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Author Topic: Netbooks for loggers and digital modes  (Read 1268 times)
W7IFJ
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« on: August 20, 2009, 06:31:12 AM »

I'm looking for information related to using netbooks for logging and digital modes.  I have wireless at my home and would like to use a small footprint computer on my operating desk.  I notice most netbooks are XP systems and I like that.  Please let me know what works, pros and cons.
Tnx, Ken, N7KM
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KB3LSR
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Posts: 297




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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2009, 08:48:20 AM »

Well, I can help a little.  I have a Dell Mini 9 (my wife got it for me for Christmas).  It's a great little system and I've been using it often since I got it Christmas morning.  The battery life is ~ 3 hours.  However, the keyboard is cramped (I heard that the Dell Mini 10 has a 92% keyboard (92% of a full-size), so it's easier to type.

What's really neat is that they are 100% quiet, not a single fan and if you get the SSD, then no spinning hard drive either.  No fans = Quiet and less current draw, it's a win-win.

Like I said though, I haven't used one for logging, but I would go with at least a Mini 10 for the keyboard.

On a side note, I built myself a desktop system with an Atom processor.  Intel makes a Mini-ITX board (D945GCLF2) for ~ $90 that is pretty slick.  It has USB, a serial port, and takes standard computer components (like RAM and hard drives).  You could build one of these for ~ $200 depending on if you have RAM or hard drives lying around (I'll mail you a 40GB if you just pay shipping, my wife would thank you).

I'd recommend building a computer with the abovementioned motherboard.  The Intel Atom N270 (Dell Mini 9) CPU is only a single core with hyper-threading.  Yet, the Intel Atom 330 is a dual core with hyper-threading (Windows sees this as 4 logical CPU's).  As a test, I ran some speed tests and found out that the Atom 330 yields 9 gigaFLOPS, where my Intel Duo Core laptop yields 10 gigaFLOPS.  These processors are serious machines, but they use such little power!

Send me an e-mail if you want any more information on netbooks or Intel Atom processors.  I could ramble on all day about them!

I hope this helps.

73 de AB3HJ
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W7IFJ
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2009, 05:22:27 AM »

Thank you, Nicholas, since I recieved you feedback I have run into to people using the DEll 10.1 and both feel as you do.  One uses it to remote a system in Arizona and the other for traveling access to the internet.  I had the chance to play with one and I think it will work nicely for my station needs.  I appriciate you input.
73, Ken, N7KM
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K3GM
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Posts: 2229




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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2009, 04:36:41 PM »

Hi Ken.  I just picked up a Toshiba NB205 Netbook for the very same reason.  It's a remarkable little device, and so far, I love it.  I belive it holds the record for run time at up to 9 hours.  Haven't tested it yet though.  I plan mobile logging, PSK31, and GPS navigation along with standard operation.  The thing's so cute, it's been getting more looks and comments than when pushing the grandson around in the stroller!  Don't know if quoting prices is permitted here, but you can find my brief review on Amazon.com where I purchased it.
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VE3XDB
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2009, 08:28:26 AM »

Hi Ken,

I have an orignal Asus eeePC - the model 701.  I increased the RAM to 2G, and installed Windows XP after running the original Xandros Linux os for several months.  I use this computer for PSK, but it would have lots of horsepower to run logging and other programs.  It has an SD slot, and I put an 8GB SD card in the slot, so there is plenty of storage space.  I also hooked up an old NEC LCD monitor, a real keyboard and a real mouse.  Now, it's a real PC!  (You can see my station on eHam.net or QRZ.com - the computer is sitting on top of the power supply at the very left edge of the picture.  It is very inconspicuous).  

Anyway, I know they were available at clearance prices a few months ago.  If you can find one, it might be an inexpensive option to meet your limited ham shack needs.

Regards,

Doug VE3XDB
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KB3LSR
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2009, 04:11:24 AM »

Just as an aside, Ubuntu linux runs a LOT faster than Windows XP on my netbook.
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W7IFJ
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2009, 09:31:19 PM »

Hi Tom, as it happens I ordered a NB205 and it's in town but caught in the Labor day weekend UPS delay.  I'll have it Tuesday.  Thanks for your input. Being miles from anywhere I have never seen or played with a netbook. I bought it based on specs and user comments. I'm excited to retire my very large and very old station computer. I'm hoping for lots of desk space with wireless auto logging. I'll let you know how it comes out.
73, Ken
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K3GM
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Posts: 2229




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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2009, 08:55:29 AM »

Good luck with it, Ken.  So far, I've really enjoyed using it.  The battery life is extaordinary.  I had it running for nearly 4 hours the other day while fooling with mobile PSK31, and it performed flawlessly.  Couple of things of note:

1)You'll probably have to set back the sensitivity of the head park mode.  It's very sensitive to movement.  That's easy to do right at the toolbar.  Find the icon, and click it.

2) Eighty-Six the Norton Virus protection software that comes with the netbook.  It's big, and uses a lot of memory.  I'm using the basic AVG freeware.  That was the first thing I did; delete that trial package.  I didn't even install it.

3) If you're running local and not relying on the wireless network, turn off your wireless card.  You'll increase the battery life significantly.  Turning it on and off is simply holding the FN key, and pressing the key with the transmitting antenna icon on it (top row).

Have fun!  K3GM
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W7IFJ
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2009, 04:39:18 AM »

Tom, my box arrived and I have the NB 205 up and running wireless.  I'm using HRD beta five and an IC746PRO.  It almost seemed to easy and the result at this point are very gratifing. This is a fun toy and very well made.  Thanks for the suggestion and I'm enjoy running it through its paces.
N7KM
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