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Old 29-09-2014, 17:08   #1
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Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

KI4WNI: have not used winlink since maybe 2009. Just found out on winlink.org my account was long ago deleted.

I previously had a Pactor TRX PTC with blue tooth was a sweet unit.

I know have an older Pactor II with serial cable and an Icom 700 pro. All in boxes at the moment, but will be installing radio in the boat in the next 2 months.

SO: what type of computer do I need to get to run which software for email and weather grin use. Computer from 2009 is long gone and I currently only have an iPad. It appears it is necessary to buy a full Microsoft laptop? Looking for low cost and low power draw. Low power draw and reliability would be valuable to me but really don't want to spend more than $500 to get "linked"

Advice on what is currently available and working good, greatly appreciated.
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Old 29-09-2014, 18:07   #2
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Anything running Windows from Vista to Windows 8 will do. We have two laptops with Windows 7 that we use with Winlink, Viewfax, etc. I suggest you stop at a Best Buy and see what they have in your price range, Memory and processor are not going to be an issue unless you plan to do more. I don't know of any way to run this from a tablet. Get a serial to usb adapter to connect the Pactor and a DC to DC converter to run off your 12 volt system and your good to go. Upgrade the Pactor to III. Chuck
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Old 29-09-2014, 18:42   #3
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Look on Ebay or Craigslist for a Surface Pro 1. They can be had for pretty cheap these days and fit you criteria. You can even run them directly off 12V.
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Old 29-09-2014, 19:48   #4
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

I don't know much about the Surface. Just be sure whatever you buy will support the drivers and capability to use the serial to usb converter to connect the Pactor. Chuck
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Old 30-09-2014, 09:32   #5
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

I spent many years working in the PC industry with Dell. I was a product planner so I was intimately involved in laptop design. My only suggestion is to buy a "new" system from Dell or HP or Lenovo (you can get parts and service globally for them). Buy direct from their websites. By "new" I am referring to "refurbished" systems. Dell, HP and Lenovo all sell factory refurbished systems and the factory refurbished systems are thoroughly tested and come with full "new" warranty. In some cases, the refurbs get better testing than new systems right off the assembly line in China. Used systems can be fine but it is a crap shoot. If the previous owner mistreated the system (Allowing them to get too hot is the worst - damages the CPU, memory and hard drive). If you get a good used one, OK, great. But if it has been abused, you will have a failure (at the worst possible time of course) and the cost to repair will be more than you paid in the first place. You should easily be able to find a good refurb for under $400. Go to hp.com, dell.com or lenovo.com and find the refurb section.
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Old 30-09-2014, 14:00   #6
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Got a dell 11:3000 yesterday from Costco. Used my Costco card for 3 year warranty. Does everything and is easy to upgrade (when it comes to that) 500 USD.
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Old 30-09-2014, 14:13   #7
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Hello, I would suggest something that works on 12v and has a low current draw, like an EeePC.

I have RMS Express on my Lenovo but it burns a lot of current.

Anyway, I mostly use CW ;-)

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Old 30-09-2014, 14:26   #8
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Bought a cheap Hitachi Net Book for a back up in 2010. It ran a basic form of Windows 7 and did not work with WinLink. Check out whatever operating system you get before you commit your money if you can. The Windows 7 system that came with the more expensive Net Book that was used to set the Pactor II with III upgrade worked fine.

Anyone tried an Apple running the Windows emulation software with WinLink?? Have switched over to Apple hardware and wonder if I can make it work.
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Old 30-09-2014, 14:58   #9
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

If you're willing to fork out $500 I'd take a look at a fanless industrial computer. Lots of them around (Moxa, Advantech,...). If you have to use Windows then use your iPad and RDP as a 'monitor' when you need it, otherwise run it headless. Should be able to find one that will get you down to 8-10W, which is almost low enough to just leave it running all the time. And most come with multiple genuine hardware serial ports (industrial automation still uses a lot of serial), so hooking in the Pactor, and NMEA, and.... is pretty easy.

The catch will be checking software compatibility, I haven't run one like this with WinLink in a long time. Used to work fine with the embedded XP versions.
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Old 30-09-2014, 15:03   #10
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Hello,

Quote:
Bought a cheap Hitachi Net Book for a back up in 2010. It ran a basic form of Windows 7 and did not work with WinLink.
Mine runs Window$ 7. Winlink works fine with RMSExpress.
I wish the Winlink/Winmor team would port software to Linux though...

Gil.
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Old 30-09-2014, 19:12   #11
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Winlink 2000 doesn't use much horsepower from PC. In fact many hams just get an old Windows 98 for $70-90 so they can just leave it dedicated to the rig/ purpose. As to specific software... I'm more familiar with Winmoor which will do what you are trying to do just fine. Just Google Winlink (or Winmoor) to find software and follow instructions EXACTLY. If you can check into Waterway Net (7268 kHz @ 7:45a daily) ask when they run their digital communication Q&A Net. It's once a week or once a month(??) immediately after the Waterway Net to help hams with boats get up and running. There is a lot of real World experience there and worth getting an email address/ phone number from those who dedicate time helping others get their stations up and running. Once you have it running its stable, but it can be challenging to get it all going initially. The software is all done by hams and lacks really good / elegant documentation/ manuals. Good Luck
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Old 30-09-2014, 19:59   #12
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

I'll check into some of the lower power options. That is probably the most important. I recall my last toshiba drawing 6-7 amps doc charging and it needed charging a lot. I wasn't even planning to have an inverter on my boat so I need to do some homework.
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Old 01-10-2014, 06:29   #13
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Ok, so some of the tablets are available with Windows 8.1. will this work?

I was checking out the mini desktop option, but that just seemed like too much stuff. When I google windows tablet winlink I basically get nothing. If I google airmail I get into on send one to/from China.
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Old 02-10-2014, 21:06   #14
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Anyone tried an Apple running the Windows emulation software with WinLink?? Have switched over to Apple hardware and wonder if I can make it work.
I've run Winlink on a Macbook Pro since 2010 using VirtualBox (free) to create virtual machine running an old copy of Windows XP Pro. I also have a Fedora Linux VM installed and running as well.

I would highly recommend bumping the RAM up to 16GB.

We have plenty of power available on Beausoleil with all our solar panels, so battery wasn't an issue. But I really used it for route planning with Coastal Explorer - use Raymarine e120 at the helm for navigation. Otherwise I'd use a tablet.

I'm not a big Microsoft fan, but I really like Coastal Explorer. It has touch capabilities which I can't use on the Mac...


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Old 02-10-2014, 21:11   #15
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Re: Need new laptop/tablet for winlink

Forgot to mention before hitting send - Airmail for Winlink runs fine as well in the XP VM.

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