02/23/13

HRD is all setup…

Maybe it’s me but my Ham Radio Deluxe setup took a little polishing. Obviously the actually components in the software worked as they should, just based on the fact it installed correctly on my PC. But what took a little worked is controlling my radio via HRD and then the remote server setup.

Controlling my radio via HRD

So the first hurtle I came to was getting HRD to control my Yaesu FT-950. The FT-950 has a 9-pin serial port on the back. This relatively expensive modern radio doesn’t have a USB plug. O well. The even better catch is you need a very specific serial cable to make the CAT interface work correctly. The first serial cable I bought, I bought before knowing that a specific 9 pin cable was required. It was hard enough finding a female-female cable. At was actually difficult sourcing locally a 9-pin serial cable.

The second cable I bought was a straight-thru 9-pin serial cable. I thought this would be correct because at this store the only other options was a Null modem cable. That’s what I bought first and was wrong. I get this home and it’s a no go as well.

So at this point I’m rather annoyed. I’ve got two 9-pin serial cables that I will literally never ever use and HRD won’t work my radio. And by now I’ve also done a hard reset to ensure that the settings are stock. Then I’ve gone through a couple tutorials on the HRD forum to get the FT-950. specifically, to work. No go.

The three cable. I looked up in the CAT manuel for the radio and found the name of the specific cable I needed. This time I hit up my go to store, Amazon.com. I searched and found several different ones. Read about them and ended up with a “DB9 9 Pin Serial Port Cable Female / Female RS232” and it’s worked. I plugged in the cable to the computer and to the radio. Figured out which Comm port it’s on and  the baud rate. Set it all and hooray, it’s now running my radio. I’ll include the link to the cable below.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UKEIWI/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Setting up the Remote Server Option in HRD

By now I’ll tickle to death that my computer interface controls my radio. I don’t know why per-say since my radio is literally 9 inches from my arm on my desk, but I am. I think it is probably because it will automatically record the frequency of my QSO when I am logging it.

As some may or may not know HRD has function to install on your computer a server process that can be accessed remotely. Basically imagine this. My radio is hooked to my tower PC at my desk in the office/guest bedrm/radio rm and I want to work it from my laptop in the living room. Once I have the remote server setup, I bring HRD on my laptop. Then enter in some specific settings in HRD on my laptop to connect and ba-zing, connected. Now if you have the skill to set it up you can indeed access you radio on the radio remotely.

Here’s the setting up of the remote server on Windows 7 Pro.

  • First open HRD and then go to ‘Tools” > ‘Programs’ > click ‘Remote Servers’
  • Next make sure, unless you know not to, that the left blue box “HRD Remote Server” is selected and the click install below that.
    • Side note, if it tells you that it’s not available option or it can’t, close HRD then reopen it as administrator just once to install this.
  • Next you must configure the configuration file for your server. Just watch the video for that.

Now you have the remote server setup and you can probably connect to it.

Trouble shooting:

  • HRD Remote Server uses port “7805” which my have to be opened in your Windows firewall
  • Also don’t try to connect remotely to your radio while your connected locally to it. I did this and for half an hour couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t connect. It ties up the Comm port the radio is on.

Once I get a robust remote setup for outside my network I’ll do another write up. But this simple explanation should get you going in the right directly. If not working completely.

02/19/13

Ham Radio Deluxe and the Griffin Powermate

griffen_powermateControlling Ham Radio Deluxe with the Griffin Technology Powermate

Now this will go much smoother if your at least fimiliar with Ham Radio Deluxe. I’m not going to here because it’ll make my post to long winded, so there’s plenty of resources on the web to tell you about HRD. But I will give you a very little overview. HRD is a ham radio software suite. It has a logging portion, there’s radio control software build in to it, there’s rotor control in it, there’s various IP functions and plethora of other things.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd7sIuIzA10

This is a pretty decent overview of HRD.

What we are interested in today is the portion of the suite that interfaces with your radio and specifically the frequency scope. Now you can see from the screen shot that you have control what your radio can do. Specifically frequency is what we are looking at here. For my Yaesu FT-950 you see that my bands 160m – 10m are selectable in the center toward the middle of the GUI. Fine frequency control is right up that and fast freq control is right above. The selected freq in large numbers is near the top and to the left and right of that are radio settings control.

