Asus Eee PC 701 for the radio amateur

 

Asus Eee PC 701(Also available in white)

The ASUS eee PC – a tiny full featured laptop
When I first saw a review of the eee PC it immediately occurred to me that this would make an ideal machine for digital mode use both portable and on holiday.

There were two stumbling blocks to perfection from my point of view..

Tiny 7 inch 800×480 screen
There is no way the screen can be changed short of using an external monitor which would negate the one big advantage this machine does have – its size. I have found in practice that it is perfectly usable if not ideal.

Customised Xandros Linux operating system
The supplied operating system could maybe be tailored to run some ham programs but by far the easiest option is to replace it with something more suitable. A recovery DVD is supplied with the machine to restore back to the manufacturers defaults so there is no need to back it up before this change. The machine comes with drivers for Windows XP and is reported to run it quite well. I was dubious of its likely performance running Windows so I decided to install Ubuntu Linux instead. This was a big adventure for me as I had virtually no prior knowledge of linux. Fortunately I know a man who can – my son M0XDK but I’ve had to make surprisingly few calls on him as the web is full of help and advice.

Specifications for the 4G model (701)
Display: 7inch WVGA (800×480) TFT-LCD with LED backlight
Processor: 900MHz Intel Celeron M ULV 353 – FSB is 70 MHz with latest BIOS cutting this to 630MHz
Chipset: Mobile Intel 910GML Express
Graphics: Intel GMA 900 (integrated) with external VGA-out connector
Memory: 512MB single-cha
nnel DDR2-400 (PC2-3200) SDRAM (upgrading will void the warranty)
Storage: 4GB SSD (non-upgradeable as it is soldered to the mainboard)
BIOS: American Megatrends, Inc. (AMI)
OS: Customized Xandros Linux with Easy Mode and Desktop Mode
Wired communications: 10/100 Mbps Ethernet (Atheros L2)
Wireless communications: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi mini PCI express card: Atheros AR5BXB63
Ports: 3 USB 2.0, MMC(plus)/SD(HC) card reader, microphone and headphone
Webcam: VGA (640×480) @ up to 30 fps
Audio: 5.1 channel High Definition Audio (Realtek ALC66218); built-in stereo speakers and built-in microphone
Battery life: 3.5 hours (4-cell Li-ion: 7.4V, 5200mAh, 2S2P
Dimensions: 22.5 x 16.4 x 2.15 – 3.5 cm (8.86 x 6.46 x 0.846 – 1.4 in)
Weight: 0.92 kg (2.0 lbs)
Colors: Pearl White or Galaxy Black
Price: About £220 – may be discounted later

A 9.5v 2.5A mains power suppy / recharger is supplied. I don’t see any suitable car adaptors offered – maybe a cheap inverter would work but I suspect using one may generate too much hash to permit HF operation while running.