[aprssig] Interesting setup ... but will it work?
Stephen H. Smith
wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Fri Nov 28 17:15:12 CST 2008
Arte Booten wrote:
> Hi all,
> I have the following two interesting pieces of hardware, which I bought
> specifically to set up a computer dedicated to APRS. The first is an A.E.A.
> PCB-88 TNC (the equivalent of a PK-88, with a twist). The other is from HAL
> Communications, a P-38 HF modem (precursor to their DXP-38).
> The twist with both of them is that they're each full-length ISA cards,
> taking their own com ports and IRQ's.
The biggest problem is that no machine has had ISA slots for the last 7
years or so. You are going to most likelhy have to scrounge an
ancient Pentium I or '486 machine to find one with ISA slots. I
happen to have one of the (very) few P-III machines with a single ISA
slot alongside 4 PCI slots -- a 500 MHz Compaq Prosignia.
You will then discover that such an ancient machine can't be expanded to
enough memory to usably run Win2K or similar current OS. Remember that
Win95 was just getting off the ground in this era and required the
then-staggering 16 or 32 MB of RAM. Machines of the era typically maxed
out at 64MB -- impossibly small for Win2K or similar. If it can be
expanded, it will most likely require high-priced obsolete RAM modules.
You could buy an entire new machine with 2 GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of
RAM, DVD-RW drive, 150-200 GB hard disk,etc for what you will pay to
upgrade the RAM in an old machine (although it won't have ISA slots.).
If this machine is going to be exposed to the Internet and run Windows,
you simply must run proper security software (anti-virus and
firewall/anti-malware). Current security products consume so much RAM
and so much CPU "horsepower" that such an older machine will become
impossibly sluggish and essentially unusable for anything once it is
secured. [Most current security products won't run on 9x Windows or
earlier -- you must have Win2K, XP or Vista.]
Essentially, if a machine is old enough to have ISA slots, it probably
can't safely be used on the Internet since you can't run modern OS'es
or security on it.
Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf (at) aol.com
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