HRD FT-950

Again what I’m focusing on today is frequency control. When using HRD you may change frequency by interfacing directly with the VFO knob on your radio or use your mouse to control it via software.

Whats my point?

Well I live in an apartment with my wife and we share a desk. I hope to get my radio working with HRD in such a manner it can be moved from the main surface area to a rack off the desk with it’s power supply. Thus freeing much room on our desk. I love the feel of the large VFO friction knob on the FT-950, so when it comes to running frequency with the mouse. I’m not super excited. Nor with the arrow keys. It just doesn’t feel like ham radio to me. I want a knob to turn.

Now comes the Powermate by Griffin Technology. This is a programmable USB digital knob. For all intentional purposes it’s a USB digital potentiometer. With the included software you are able to assign 6 tasks that the knob does to a piece of software currently open and upfront on your PC. You can setup it up to have specific settings with multiple software suites. When you change what program your using it knows and it uses those assigned tasks.

Controlling the HRD Frequency

At this point the device is plugged in and HRD is open and loaded. The screen above is what you see when your radio connects. Now you need to also have installed Powermate software. Available at Griffin Technology’s website.

You want to Click ‘Applications’, select ‘Add’, chooses the open available software to add, and click ok. Go through and select each knob action and set it up like the picture below. That will give you fine tuning by turning the knob, fast tuning by holding down the knob then turning, and pushing down give the keystroke of F7 which will open the ‘Add QSO/Contact’ dialog in the logbook. But you must have it open in the background.

The settings you see:

Simulates Keystrokes=fine tuning

Scrolls Up/Down = “Fast” Style tuning

Simulates Keystrokes F7 Key = New QSO Entry

gtpm2

02/18/12

My Actual First HF Rig…ICOM IC-746 Pro

In the previous post I discussed about wanting to pass the General License exam and getting my first HF radio transceiver. In the article I talked heavily about the Yaesu FT-950, well I did not buy one. It’s a great great rig but I was about to get a little better deal for what I got. I got a ICOM IC-746 Pro. It’s like the predecessor to the ICOM IC-7100, that’s a beast of a rig. Basically what it came down to was the Yaesu was out of the budget. So after that I started looking into the ICOM IC-718 but I just wasn’t into that radio; there’s no 6 meter or VHF. Which the 746Pro has both plus, of course, the HF bands.The 746Pro also has IF digital filtering, so no need to fill up my radio with expensive filters. All I have to do is go through the bands, select the operating mode and adjust the bandwidth of the filter to my liking. Pretty cool. But listen I just bought the radio yesterday and haven’t even got it yet, so I do begin to know where to start explaining it. So I’m going to leave you with some pictures and links to reviews and info of my new cool radio!


eham.net Review – ICOM IC-746PRO

universal-radio.com – Icom IC-746 Pro

02/17/12

My Actual First HF Rig…ICOM IC-746 Pro

In the previous post I discussed about wanting to pass the General License exam and getting my first HF radio transceiver. In the article I talked heavily about the Yaesu FT-950, well I did not buy one. It’s a great great rig but I was about to get a little better deal for what I got. I got a ICOM IC-746 Pro. It’s like the predecessor to the ICOM IC-7100, that’s a beast of a rig. Basically what it came down to was the Yaesu was out of the budget. So after that I started looking into the ICOM IC-718 but I just wasn’t into that radio; there’s no 6 meter or VHF. Which the 746Pro has both plus, of course, the HF bands.The 746Pro also has IF digital filtering, so no need to fill up my radio with expensive filters. All I have to do is go through the bands, select the operating mode and adjust the bandwidth of the filter to my liking. Pretty cool. But listen I just bought the radio yesterday and haven’t even got it yet, so I do begin to know where to start explaining it. So I’m going to leave you with some pictures and links to reviews and info of my new cool radio!

