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Does anyone have detailed information on SmartSDR CAT interface to a Bandmaster III Decoder?

Rick N0YYRick N0YY Member
I am looking for a bit of historical information.  

I understand, and have been successful in using the V1.10 USB cable for controlling an Array Solutions/Hamation Bandmaster III decoder.  Unfortunately, some of the interfaces between v1.10 and logging programs seem a bit unstable as has been reported here.

I went back to v1.9 as the last non-beta release - unfortunately that removed the USB cable interface between my Flex 6700 and the Bandmaster III.  

What I am looking for is detailed set up between SmartSDR CAT and the Bandmaster III.  Hopefully this will also include the set up of the Bandmaster III.

Here is the status.  I am interfacing the PC to the Bandmaster using the USB control of the Bandmaster III.  The PC talks to the Bandmaster and I can configure the Bandmaster.  

I created a port for the Bandmaster from SmartSDR CAT but there is no band output from the Bandmaster based on the CAT interface.

Here are my questions:

1)  What are the detailed set up instructions for the Bandmaster III?  Dip switch settings?  Radio definition?  RS-232 TTL or Bi-polar?

2)  Overview of SmartSDR CAT settings?

My suspicion is that I have a configuration problem in the Bandmaster III.  But have exhausted all my available information.  I am hoping someone can offer their insight.

Again, this is for a v1.9 control - not v1.10.  Once the release is stable with respect to logging software I will jump to v1.10 - but until then I need to find a way to use v1.9.

Can anyone help?

Rick N0YY


  • MackMack Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Rick, Looks like my reply didn't make it on the server. I use two BM III's on Ant A and Ant B for SO2R. They work perfectly using a bit cable connected to the back of the radio and using BCD to the BM. The instructions in the USB guide are from my station. I recommend you follow those and report back if you have issues. It works flawlessly with all versions of the software (that support USB) including the latest Alpha code. 73, Mack W4AX Alpha Team
  • Rick N0YYRick N0YY Member
    edited February 2017

    Thanks for the note.  I can control the Bandmaster III using the USB cables when I have installed v1.10.  My problem - and one reported by several others - is that when using v1.10 and logging software like N1MM+ or DX4Win the integration between the Flex 6700 and the logging software becomes garbled.  (In my specific case it appears there is a "random" write of the virtual COM ports that is not recoverable unless I reload the entire beta version of the software.  But after a period of time the port definitions get garbled again.)

    To resolve that problem, I reverted back to v1.9.  That means that now I am interfacing the Bandmaster to the station PC using the USB port control on the Bandmaster to a USB port on the PC.

    I have used the Bandmaster configuration software to configure the Bandmaster - but I want to know if I did that correctly!  This is not BCD this is a serial interface.  The Options are either RS232-TTL or RS-232-BiPolar - and I am not sure which is the correct interface.  Second, is how to ensure I am sending the correct control words from SmartSDR CAT to the Bandmaster.

    I had used the same Bandmaster with my old radios and had set the dip switches for that interface - but I do not know what is the default set of positions for the dip switches - or better yet - what positions they need to be in for interfacing with the SDR CAT software.

    Eventually I will get to SO2R with a second Bandmaster but right now I just want to get one working!

    Any insight you can offer regarding dip switch settings for computer control of the Bandmaster would be appreciated.

    While I could go back to the beta SDR sortware, I am hesitant because of losing logging interface.  It dumped me out of two contests in the last three weeks!

    Rick  N0YY

  • MackMack Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Rick, I'm not sure on DIP switch settings. You would use bi-polar RS232. I can assure you that they work flawlessly using a Bit cable and BCD. Good luck. Mack
  • Tom    N5MOA Tom N5MOA Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    Mack, just a fyi if you don't know already.

    The instructions in the USB guide for the Bandmaster lll work perfect for the Rat-Master controller also. Thanks for your input to the guide.

    73, Tom
  • MackMack Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Tom, That's great news. Thank you for sharing. Mack
  • Steve-N5ACSteve-N5AC Community Manager admin
    edited November 2017
    We've just recently been notified by WX0B that there is a new Band Master on the market, BM-5, which supports direct connection to a FLEX-6000 via a USB cable (just the cable, it has everything else inside).  I've asked Jay some questions about the product to better understand all it's capabilities, but you might give it a look and see if it solves any problems you have yet to solve:  https://www.arraysolutions.com/bandmaster-5

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