APRS Messenger and GPS


The announcement for the latest version of APRS Messenger (3.54) mentioned something about fixing GPS problems.

I'm not sure what GPS problems were addressed, but in my case, at least, the GPS issues have not been resolved. There is something "broken" since ver 3.53 that prevents APRS Messenger from seeing virtual COM ports created by serial port splitters.  These utilities are are used to allow a GPS device to be used by more than one application at the same time.  In my case, this is using two instances of UIvew (one for VHF and one for HF), APRS Messenger and MapPoint from a single GPS source.  

These splitter tools work by using a single physical port (either an actual RS-232 port, or a serial-over-USB com port driver), and then distributing the GPS data stream to multiple virtual COM ports that multiple applications can connect to simultaneously.

I have now spent most of the last two days testing various serial port split tools on a Panasonic Toughbook CF-51 (my main mobile platform). This machine is a dual-core 32-bit CPU running  Windows7-32 Home Premium.    I have tested THREE different splitter utilities:    "X-Port", "Franson GPS Gate" and Eterlogic's "VSPE" (Virtual Serial Port Emulator).

All three split tools work with every source port and every program I have tested, with the exception of APRS Messenger 3.5x. This  includes UIview32, APRSpoint, MapPoint, Delorme Street Atlas, Topo North America, Precision Mapping 9.0, Visual GPS and GPSview.   APRS Messenger, since ver 3.53, refuses to see virtual COM ports from ANY of these splitters.  Earlier versions of Messenger worked perfectly with all these split tools. 

Messenger 3.5x will "see" com ports directly from physical RS232 ports, from FTDI serial-over-USB dongles, from Prolific PL2302 serial-over-USB dongles, from Silicon Labs serial-over-USB dongles, the driver from the GlobalSat Compact-Flash/PCMCIA GPS card, etc.    All other applications tested will see these ports, either directly, or via any of the split tools. 

Only Messenger 3.5x refuses to see the ports produced by the splitter tools.    What has changed since 3.53 ???

Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at)
Skype:        WA8LMF
EchoLink:  Node #  14400  [Think bottom of the 2-meter band]
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