FRStack Version 3.1.5.19 - SteppIR feature, UDP Radio Info feature, FDX protect

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  • Updated 6 months ago
Radio versions starting with SSDR 2.5.1 and 3.0.19 share the same API interface syntax.
This release has been tested with SSDR 2.5.1 and 3.0.27.

Full release history can be found at http://www.mkcmsoftware.com/Flex/Index


This release adds SteppIR REST Radio API / UI, FDX Protect and UDP Radio Info message features.

Your SteppIR antenna can now be controlled from the FRStack SteppIR UI Window or your Stream Deck. Support includes setting Direction, Calibrate and Retract functions. If you are not using the CAT cable on your controller there is manual or automatic frequency tracking 
to TX Slice or specific Slice. Special thanks to Max N5NHJ for the remote use of his SteppIR Beam and Mike VE3CKO for his Stream Deck contribution; they both performed testing and provided valuable feedback.




UDP Radio Information feature can be enabled in the View - Options settings. This feature sends radio information on up to 4 IP+Port combinations. Use this feature to drive accessory / companion applications like HF-AUTO Antenna Tuning software.


Full Duplex protection provides an automatic method to disable FDX when your 2 receiver radio slices change antennas. Usage scenario is two slices on different bands using different antennas. The radio's band pass filters protect the receivers from RF on other bands. When either slice is changed to the same band or remove filters (WIDE mode) you now are transmitting with no band pass protection on second receiver. This feature turns off FDX when these conditions exist to prevent RF from entering active receiver. You can control which antenna inputs are protected.

Many of the features in FRStack come from FRS Community, Radio Owners and Staff input. Thank you for making FRStack better.


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Mark - W3II

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Posted 9 months ago

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Michael Walker, Employee

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You are a genius!  
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Pat KB6Y

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Thank you
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John - WA7UAR

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Hi Mark -- when I visit your website that latest version I can see is 3.1.4.10. Will your new version appear there eventually?
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Andy - KU7T

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I believe the website is not updated. However, if you run an older version, you will be promoted to the update. 

BTW, the FDX protection is a killer feature for me. Helps protect from damaging the other SCU in SO2R mode while swtiching to the same band (switching between SO2R and SO2R on the same band).

73
Andy
KU7T
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Hi Andy

I don't believe that turning FDX on or off actually isolates the Antenna from the SCU at all.  It is still exposed to RF.  I'll check with engineering to be sure.

You will get a screen warning if you exceed RF limits on either SCU.  The levels escape me at the moment, but they are mentioned in the hardware manual I think.

Mike
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Hi Andy

I talked to Eric and did confirm that turning off FDX does a great job of protecting your ears.  :)  The RF still runs down the other feedline and into the front end of the SCU.

73
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Mark - W3II

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Since we have ears taken care of I will be investigating options to take care of RF like: switching non-TX slice's RX antenna to configured unused antenna or TX Inhibit.
Thanks for the info.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Mark,

I just updated FRStack and the frequency display button on lower right of your default template now shows extra trailing zeros, pushing the leading digit to the left which cannot be seen.

3.924 shows as 3.924000

Dave wo2x
(Edited)
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Mark - W3II

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I was told that not displaying the trailing 0s was incorrect to which I agreed. You can reduce th e font size of the button to see them all or modify the button to change number of digits right of the decimal point.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Thanks Mark. Didn’t realize you can edit how many places to the right to show.

73 Dave wo2x
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Michael Walker, Employee

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On the Steppir Connection, are you using the DATA IN or the DATA OUT port on the Steppir Controller?   

What are the settings you have the Steppir controller set to?

thanks again, Mike va3mw
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Mark - W3II

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It is my understanding that you connect computer to DATA OUT port as shown in SDA-100 manual. https://consumer.steppir.com/wp-conte...
When using only PC interface FRStack will control Antenna Frequency and Direction. When used in combination with CAT to DATA IN. FRStack shows antenna Frequency but does not control it. You can control Direction. You select the mode of operation in FRStack SteppIR configuration e.g. Bean no CAT, Bean with CAT, etc.
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Thanks Mark

At the moment, I use DATA OUT with PSTRotatorAZ for Steppir control.  

My station is remote, so I can't really move the cable at the moment, but I do know I am using DATA OUT.  

I am set up like Figure 6 on Page 14 of the SDR Manual.    I think the baud rate on that port is fixed, but I can't remember what the rate is.  

Maybe others can comment?

Mike va3mw
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Max, N5NHJ

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Mike,
the SDA-100 DataIn connector is used to connect the CAT from the radio, the DataOut is used to daisy-chain another SDA-100 or to connect a computer using the SteppIr protocol (FrStack).
The baud rates can/must be configured separately for the two ports, default is 9600.
The CAT protocol selection (Kenwood for the Flex) affects only the DataIn port.




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Michael Walker, Employee

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Hi Max

I have been using PSTRotatorAZ for about a decade with the only connection being the DATA-OUT port.

This allows for not only frequency data but, all the other commands being sent to that port.  With the correct commands, there is no require to use both ports.  Would this not make sense to just use 1 port?

Mike


(Edited)
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Max, N5NHJ

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Mike,
It really depends on your operating scenario, setup, and preferences.
I do like to also have the CAT connected so that the antenna follows the radio even without using any specific antenna control software.
  
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K1UO - Larry

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This is awesome Mark..  I will soon have a SteppIR Urban Beam to control with the newer SDA2000
controller.  Do you know if FR Stack will work with this controller also?   This should be great for us that will be remoting to equipment located at the "He Shed" but on the same LAN.

Nice work,
Larry  k1UO
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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He Shed.

Good one Larry!

