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Hardware: Telecom/Network
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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne


Power, simplicity and flexibility are the requirements of a good Spectrum modem/comms package combination, and the Tandata QMod modem and Spectre Communications software offers all the facilities you need to log on to Viewdata and bulletin board systems with 75/1200 baud compatability.

The software is activiated on power-up but you can drop back into Spectre's main menu. This gives access to a viewdata terminal mode, Save/Print frame facilities, a mailbox edi- tor, a telesoftware downloader and a scrolling bulletin board utility.

Logging on is as simple as using a VTX-5000. Make sure that the on-line button is pressed and the pilot light is on, dial the number and wait for the high pitched tone from the host computer. When the response comes press the Line Seize button and, after a few seconds, press the On-line button again. If the carrier signal is successfully seized contact is made. If contact is not made within six seconds the line is disconnected and you are returned to the menu.

The viewdata provides the normal on-line state for accessing viewdata hosts and provides 15 screen editor commands which include Escape Generation, Carriage Return and Cursor Home.

Spectre can grab screens from a host computer and store them in memory or on microdrive and cassette. You can have access to a maximum of 26 screens, created either by yourself or downloaded from the host, and erase all or some of the stored frames, to create more Rom space.

Spectre's telesoftware downloader can grab Micronet programs which are encoded as a series of frames and sent down the line by the host. You can choose whether to log-off and run the program after it's been downloaded or remain logged- on and continue.

Mailbox messages can be prepared and edited before you log-on so that you can up load them to a specific box without losing time and money.

Multi-User Dungeon, and some bulletin boards, can only be accessed through the use of scrolling software. Spectre has this facility but you will need a different modem for 300/300 since QMod's default baud does not allow these rates.

The Spectre printer interface default is for ZX-Alphacom-Timex, but you can set up the format for most printer interfaces. Software to drive an Epson compatible printer is provided but you can use a Kempston E Centronics interface.

The Spectre Communications Package and Tandata's QMod modem form a friendly and easy-to-use alliance. Spectre provides an inexpensive introduction to the world of comms while also providing the sophisticated facilities for the more adventurous hackers.

QMod is simple to fit to the back of the Spectrum 128K or 48K and its two button operation - on-line and seize - makes it one of the most attractive modems for beginners.

The Spectre Communications Package and QMod modem are available at an introductory price of £91.95 until September 1. The price after that date is £99.95.

The package can be obtained from Tandata Marketing, Albert Road North, Malvern, Worcs WR14 2TL.

John Gilbert

Not Rated