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G8BPQ Host Mode Emulator

This program (BPQHostModes.exe) enables software which expects to see a real TNC in either Kantronics or WA8DED Host Mode connected to a serial port to be used with the BPQ32 node. The software normally uses either the G8BPQ Virtual Serial Driver or the G8BPQ User Mode Virtual Serial Driver to create virtual COM ports, but can use "real" serial port pairs, either a pair of actual hardware ports connected with a crossover cable, or a third party Virtual COM emulator. This allows the use of BPQHostModes on systems which don't support BPQ Virtual COM ports, such running in Linux using WINE.

Programs written to use TheFirmware will probably work in DED mode.
RMS Express in Robust Packet mode can connect using DED mode.

Each connection supports up to 26 streams, but the total is limited by BPQ32 stream limit of 63.


Unless you are using real com ports, install one of the Virtual Serial Drivers mentioned above. Then decide which COM ports you want to be used by your applications. The Virtual Drivers allow any port in the range COM1 to COM255, but you must avoid any real COM ports you may have, along with any other virtual ports (such as USB and Bluetooth Ports). Also check that the program you want to use to connect to BPQ32 supports the chosen ports. Most modern software allows the full range, but older stuff may limit you to COM1-COM9 or even COM1-COM4.

Then run BPQHostModes.

BPQHostModes Dialog

If you aren't using BPQ Virtual COM ports, check "Use Real Com Ports"
Click "Add Entry" to create the number of Ports that you need.

BPQHostModes Dialog

If using the Kernal Mode driver, the program will create the Ports if they do not already exist, and deletes any created ports on exit, but it will usually be better to create the ports you need before running the program. Some applications get confused if the serial ports they are using disappear!

Select Either Kant or DED mode as needed.

The number of streams you need will depend on the application. As far as I can see, Winlink Classic(DED mode) only uses one, but Airmail and WinPack can use up to 10.

The Applmask parameter is only needed if you want to accept connects from users. It is not needed if you only connect to other stations.

Enter the port numbers, Appl Mask Streams and Mode values you want. If you want the session to the node to be closed if a connect fails, set a suitable time in the "Close after connect fail delay" box. This may be needed if the application does not recognise the node's failure message (eg with Airmail). Click the "Save Settings" button, then close and restart the program.


You can now start the application(s) you want to use.
The Tick Box to the left of the BPQHostModes display should be selected as soon as the program connects to the COM port.

DED mode only supports Host mode. Kantronics mode is primarily intended for operating in Host Mode, but does support a limited Terminal Mode facility. It accepts INTFACE HOST and RESET commands for switching to Host Mode, and an extra Command, "K" to connect to the BPQ32 Node Command Handler. The DCD checkbox should activate when you are connected to the Node in Terminal Mode. Airmail's "Dumb Terminal" can be used in this mode.

Tested sofware

I have tested the following programs:


Uses Kantronics Mode. I defined two ports, one for use with the Packet Client and the other for the Packet Server. The first only needs one stream, and no ApplMask. The Server supports up to 10 streams, and needs an appropriate ApplMack


Uses Kantronics Mode. Needs one stream, and no ApplMask

RMS Express (in Robust Packet Mode)

Uses DED Mode. It needs one stream.

Winlink Classic

Uses DED Mode. It needs one stream, and an appropriate ApplMask. You can run more than one copy of Packet if you wish (create a COM port for each).


Uses DED Mode. Select TF2.7B Mode in Comms Config. If you want to use the Multichannel Terminal mode, you must define a stream for each channel you want to use (up to 10). Set an ApplMask if you want users to connect to you. I recommend you create a shortcut, and set "Run in separate memory space", or you may get Comms Errors when other 16 bit programs are running.

RMS Packet

This works (in Kantronics Mode) , but runs very slowly, and I suggest you use the native BPQ32 mode instead, or better still use the CMS Option of Telnet for connections to WL2K.

John Wiseman G8BPQ
December 2008
Updated April 2012