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TCP/IP between OB-430 & HP-200LX
01-09-2017, 11:48 PM
Post: #1
TCP/IP between OB-430 & HP-200LX
I had some time on my hands this weekend while it snowed. So I started thinking about using TCP/IP packet radio over Amateur Radios. This was back in the early 90's. We used a TCP/IP package put together by Phil Karn, KA9Q, of Bell Labs. The NOS package could run on almost any MS DOS hardware. Including on a floppy based IBM PCjr.

I had to give it a try on the HP-200lx, plus it would need a system to talk to - OB-430 would be perfect. I still have two 44. Level IP addresses (ampr.org), so used them to set it up. I connected the two through a SLIP link over the RS-232 ports. Works great.

Each system has a BBS, mailer, ftp server, pop, etc. I could send mail between the two, FTP files, etc. A lot of fun and a lot of memories.

Of course, it's just a closed network between the two computers, but it was great seeing an old-time bbs on the HP-200LX.

Bill
Smithville, NJ
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01-10-2017, 01:09 AM
Post: #2
RE: TCP/IP between OB-430 & HP-200LX
(01-09-2017 11:48 PM)Bill (Smithville NJ) Wrote:  I had some time on my hands this weekend while it snowed. So I started thinking about using TCP/IP packet radio over Amateur Radios. This was back in the early 90's. We used a TCP/IP package put together by Phil Karn, KA9Q, of Bell Labs. The NOS package could run on almost any MS DOS hardware. Including on a floppy based IBM PCjr.

I had to give it a try on the HP-200lx, plus it would need a system to talk to - OB-430 would be perfect. I still have two 44. Level IP addresses (ampr.org), so used them to set it up. I connected the two through a SLIP link over the RS-232 ports. Works great.

Each system has a BBS, mailer, ftp server, pop, etc. I could send mail between the two, FTP files, etc. A lot of fun and a lot of memories.

Of course, it's just a closed network between the two computers, but it was great seeing an old-time bbs on the HP-200LX.

Bill
Smithville, NJ

Cool! Thanks for sharing that. Beats the heck out of cleaning out an old closet, my 'choice' for a snowy day...

Somehow running a BBS directly ON a 200LX seems a bit incestuous.

Does this pkg implement a full TCP/IP stack which other apps could access, or was it a closed system (though with a BBS, mailer, ftp server and pop it's a fairly functional closed system). How about support for Finger? I think that's about the right timeframe isn't it?

--Bob Prosperi
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01-10-2017, 01:59 AM
Post: #3
RE: TCP/IP between OB-430 & HP-200LX
(01-10-2017 01:09 AM)rprosperi Wrote:  Cool! Thanks for sharing that. Beats the heck out of cleaning out an old closet, my 'choice' for a snowy day...

Somehow running a BBS directly ON a 200LX seems a bit incestuous.

Does this pkg implement a full TCP/IP stack which other apps could access, or was it a closed system (though with a BBS, mailer, ftp server and pop it's a fairly functional closed system). How about support for Finger? I think that's about the right timeframe isn't it?

Not sure on the full TCP/IP stack that other programs could access. But the full source code is available - in fact there are many versions of the code. Phil would release the master source code and then several different groups would take the code and layer in additional features. We had our choice of several versions with slightly different feature sets.

It was a pretty complete system - included Telnet, FTP, SMTP, POP, PING, Finger, ARP, DNS, etc.

There was also ways to interface to certain NEC cards - 3-com 3c500 being one of them. And at least one version allowed for connecting to a Linux system for use as a gateway to the internet.

Since I was using Radios for my connections, it was not a real fast system. But I do remember it being really stable. My systems ran 24/7 for months with no problems. At one point I had it running on Xenix 286, 386 PC, 486 PC and a true Unix System 5 AT&T computer. They were all connected to each other by SLIP connection with three of them using radios for links to other systems. I had a Xenix 286 system at work and could phone my Xenix system at home and check my mail, etc.

Bill
Smithville, NJ
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01-10-2017, 02:14 AM
Post: #4
RE: TCP/IP between OB-430 & HP-200LX
Attached is a PDF showing some photos of the system in operation.


.pdf  OB-430 & HP-200LX NOS Photos.pdf (Size: 256.2 KB / Downloads: 16)

Bill
Smithville, NJ
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01-10-2017, 08:18 PM
Post: #5
RE: TCP/IP between OB-430 & HP-200LX
That's pretty cool. Now you've got me brainstorming...

Seems like it wouldn't be too hard to take an Arduino + Wi-Fi shield (https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoWiFiShield) and write a little kernel to have it talk to a device over serial via some custom AT commands (for tradition's sake), and connect to a wireless LAN on the other end, routing data between two endpoints. So, a serial device that implements netcat or telnet, basically. Smile

Do "ATDT172.16.1.37:5000" on one device, "ATA" on the other, and have a direct two-way connection between the two with the wireless LAN bridging their serial ports. Then you don't even have to worry about getting the older devices to speak TCP.

Implement a custom AT command set for setting the SSID and encryption, choosing TCP or UDP transports, opening sockets (unicast, multicast, or broadcast), maybe adjusting the buffer size and transmit delay, etc. Would be almost no wiring involved, apart from getting the RS-232 connected to the Arduino's TTL serial, it would mostly be a software exercise.

I may actually have a valid use case for something like this, now that I think of it...
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