Barry, being one of 'those without Communications experience' I must say while what you said certainly holds some merit, though I couldn't have pulled it off without your help, and it did take some time, it wasn't THAT BAD, and I'm glad that I made the effort. More importantly though, I do have to say there was PLENTY for me to gain. Certainly my case is not typical, but I doubt I'm the only iRule user with Xantech devices, and similar instances may also exist with other mfg's as well, so here's how I benefited, again, with your assistance.
1) my Xantech XDT (dual tuner) doesn't have discrete IR power commands, but they are available via RS232
2)while my Xantech ZPR68-10 (multi zone pre-amp) has IR control, an input for each zone, the only way to specifically address a single zone without multiple hardwire connections is through RS232. Alternatively, I could've set up an IR router and programmed the iRule set up appropriately, but this would be a problem for multiple users in different zones, or I could've set up 4 IP2IR's (4x3=12, I have 12 zones) but both of those alternates would've cost more, and are not nearly as 'clean'.
So.....Thanks again for the help