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2340Re: Tiny BPQ Switch

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  • WA4ZKO
    Oct 10, 2009
      Unless you've got a good supply of spares, I'm always cautious of building "key" infrastructure against a lot of these older hardware platforms. Not knocking it's usefulness, just it's longevity and ease of replacement say 3, 5, 10 years down the road.

      I guess what I'm trying to get at is....a lot of this older 386 and 486 stuff is getting harder to come by and that's a situation that will not improve over time. IMHO, fine for tinkering, but I'd think twice about building key/critical RF infrastructure on it. If you've got a stockpile or a good long term supply, go for it.

      Several companies are building very small industrial grade platforms that use more modern components, decent CPU power, flash storage, RAM, serial, LAN, and mPCI card options. Soekris is one of them, I'm sure there are others:

      http://www.soekris.com/

      They still offer stuff built on the 486 platform, but there are plenty of indications that they are slowly refocusing towards the 586 platform. These units worked against flash storage would probably do fine for a remote tower site node where space/power/climate control are challenges for a typical PC.


      73
      Jeff
      WA4ZKO


      --- In BPQ32@yahoogroups.com, "Charles Brabham" <n5pvl@...> wrote:
      >
      > Here's a four port BPQ switch utilizing a PC-104 form industrial computer, a 33 Mhz 486 that in a previous life operated a touchscreen data pad. It needed a new 3v motherboard battery and I had to cobble together the I/O connections.
      >
      > It runs on 5v DC, has a flash drive ( no moving or rotating parts ) a built-in watchdog setup and is hardened to take industrial conditions. ( Dust, vibration, temperature etc. )
      >
      > It fits in an old case for an MFJ 1270c with room to spare.
      >
      > http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff206/arwatch/uspacket/IMG_0023.jpg
      >
      > I use ROMDOS, a special DOS for PC-104 computers, and it works flawlessly with DOS BPQ. There is also a copy of FBB BBS i9stalled, so I can connect on the air and do software updates, reboots, etc. using FBBDOS. I do not use it as a BBS but in a pinch, I could.
      >
      > So - if anybody asks if BPQ can be utilized in remote mountaintop node sites, you can say "You bet!"
      >
      > Note that I also have a four port FlexNet digi installed in the Flash drive, and can switch between one system and the other by altering the autoe*ec.bat file.
      >
      > I think this probably gets the prize for the tiniest BPQ switch - and it is also one of the toughest.
      >
      > The newer industrial PC's could run BPQ32, as they generally operate with Windows. - I got this older PC-104 for 29 bucks.
      >
      >
      > 73 DE Charles, N5PVL
      >
      > Prefer to use radio for your amateur radio communications? - Stop by at HamRadioNet.Org !
      >
      > http://www.hamradionet.org
      >
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