Sunday, December 09, 2012

Beacon monitor failure

After wasting most of the weekend trying to get it to work I have abandoned the idea of monitoring the IBP beacons using Faros. Although I did have it working with my Elecraft K3 I did not want to tie up this expensive transceiver on such a task. But my efforts to get my FT-817 working with this software came to nothing.

The first problem was getting Faros to control the FT-817. It uses a program called Omni-Rig to do this. The solution - no thanks to the developer who has still not replied to my plea for help - turned out to be a bad FT-817.ini file installed with Omni-Rig. I tried other programs to verify that my FT-817 CAT interface was working properly. I even ran the same developer's CW Skimmer software which also uses Omni-Rig, and which controlled the FT-817 just fine. The idea of looking to see if there was a different FT-817.ini file was just a flash of inspiration.

Having got Faros controlling the radio the second and final problem was getting it and the Yaesu talking to the same sound card. This did work if I used the computer's built-in sound card, but that is normally used by my K3. I have several radios in my shack, most of which are connected to the shack PC and all of the others use various USB sound devices. Whilst all of my other software - including my own program KComm - produce a drop-down list showing distinguishable names of all these devices, Faros displays a list showing three lines that all say "USB Sound Device." I tried selecting each one of them in turn, but I could not get Faros to talk to the sound device that was actually connected to the FT-817.

If it was confusing for me trying to choose from identically named devices, it also seemed to confuse Windows, which ended up sending PSK31 audio out of the PC speaker instead of to my K3! I had to reboot the computer to get sound using the correct devices again. At this point I threw in the towel and admitted defeat. Some things just aren't worth the hassle.

So endeth my attempt at beacon monitoring.
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