Controlling a SteppIR SDA Controller

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 1 day ago
  • Answered
I note a number of very useful comments about controlling the SDA100 using DDUTIL, I have an S12 cable, but I cannot get the pc to connect. Can someone send me the baudrate and which settings they used to operate the SDA100.
Thanks
Ross
ZL1WN/ZL1N
ps Is there any way of controlling the SDA100 without using a third party program?
Photo of Ross Biggar

Ross Biggar

  • 123 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes

Posted 2 years ago

  • 1
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2270 Posts
  • 904 Reply Likes
Hi Ross,

You can set it up in SmartSDR CAT. However it will be tied to one slice. However, in reality, SmartSDR CAT is just as much a "third party program" as DDUtil is since it reads the frequency via  ethernet/IP and then presents it to either a physical com port or as a virtual COM port. This is how you do it, where you are tracking slice A and you have a physical COM port on Com1:




If you want to do it via DDUtil, it will have to be done as such:






An important difference between the 1st and 2nd method is the port on the SDA100 that you use.

For the 1st method, you are setting up the SDA100 as a "passive listener" where it would simply follow CAT commands from the radio. You use the top connection on the SDA100, Data In/Radio. You'll have to set baud rate to 9600 8/n/1. 

For the 2nd method using DDUtil, you use the "Data out" port. This port is much better as it allows DDUtil to read data from the SDA100 and command it to retract/calibrate/180/Bi-Dir etc. It will also follow the TX slice which is where you usually want the antenna tuned. The baud rate in DDUtil and the SDA100 must match. I set mine to 19,200 8N1. 

In both instances you setup the SDA100 for "Kenwood" protocol. 
(Edited)
Photo of Jim Gilliam

Jim Gilliam

  • 868 Posts
  • 188 Reply Likes

Don't forget to set the baud rate and radio type in the StepIR controller box to match.



Photo of Bob - W7KWS -

Bob - W7KWS -

  • 294 Posts
  • 47 Reply Likes
Unfortunately, my SteppIR hardware dates back to before the time when they made separate cables like the S12 and I can't find a drawing for it on the SteppIR WEB site.  I assume for this that it is a cable specific to the Flex, so, a little of what I write below is supposition.

Unless they have changed something in the firmware, the SDA-100 "Data In" port is not designed to connect to your PC, it only listens to the Rx line for frequency data.

The Current "Transceiver Interface User's Manual" http://www.steppir.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Transceiver-Interface-Operation-5-28-09.pdf states at the bottom of Page two:

"Computer Logging program and Steppir using the Data In" connector. In this configuration the Steppir must share the Radio computer port with the Logging program which creates a conflict on the transmit data going to the Radio. To address this problem the Steppir “Y” cable passively listen to the Data being sent to the Computer from the Radio. The draw back to this method is that the logging program must request the radio to echo back the frequency so the Steppir can see it."

I prefer to use the SDA-100's "Data Out" port which will connect to a PC using a standard serial cable. I then run PstRotatorAZ. http://www.qsl.net/yo3dmu/index_Page346.htm

PstRotatorAZ will connect to Flex CAT and also to the SDA-100 controller "Data Out" and runs very smoothly. PstRotatorAZ also has a nice rotator controller and a relay board controller that I use to control an antenna switch.

73

P.S.
Later on, if you really want to get adventuress, arrange your internal connections, including a virtual port pair, in such a way that Ham Radio Deluxe intercedes between Flex CAT and PstRotator. With this arrangement I am able to quickly switch between six different HF rigs with a single mouse click on HRD and the SteppIR follows the currently selected rig.

73
(Edited)
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2270 Posts
  • 904 Reply Likes
Unless they have changed something in the firmware, the SDA-100 "Data In" port is not designed to connect to your PC, it only listens to the Rx line for frequency data.
That is not true. Using SmartSDR CAT you can set up a COM port just like it was on a radio. That said, today we have USB cable functionality which does the same thing without having to use a computer for CAT.

But for maximum flexibility (non SO2R), DDUtil is the way to go.
(Edited)
Photo of Bob - W7KWS -

Bob - W7KWS -

  • 294 Posts
  • 47 Reply Likes
I think that you have misunderstood my term "connect". The term didn't mean lack of a physical attachment but envisioned a two-way RS-232 exchange between a DTE and a DCE. This doesn't occur when using the "Data-In" port on the SDA-100. The "Data-in" port is defined in the manual as a passive listener. The SteppIR "Y" cable doesn't use its "TX" pin, it merely listens to "RX" as data passes between the radio and the PC which is running software such as a logger. The logger or other software polls the radio for frequency data and the SDA-100 listens in without interaction.
(Edited)
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2270 Posts
  • 904 Reply Likes
Correct. However CAT is not a typical PC connection. CAT operates like a radio. That's what I would like to make clear - there are three ways to connect the radio:

1. USB to serial cable connected to the radio connected to "Data in"

2. Serial cable connected on the PC with a port defined in SmartSDR CAT connected to "Data In"

3. Serial cable connected on PC using DDUtil (or other third party software) SteppIR function connected to "Data out." 

Connection simply means a physical connection in this case, and doesn't imply two way communication. The only one that does two way is the DDUtil option. 
(Edited)
Photo of Gene - K3GC

Gene - K3GC

  • 228 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
I am in t he process of connecting Steppir SDA100 to my Flex 6300 using DDutil.  What cable do I use between the SDA100 data out and the serial port on my PC?

I have seen references to serial, null modem and a S12 From Steppir.  At this point I am thoroughly confused as to which I need to use,.  HELP
Gene K3GC
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2264 Posts
  • 897 Reply Likes
Just a null modem cable and connect to the bottom data out port. 
Photo of Gene - K3GC

Gene - K3GC

  • 228 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
Thanks, Ria
Photo of John - K3MA

John - K3MA

  • 280 Posts
  • 81 Reply Likes
You can use the USB port in the back of the flex with a properly wired cable to the StepIR box to have it be controlled by frequency.  No intermediate programs but not additional functions available either.
Photo of roger na4rr

roger na4rr

  • 83 Posts
  • 5 Reply Likes
Do you still use the null type  cable?
Photo of Rich McCabe

Rich McCabe

  • 1051 Posts
  • 222 Reply Likes
So what is the advantage of running DDUTIL to do this over a direct cable if you are not using any of the other DDUTIL functions?
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2270 Posts
  • 904 Reply Likes
DDUtil can also set transmit inhibit when tuning to prevent damage to your antenna. Of course if you have the tuning relay and connect that, that will work as well.
Photo of Rich McCabe

Rich McCabe

  • 1051 Posts
  • 222 Reply Likes
Thanks Ria. Yes I have the tuning relay but have not connected it yet. I have only had it two years. LOL That is on my list of things to do.

Rich
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3594 Posts
  • 1447 Reply Likes
DDUTIL gives you FULL control - Forward, reverser, split, calibrate, Home of SteppIR

USB port only provides band data