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tons. The field at the top of the box is where the desired connection gets specified. This can include digipeaters, and the line is specified in the traditional fashion:

N1EWO V AA9FP, EOC, BED (for example)

This is just as a command line would work, but with PPWIN you need only type the connect string once. At that point you can press the Add button, which will add the string to the list box, from which you can select the connection in the future. A companion Delete button allows removal of any strings from the list The dialog also Includes a Disconnect button, should you want to close an existing connection or one in the process of being made. The other three buttons include the usual Close, OKt and Help buttons.

The Help button, as the Heip menu option and any other help button in another dialog, launches the standard Windows online help system containing the entire manual for PPWIN, as well as a complete listing of AEA controller settings. This is a great feature! Pressing a help button in any dialog produces instant context-sensitive advice—no scrounging through manual pages. As is usual with Windows help, you can search the text for keywords allowing quick and easy access to the information— this feature alone would have value as a separate product.

A companion Disconnect button is located just beiow the connect button on the main button bar for easy access.

File Transfer

The File Transfer button features a file folder with "XFER" on its side—pretty easy to locate. This button makes moving files

Figure 2, MHEARD dialog boxl between stations a snap, and not just text but binary (program, data, etc.) files, too. Pressing the burton produces a dialog box with several buttons and a list box. A nice feature of PPWINJs file transfer capability is background operation. It is possible to start a file transfer—ASCII or binary—and switch to a different virtual channel to carry on a conversation. This is very convenient, given the relative slow transfer rate of most packet operations.

As with the Connect dialog box, PPWIN maintains a list of file names which can be added to, deleted from, or selected from the list box. Radio buttons—mutually exclusive push-buttons—select send or receive binary, or ASCII transfer modes.

Capture

Text capture, too, is just a button press away—indicated by a right-pointing arrow aimed at a floppy disk. This button produces a simple dialog box with a place to type in a file name (the default name is specified in the configuration menu), a Find button which allows browsing for a specific file, and a pair of radio buttons that select overwrite or append modes.

Printing

A Print button turns on and off capture to the printer. As with all Windows applications, printer setup is on the File menu.

MHEARD List

A button sporting a small ear produces the Channel Status and MHEARD Listing dialog box. This list serves two purposes. First, it shows recently heard stations—just as you'd expect. The surprise is that each entry on the list forms a push-button; push ing it—plus OK or Enter—will automatically connect you to that station. This is a great feature—no more scribbling down the info so you can try to connect to a new station that shows up on the iist.

This dialog also shows a list of all virtual packet channels, and whether they are currently connected. As with the MHEARD list, selecting a channel from the list allows you to switch directly to that channel.

Maiidrop

The Maiidrop button makes maintenance easy. Pressing the button, marked with an addressed envelope, invokes the maiidrop dialog. This dialog offers a list of incoming messages at the top—a double click will read the message Into a pane just below where it can be scrolled using standard Windows scroll controls. Once the message is read, push-buttons offer several options:

Save Message—An editable field specifies the file name, a press of the Save Msg button writes the current message to that file.

Kill Message—The Kill button deletes the message from the Maiidrop, just like typing kill (message number} at the command line.

Edit Message—This button invokes a small dialog which allows the editing of various message parameters and status-Three edit boxes offer the From, To, and BBS addresses for editing. Six radio buttons set Private, Traffic, and Bulletin status—as well as Reverse Forward, Read, and Not Read.

A dialog built into the bottom of the Maildrop dialog allows the composition of a message. Fields for Subject and Callsign specify message parameters. The text is typed into a pane below and edited, or a filename can be specified or browsed as the message.

Macros

PPWiN has so many useful features that I find myself wanting to say, "This is a great feature!" over and over So, at the risk of repetition—this is a great feature. Macros are used by PPWIN in two basic ways. First, there are standard macros for various operating modes. In AMTOR, for exampie, there is a CQ-AMTOR macro which you edit to contain your personal CQ text. The other type of macro is one you can choose from a listbox by pressing the Macro button from the main bar.

This dialog lets you create your own macros, which can be used to send special text and to control some controller functions, This is not the intention of the macros, unfortunately. To accomplish this, the function that you are interested in must have a keyboard shortcut and you musl use a separate editor to get that shortcut as text. As an example, CTRL+F, in AMTOR mode, stops transmitting and sends a Morse idl to include this in a macro, several steps are required:

1. Launch Windows Write—the Microsoft-supplied word processor. PPWIN

actually makes this easy: It appears on the Tools menu of the main menu bar

2. While holding the ALT key downT type 06 on the numeric keypad—not the number row of the main keyboard. Then release ALT. CTRL+F has an ASCII value of 6; Windows needs the leading 0. A box wifi appear in the Write window. This Is a place holderfor an unprintable character.

3. Using the mouse, carefuily select just

"Another thing that PPWiN does to make a ham's tife easier is provide a way to easiiy set aii those parms that make or break your station."

the box. Using the copy option from Write s Edit menu, transfer the character to the Clipboard.

4. Return to PPWfN's macro edit Window and Paste the copied CTRL+F in—the SHtFT+INSERT key combo will do this.

You now have a CTRL+F in your macro. While this works, it's no fun. The next ver sion of PPWIN needs improvements to the macro capabilities.

All Those Pesky Parameters

On the main menu bar, the Parameters menu offers a way to set parms for each operating mode separately. Each choice provides a dialog with each parm available. Depending upon the nature of the parameter, it can be changed with a puslvbutton, a drop down list, or an editable field—and they are all right there in front of you. To top it off, help is just a button press away. This is not only a great way to set the parameters, but it's a great way to learn them, too.

As much as I have written about this product, there is more to it. There is a lot of depth to PPWIN, which is really designed to make operations easier, it is not wartfree, but it is, in my opinion, the best way to do digital ham radio I have ever seen, especially when teamed up with a PK-900 or DSP-2232 and their state-of-the-art capabilities. PPWIN will not be everything io everybody. but I can say that I feel a little sorry for those of you who don't own AEA hardware, since you need it to run (his great program. If you own a Windows-capable computer and an AEA TNC or controller you have to own PPWIN? Q

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