eham.net Review – ICOM IC-746PRO

universal-radio.com – Icom IC-746 Pro

ICOM IC-746 Pro

ICOM IC-746 Pro

02/5/12

My First HF Radio…***Updated Above***

So I’m on the hunt for my first HF rig. Next month I’ll be passing my General license exam. Which in a nut shell will give me HF band privileges. The exact band plan for General class folks can be found online so I won’t list it, plus I don’t fully know them. But that’s ok for now. To get back on topic, yes, I am looking for my first HF radio. I’m preferring to buy something late model. Very late model. I looking for something at least 100watts cause I do want to get my DX on, I’m looking a reliable brand, and I would like to have something I can upgrade at a later date with filters. Price is kind of a option; I’d really like to say under 800 to 900 dollars, or less of course.
I really really like Yaesu radios! My first, a HT, was a Yaesu and I just feel comfortable with the make. There is just something about the Yaesu’s, they look the way a supreme rig should look, out of the box they have some extra nice features, and my Yaesu options work with an antenna rotater.

Yaesu FT-950

So what have I got you ask; well what I like are the Yaesu FT-950 also the FT-450(closer in budget) and the ICOM IC-718. Both, all 3, meet really what I want and are pretty close to budget. Now here’s honestly what I want, I want the FT-950, really really bad, it’s a beast of a beginner rig. Maybe even more than I need but let me tell you when I get into a hobby, I get INTO the hobby. So very soon I’ll be able to use every bit of that radio. But unfortunately it’s to much money, average retail for the 950 is $1400, the ICOM is at $700 USD I think. I do have the Yaesu FT-450 I could buy, but buying that to me feels like I’m buying a mini radio and I just can’t break the from my mind. So anyways I’m still deciding, I will be buying it this month, hopefully before the NC QSO Party. I’ll let you all know.

02/4/12

My First HF Radio…***Updated Above***

So I’m on the hunt for my first HF rig. Next month I’ll be passing my General license exam. Which in a nut shell will give me HF band privileges. The exact band plan for General class folks can be found online so I won’t list it, plus I don’t fully know them. But that’s ok for now. To get back on topic, yes, I am looking for my first HF radio. I’m preferring to buy something late model. Very late model. I looking for something at least 100watts cause I do want to get my DX on, I’m looking a reliable brand, and I would like to have something I can upgrade at a later date with filters. Price is kind of a option; I’d really like to say under 800 to 900 dollars, or less of course.

I really really like Yaesu radios! My first, a HT, was a Yaesu and I just feel comfortable with the make. There is just something about the Yaesu’s, they look the way a supreme rig should look, out of the box they have some extra nice features, and my Yaesu options work with an antenna rotater.

Yaesu FT-950

Yaesu FT-950

So what have I got you ask; well what I like are the Yaesu FT-950 also the FT-450(closer in budget) and the ICOM IC-718. Both, all 3, meet really what I want and are pretty close to budget. Now here’s honestly what I want, I want the FT-950, really really bad, it’s a beast of a beginner rig. Maybe even more than I need but let me tell you when I get into a hobby, I get INTO the hobby. So very soon I’ll be able to use every bit of that radio. But unfortunately it’s to much money, average retail for the 950 is $1400, the ICOM is at $700 USD I think. I do have the Yaesu FT-450 I could buy, but buying that to me feels like I’m buying a mini radio and I just can’t break the from my mind. So anyways I’m still deciding, I will be buying it this month, hopefully before the NC QSO Party. I’ll let you all know.

IC-718

IC-718

FT-950 Sales Page

FT-950 Sales Page

12/5/11

My Travels…

So this past weekend I traveled to central Virginia. On my way I decided to field test a little system I had thrown together for keeping track of repeaters. Now to preface this; my system I going to describe to you was completely free to me using tools and software in which I already owned. I’m sure there’s probably commercially available products to do this for you.

To start let me give a short description of what I was actually doing. Using Microsoft Streets and Trips mapping software I imports a CSV file, actually a couple, into one map of my route I take to Lynchburg. What was in this data I imported you ask? Well, repeaters, all the repeaters I would remotely be able to pass on my route.

Here is my list of tools:
Microsoft Streets and Trips(what I had)
ASUS Laptop
GlobalSat BU-353 Waterproof USB GPS ReceiverUSB extension cable

To start off I searched the web for repeater data and found several sites that allowed me to pick and choose areas of which to export. There were a couple formats I cold have exported but I chose a simple CSV, comma separate value. Very simple and lots of software understands that format. Next I opened up all those CSV’s in excel, but most any spread sheet program would work. The data given from the sites was to much. I purged some columns of data. What I kept was the; Lat&Long, Freq, PL Tone, and callsign/name or club affiliation.

