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Considering a Dedicated Windows Laptop for Ham Radio...

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by W3TPL, Sep 18, 2017.

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  1. W3TPL

    W3TPL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm considering used as well... I actually have feelers out with my dad in IT to see if he has any leads on recently decommissioned corporate laptops.
  2. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    My IBM T-22 IS dated, and there are probably newer models, but the real consideration was that it had a REAL RS-232C port, and a parallel printer port to work with my H-P LaserJet 4P printer. It also has one USB port, that can be expanded if necessary, but I also have a Belkin adapter from the PC card interface that provides two additional USB ports. A small price to pay, since I now seldom use my Poqet computer with 2 MB RAM cards. It's OK for text files, but .jpeg files are often too large to handle.
  3. KQ0J

    KQ0J XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    " I actually have feelers out with my dad in IT to see if he has any leads on recently decommissioned corporate laptops."

    Send me an email and I can get you a link where you can buy refurbished corporate laptops from IBM ( my employer ) using my friends and family number. I use refurb small form factor desktops ( I trust desk tops more than laptops and they have more USB and other ports ) and have a Win one dedicated to ham radio and I use Linux Xubuntu on this one for my Internet stuff.
  4. G0DOR

    G0DOR Ham Member QRZ Page

    my tuppence worth.

    you need memory for OS and software. usually 4 GB Ram enough

    you need quiet system - both fan noise and electrical noise can be an issue

    small is good especially in limited space

    big is good if u want to to stuff the case with extras like extra sound cards and cards

    my WX station laptop is 15 year old XP, radio is 10 yo XP/Win 7 and Ubuntu desktop running MixW. HRD and WSJT-X

    73 from Liverpool
  5. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am not a fan of laptops. Most end up being craptops.

    A cleanable air filter and air intake that is not sucking from your lap would be nice.

    The battery to deal with is a minus too.

    A full size box and a UPS for the shack works for me.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  6. W3TPL

    W3TPL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks. I do not have room for anything larger than a laptop at this point. Ideal or not, it has worked in the past, and hopefully will continue to do so.
  7. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you wait until next year, You can get a Good Deal on a Good one.

    The Black Friday stuff is Junk for the most part. Special built to be cheap and not last.

    Good Luck.
  8. KD0KZE

    KD0KZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was an Apple // guy in the 80's, Windows for much of the 90's. But Linux is an excellent OS for amateur radio these days. There's never been a better tinker's OS!

    73. KD0KZE / Paul
  9. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's what I like about Asus laptops: they pull air from the sides and push it out the back--makes for betting cooling of the CPU and makes it a laptop for the lap top!
    KA9JLM likes this.
  10. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm running a Lenovo PC for digi modes and SSTV, and that worked well. Its Windows 7.

    I picked up a used XP laptop (dinosaur age, but it works) at a local hamfest for $20. All it has are digital mode programs on it, nothing else except the ability to upload reports to PSKreporter on the internet. While it is darned heavy (8 pounds at least), it has a serial port that I rarely see on anything newer.

    Previously I used my desktop PC but the XYL didn't like all the 'funny icons' and alerts popping up. I built this one myself and can dual-boot Ubuntu from a thumb drive. Cool, if I actually understood it. Totally free.

    I tried Win10 on my cloud PC, and had all sorts of problems with Fldigi and WSJT-X. Seems drivers were at least part of the problem, but even when working it was really sensitive to RF. Using my loop tuner I frequently knocked it offline. Since running the other laptops, no problem at all.

    My main problem seems to be going between different PCs and programs. What is used as COM8 will end up being COM6 in a different program, even if I don't switch cables. Switch rigs, it is a hunt to figure out the ports again. I had to make myself a cheat sheet.

    Next goal is to mountaintop on 6m and use MSK144 for some meteorscatter. I'll use a power inverter in my car for that one.

    I may try using a tablet in the future, but that's all Linux stuff and a lot of trickery to get the cables to work (at least for me it is). Good luck!

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