, and suggestions made what could easily have been a extended search and trial an easy job!

73,
Claude Head, K5DTN
Dallas, TX
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