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System Requirements to use DOS based RSS applications

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Important!

Help for DOS based RSS applications

The Problem
RSS applications for many of the older PMR radios were written for and need a DOS environment due to timing issues. Some applications will run in a Win95/98/XP DOS-window others won't.

Frequently the RSS talks directly to the serial ports (COM1/COM2) and is not expecting to come up against a 16550 UART offering FIFO so this further complicates matters.

USB to Serial adaptors don't usually work even if you can allocate then to COM1/IRQ4 or COM2/IRQ3 because the program is unable to directly control the port at DOS level.

The Solution
Your best option is to dig out an old pc, this could be anything from a 286 all the way through to a slow P4. Which ever it is, make sure it has a serial port you can control via the BIOS. Most programs will run in the smallest of RAM space so, if the PC has enough RAM to boot, then you should have enough.

Download and burn the MS-DOS6.2 CD image from the utilities section (there are lots of Free CD-Image burners available). You may have to make your CD drive the first boot device in the BIOS. You will need to boot your PC from this.

If the PC does not have a hard drive installed, copy the RSS to the CD image before you burn it. If the PC does have a hard drive copy the RSS to a folder below the root C: drive eg c:\RSS\GP300.

That's all you need. If the RSS is on the CD don't forget that you won't be able to save your settings without redirecting the saved file to another drive (e.g. floppy).

Another way to do it is to set-up a DOS RamDrive but again,don't forget to copy your saved settings to a floppy before you shut down or you'll loose them.

For the enthusiast or if you have a lot of DOS based RSS applications, set-up the old PC to run MS-DOS from the hard drive. Everything you need is in the MS-DOS CD image.

If you get stuck Google it, believe it not there is still a lot of info on DOS out there. For a much more detailed explanation please check-out WA1MIK's excellent discussion on the subject.

UPDATE: In recent times it has been found that DOSBox works well for a number of RSS applications that were intended for the DOS environment. Basically it's a DOS emulator that runs in Windows. Don't confuse it with a Windows DOS window, it is much more sophisticated than that! This is by far the quickest & easiest solution if you have just one RSS to run but if you plan to program a lot of older radios you should consider a dedicated machine as suggested above.

Don't skip reading the DOSBox wiki (there is a link on the DOSBox download page) before you start, it's really worth while.

Do you still have a question, you are welcome to post them in the HamFiles forum.

When you have successfully used one of the DOS based RSS apps, please take a moment to let us know about your experience in the comment section of the relevant download.

Nick

Last edit: by LZ2NJG



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Important!

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Good advice - I have an old Toshiba laptop on which I have made two partitions, one FreeDOS and one XP. I have a good deal of experience now of programming Kenwood and Motorola radios, both on RSS and Windows RSS, should anyone need any help.
I have had only two failures and bricked two Kenwood radios, but that was due to software collisions in the programming train. Always best to remove the radios from repeater control cards, when changing the blocks.
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hi all
hope you can help ,
have been donated 2x motorola radius p210 units ,
for use while on project in africa ref, friends from ireland .ie
ffi build schools and water projects for the community
2014 we had a medical emergency and needed coms to a clinic hence the p210 units , have spent many a day trying to program these units using software from the internet and using DOSBOx have programed motorola radius GM300 in the past using DOSBOx and the software for coms from one clinic to another hope someone can help  , email johnmartinbrooks@googlemail.com
 

Last edit: by sheelin

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Do you have to download Motorola GM300 Program to a Dos system…or can you save to a file in Windows 7 and then switch when you find a dos machine?
 

Last edit: by KK7RON

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KG7PGT said

Do you have to download Motorola GM300 Program to a Dos system…or can you save to a file in Windows 7 and then switch when you find a dos machine?
 
Download to any system and make it available to a DOS system. You may wish to try DOSBox, it appears to work well with a number of DOS based RSS applications on Windows XP/7. You should read the DOSBox wiki (see the link on the DOSBox page) before you start.

