modem debut w/KDE
Well, I finally got it. Lots of good suggestions, but in the end I bought a new modem, external because I didn't want to add any more problems than necessary when I was running in my original windows partition, and it all came together. Now, I'm answering from a KDE GUI environment. The modem, which wasn't easy to find (Frye's Electronics), is a Best Data for $79.95, and it was the only one I found, even looking at Super Robotics modems up to $129.95, that said right on the box that it worked in Linux.
Lots of fun. When I tried to reboot before installing the new modem, my system had a file error which wasn't fixable. I had to reinstall my OS and that was far from simple. Several attempts failed, going into a loop just when they were about to begin installing packages.
I'm highly appreciative of all the suggestions I received and was gratified to know that I was in a friendly and helpful environment. I'm just laying the groundwork for a major project you you'll probably be seeing more of me but I'm looking forward to getting a little free time to try to help others. Of course if anyone has a problem related to the problems I went through I will make time to do what I can. Thank you all.