Band Data

  • 4
  • Question
  • Updated 5 years ago
  • Answered
Does FRS know what scheme they are going to use to provide Band Data? I'm sure that many people are interested to know this and when.
Photo of Bob G   W1GLV

Bob G W1GLV

  • 722 Posts
  • 127 Reply Likes
  • confident about FRS

Posted 5 years ago

  • 4
Photo of Steve - N5AC

Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

  • 1047 Posts
  • 1049 Reply Likes
Official Response
We are expecting to provide it as a 4-bit band data or individual bits per band, your choice.  As for when, we've been working on this internally and are prototyping, but I can't yet tell you when we'll have something in your hands.  As soon as we know more, we'll come back here and provide some details.
Photo of James Kennedy-WU5E

James Kennedy-WU5E

  • 321 Posts
  • 33 Reply Likes

can't wait - looking forward to it.

Jim WU5E

Photo of pa0bie

pa0bie

  • 152 Posts
  • 20 Reply Likes


Band data is important. But a 4 bit code ??   As I wanted to see at the band tabs not only 136 and 477 KHZ but also a again a GEN tab , it is not flexible enough.  With DDutil You can only control one USB-8 relay board.  Sometimes I need also the infomation wich antenna and wich mode I have in use on a partically Slice. That is why it is would only be possibble with a micro-processor controlled external interface connected to the I2C bus on the acc. connector.

Photo of Stan - VA7NF

Stan - VA7NF

  • 431 Posts
  • 100 Reply Likes


Steve,

As you were mentioning 4-bit band data, I was considering what may be needed for transverter operation.  There are 18 ham bands including 2M and up (2M because the XVTR port must select a power amp). 

Meanings such as on HF:
1-11:  Main power amp bands 160 through 6M
12-13: RX only (GEN1, GEN2)
14-15: Potential special "out of band" TX user (USR1, USR2)
0:      Undefined or "Figure it out by frequency sampling"

Then for XVTR, assuming ONLY ONE transverter, the same 4 bits could be re-used such as:
0       No mapping (0-77) 
1       No mapping (0-77 + 135-165) 6700/6700R only
2-6    High IF transverters (220, 430, 902, 1240, 2300)
7       High IF Other - i.e. Manual select - No automation

8       Reserved
9       Low IF transverter for 144
10-14 Low IF transverter as 2-6
15     Low IF Other - i.e. Manual select - No automation

This usage prevents these same 4 bits being used concurrently for multiple HF, or a mix of HF and XVTR.
 

The whole scheme falls apart as there may be up to 8 slices requesting concurrent HF + transverter setup(4 high band and 4 low band); unless there is direct communications with each HF and transverter device such as a IP, CAT, separate cable, or on the coax as DC pulses.

My view is the 4 line band switching has no value as soon as multiple outputs are required (Ant1, Ant2 and/or XVTR which counts as many outputs) except for backward compatibility. 

Respectably and 73
Stan 

Photo of Bob G   W1GLV

Bob G W1GLV

  • 722 Posts
  • 127 Reply Likes
thanks, appreciate it.
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 608 Posts
  • 83 Reply Likes
Hi Steve, It would help us all if FRS could make the band data scheme be as compatible as possible with existing amps, switches and the like....  Oh, and before I forget, THANKS for the GREAT radio!!
Photo of Steve - N5AC

Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

  • 1047 Posts
  • 1049 Reply Likes
Post your favorites (schemes) here and we'll do our best. Also please note if you'd be interested in testing before we release.
Photo of Bob G   W1GLV

Bob G W1GLV

  • 722 Posts
  • 127 Reply Likes
Steve, I think the 4 bit band data would probably be the best way to go.
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 608 Posts
  • 83 Reply Likes
From what I've been able to discover over the last week or so, most tranceivers on the market, except ICOM, use the 4-line BCD format (the Unified Microsystems plan).  ICOM uses a single line with band data represented by a voltage between 0 and 8V.  The manual download from this link http://www.ameritron.com/support.php?productid=ARI-500 has quit a bit of information on the subject....  Thanks for asking.