Nick


If you find this site helpful, please try to upload something new (radio programming software or manuals/circuit diagrams etc.) and make someone else happy too. Please consider donating and help pay the bills, thank you.
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I have Win7 and have downloaded DOSBOX in order to use some of the programming software that require DOS. When I try to install the software I still get the message that it cannot be installed on my system. What am I doing wrong?
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ldanf52 said

I have Win7 and have downloaded DOSBOX in order to use some of the programming software that require DOS. When I try to install the software I still get the message that it cannot be installed on my system. What am I doing wrong?
Are you installing as 'Administrator'? I assume you are having trouble with DOSBox not the RSS.

If the issue is with an RSS, please let me know which one. Most DOS based RSS's have a read-me file to assist installation within the ZIP.

Some RSS packages are divided into folders that represent floppy discs. If that is the case try copying all of the files into one directory on your HD and try again.

Come back here or better still, make a comment in the appropriate RSS download section and we'll do our best to assist.

Nick


If you find this site helpful, please try to upload something new (radio programming software or manuals/circuit diagrams etc.) and make someone else happy too. Please consider donating and help pay the bills, thank you.
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I am new to radio programming. I have had a tk 730h and had a kenwood dealer program it years ago. well I recently got it out and started using it as I joined a volunteer fire dept. I have tried dos box with no luck communicating. I have the correct driver installed and chose com 1 port. I tried to program one of the departments 760h also with no luck. I wound up just buying a tk790 and was able to program it. also I programmed a 7180. I know the cable is good because I used the same cable to program the 7180 as I was trying to use for the 730 and 760. the 790 takes a different cable. is there anything that I might be missing? I really want to be able to program the old 730.
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Hatter36 said

I am new to radio programming. I have had a tk 730h and had a kenwood dealer program it years ago. well I recently got it out and started using it as I joined a volunteer fire dept. I have tried dos box with no luck communicating. I have the correct driver installed and chose com 1 port. I tried to program one of the departments 760h also with no luck. I wound up just buying a tk790 and was able to program it. also I programmed a 7180. I know the cable is good because I used the same cable to program the 7180 as I was trying to use for the 730 and 760. the 790 takes a different cable. is there anything that I might be missing? I really want to be able to program the old 730.

Hi Hatter36,

Are you using a REAL RS232 COM port or a USB device? The USB version is not suitable for DOS as DOS didn't know about it back-in-the-day. :P

DOSBox should work for you as is slows down the processor so I suspect it's a cabling issue.

If the above assumption is correct and you do have a real RS232 port on one of your PC's let me know and I'll try and find the schematic to make an RS232 RIB.

Nick


If you find this site helpful, please try to upload something new (radio programming software or manuals/circuit diagrams etc.) and make someone else happy too. Please consider donating and help pay the bills, thank you.
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I have a usb to telephone jack plug. I have read that it would work with dosbox. I have windows 8.1 on my computer. my first guess was it was a faulty cable. I contacted the person I purchased it from off ebay and he sent me another one. It had the same effect. then yesterday I was able to use that cable to program a tk 7180 so I know the cable works. I now feel its an issue with my dosbox. I might not have it programmed correctly. im out of options. I tried the same cable with three radios. 2 out of three didn't work. but the one with software for windows did work.
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Hatter36 said

I have a usb to telephone jack plug. I have read that it would work with dosbox. I have windows 8.1 on my computer. my first guess was it was a faulty cable. I contacted the person I purchased it from off ebay and he sent me another one. It had the same effect. then yesterday I was able to use that cable to program a tk 7180 so I know the cable works. I now feel its an issue with my dosbox. I might not have it programmed correctly. im out of options. I tried the same cable with three radios. 2 out of three didn't work. but the one with software for windows did work.
Hi Hatter36,

Despite being told it would work (please post a link to such a statement) USB serial cables do not normally use the address 3F8 (com1) or 2F8 (Com2) but emulate them via a Windows driver (which are never loaded into a DOS environment) so I'm not sure what you are attempting, will actually work. If someone knows better, please let us know.

