N2APB reviews ...

The Poqet PC Plus

Well, with the Poqet PC mania that's hit us QRPers, I just had to try the PLUS version of this little gem.  I ordered it from Jerry at "Disks 'n Data" (same place as before) for $50.

The Poqet PC PLUS is Fujitsu-labeled version (apparently they bought up Poqet back in the early 90's) that has the following differentiating features:
- A back-lite for the LCD display!
- LCD display that is configuarble to do CGA graphics *or* the (standard) monochrome display adaptor
- NiCAD battery, 2-4 hours use on a charge
- AC adaptor (that also charges battery pack)
- extra battery pack
- a nice external battery charger (includes deep discharge switch to handle NiCAD "memory" problems
- a same modem
- a 4MB SRAM card (but only 2MB is recognized, for some reason)
- DOS v5.0  (instead of the DOS 3.3 in the bare Poqet PC)
- 2 serial ports (1 is RS232, other is TTL)
- short  "dongle" cable adapting miniature serial connector (like those on laptop floppy drives these days)

   to a standard DB25 serial connector (dongle cable used instead of the black plastic thingie in the bare Poqet)
- the PLUS is slightly larger than the bare Poqet (about 1" deeper and 3/8" thicker.  Same width)
- same size and quality keyboard (i.e., not bad at all)
- an ability to toggle the processor speed from standard 16MHz, to 8MHz, to 4MHz, and finally to 2MHz. 

   (Some software runs more compatible with its native (slower) CPU speed, and the computer consumes less power
     running slower, thus extending battery life.)

I've tried all the software I have and things seem to work the same as on the bare Poqet.   This includes all the ones we've been talking about lately:
    Log EQF
    PC Log
    Net Tamer (which has a cool mini-editor)
    PC Write
    RX-320 Ten-Tec Rx controller (pgm from W1EAT)
    MP (database program)
    Poqet Utilities disk

The SRAM cards from the bare Poqet work in the PLUS (and vice versa).

I'll tell you, I like the slightly smaller size of the bare Poqet.  But the larger SRAM card, the rechargable battery packs, and especially the backlight will probably make the Poqet PC PLUS the one I use most often.

When I get a moment, I'll put together a "QRPers Poqet PC" web page on our website, with much of this information and our various comments on getting the cards working, the serial ports working (nice going Preston), transferring files, various DOS programs applicable for QRPers on the Poqet,
et al.

Sure hope Jerry at DnD has a continued supply of these little babies ... every QRPer should have one.  (I just ordered 4 more of the bare Poqet PCs for some friends.   He said he'll have them again in stock next week.)

BTW, I like the idea Ed K2MGM had about bringing our Poqets to the next NJQRP meeting ... swap stories, swap cards and swap data.  (But need to practice safe hex so remember to do a Virus scan first on these DOS

72, George N2APB

PS:  Website for the Poqet PC computer: http://www.bmason.com/PoqetPC/

Last Modified: January 11, 2000