Now what I’m working with is two spreadsheets for North Carolina and two for Virginia, I merged the two sheets per state together but kept the two states separate, felt like it was just a good idea for future development.

Now the following steps are pretty easy and straight forward. With that said if you use software that’s not Microsoft Streets and Trips it may not be. Using the import wizard in the software I imported them as I believe point or way-points. But they were added to the open map I had as a addition of some kind which gave me a little ability to edit them. So all I did next was create a new icon in the “.GIF” format. The gif allows for transparent background. So I created a very small little tower icon that dots each place on the map to where a repeater is. Each little tower can be clicked to display the repeater info respectively.

Side note of two things. First during importation of the data you have to ability to go in and label what each column of data actually is telling S&T’s that Lat actually is Lat and there’s 3 available user data slots in which you can put the repeater specific data, Freq, PL and etc…

Now after all that work here’s what I came up with 68 contacts over 5 hours(while driving). Plus one club-net check-in(South Wake ARC). All on 2 meters, 144 – 148mhz. Really all of that didn’t span anymore than 2 or 2.5 mhz of the band. I didn’t go very low, really. I’ve never took part in any contests in ham radio and nor am I a pro or expert in any way. But for me I am very pleased with my results!!

Keeping safety in mind I really wasn’t able to record contacts and wasn’t really even thinking about it till like halfway back riding home but here’s a few:

kk4eqp
kk4bvu
kk4dbm
South Wake ARC – net check-in
W4WC
AJ4HK

KK4EQM

12/4/11

My Travels

So this past weekend I traveled to central Virginia. On my way I decided to field test a little system I had thrown together for keeping track of repeaters. Now to preface this; my system I going to describe to you was completely free to me using tools and software in which I already owned. I’m sure there’s probably commercially available products to do this for you.

To start let me give a short description of what I was actually doing. Using Microsoft Streets and Trips mapping software I imports a CSV file, actually a couple, into one map of my route I take to Lynchburg. What was in this data I imported you ask? Well, repeaters, all the repeaters I would remotely be able to pass on my route.

Here is my list of tools:
Microsoft Streets and Trips(what I had)
ASUS Laptop
GlobalSat BU-353 Waterproof USB GPS ReceiverUSB extension cable

To start off I searched the web for repeater data and found several sites that allowed me to pick and choose areas of which to export. There were a couple formats I cold have exported but I chose a simple CSV, comma separate value. Very simple and lots of software understands that format. Next I opened up all those CSV’s in excel, but most any spread sheet program would work. The data given from the sites was to much. I purged some columns of data. What I kept was the; Lat&Long, Freq, PL Tone, and callsign/name or club affiliation.

Now what I’m working with is two spreadsheets for North Carolina and two for Virginia, I merged the two sheets per state together but kept the two states separate, felt like it was just a good idea for future development.

Now the following steps are pretty easy and straight forward. With that said if you use software that’s not Microsoft Streets and Trips it may not be. Using the import wizard in the software I imported them as I believe point or way-points. But they were added to the open map I had as a addition of some kind which gave me a little ability to edit them. So all I did next was create a new icon in the “.GIF” format. The gif allows for transparent background. So I created a very small little tower icon that dots each place on the map to where a repeater is. Each little tower can be clicked to display the repeater info respectively.

Side note of two things. First during importation of the data you have to ability to go in and label what each column of data actually is telling S&T’s that Lat actually is Lat and there’s 3 available user data slots in which you can put the repeater specific data, Freq, PL and etc…

Now after all that work here’s what I came up with 68 contacts over 5 hours(while driving). Plus one club-net check-in(South Wake ARC). All on 2 meters, 144 – 148mhz. Really all of that didn’t span anymore than 2 or 2.5 mhz of the band. I didn’t go very low, really. I’ve never took part in any contests in ham radio and nor am I a pro or expert in any way. But for me I am very pleased with my results!!

Keeping safety in mind I really wasn’t able to record contacts and wasn’t really even thinking about it till like halfway back riding home but here’s a few:

kk4eqp
kk4bvu
kk4dbm
South Wake ARC – net check-in
W4WC
AJ4HK