Perusing the threads I haven't been able to figure it out still.
I've looked through the barcodes.pdf from dLSoft, PDF-Bar-Codes-Guide.txt, read the entire suggested thread (and multiple others) and was pretty hopefully in that thread that you gave me that bumbaermail's workaround would do the trick. Still nothing. I have my value, a production order number, and it only turns into a long what looks like a hashed value of characters preceded by "base64!".
I went directly into bwprint on the application server and looked at the example options given for a Code 39 type barcode. Tried several variations of bit.or() flags on the bc$() function. Tried setting my field in the layout to with the various barcode options. Barcode=0, barcode=1, barcode=1 and checksum.
I'm just stumped