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comp.sys.palmtops HP100LX Frequently Asked Questions
Section - 11. Modems & Telecommunications

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Q: What's a good modem?
A: Just about any pocket modem or PCMCIA modem.  A full-sized
external modem will work fine too, but of course it's not as
portable.  Specific features such as size, modulations and protocols
supported, cellular phone support, power drain, and others vary

Q: Should I get a PCMCIA modem or an external one?
A: Advantages to PCMCIA -- Cleaner cable setup, uses same power
supply as HP100/200, smaller overall package.  Advantages to external
-- allows use of RAM card and modem simultaneously, doesn't drain
HP100/200 batteries.

While a pocket modem typically draws power from a battery or from an
AC power supply, a PCMCIA modem draws all power from the palmtop.
Most PCMCIA modems are designed to work on larger machines with
plenty of battery power so most modems also consume as much or more
power than the HP-100/200LX.  This drain can occur whether the modem
is in use or not, consequently battery life is much shorter, as
little as 15 minutes.  Use of an AC adapter is usually recommended.

Since there's only one PCMCIA slot, it can either hold a modem or a
SRAM/Flash card, but not both (but see next question).  So a PCMCIA
modem can only transfer data to and from the internal RAM drive of
the machine.

Q: How can I get a both a modem and flash card into one PCMCIA slot?
A: There are two companies which make combination modem/flash cards,
which combine a modem and a flash card into a single PCMCIA card. The
vendors are Smart Modular Technologies (510 623-1251)
<>, and EXP Computers (800 EXP-6922).  The cards are
specifically designed for the HP palmtop computers.  Both cards are
reviewed in the Jan/Feb 1995 Palmtop Paper.

Q: What cable do I use for an external modem?
A: The HP cable will work, but you'll have to use a gender
changer/null modem adapter.  See the description of the connectivity
pack elsewhere in this FAQ.  Or you can make your own cable.

Q: Why is my modem so slow?
A: The System Manager slows down the serial port.  The DataComm
application is even slower, at least on the 100LX.  Together they are
really slow.  The solution is to not use either, although using any
other communications software under the System Manager is better than
using DataComm. MS-Kermit (various version from 60KB to 300KB),
Procomm, Telix, and others are reported to work.  See the
minimal-software-list for details.

Interestingly enough, the built-in DataComm application seems to be
reasonably fast when doing file transfer, it's only when used
as a terminal that it becomes painfully slow.

The 200LX does not suffer from the slow screen update bug on the
built-in DataComm application.

Q: How can I read Usenet and mail offline with the 100/200LX?  
A: There's almost nothing special about the 100/200LX in this regard;
it's just like any other DOS PC.  Check out the newsgroup
alt.usenet.offline-reader.  Their FAQ may be found at


If you want to ask questions over there (AFTER reading their FAQ),
just tell them that your HP is an IBM PC-XT compatible running DOS
5.0 with CGA.

People have reported success using a UQWK/YARN combination to transfer
mail and news via SOUP.

The one area where the 100/200LX is unique is that it has cc:Mail in
ROM.  There is a program to allow you to use the cc:Mail software to
read/write Unix mail using uqwk(1) on the unix host.  Look for on (last seen in the /pub/hp95lx/inbound
directory, but probably soon to be moved).  Free registration for
personal use.

Q: What's a good fax program?
A: There are several good fax programs available that will run on
MS-DOS with CGA.  Your modem may have come with one.  Users have
reported success with the following, but there are probably more.

1. SSFAXER: Shareware on  Must register in order to
   receive faxes
2. BGFAX: Available at 
3. There's a free demo package from TurboPower software that contains
   a small toolkit for sending and receiving faxes.  Can send faxes from
   PCX, TIF, TXT formats.  But fax viewer software only supports VGA, hence
   viewer won't run on palmtop.  This package is actually a demo of
   their Pascal/C++ communications toolkit.  Available at
4. ACEFAX contact info unknown.

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Top Document: comp.sys.palmtops HP100LX Frequently Asked Questions
Previous Document: 10. Programming the 100/200LX
Next Document: 12. Connectivity to desktop computers and other devices

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM