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RE: CI-V & Seria Ports

        This is interesting, for I built up the CI-V interface out of
        the ARRL handbook (MAX232 & 74LS17). It works just fine with my
        IC-765, IC-751A and R-7000, however its "quirky" with my IC-756.

I need some feedback regarding CI-V interfaces.  Anyone out there have 
experience with CI-V interfaces from different manufacturer's?  I have a 
single-unit interface from a company called RT Systems in Huntsville, 
Alabama, but it seems to be "quirky".  Sometimes it "works" and sometimes 
it does what it "wants to".  It is also more difficult to use on some of my 
radios than others, but not necessarily just the Icoms.  I am not certain 
if it's the interface or something I'm doing wrong, so I need advice on a 
rock-solid unit to purchase next.

I also need help regarding the (shortage of) serial ports on my laptop.  I 
live in the city, and frequently drive out of town to listen to the sats. 
I sometimes take an ICOM PCR-1000 radio.  It needs the serial port for 
control, so that takes away ability to use a TNC (KPC 9612+)  at the same
time.  Currently, I am unplugging the PCR-1000 (I will continue to recieve) 
and then plug in the TNC, but I have to reconnect everything to change a 
frequency.  Any ideas?  Anyone used those USB ports before?