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Establishing the Serial Link

Let me try to give you comprehensive instructions for getting and using PQLink to move files into and out of your Poqet computers.
First, to get ready, you need a serial null modem cable.  You can use the Belkin F3X171-10, available in Staples.  Or, if you have a useable serial cable already, you may prefer to just buy a null converter/connector--these are usually a few bucks less than that whole cable, but frankly, not enough cheaper to justify not buying the whole cable.   Cost is about $20, and of course you can work at it to do much cheaper--try Computer Shopper ads, for instance.  A standard null modem cable is what you need.   Also known as laplink cable.  Note, this is NOT a standard serial cable, like you would use for an outboard telephone modem.  Null modems have purposely crossed wires inside them.  Ok, now you have your cable.  Of course, this is an exercise in futility if you don't have the serial adapter for your Poqet.  If not, you'll have to make one, beyond the scope of this note.

Next you need a "big" computer with a serial port.  Any DOS machine, or windows machine should work.  Note, however, that you can not run PQLink software in a "DOS window."  If you are running any version of windows, you must RESTART the computer in DOS.  It won't work if you just click on the icon to go to a DOS prompt.  You ought to know which Com number your serial port is on, and make sure it is working.  One of my machines had been used with an infrared device, and I'd intentionally disabled the serial port; then I forgot I'd done that.  Wasted a whole night trying to figure out why I couldn't connect to that machine before it dawned on me that the serial port was turned off.  But generally, folks, you may assume that unless you've really been fooling with your computer in strange ways, the serial port will be on Com 1 or Com2. 

Now, download PQLink and VNA from the downloads section of  http://www.best.com/~bmason/PoqetPC which, incidentally contains links and info that is essential and all Poqet owners should read that excellent site. 

You need to put these programs (unzip them, if they come zipped--I forget if they do--and gosh, unzipping is an essential Internet tool you ought to have and know how to use, but email me if you are stuck with a zipped file)  Anyway, put these files in a convenient directory on your desktop. 

Now, if you have a Poqet Prime or Classic you have PQLink and VNA in ROM already--but the ROM version of PQ tools won't translate into regular DOS machines anyway, so that's no help for the "big" machines, you still need the downloaded version.    If you have one of these models, and you have PQLink and VNA on the big machine, and a null modem connected, you are ready for step two.

However, if you have a Poqet Plus, you have more work to do.  You have to get the downloaded versions of PQLink and VNA into your Poqet Plus.  If you have a laptop, or access to one, you're set.  You can use the PCMCIA slot in your laptop to access the SRAM cards and put the programs on them.  Of course, if you could do that, you wouldn't need to connect to the serial port to transfer files in the first place, would you?  Easiest is to put those two programs, PQLink and VNA onto a floppy disk and find someone who does have a laptop!  Incidentally, you have to add two lines to your config system file in your laptop to have the PCMCIA slot recognize SRAM cards.  The lines are:
    device=c:\windows\system\carddrv.exe /slot=n

replace "n" above with the number of PC slots in your laptop.  Check to make sure your window op system also has PCMCIA slots active--beyond the scope here.   Ok, you say, you don't have a laptop and you don't have any friends who have one--or you don't have any friends at all. 

If all else fails, and you have no way to get PQLink and VNA into your Plus, send me your SRAM card, and I'll put it on.  Jerry, of DND, asked me to set him up with the programs on a PC card, and I am sending him a working set, so he'll have them too for you.   He expects to add them to the cards he sends out with Plusses from now on.  No matter how you get them, once you have one set on your PC card, you want to make sure you don't lose them again.  If you have two cards, put these two programs on both.   If you have only one, copy them on your C: drive and your E: drive on the Poqet Plus.  That way, all your batteries would have to fail at once before you were stranded again.

Now, you have PQLink and VNA on both machines, null modem connected, DOS running on both machines.  On the Poqet type:
    VNA <enter>
    PQLink /s <enter>

Your Poqet should show "No Connection"  Note above the space, then /s.  This is important.

On the big machine type:(make sure you're in the right directory, of course)
    VNA <enter>
    PQLink <enter>

Now, with PQlink running on the big machine, hold the ALT key and hit R for remote.  Select connect VNA, and ...

And finally you should be in business. From there, read the instructions for how to move files.  PQlink isn't a half bad program, though others are certainly more efficient.

By the way, you must be in the correct battery saver mode for PQLink to run, or it will lock up, and you won't know why.  Put your Poqet in the correct mode before you run PQLink.  On the Prime, this mode is indicated by a dashed bar above the saver mode indicator.  On the Prime it is the blue Poqet key and F4 to make the change you need.  On the Plus it is the function key and F2.  On the Plus, just turn off the bar.   That's it.

Email me with questions if I can help.  Now, I am counting on you guys to bring the state of the Poqet art forward.  Next time I go to the NJQRP meeting I expect you to teach me some new tricks.  I am working on getting Nettamer working on my Poqet, though it will never really be efficient for email.  I think it will however do it in a pinch.  I'll report back on that.

Hope this is useful for the gang.  I will update it if it needs additions/corrections.

Preston WJ2V


Last Modified: January 25, 2000