Paperclip CW and Laptop Rescue

Sending CW...

Well, long time since an entry, and I have to attribute the inspiration/motivation to write this one to N2QDK, Mike Wren for giving me the idea to write this entry (ok, he told me to write it..) Anyhow, this weekend was the CW Sweepstakes, a contest on the radio using CW (Morse-code, for those non-radio types). Now, I’m of the newer generation of hams, who didn’t require a morse code test to get their license, but nevertheless, I have been attempting to learn my code. This weekend, Paul Mackanos, K2DB, was operating from his station in the Adirondacks, K2NNY, and he encouraged the members of a local club, the Rochester DX Association (which I am a member of..) to contact him. So, feeling lucky, I decided to try and make a contact with Morse code with him. Without a Morse code key.

At this point, I’m sure you’re thoroughly confused, and it’s ok, you should be. But, ingenious as I am, I decided to make my own, using a paperclip and a 1/4inch mono cable (actually, my sister’s instrument cable.. shhh..). It actually worked alright, and I was able to send a relatively clean rendition of my callsign. Now, receiving.. that was a different ordeal. I am horrible at copying at the speeds that Paul was operating at (or copying at all) so I tried to use CW decoding software on the computer. I was able to decode a few of his exchanges, but a good deal of it was garbled, unfortunately, due to machine error. If I knew the code, I definitely would have been able to copy him, as he had a perfectly fine signal. So, I threw my call out there, hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the poor accuracy of the CW decoding software hindered my means of telling whether he actually heard me or not. Oh well, it was fun!

Toshiba Satellite Laptop BIOS Reset

Now, in other news, I was given an ooold Toshiba laptop by Irv, AF2K, to fix, last weekend. He said, “It starts up with a [BIOS] password prompt, and won’t do anything more.” I figured, ok, I’ll open it up and use the reset jumper. “Well, one of the screws is stripped..,” he says. So, to Google I go, searching for a way to get in: backdoor passwords, special keystrokes, floppy images.. nothing of that sort. Finally, I stumbled upon a website that described a special “dongle” that shorted some pins on the parallel port, bypassing the password and putting you in the BIOS setup. So, off I went, constructing what you see above to the instructions below.

Short pins: (1,5,10) (2,11) (3,17) (4,12) (6,16) (7,13) (8,14) & (9,15)

When I was done, I checked the shorted pins for continuity, plugged it in, crossed my fingers… and voila! I was in the BIOS setup! I cleared the password, and booted up to the strangely beautiful sight of Windows XP. Irv had been telling me, “I doubt you can fix it, I’ve had so many other guys look at it, try and get it to work, but to no avail.” I call him, “When would you like to come pick up your laptop?” Needless to say, he was stunned.

That’s all for now, folks.. come back next time!

4 Responses to “Paperclip CW and Laptop Rescue”

  1. WB2SXY Bill Kasperkoski Says:

    I have an old Toshiba laptop that my son
    put a password on and then forgot it –
    can I borrow the dongle you made ??
    tnx Bill K 381-6553

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