The reason the bloody wifi card wouldn't work is that I was trying to load it with the wrong driver with a borked pcmcia bus. I eventually got the yenta-socket module loaded and that let me see Proxim Orinoco Gold wifi card was actually an Atheros AR5211. That card is supported by the madwifi-driver package. Emerging that and the madwifi-tools package gave me the driver. Adding a net.ath0 script to default runlevel now loads the driver at runtime.
Have to alter the dhcpcd settings so that the un-connected network doesn't take 30 seconds to timeout, but basically networking is working now.