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Physical PTT for Remote SmartSDR

Dave - N6XVZDave - N6XVZ Member ✭✭
edited June 2020 in SmartSDR for Windows
I want to have a physical PTT switch and run my radio via SmartSDR remotely from the physical radio (actually just downstairs from radio location in a telecom rack in a closet).

Yes I know how to MOX and VOX and the wonderful space bar trick.  I still want physical PTT.

Given the following:
* Flex Radio 6xxx
* SmartSDR 2.4.9
* Windows PC with USB and Audio in but NO Serial port
* Open to using other software to assist (like FRStack)
* Open to building interfacee
* Fine with configuring CAT

How would I do this:
Have a physical microphone (Could be be USB or traditional - don't have this yet) and a PTT button

Driving PTT via CAT is my presumption and use something like FRStack to translate to MOX for SmartSDR

I've seen other threads here like putting an Arduino Nano ($30) into a Footswitch and running a Serial to USB Cable ($10-20) but that seems overcomplicated and expensive and was a solve 4 years ago.

Could it now be just as simple as wiring a switch (shorting pins 8 & 9) to a DB9 and then into a Serial To USB Cable and enabling CAT with PTT and running FRStack?

Or is there something a bit more elegant that I'm missing?

Have ya done it?  Help me out with your learnings please!

Answers

  • Mike-VA3MWMike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin
    edited September 2019
    Would this work for you?  Not very complicated and very clean.

    https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/remote-footswitch-how-to-lan-vpn-solution

    Mike va3mw

  • WX7YWX7Y Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    The response from Michael works great for PTT using a FTDI RS-232 cable and is what I have used for the past 11 months.
    as far as the Microphone it is also very easy and I have tried many different USB sound card interfaces and have settled on the Shure X2U USB XLR Microphone adapter. 
    I run this with my Heil PR-40 and audio is superb.

    Don't waist your money on the purple Heil USB XLR (not enough audio out) or other USB XLR cable adapter they are very poor audio quality compared to the SHURE X2U adapter and a waist of Money.
    Here is a link on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Shure-X2U-XLR-to-USB-Signal-Adapter/dp/B001PPXFAG/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=... 

    Then you can do as I did and just run your SHURE X2U and Heil PR-40 (or what ever XLR MIC your running) MIC profile using the PC Mic selection, sounds almost as good as running on the Balanced audio connection.

    You pay a bit more for this quality device but it is well worth it.

    This will give you OUTSTANDING TX Audio on the FLEX6700 or FLEX6600 radio's and I'm sure the other 6xxx radio's running Remote. 

    Hope this helps.
    73's
    Bret
    WX7Y


  • Dave - N6XVZDave - N6XVZ Member ✭✭
    edited December 2018
    I ended up following along with the tip Michael provided and it served me well.
    This push switch is a bit stiff for use so may have to swap it out. I wanted to post this for newbies since much has changed with the advent of the 6xxx series and SmartSDR 2.4.9.  

    I built a dual RCA based cable so I can swap in different setups if I want and have both Foot and Hand PTT.




     


    Parts I used:

    RCA Speaker Y - gauge is a bit too large so you could really just use an old RCA cable and **** out one of them and save some $.  This however lets my tie two RCA jacks into same ports on Serial cable and not have to swap out.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G352P2C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    This is the breakout Serial end that I connected RCA Female (above) to.  Notice I chose the male with NUTS that I could ****/bond the cable below too.  They have many options so choose carefully!

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07191YHSL/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    This is the USB to Serial cable I use to go into the computer and Cat/PTT configured for the USB.  I chose this one because it had FTDI chip - important.  Connected to Windows10 seamlessly and drivers already there.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075YHFMC7/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Finally the switch.  It's a bit stiff for such a small button so you might shop around.  Use your multi meter to determine which contacts close when it closes BEFORE you solder up.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B887GVY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    There is just no good way to photograph the end product.  **** ugly but functional!
    image


    73's and thanks!

    Dave N6XVZ

  • John - K3MAJohn - K3MA Member ✭✭
    edited December 2018
    You can get the parts on ebay for a few dollars or from retailer Quicksiler for a few more dollars.  Works up to 300ft away from the radio.

    http://www.cs520hams.k5pa.com/downloads/Wireless%20Relay%20WR-SIN%20User%20Manual%20rev-1.pdf

    I would recommend you get it from Quicksilver.

    John K3MA
  • WX7YWX7Y Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
  • Lee, N2LCLee, N2LC Member ✭✭
    edited September 2019
    The index finger button on the Flex Control set to MOX is close enough to PTT for me.
  • Mike-VA3MWMike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin

    I just tested this under 3.1.12 and it works.

    Connect to Radio locally or SmartLink on your Windows computer.

    Open SmartCat - make sure it is connected to the same radio

    This shows the radio I am connected to and the 'Station' aka, client. In this case, it is my Maestro named VA3MW



    Plug in a USB / RS232 cable - Make sure Windows sees it ok. Not the Com #. In my case, it was Com 14

    Create a new PTT port with SmartSDR CAT.  

    The serial port is "Existing" and I picked Com 14 since it is the physical port you installed previously.


    It will be attached to Slice A - If you had a Slice B you were going to ask, you would have to duplicate it on another switch, or just use FRstack -- FRStack requires a pullup resistor it seems (I can't seem to find the schematic to do this).