DOS loads device drivers via config.sys, have you installed/loaded such a driver for your USB cable?

Nick


If you find this site helpful, please try to upload something new (radio programming software or manuals/circuit diagrams etc.) and make someone else happy too. Please consider donating and help pay the bills, thank you.
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Sometimes the simple solutions present themselves. When I first began to program Kenwood Radios TK752 and TK709, I found that the program refused to cooperate.  I was using a serial cable to an RJ12 prgramming plug. Quite by accident I discovered that the RTS was not connected to the CTS, pin 7 to pin 8 on the serial plug, so I introduces a small wire into the socket to join these pins together and Her Presto I began to program without difficuties.
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F5VMR said

Sometimes the simple solutions present themselves. When I first began to program Kenwood Radios TK752 and TK709, I found that the program refused to cooperate.  I was using a serial cable to an RJ12 prgramming plug. Quite by accident I discovered that the RTS was not connected to the CTS, pin 7 to pin 8 on the serial plug, so I introduces a small wire into the socket to join these pins together and Her Presto I began to program without difficuties.
This point emphasises the issue with old DOS RSS's, they do not incorporate proper flow control in the software and rely on pumping the data at the same speed as the radio can suck it up.

I'm assuming #F5VMR that you refer to a serial cable with some sort of voltage level changer involved eg. MAX232 or transistor barrier. I mention this in case someone else reads this…

Whilst a CMOS interface at the radio end could take the 12 volts presented by a PC serial port (albeit risky), a TTL interface couldn't. This article explains it well.

That said, joining RTS & CTS is a common method of spoofing hardware flow control.

Finally, we do have the diagram for the KPG-4 programming cable which I believe is correct for you TK-730. You could make this for a few coins and solve your problem.

Nick

 


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very well said :)
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CarlosTech said

very well said :)
Thanks Carlos  :thumbs:


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Another option that I've used with some success is a little program called "Rufus"

It allows you to create a bootable USB stick that runs dos purely. As long as your computer can boot from USB, it can boot the DOS.

As a side benefit, the USB is formatted as FAT32, so it's perfectly readable under Windows XP through to Windows 10, as well as pretty much every other OS out there.

Find a reasonably old-ish computer (I'm using a desktop I found in a dumpster dive) with a serial port and see if it'll boot from USB. Most times, if it's able, you'll get a prompt to hit F8 or something for the boot selection window, sometimes called the BBS.

Using my little USB stick, I'm able to jump into DOS whenever I need to, so I'm easily able to use the Dos versions of RSS if I need to.
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try to search in google
dosbox megabuild
dosbox that supports serial port

Serial FIFO support and logging capability enabled
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some good positive solutions
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Some of the older software that you run on dosbox for example for the motorola ht1000's adjusting the emulated cpu speed down a couple notches will help out alot.  this can be done by crtl f11

You can also tie dosbox to comports via editing the dosbox options file and adding the following.

[serial]
serial1=directserial realport:com1
serial2=disabled
serial3=disabled
serial4=disabled

I was able to get dosbox to work with usb to serial adapters as well when tweaking the cpu speed
however the best way is to get a older system or toughbook that has serial ports standard.
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K8OVM said

Some of the older software that you run on dosbox for example for the motorola ht1000's adjusting the emulated cpu speed down a couple notches will help out alot.  this can be done by crtl f11

You can also tie dosbox to comports via editing the dosbox options file and adding the following.

[serial]
serial1=directserial realport:com1
serial2=disabled
serial3=disabled
serial4=disabled

I was able to get dosbox to work with usb to serial adapters as well when tweaking the cpu speed
however the best way is to get a older system or toughbook that has serial ports standard.
I started a DosBox Wiki on Aurora a while back which may be useful.

Aurora DosBox Wiki

Expansion of the Wiki by any member would be both welcome and very much appreciated if anyone has the time.

Nick




If you find this site helpful, please try to upload something new (radio programming software or manuals/circuit diagrams etc.) and make someone else happy too. Please consider donating and help pay the bills, thank you.
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