Well, I did a re-install... problem solved.
I did the exact same configuration. I dunno, maybe a spec of dust on the CD during first install.
Thanks, just the same.
More good news, once wireless was working well, I just added in the decryption key and ESSID, 128 bit encryption, basically out of the box.
If you find this forum in a desperate intensive search for information about setting up your wireless NIC:
The 2.4 bare works for what I have. Search out whether or not your NIC is supported or if modules for it are available, if you can't find it you may have to use ndiswrapper(sp). Its an adapter for windows drivers. You won't have problems finding information on how to use this.
You might try out your NIC even if you can't find it. Its worth a shot. I couldn't find any information on mine, but apparently it works.
I suggest you do a completely fresh install. Turn on your Access Point with no encryption, and take things one baby step at a time. First just boot with the Wireless NIC in. If it detects it, is it pulling an IP address? (toy around with dhcpd and iwconfig... this was no help to me on my journey, but it was suggested a lot when I was searching). Once you know you're able to connect and ping something, then edit your /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts (make a back up, as you'll probably play with this file quite a few times while finding your desired configuration... remember I said take baby steps).
Starting from line 44 (I added in 45&46):
Yes, this is the correct number of characters (i've seen one or two posts that said there was some confusion about this). This is what ended up working for me. I don't know what I have done differently, unless its the order in which I've done things. But, hopefully my recap has given you some clue you didn't have before.