    For RTS Active Low, I have the FootSwitch connected across pins 7 and 8 on DB9 Female connector plugged into the USB / RS232 cable. (It was the same cable I used for testing SmartSDR for MAC remote PTT).

    I have confirmed that it does work on Local and SmartLink connections.

    Mike va3mw

  • Mick  W8BEMick W8BE Member ✭✭

    The solution above is great if you have a DB com port. I use an Aurdino Nano Every in a foot switch to send CAT commands for Mox on\off. This allows me to the usb com ports on a laptop. I can post the Arduino sketch if any one is interested..

  • Mike-VA3MWMike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin

    @Mick W8BE

    The design I mentioned is for someone who just wants to add a USB/232 cable to their windows PC.

    But, the Nano design is pretty cool too to send TX0 and TX1 commands.

    Please post the sketch, it would be fun to see.


    Mike

  • Mick  W8BEMick W8BE Member ✭✭
    edited October 2020

    @Mike-VA3MW

    See sketch below. I have found out that my using hardware flow control works best for me. I have been running this on our club 6400 and on the guys can't even tell I am remote. I can't imagine not operating with out it now.


    #define PTT 2 // PTT pinD2 var 

    volatile int PTT_State = HIGH; // volatile, value changes in  

    ISR 

    const int bounce_delay = 20; 

    volatile int bounce_time = 20; // volatile, value changes in  

    ISR 

    int PTT_Old_State = HIGH;  

    void setup() { 

    pinMode(PTT, INPUT_PULLUP); 

    attachInterrupt(digitalPinToInterrupt(PTT), switchISR,  CHANGE); // attach interrupt handler 

    Serial.begin(9600); // set baud rate for usb port 

    delay(100); 

    void loop(){ // put your main code here, to run repeatedly:  

     if(PTT_State != PTT_Old_State) { 

     if(PTT_State == LOW) { 

     pttOn(); 

     } if(PTT_State == HIGH) { 

     pttOff(); 

     } 

     PTT_Old_State = PTT_State;  

     } 

    }  

    // Interrupt Service Routine (ISR) 

    void switchISR () { 

    if((bounce_time + bounce_delay) >= 50) { 

    return; 

    PTT_State = digitalRead(PTT); 

    } // end of switchPressed 


    //ptt On CAT Command 

    void pttOn(){ 

    Serial.print("ZZTX1;"); 

    delay(10); 

    PTT_State = digitalRead(PTT); 


    // ptt Off CAT Command 

    void pttOff(){ 

    Serial.print("ZZTX0;"); 

    delay(10); 

    PTT_State = digitalRead(PTT); 

  • Mick  W8BEMick W8BE Member ✭✭

    The previous sketch did not post well. I am reposting for better clarity.

    #define PTT 2 // PTT pinD2 var

    volatile int PTT_State = HIGH; // volatile, value changes in ISR

    const int bounce_delay = 20;

    volatile int bounce_time = 20; // volatile, value changes in ISR

    int PTT_Old_State = HIGH;  


    void setup() {

    pinMode(PTT, INPUT_PULLUP);

    attachInterrupt(digitalPinToInterrupt(PTT), switchISR, CHANGE); // attach interrupt handler

    Serial.begin(9600); // set baud rate for usb port

    delay(100);

    }


    void loop(){  // put your main code here, to run repeatedly:

      

     if(PTT_State != PTT_Old_State) {

      if(PTT_State == LOW) {

       pttOn();

      } if(PTT_State == HIGH) {

       pttOff();

      }

       PTT_Old_State = PTT_State;

       }

    }  


    // Interrupt Service Routine (ISR)

    void switchISR () {

    if((bounce_time + bounce_delay) >= 50) {

    return;

    }

    PTT_State = digitalRead(PTT);

    } // end of switchPressed


    //ptt On CAT Command

    void pttOn(){

    Serial.print("ZZTX1;");

    delay(10);

    PTT_State = digitalRead(PTT);

    }

    // ptt Off CAT Command

    void pttOff(){

    Serial.print("ZZTX0;");

    delay(10);

    PTT_State = digitalRead(PTT);

    }  



    If you want to send a dax off command just insert the following code in your sketch:

    void daxOff(){

      Serial.print("ZZDX0;"); 

    }


    Then add daxOff() to the main loop:

    void loop(){  // put your main code here, to run repeatedly:  

     if(PTT_State != PTT_Old_State) {

      if(PTT_State == LOW) {

    daxOff();

    delay(10);

       pttOn();

      } if(PTT_State == HIGH) {

       pttOff();

      }

       PTT_Old_State = PTT_State;

      

     }

    }  

  • I think a Link to the Ardunio Sketch might be helpful
    Versus typing it all in, I am obviously a newbie to Arduino

    I am also wondering where is the best resource for all things Arduino for Ham Radio?

    Di Dit
    Steve
    KG5VK
  • Mick  W8BEMick W8BE Member ✭✭

    Copy the sketch and paste into your IDE.

  • Mike-VA3MWMike-VA3MW FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin

    @Mick W8BE

    I wonder if you posting it in GitHub might be a better choice since this forum does mess up formatting.

    Mike

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