New user seeks advice on CAT function with separate computer

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  • Updated 3 years ago
I have a 6500 and Maestro on order and in advance of their delivery, I would appreciate some advice on using the CAT function. Currently I have a number of different radios all of which I interface with Turbolog 4 for logbook only purposes. TL4 has a TS2000 CAT file which I understand complies with the Flex CAT protocols. I expect that delivery of the Maestro will take much longer than the 6500 so I propose in the meantime to use a spare laptop to run the 6500. However, I really want to maintain my logbook on the existing laptop and then continue to use that laptop for logging once the Maestro arrives. I am not clear how or whether that can be done and should appreciate some advice from experienced users. Is there a separate USB cable connection that can be used for CAT purposes or does everything rely on the Ethernet connection ? Barry Simpson VK2BJ
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Barry Simpson

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Posted 3 years ago

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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Hi Barry,

On the logging laptop install SmartSDR with CAT and DAX (if you are going to do digital modes also from there). There are checkboxes when installing SmartSDR that select CAT and DAX as a default. You do not need to run SmartSDR on that laptop after it is installed. CAT and DAX are set to load automatically on boot.

On the temporary laptop that will run SmartSDR only uncheck CAT and DAX when installing SmartSDR.

SmartSDR CAT will create a virtual com port when it installed. Use that com port for your logging program.


Dave wo2x

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Jay / NO5J

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Connections to logging software are done over the Ethernet connection. This is handled using SmartCAT which you will install and run on your laptop. The need for a computer has more to do with needing a computer to run the logging software. The Maestro also connects over Ethernet to the radio. The logging software will be connecting to SmartCAT to provide the logging software with a CAT port to connect to. SmartCAT can also provide TCP CAT ports, so If the logging software can use an Ethernet connection, DXLabs Suite for example, then the connection could be Ethernet throughout. When using Maestro, your laptop won't be running SmartSDR, But SmartCAT and DAX, are still run to provide Connections to the software that might be running on the laptop. You can even use WiFi connections between Maestro and SmartCAT and DAX to eliminate one of the Ethernet cables, the rigs don't provide WiFi so you will still need the other Ethernet cable. The Flexradio's have their own CAT commands, But the also speak TS2000 CAT commands fluently, for easy compatibility. Don't worry It will just work. For some reason it sounds harder than it is.

The Ethernet interconnections will be done most likely over your home LAN network. Cable the radio to your Router/Switch and it becomes available to the other devices on the network.

The signature series radios and maestro are in reality computers themselves, they're just dedicated computers.

There are now new USB cabling options available for interfacing the radios to external hardware devices like amplifiers. Which simplifies the cabling more. But your logger will still be connecting through SmartCAT.  


#FlexRadio IRC chat

  73, Jay - NO5J

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Barry Simpson

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Thank you very much guys for your advice and input. I believe I have a better understanding of the CAT issues now and I have printed it out for reference when the 6500 arrives.

73 and HNY

Barry Simpson VK2BJ
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Mike va3mw

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Hi Barry

You are starting to see just what you can do.  You are no longer limited to just 1 computer talking to your radio as we used to do in the old hardwired CAT world.  

Just install SSDR CAT and DAX on what every computer you want to use.  Just make sure it is on the same network.  They will all have full control of the radio.  

I have no less than 4 computers all talking to the 6300.  Some local and some remote.

After that, you are good to go.  

Mike va3mw
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Barry Simpson

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Thanks Mike much appreciated. Barry VK2BJ