Photo of Roger Rockwell/na4rr

Roger Rockwell/na4rr

  • 69 Posts
  • 10 Reply Likes
Where is it going to be ?  On the acc connector?

Roger
Photo of Greg

Greg

  • 656 Posts
  • 63 Reply Likes
That's what I am trying to figure out. Needs to be direct from the radio I would think. And hopefully more than one so we can control amps and antennas. I look forward to one day soon to take the micro ham stationmaster out of the equation even though it works well.
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1813 Posts
  • 650 Reply Likes
It's not clear whether "providing band data" means there will be a hardware solution included or not.  It could just be that the data will be available from the software via an API call or other means.     

Eventually a hardware solution will be needed to connect the various peripherals that need the data.   As Greg mentioned, ideally this would be either directly from the radio or from a dedicated micro controller connected to the radio.  There are a number of previous posts on this subject and some of the potential solutions.  Here is one of the posts:

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/looking_all_over_for_band_data

We'll need to wait for further clarification from FRS to understand the scope of what is planned. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com




Photo of Greg

Greg

  • 656 Posts
  • 63 Reply Likes
To me this sounds like a perfect use for one of the USB ports on the back of the radio.  A smallish USB dongle with two or three sets of isolated BCD data signals and one CIV output.  Even a step further and  include a 12V relay driver for two sets of 6 outputs (antenna switches) one set for each SCU.  Or just one set of 6 and be able to connect two dongles, one for each SCU.

73
Greg

Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 608 Posts
  • 117 Reply Likes


I support that ide!

Photo of Bob G   W1GLV

Bob G W1GLV

  • 722 Posts
  • 127 Reply Likes
i second the idea.
Photo of Sergey, R5AU

Sergey, R5AU

  • 855 Posts
  • 114 Reply Likes
Hi All, what can be easy instead DDutil + http://www.ebay.com/itm/SainSmart-8-channel-12-V-USB-Relay-Board-Module-Controller-4-Automation-Robo...  for some body who are looking for HW solution, work properly, do we need anything else ? I am using it for external BPF with SO2R
Photo of K1UO - Larry

K1UO - Larry

  • 833 Posts
  • 135 Reply Likes
Hi Sergey,  Yes..there are numerous 'solutions' and workarounds but all require additional external software and or Hardware to use.  I think many are looking for as much interfacing to be provided by the Flex6700 as possible..at least I am. I.E CW Skimmer, Band Data (via usb interface is ok :-)), FSK etc.
 For sure there are many really good external 'solutions' to connect to the F6K series available... but all add to the complexity and are still workarounds at this point.
Photo of Greg

Greg

  • 656 Posts
  • 63 Reply Likes
Hey Sergey!  I agree...in the shack when running computers that is sufficient.  But many expect to remote this radio as I do from another room on my LAN (diff building).  So dedicated hardware connected directly to the radio would be the best solution.

Are you controling the USB relays with DDUtil?

I have the USB setup and a 12 port Ethernet version but have not done anything with them  yet.
Photo of Sergey, R5AU

Sergey, R5AU

  • 855 Posts
  • 114 Reply Likes
Well Greg, i used multiple HW with F6799, where reason to prevent any cable exhange or other switches, yes, a main multiplexer is DDutil which driving with my Solid state: 2k-fa, via additional FTDI usb->com, driving external prselector and driving external Bandpass filters for SO2R.
Hownestly speakin i am vouting too for some USB dongle for 6000 with different kind of the output data.
Larry you are right with Skimmer as one of the most wanted feature, however with FSK, i guess no big reason for implementation of that with separate input for keying, better solution to use DAX for it with RTTY mode, where SW of the 6000 will detect freq. of generated into DAX signal(ex. RTTY) with further syntezing crystal clear RF signal for transmission, i think in this case user will be more flexible with remote setup.
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1813 Posts
  • 650 Reply Likes
Hi Sergey,
I also use DDUtil currently to control my amp, bandswitch, etc.   It is a good program, works well and I'm glad to have it.  But there is a drawback.  It requires a local PC running Windows.   PCs can lock up, need periodic rebooting, and may require remote logins to manage them or launch programs.    

