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CAT Frequency Query Problem

I am building an antenna configuration box based on an Arduino MEGA2560 board. The idea is to get the frequency from my Flex 6400 and control relays to configure my antenna connections for that frequency. A serial port on the Arduino communicates through an FTDI cable with a USB port on the 6400 configured for CAT.

As expected, the Flex transmits the new frequency to the Arduino when I QSY. Here is a snippet from the Windows SmartSDR USB Cable Log window showing such a message from the Flex to the Arduino when I changed frequency to 7,123.00 kHz:

17:12:47 (TX): FA00007123000;

The problem is that I want the Arduino to be able to query the radio for the frequency, in case I don't QSY. My understanding is that the CAT command to do this is "FA;" which should cause the radio to respond with the current frequency (e.g. "FA00007123000;"). However, the radio is responding with "?;" instead. Here is the USB Cables log for that interaction:

17:26:20 (RX): FA;
17:26:20 (TX): ?;

Any ideas about what I'm doing wrong?

Jim AD4J
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Comments

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭

    Hi Jim, "ZZFA;" or just "FA;" should work. You might also try "ZZIF;" or "IF;". The prefix of "ZZ" is the Flex command and the plain "FA" or "IF" is the Kenwood compatible command. If your Arduino is just being used with the Flex, try the ZZ commands. If it will be used with other Kenwood compatible radios, then you will need to stick with the non-ZZ set.

    73,

    Len, KD0RC

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭

    One other thought comes to mind... Did you issue the FA before the A slice was active? Or did you issue it when only the B slice was in use? Check out section 1.2 at the bottom of page 3 of the SmartSDR CAT User Guide.

    73,

    Len

  • jimworth
    jimworth Member ✭✭
    Thanks, Len. I tried "ZZFA;", "ZZIF;" and "IF;". In each case, I still got a question mark in response:

    19:02:26 (RX): ZZFA;
    19:02:26 (TX): ?;
    19:04:36 (RX):
    19:04:39 (RX): ZZIF;
    19:04:39 (TX): ?;
    19:05:28 (RX):
    19:05:30 (RX): IF;
    19:05:30 (TX): ?;
  • jimworth
    jimworth Member ✭✭
    Len: I posted the results of the ZZFA, ZZIF, and IF tests before I saw you response about slice A being active. Sorry for any confusion.

    I have now read the section you indicated, but am not sure what it means I should do prior to issuing the frequency query. I only have slice A (haven't created a slice B) and had previously gotten the frequency from the radio by changing frequency before issuing the frequency query. Here's an example showing that sequence:

    19:28:16 (TX): FA00007120080;
    19:28:22 (RX):
    19:28:25 (RX): ZZFA;
    19:28:25 (TX): ?;
  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭

    I wonder if you need to turn off the automatic updater (ZZAI command) before querying? Maybe try "ZZAI 0;" followed by "ZZFA:" followed by "ZZAI 1;". Also might try a non-slice oriented command like KS (key speed) or MG, (Mic gain) to see if the response is different. If no sent commands work, then I wonder if there is a formatting problem with the commands or possibly a CAT setting that is not set right. Kind of grasping at straws at this point...

    73,

    Len

  • jimworth
    jimworth Member ✭✭
    I tried sending ZZAI0, ZZFA, KS, and ZZAI1 commands in that order, each spaced a second apart. Here's the log:

    21:02:07 (RX): ZZAI0;
    21:02:07 (TX): ?;
    21:02:08 (RX): ZZFA;
    21:02:08 (TX): ZZFA00007120080;
    21:02:09 (RX): KS;
    21:02:09 (TX): ?;
    21:02:10 (RX): ZZAI1;
    21:02:10 (TX): ZZFA00007120080;

    The good news is that this allowed me to get the frequency without changing frequencies. I don't understand why:
    1. The response to "ZZAI0" is a question mark (even though the command is clearly effective).
    2. The response to a key speed command is a question mark, with or without the automatic information on.

    The shortest path to getting the frequency seems to be sending ZZAI0 followed by ZZAI1:

    21:12:11 (RX): ZZAI0;
    21:12:11 (TX): ?;
    21:12:12 (RX): ZZAI1;
    21:12:12 (TX): ZZFA00007120080;

    If fact, just sending both commands in one string works:

    21:18:23 (RX): ZZAI0;ZZAI1;
    21:18:23 (TX): ?;
    21:18:23 (TX): ZZFA00007120080;
  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭

    Very good! Well, I wonder if just the AI1 would do it. In any event, I am glad you got it going!

    Len

  • jimworth
    jimworth Member ✭✭
    I did try that earlier, but got only the question mark in response. Log:

    21:11:20 (RX): ZZAI1;
    21:11:20 (TX): ?;

    Anyway, thanks for all of your help, Len.

    73 and Happy Holidays,
    Jim AD4J
  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭

    You are very welcome!

    Len

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