Apartment Ham Shack Upgrade!

In my last post, I showed off the beginnings of a new shack here in my 3rd floor apartment that I moved into recently. Well, I’ve made a few upgrades that I wanted to show off. The biggest one was returning that small Anytone mobile and replacing it with a Yaesu FTM-7250DR 50 Watt Dual-Bander. It’s a very nice rig and supports Yaesu’s digital C4FM/Fusion digital mode. It took awhile to actually find one of these in stock due to all the COVID19-related shortages we’ve all been dealing with.

The other thing I did was setup my SiriusXM Satellite Radio desktop receiver along with my outdoor weatherproof satellite antenna that I mounted just below my Diamond vertical antenna on the fire escape. I routed the coax for both antennas underneath the fire escape for safety reasons and neatly ran them along the edges of the room to the back of my desk. It came out pretty good! Check out the video below for a quick walkthrough of my new setup. 😄

Updated Coco Chip Tunes Player To Version 1.3!

Hey all, so I just put together a new version of my OPL2/OPL3 FM synth chiptune player for NitrOS-9. I’ve heard a few people asking why my player requires the CoCo to be locked/frozen during playback, and the reason is this. Despite the fact that it is not ACTUALLY playing sampled audio, the VGM file format still structures the soundchip data according to the same sort of timing that regular sampled audio uses. This means that every CPU cycle is still significant and I need carefully crafted timing loops to play it accurately. I did look into ways to get around this and allow for OS9 multitasking to continue, but I just can’t think of a viable way. It would be no problem if it was custom music written specifically to run on CoCo hardware, but converting a VGM into a multitasking-friendly format would be very difficult. Soooo instead, I had an idea on how to make the player able to stop playback at anytime. To do this, I squeezed a few instructions to poll the keyboard for the BREAK key into my main timing loop and adjusted my cycle counts, and voila, you can now interrupt the “frozen” CoCo whenever you want and resume your NitrOS-9 shenanigans! 😀 An unexpected feature of this, is that for playlists, you can essentially skip a song whenever you want and move on to the next one immediately without having to wait for the current song to finish playing. Anyways, below the video is a link to a zip file containing my updated player and a few disk images that include some sample music for you to play with. (Pun INTENDED) 😛 Have fun!

CoCo Chiptunes Player v1.3 For NitrOS-9

New Weather App “CoCo WX v1.0” is Released!

So ever since I discovered DriveWire’s ability to let you make TCP connections via serial port, I’ve been trying to dream up “apps” to bring the CoCo into the Internet Age. I’m still putting the finishing touches on my upcoming IRC chat client, but in the meantime, I wrote CoCo WX which is a simple command line program that leverages the awesome live-weather data site to grab current condition info for nearly any city in the world. I’m a bit of a weather geek (see the posts I’ve made about my own weather station for proof), so I thought it would be a useful and fun little tool to make. As usual, if you’d like to give it a try yourself, the link to download the program and source code will be below!

CoCo WX v1.0 Download

The Release of DOSFORMAT for NitrOS-9!

While there are readily available tools for copying files to/from a DOS-compatible floppy disk with OS-9, there aren’t alot of options to FORMAT a raw/blank/non-dos 3.5 inch DS DD disk for use with DOS/Windows machines. There is a suite of 3rd party modules that can do it and more, but they are a pain to setup and some of the modules are hard to track down. Sooo I made this. 😀 I called it DOSFORMAT because MSFORMAT was already taken. 🙁 It doesn’t depend on ANY 3rd party solutions and works with any standard NitrOS-9 install (including Ease Of Use editions). Currently, it only supports 3.5 inch Double-Sided Double-Density disks (720K), but I’d like to add support for 5.25 disks too when I get some kind of device that lets me hook one of them up to my PC for testing. Below is a download link to a zip file which contains the DOSFORMAT command program and the source code (messy as it is). Feel free to play around with it and let me know you think. My contact info is over HERE. I hope you find it useful, or just neat to play with. Enjoy!

Download Link:

SysInfo: My New Tool For CoCo 3 Hardware Detection

I had some inspiration the other day when a friend showed me a linux script called “Neofetch” that collects information about your system and then displays it in the terminal in a snazzy way. I thought it would be cool to be able to do something similar on the CoCo 3, and so I started looking into it. I know there have been other programs written that detect which version of GIME you have, or how much RAM is in the system, but I wanted to combine all those ideas into one program for fun. In addition, this tool I wrote also tries to figure out what Disk ROM variant you are using by doing a checksum on it. If it doesn’t recognize the value, it will just print the 3 byte checksum value in hex instead. I would love it to be able recognize as many ROMs as possible, so please send me an email with the unknown values it gives you and the type of ROM you are using so I can add it to the database for future versions. 🙂

I had tons of fun writing this and a huge thanks to everyone who helped me puzzle out how to implement this stuff, especially the people I mention in the credits of the program 😁 I’m sure there will be some bugs and auto-detection is a tricky process, so please let me know if it gets things wrong so I can try and correct it. Unfortunately for the time being, it is a CoCo 3 only program though I do have plans to support CoCo 1 and 2 in the future! You can watch a demo video of my program in action below. If you want to try it out for yourself, there will be a download link as well. Just extract the DSK image from the zip file, mount it (or write it to your favorite storage medium) and then type LOADM”SYSINFO” and EXEC it. (UPDATE: For the new version 1.2, use LOADM”SYSNFO12″ instead). Have fun!

Download Links:

Download SysInfo v1.0 (Original)
Download SysInfo v1.2