Saturday, January 05, 2013

SDR-Radio and Omni-Rig

Yesterday I thought I would set up my Cross Country Wireless SDR-4+ receiver to use for IBP beacon monitoring using Faros. The purpose of this was mainly to reduce the wear and tear on my Elecraft K3 which otherise would have to be on 24 hours a day.

I established that Simon Brown's SDR-Radio software supported external program control by emulating a Kenwood transceiver. I therefore needed to see if SDR-Radio could be controlled using Omni-Rig, the control mechanism used by Faros.

SDR-Radio supports CAT control using a virtual serial port.

I created a linked pair of virtual serial ports, COM8 and COM9, using VSPE, a virtual serial port emulator. Using the serial ports option of SDR-Radio, I assigned the control port to COM8. Then I used a serial port emulator connected to COM9 (I use RealTerm) to verify that SDR-Radio 'spoke' Kenwood. It did. In fact it emulated the Kenwood protocol well enough to fool KComm into thinking it was talking to an Elecraft K2. So far so good.

Now to see if Omni-Rig could control SDR-Radio. Omni-Rig uses "rig files" to define the command set of different radios and it includes one for generic Kenwood. Unfortunately it did not work with SDR-Radio: the receiver indicator of Faros turned red to indicate a fault.

I downloaded the rig file documentation and debug tools from Omni-Rig's site and tried hacking the Kenwood rig file to get it to work with Omni-Rig by trial and error. But no luck. Whatever I did, the program reported an error with the inscrutable message: "RIG1 Status commands already in queue".

Error messages reported by Omni-Rig
So it looks as if I've hit a brick wall. Clearly there is something in SDR-Radio's emulation of the Kenwood protocol that Omni-Rig doesn't like. If anyone else would like to have a go solving this problem, be my guest.
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