The stated long term vision for the 6000 is to connect to the internet for remote capability and to remove the need for a local PC, (i.e the "computer in the middle").   See snapshot.  Most of us have station peripherals like amps, band switches, etc.  If we are not going to use a PC then we need some other way to control them.   Even if you just want to operate your radio from another room or out by the pool, it would be better to not have to rely on a PC to control your peripherals. 

Eventually (maybe many years away) I think most peripherals will support being network attached.  In the mean time I think a good solution is for someone (FRS or some enterprising third party) to build a dedicated peripheral controller.  It could attach to the 6000 via the network or the usb port or the accessory port.  It could provide all of the various protocols and connectors (usb, serial, CIV, BCD, ethernet, relay contacts, etc).  Rather than put all of the legacy protocol software in the radio, put it in the external dedicated controller.  Rather than building a number of dedicated hardware solutions in or attached to  the radio, put them in the external dedicated controller.  

Sort of a like having "DDUtil in a box."  
 
Sorry for being long winded....hihi 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com



 
Photo of Sergey, R5AU

Sergey, R5AU

  • 855 Posts
  • 114 Reply Likes
Al, i am fully with you for middle and long term perspectives where radio with PA should be an separate unit of staff with complete remote access and remote usage of them, any SW on PC side for the moment a temporary solution, some add-on usb microcontroller base unit for band data management can be successefully utilized for connectivity to other RF units for remote control.
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 608 Posts
  • 83 Reply Likes
If I understand the slide bullet correctly, the only issue I see with a PC in the middle is most low cost Amps, like the ALS-600S and many others do not have a PC interface.  If they  did we wouldn't have an issue today and wouldn't need BCD band data....  DDUtil could do the interfacing like it does for the high price spread....

For this to work don't we need a direct connection from the amp controller to the F6000 via the ACC connector....  Or something like that....
Photo of Bob G   W1GLV

Bob G W1GLV

  • 722 Posts
  • 127 Reply Likes
The ALS-600 does have direct connection with a radio via the ARI-500 interface, which works very well. Personally I would like to dump DDUTIL from my software arsenal. 
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1813 Posts
  • 650 Reply Likes
At one point I was looking at using the BCD capabilities from DDUTil for my DX2400 amp.  I ended up using a different method but here are some notes Steve / K5FR sent me on how to do it.  This may be helpful for interfacing the ALS-600s.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com

Q- Is there support to interface the DX2400 using DDUtil for the BCD band decoding using a parallel port?

A - You will have to fab your cable as the DX2400 plugs are not common.  The protocol is BCD (4 wire) and you will need a parallel port on the PC to drive the band switching on the amp. I'll dig out my owner's manual to get the plug pin out and send a follow up message with the pin connections. 73, Steve K5FR

DDUtil setup is as follows:
1) Enable the parallel port on the Ports tab.
2) Select your port number from the list if you have a motherboard port or see this link if you have an add-on card.
http://k5fr.com/Docs/PortAddr.htm
3) Load a data file on the BCD tab. The default data file provided with DDUtil is the correct one.
4) Setup the Auto Drive feature.
http://k5fr.com/ddutilwiki/index.php?title=AutoDrive

Photo of Roger Rockwell/na4rr

Roger Rockwell/na4rr

  • 69 Posts
  • 10 Reply Likes
I wouldn't like to go to a 3rd party for something as basic as Band Data to control an amp

roger
Photo of Greg

Greg

  • 656 Posts
  • 63 Reply Likes
Not me.  DDUtil is great to use while in the shack.  

Another function I would like to see on a dongle would be serial data on a DB9 connector for at least rxd, txd and ground for passing (one way only) outbound serial data.  This would be great for things like auto tuners that can follow frequency data and auto band change.

Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 608 Posts
  • 83 Reply Likes
Thanks Al for the comment about using DDUtil for the BCD data, never thought of that....  I use the parallel port/.BCD output from DDUtil to drive my remote antenna switch but I see no reason at this time, why that wouldn't work for the ASL-600S or other amps as well....  At least until FRS gets something going so we can plug directly into the radio....