Author Topic: Using the USB or COM1 port on Radio RRC for CAT control by FT8 software  (Read 1864 times)

VE3MV

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GA:

We have a Remote System with one Radio site (in VE3) and two Control sites (includes K3/100 with a KPA500 and running CW, SSB, & RTTY/FSK) fully operational using the RRC1258 in the K3 Twin configuration.  To overcome a latency problem when running FT8 from the Control site in SE Asia, we want to run the FT8 software on a computer at the Radio site (to be accessed and controlled remotely using GoToMyPC) and have the FT8 software provide CAT control of the K3/100.  Primarily we need this additional CAT control to provide PTT for FT8 transmit and frequency control so that the FT8 software can do the Split Operation.

The USB and COM1 ports on the Radio RRC are currently not being used and the question is can we connect a USB port on the FT8 computer at the Radio site to either of these two Radio RRC1258 ports to provide these additional control functions?  What configuration changes might we need to make?

Would appreciate any suggestions.

73,  Doug Joyce  VE3MV


dj0qn

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Hi Doug,

I recently answered a similar question on the forum. Basically, the answer is YES and this is how you do it:

CAT Checklist for K3 Twin
----------------------------------
Note first that in a "Twin" configuration, COM2 is used to "tie" the two ends together and carries the CAT data. In order to access CAT, you need to get to COM2 without touching it. The easiest method is to duplicate COM2 over COM1 using a function in the RRC as follows:

- Change both RRC's COM1 to mode-7. Note that the baud rate does not have to be identical with COM2 to fit a lower bandwidth or software requirement.

- If using a "real" serial cable:
     - connect a straight through serial cable between the control RRC's COM1 and the PC. If using a USB to serial converter cable, make sure it is using an FTDI chipset.
     - note that if you also use the radio RRC's COM1, the pinout is not the standard straight-through serial port. Use the pinout description in the RemoteRig manual, or just try a null-modem cable which usually works (may need a gender changer).
     - the  serial setting for COM1 "Use USB Com Port as COM1" must be set to NO

- If using USB:
     - make sure that first Microbit Setup Manager is installed first on the control PC to get the drivers.
     - Then change the serial settings for COM1 to change "Use USB Com Port as COM1" to YES
     - connect the USB cable between the RRC and computer and wait for the drivers to finish installing
     - go to the Windows Device Manager and look at which virtual serial port was assigned to COM1 and use that for your software, taking the correct baud rate into account.

Note also that you can pull CAT data in parallel off of the radio RRC to use a PC on that end, or to sync with a remote device (amplifier, SteppIR, etc.)

73,
Mitch DJ0QN / K7DX

K5WA

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Mitch,

I have a question that seems to fit best in this thread.

Similar to the above, I have the K3 twins, N1MM and WinKeyer running successfully with the K3 twin setup as you describe above.  Different from above, I am not interested in FT-8 or RTTY.  I still need one more RS-232 (or RS-485) COM port to run my extensive PLC station control (18 antennas, two 4SQR switches, beverage switching and 4 rotators) system but it seems like I've used up all the COM ports available in the 1258.  COM0 is for the K3, COM1 has Mode 7, Com2 has "Logical parallel to COM0" and COM3 (extra) is used by WinKey.

Am I out of luck using the 1258 MKII for one more serial port?  I also have a WS-1216H in case you can tell me that it has a COM port available.  I'm sure these answers are in the manuals somewhere but I can't find them.

Danke,
Bob K5WA


dj0qn

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Hi Bob,

Yes, you are out of luck....there are only two serial port servers available on the RRC and they are both occupied when
using CAT in a "twin" configuration.

You have a couple of options:

1) You can use one of the Microbit control devices for amplifiers and rotors such as the RC-1216H or Webswitch. The latter even has the option
of using a virtual serial port of the remote desktop. I am not sure, but I think this is may be what you already have.

2) You can buy a standard serial port server, such as one from Lantronix. That is the method I use mostly and is very easy to implement and
is very flexible in terms of what kind of serial device you can control.

73,
Mitch DJ0QN / K7DX




K5WA

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Mitch,

OK, thanks.  The good news is that I can stop looking for another serial port in this first 1258 set because it does what I want now: CAT for N1MM, K3 control and WinKeying perfectly.  I have a WS-1216H so I'll run my PLC serial line through that.  After I get that running, I'll start setting up the second K3 in my SO2R remote using the exact setup I used on the first one...so, progress is being made.  I've also ordered RemoteRigs' ACOM control unit (forgot the model number) so I can use the amps as well. 

The project is coming together.

Thanks for your help!

Bob K5WA

w3hzz

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I am a complete novice at this, so forgive this basic question.

I am running a K3 and K3/0-mini in twin mode. At the remote station, I have an antenna switch, AS-1289, connected to the RR through the D-sub. As I understand it, I have no other serial ports available for CAT control of the K3 from the remote position. Is there a workaround that will allow me to run both the AS-1289 and CAT control of the K3 at my remote station. I am mostly at the remote location, so CAT is needed. (I am able to get CAT control of the station from the control position using a USB, mode-7.


Phil, W3HZZ

dj0qn

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Phil,

The AS-1289 does not connect to the RRC using a serial port. It uses a network interface over IP instead. The RRC's COM1
should be available for CAT usage.

73,
Mitch DJ0QN / K7DX