Dave wo2x
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K1UO - Larry

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Hi Dave...  Got the only 8X10 shed in the HOA equipped with 220VAC :) and numerous 110VAC receptacles
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Here is the SteppIR folder I created. I want to easily distinguish between displays and buttons so I picked the color orange for displays and placed them on the top row. The return data for each display is but you can change the data color if you don't like yellow. The buttons are plain jane looking but do the job. I'd like to thank Mark for accepting the challenge and adding SteppIR functionality to FRStack, was a pleasure working with you Mark.


Mike I found using a USB to serial adapter from the computer to the DATA OUT was the most optimal configuration since the needed controller functions are accessible via FRStack. This made a cable from the Flex to the SDA-100 redundant.

I'm still waiting for the Antenna Genius command protocol and once I get all that sorted out and sent to Mark we should have Antenna Genius functionality with FRStack as well.
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Wayne VK4ACN

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Mike
How do you have your return data colours different from the title colours?
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Wayne, the orange text is actually a custom icon like a button is. The data color is determined by text color within Stream Deck. To change those colors with Stream Deck software open if you click your mouse on the area in question you will see the information for that Custom Rest Call populate down below. To the right of the Title text box you see a T, click the down arrow. A window pops up allowing you to change the font, size and color. This will affect the Title, Prefix, suffix and Data text and alignment of said text. It will not affect the color of the icon. Note when creating your own icons be sure to leave space for the data.
(Edited)
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K1UO - Larry

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Mike..  what is this display from?   trying to "catch up" with this SteppIR stuff as I will need to use the controller remotely also..
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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I put an explanation on my QRZ page. Mark, W3II has this great 3rd Party application called FRStack, it controls tons of functions for 6xxx radios. Recently he added Stream Deck support, then added SteppIR support.
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Wayne VK4ACN

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Mike. I understand. Thanks for the explanation. Great Qrz page
(Edited)
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Steve Sterling

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FRStack Setup Help--
I've been using Steve Nance's DDUtil since 2010 to interface between my Flex radios, rotor and Steppir. But with the latest SSDR versions, DDUtil isn't viable thus attempting to move to FRStack. Simple question-- how do you tell FRStack the COM port to use to talk to the Steppir Controller (SD-100)? I can't find any configuration page in the app at all, or anything in the help. I can View the Steppir control page (looks good) but the lower right status shows no com port defined. Obviously something simple I am missing.
73 Steve
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Max, N5NHJ

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View/Options/SteppIR/SteppIR COM


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Steve Sterling

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thank Max-- I can't see how I missed the "options" choice on the view menu, but I did. Old age here I guess. 73
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Burch - K4QXX

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FRStack would be about perfect if it could do rig control for the Ham Radio Deluxe logbook.  I have issues with Slicemaster and DDUTil hasn't been the same since version 3 of SSDR.  Maybe sometime down the road you could add the HRD functionality?
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Burch - K4QXX

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MiniDeluxe will only work with one VFO.  The current version of DDUTil has a bug in that if you are working split and VFO B is populated in the HRD logbook, if you then go back to one VFO, the VFO B field in HRD logbook is not cleared.  You have to shutdown DDUTil and reopen to clear the VFO B field.  
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Not only that but HRD programmers changed code between main program and Logbook. Both Mini Deluxe and DDUtil do not track radio mode in automatic Logbook entry window. This has been a cat and mouse game with HTD for years
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Mark - W3II

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I am not a HRD user so I am not exactly sure what you are looking for. FRStack does have a UDP feature that sends Freq + Mode for all Slices. Most logbooks can be configured to listen for this UDP data. Have you tried that? Feel free to reach out via my email you can find in FRStack Help or QRZ to have a more in depth conversation.
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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@David Decoons: Using HRDLog and MiniDeluxe for years now with the newest
versions all radio frequency, mode and time tracking works here. I have never
had any problems with that. I use MiniDeluxe for one slice only, using the other slices to watch bands.
(Edited)
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Thanks for the feedback Alex. I will test again. I have stopped using HRD Logbook.

Try this. In the cluster of HRD Logbook click on a DX spot and see if the mode in the ALE window updates automatically. It did not for me (about 4 builds back of HRD.)

Dave wo2x
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Bob G W1GLV

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Mark, love this upgrade and the addition of Stream Deck. Is there a way you can change the color of a selection once selected. What I'm driving at is I've incorporated a couple of buttons to Record and Playback audio from the Flex. The way it stands right now is I don't know if the Record button is on or off.
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Wayne VK4ACN

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Mark, I cant seem to update my FRstack 3.1.5.20.  App update doesnt seem to work for me, so I downloaded from your website and still wont update.  Not sure why

Update-  I think it has updated but splash screen still says 3.1.5.20.  I tried the split and close commands and they worked, so Im guessing it did update to the new version
(Edited)
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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FRStack is internally still at 1.3.5.20, but if you look at the program itself,
it shows 1.3.7.20. Just a small bug, easily corrected.
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Mark - W3II

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Thanks for catching this, I released a version bump to 3.1.7.21 to correct.
(Edited)
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Wayne VK4ACN

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Thanks
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Thanks, Mark. Great program, helps a lot!
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Rich McCabe

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I got the SteppIR working today. Took a different setup than the Flex 6600/Steppir cable but have both working.  I have a BigIR vertical so some of the functions do not work and had to add the 3/4 - 1/4 wave mode.    What is Antenna state?  Is that for the Yagi's only? And what about SteppIR Ant Freq?  That value just jumps when in manual mode and is the same as the Frequency when in Auto mode.

73,

Rich
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Rich McCabe

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Just saw the *note at the bottom.

FREQANT, FREQE, SYNC can only be used when CAT cable is not used

Thanks