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Author Topic: CAT system for the Yaesu FT-1000mp Mark V Field: Help-What does it do?  (Read 3397 times)
KB8ZF
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Posts: 25




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« on: July 22, 2012, 02:36:29 PM »

I have a Yaesu FT-1000mp Mark V Field that I really like, I have seen the DMU units for the latest models, it displays all kinds of things on the screen, band scope, frequency ect. My question is for my radio what does the CAT system actually do? What would I see on a monitor, if I hook it to a PC through the CAT serial port on the radio? Is this something like the DMU or totally something different, I have seen pictures of shacks with monitors and they have the band scope running and a lot of everything else, I may be way off base here but I am totally new to this technology. What software is required to do this or will this radio even do it? Thanks in advance.
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K8AC
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Posts: 1471




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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2012, 07:03:43 AM »

The CAT interface in any brand transceiver does one basic thing - it provides a physical external interface to the processor in the transceiver and a set of commands for setting or reading parameters.  The first interfaces provided commands to read and set the VFO frequencies, mode and bandwidth.  Later refinements provided access to dozens of other functions including reading S-meter values, etc.  The main purpose for all this was to allow logging programs to communicate with the rig to obtain frequency information and to set the rig frequency/band from DX spots.  With all the later additions, it's now possible to completely control many transceivers remotely using PC software.

The "band scope" interface is something else entirely and separate from the CAT functions.  The scope requires sampling a wide portion of the band, usually by tapping the signal at the first IF of the transceiver prior to any filters.  The higher end Icom HF rigs have a reasonable and useful implementation of the scope with no other software or hardware required.  The Elecraft K3 does the scope function in a separate hardware add-on (the P3), again requiring no other software.  Some other rigs, such as Yaesu and Tentec, offer a rather poor band scope function that's of limited use.

The best results are had from an approach that taps the first IF of the transceiver and provides the signal to an jack to which you can attach an external device which converts the signal to a form useable by PC software.  The external device is essentially a receiver that is tuned to the frequency of the first IF of the transceiver and it converts the RF signal to a complex audio signal which is then fed to a PC sound card (in some cases, the sound card is integrated into the device).  N8LP's LP-Pan is one such device that processes the IF signal and passes it to a high-quality PC sound card.  Special software (NaP3 is maybe the best) is then used to process that sound card signal and produce the band scope display.  With this approach, the user has control over many display parameters (averaging, buffer size, etc.) that are not available in purely hardware implementations.  In this case, the NaP3 software uses the CAT interface to exchange frequency information so it can sync what you're seeing with what you're hearing.

Another approach is to use a separate software controlled receiver, such as the SDR-IQ, which shares the transceiver receive antenna line via a hybrid splitter so that it's hearing the same things that the transceiver is.  The software for this receiver uses the CAT interface to slave the SDR-IQ frequency to that of the transceiver so that when you tune one, you are tuning the other.

There are a couple of problems to consider.  First, the Mark V Field does NOT have an output for the first IF and even if it did, the LP-Pan or SDR-IQ couldn't handle it because the IF frequency is somewhere around 70 MHz and those units do not handle that high a frequency.  But, you can use the SDR-IQ in the mode of sharing the receive antenna and I've done that using the Mark V. 

The second problem is that CAT interfaces are designed to talk to one program at a time and the PC operating systems don't support sharing of the serial port used to communicate with the rig.  So, if your logging program is already using that interface, the software handling the band scope function can't access it.  Today there are good ways around that, and I use a free program called VSPE to create virtual ports which allow me to share the CAT interface access among multiple programs.

Here I use DXLab for logging and NaP3 for the scope function (rig is Orion II) and successfully share the com port with no problems.

The net of this is:  If you want a first class band scope, get a rig with a low first IF frequency (usually in the 9 MHz range).  The company that makes the SDR-IQ receiver (RFSpace) also sells an interface for some Yaesu rigs (such as FT-2000) that converts the high first IF down to the 9-10 MHz range).  LP-pan, originally designed for the K3, is a fairly low cost approach that works very well for rigs with low first IF.

I think it's a good idea to approach this with specific needs in mind (such as - you want a good spectrum scope).  Many folks install a generalized rig control program, such as Ham Radio Deluxe, and end up with a compromise.  Why anyone would want to simply control all the rig functions from a screen that's only a foot away from the rig front panel escapes me.  Controlling the rig remotely from another location is another matter.

73, Floyd - K8AC
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12840




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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 07:48:02 AM »

"Why anyone would want to simply control all the rig functions from a screen that's only a foot away from the rig front panel escapes me"

Perhaps someone is running digital mode software on the PC and they want that software to be able to automatically set the radio's dial frequency, select IF filters, disable speach compression, etc.
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K1MMI
Member

Posts: 52




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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2012, 09:03:04 AM »

I have a Yaesu FT-1000mp Mark V Field that I really like, I have seen the DMU units for the latest models, it displays all kinds of things on the screen, band scope, frequency ect. My question is for my radio what does the CAT system actually do? What would I see on a monitor, if I hook it to a PC through the CAT serial port on the radio? Is this something like the DMU or totally something different, I have seen pictures of shacks with monitors and they have the band scope running and a lot of everything else, I may be way off base here but I am totally new to this technology. What software is required to do this or will this radio even do it? Thanks in advance.

HamRadioDeluxe had been free software. The company was bought and they are now selling a new version but they still have a free HRD version. I think HRD works with almost every Transceiver made in the last 20 years that has a CAT interface. (www.hrdsoftwarellc.com)

1. What I did was build a simple CAT cable. (About $5)
2. Connect a $1 audio cable between my Transceiver to the Audio In on my computer.
3. Using HamRadioDeluxe I was able to monitor/decode PSK, RTTY, and CW QSOs.
4. I then built a simple attenuator using 2 resistors and connected it from the transceiver to the Audio Out on my computer. This allowed me to experiment and have PSK and RTTY QSOs. In essence, it gave me the capability to operate in several digital modes for about $10.

Also checkout    http://www.ambersoft.com/Amateur_Radio, AA6YQ has a suite of free computer programs that provide functions and capabilities that are similar to HamRadioDeluxe.
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N2MG
Administrator

Posts: 123



« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 06:14:15 AM »

"Why anyone would want to simply control all the rig functions from a screen that's only a foot away from the rig front panel escapes me"
Sometimes the radio is harder to set up using the menu-within-a-menu-within-a-menu interface the front panel provides than it is from a computer.

Contesters use the interface to be sure the logging software and the radio are always "in sync" with regard to band/mode changes.

Also, DXers and Contesters can use DX-cluster spots to skew the radio, from the PC, to a specific frequency with one or two key presses (point-and-shoot).

Mike N2MG

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