This document describes
features and the basic installation procedure for the PC/FlexNet for WIndows95
Add On Package.
A good while ago, in April 1996 at the Packet Radio Conference in Darmstadt
a first implementation of FlexNet for Windows 95 was introduced. In the
first euphoria it was promised to have the whole package available no later
than the HAM RADIO-Conference. Unfortunately, many details had to be worked
out until a reliable solution could be found.
The draft, which finally is based on the Alphatest-stage is assembled
as in the following: The FlexNet modules (kernel and driver) are still
available as DOS-Versions, which means they still run under DOS. Therefore
the istallation method remains the same for the time being.
The program has to be installed under DOS, before starting Windows.
However, all modules can adjust to the new conditions after starting Windows.
Especially the Interrupt-Routines of the drivers are now "dual mode"
which means, depending on the machine's condition, they are executed in
Real- or Protected Mode, supported by a 32bit-virtual driver (VxD). Therefore
the same performance as under DOS was obtained, concerning the interrupt
latency. Basically, the drivers are compatible to the 3.3e-versions, which
means they can be mixed. The desired performance under Windows can only
be achieved with the new drivers.
If using a DOS-installation, an update is also recommended. Aside from
the Windows support the kernel itself had only one change - 1 letter. It
now has the number 3.3f.
Upgrading to PC/Flexnet V 3.3f
Attention should be paid to the following: The following files have
to be replaced by newer versions:
This means, these modules can not be mixed with the 3.3e-versions. A
final 3.3f version of FLEXDIGI is not available yet. Due to the fact that
the use of Windows on a node is not advisable, there are no special priorities
for that. Digipeaters should run the 3.3e-version.
Important changes concerning the Ethernet support are:
The previous drivers (IPXN, IPXD, IPPD and ETHER) do not work under
Windows 95. The Ethernet cards are administred by Windows and therefore
must be installed under Windows. Of course IPX and AXIP still work (only
UDP until now) but a new driver called ETHER32 is needed.
Not all drivers have been adjusted to the Windows environment yet. USCC
will work soon, the tests are not completed yet.
Installation of PC/FlexNet V3.3f under Windows 95
The title says it all:
FlexNet is not intended to be used under older Windows-versions.
All higher functions are carried out in 32bit-modules. If Windows 3.1
is used, FLEXNET.VXD may not be installed in the FlexNet-directory, as
this may lead to problems.
Before installing FlexNet, the Windows hardware manager should be checked.
The necessary resources for the FlexNet drivers (i. e. COM- and LPT-ports)
should not show any conflicts. Any installed printers or modems will be
disconnected by FlexNet anyway, this means, they should be deinstalled
from the begin with. Basically the system has to run stable and the hardware
manager should not show any problems before installing FlexNet, otherwise
the results are unpredictable - you should not expect a more stable system
after installing the package.
The installation of the basic modules (kernel and hardware drivers)
is the same as in DOS:
- All needed modules are copied into the FlexNet directory. It is important
that the new flexnet drivers are there, too!
- A batch file (e.g. LOADFLEX.BAT) has to be created, which
loads the modules with the parameters needed. This file is loaded with
"CALL LOADFLEX.BAT". Of course everything can be copied
into the AUTOEXEC.BAT as well.
- The PATH environment variable has to show the FlexNet directory.
- The new modules "FLEXNET.VXD", "FLEXCTL.EXE"
and the ".DLL" also have to be found in the FlexNet
directory. They are referred to automatically.
- MSVCRT.DLL may be copied into the Windows system directory
After the modules are sorted, the system should be booted into DOS (not
in a DOS-Box under Windows!!). After loading a terminal program (e.g. BCT)
everything should run as usual. If not, then it is advisable to find the
error now, otherwise the start of Windows is useless.
If everything works well, Windows can be booted. After the GUI has been
activated, the FlexNet-Logo shows up for a few seconds, offering a menu.
If an error is reported instead or additionally, fix it and try again.
The taskbar should show the FlexNet logo. When clicking on it, a small
menu with various modules is opened. These modules should be self-explanetory.
They were not build to win a beauty-contest, they just offer some basic
If everything is working well so far, applications can be started. Any
DOS application (e.g. a terminal program) should be run in its own DOS-Box.
It is a good idea to use a Windows "shortcut" for this and put
an icon on the desktop. Many DOS programs need the WA8DED hostmode compatibility
driver "TFEMU" to access the Flexnet Kernel. It has
to be called individually in the respective DOS box. So the easiest way
would be a batch file which first loads TFEMU and afterwards starts
the program. Again a Windows "shortcut" is the easiest way to
conveniently start the batch file.
32bit applications are under development by several authors, so wait
for many interesting new applications to be available in the near future.
Important: the applications have to use different MYCALLs (or
SSIDs)! Otherwise there may be conflicts in the outgoing QSOs. For incoming
QSOs it would be undefined which application will get it.
The trace mode (monitor) is still quite limited. Only one application
can use trace mode, all other applications should have trace disabled.
Here an improvement is under development which will be introduced together
with the 32bit version of the PC/Flexnet package.
Due to the fact that the network-cards are administred by Windows using
32 bit drivers, an access by the old packet drivers is not possible. Therefore
a special driver called ETHER32 was created which is installed as a normal
FlexNet-driver for the desired number of channels, after installing the
required protocols (IPX and/or TCP/IP for AXIP) under Windows. More information
can be found in the corresponding Microsoft documents. For IPX, the frame
type has to be set to "Ethernet II". At least here the "AUTO"
setting was not working. The Ethernet channels are only available after
The command line parameters for ETHER32 are described in ETHER32.DOC.
The protocol type for every channel is entered; for AXIP_UDP additionally
the IP destination is needed.
After starting Windows, the parameters can be checked or changed using
"ETH32CFG". This can be done in a DOS box under Windows.
The corresponding Windows sockets (WSOCK32) are needed for communication
with the Ethernet. The own IP address and other parameters are entered
in the network configuration (control panel).
The corresponding link to the Windows networking kernel is internally
carried out by several modules: FLEXNET.VXD, FLXAP32.DLL
and FLEXCTL.EXE. They are loaded automatically, the "FlexNet
Control Center" performs as a helper application to link the modules.
If you are familiar with PC/FlexNet for DOS, the update does not hold
any surprises. Simply copy all the modules into the FlexNet directory and
start with your old batch file. The only exception is Ethernet (and HB9JNX's
As a beginner, first read the documents attached to the modules. It
is necessary to boot DOS first and test the package. Only if everything
runs without errors, Windows should be booted, and new features can be
explored. This includes the TCP/IP-support. Then the Ethernet driver may
be installed if needed. If following this order, possible problems can
be pinpointed easier. If the whole package is installed at once it may
be hard to find the source of a problem.
73' and have fun with all the new stuff