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Author Topic: PDA phones, Windows Mobile, and Pocket PC software  (Read 1985 times)

Posts: 35

« on: October 26, 2007, 07:57:42 AM »

Cross-posted from Elmers forum:

I would like to know if anyone has any experience with the current crop of Wireless (Cell, not cordless)phones which are based on Windows Mobile (version 6 or 5) for Pocket PC.  These phones are really Pocket PC (PPC OS, now called Windows Mobile) Personal Digital Assistants with built-in cell phone features. They include models from HTC such as the T-mobile Dash and Wing and ATT 8525 and Tilt, as well as Palm's Treo 750, and others. They also have built in keyboards or can be used with small foldable keyboards, making for nice mobile and portable set-ups. GPS is also a key feature of some of these phones.

There are several ham software programs out there for logging, rig control, digital modes, and APRS which were written for the original Windows CE, predecessor of PPC OS and Windows Mobile. Will these programs run on the current OS and these PPC cell phones? The advantage is that you then only need to carry one I/O device with your radio for digital modes and APRS, as well as logging, etc. since audio I/O is available as well as Bluetooth cordless connection for Bluetooth GPS (with newly available Bluetooth interfaces for ham radios, too!)

Please let me know if you have any experience with these phones and/or Pocket PC ham radio applications. I am looking for personal experience, not just info that you Googled. I can do that!


Posts: 34


« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2007, 03:50:40 AM »

My son M0XDK pointed me to PocketDigi

I've installed it on an O2 Mini XDA S (200MHz processor Windows Mobile 5) and gave it a very brief trial. It succeeded in producing PSK31 copy just by holding it near the speaker of an FT817. I do intend to make up a lead (initially without any isolation) to give it a better test but other things are more pressing.

I guess a station based on this platform may appeal to a backpacker but if you are just putting stuff in a car there really isn't much space saving to be made and a laptop keyboard is always going to win out over the dinky affair these devices have.

As a gimmick I'd rate it potentially at 100%. As a practical basis for a station my ranking would be a lot lower.

Posts: 5

« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2007, 02:15:11 PM »

The big problem that I've had trying to use Windows Mobile devices out in the field is that their battery life is abysmal. I had a Dell Axim X51v that I purchased to use in the same way as you described, but the battery life made it a rather frustrating process. I even had 3 extra batteries that I'd tote along for extra juice. It seems like the battery would conk out right at the worst time.

I tried using a big battery pack to charge the device as I was using it. That worked OK, but it meant carrying another big battery with me. Also, the battery had a cable that would connect to a charging dongle, that would plug into the Axim. That meant that there were 3 more connections that could come loose at any particular moment. Annoying to say the least.

All in all, I found the Palm OS devices have much better battery life than the Pocket PC devices, but don't have swappable batteries. I understand that the the Treo Cell Phones do have changeable batteries, though.

As far as writing software goes, the Windows Mobile SDK is WAY easier to use than the Palm OS SDK, although the Palm Development Kit has gotten a lot better in recent years. Writing programs using Visual Studio and .Net Compact Framework is pretty much a no-brainer, and the debug-on-device setup they give you works like a charm.

For now, I'm using a Nokia N800, which is the cat's meow for me. The development environment is (putting it nicely) crude. The battery life is excellent (for a PDA, about 8-10 hours without network use, 4 1/2 with network). It does use a standard Nokia Battery that is swappable (I haven't felt the need to acquire another yet, although I did bring that big external battery I bought for the Axim with my when I flew to Maui this last summer). The latest version, the N810 (just announced) has a slide out keyboard, and a built in GPS.

Posts: 53


« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2007, 03:03:34 PM »

Yes, the will work, after a fashion.

I have the new AT&T Tilt (HTC TyTN II - Kaiser).  I run PocketDigig on it with success.  Like a fomrer responded siad, you just need to get it in the proximty of your rigs speaker and it can pick up the QSOs.  The mic is extremely sensitive and the software filtering allows it to operate in even somewhat noisey environments witht eh rigs volume set at only 15-20%.  To transmit, I just key the rig's mic next to the Tilt's speaker.  Very cool.  In alot of situations, I not going to bring a laptop. This will work.  Folks in South America are already using this software and smartphones with their 5W QRP rigs.  All folds into a small corner of a briefcase.

The old APRS/CE program will work, but does not seems to comprehend my Kenwood TH-D7(G)'s TNC, even though it has an .ini file for it.  In the event, the map supply for the old program is limited and "sketchy" by our 21st Century standards.

Right now, I'm working on a BT connection to the Kenwood through th Gamrin Mobile XT running on the Tilt.


---* Ken
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