Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Amateur Contact Log, HDSDR & The RSP SDR

Amateur Contact Log is my logger of choice since March of 2016. I did try LOG4OM & Ham Radio Deluxe along with a few other package. Since I'm only a General class ham and I primarily chase DX... Amateur Contact Log had one important DX cluster feature that I could not find in any of the other packages "Only show DX spots that are in the General portion of the USA band allocation". Basically that is my fail-safe that I don't go outside of my frequency band-plan when using the built in DX Cluster viewer. It will only show DX spots for frequencies that are within the General class privileges.

Now that the first issue was solved I had another big one. Amateur Contact Log does not support Omni-Rig. Without Omni-Rig I can't synch my SDR frontend (HDSDR) to my logger and visa versa.

Coming from a heavy SDR background I felt a little limited with all the SDR equipment I own. Amateur Contact Log only supports direct serial control of the rig and locks the port.

I Finally got everything working. Big thank you to my good friend Paul (NN4F) for the heads up about Virtual Serial Ports Emulator.

Below is a complete walk-threw/how-to for setting up Amateur Contact Log & HDSDR with full rig control with complete bi-directional communication You can apply this how-to with any logger that does not support Omni-Rig and uses direct serial rig control.

First I will start with the links to all the needed apps. This has only been tested on Windows-7 64bit. I'm not sure if  Virtual Serial Ports Emulator will work with anything above Windows 7.

Amateur Contact Log $25.00 (Ham radio logging software and rig control within the logger)
Virtual Serial Ports Emulator 32bit Free 64bit $25.00 (Virtual com port/com port sharing)
HDSDR Free (SDR front end app)
Omni-Rig Free (Rig control to and from HDSDR)

I will assume a few things before we start.

1: You have a SDR and a RF Sense switch that is properly configured to put your SDR'S input to ground when you key up your rig. I don't want you to fry your SDR'S front end. This will also work with a rig that has the IF tapped.

2: You have HDSDR installed and configured. You can read the guide I did for SDRplay using the RSP in HDSDR by clicking here.

3: You know the real com port your computer is using for rig control. In my case its COM 7 for control. Check your device manager.

Step A: Install Virtual Serial Ports Emulator. Some issues have been posted when making a virtual com port above COM 9. I would suggest you make your VCP COM 9 or lower. In this setup I also used COM 9.

1-Launch Virtual Serial Ports Emulator.
Click the button labeled: Create new device

Select Splitter & Next

Under Data source select your real com port that has rig control. Assign it a virtual com port below COM 10 if possible. Select settings and match the speed of the real com port to the virtual com port. My rig and real com port are set for 38400. Check your rigs manual for com port speed. 

You should now see the settings we just configured with the lower box showing Initialization OK (1).

Save your settings to the desktop. I named my setup as "Radio"

Move the settings file we just saved to the desktop (Radio) and move it to the startup folder. This will save us from having to remember to launch the VCP every time we want to use our rig along with HDSDR and the logger.

Step B: Install Amateur Contact Log
Configure ACL'S Rig Control. This is under settings and rig control.
Remember we are using the VCP com port which is now COM 9.

Step C: Install Omni-Rig.
1: Configure Omni-Rig. Launch Omni-Rig and Edit Rig 1.
Remember we are using the VCP com port which is now COM 9.

Step D: Install HDSDR
1: Configure HDSDR to use OMNI-RIG
Select options (F7) CAT to Radio (Omni-Rig).

Select options again (F7) select TX checking off the above two options. We now have a new button on the main HDSDR screen labeled TX. This button will trigger the radios PTT circuit (microphone). This gives me lot's of options with a wireless customer controller :)


If you found this step by step useful throw a buck in the jar.
Click the button below. It's a fixed amount of $1.00

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