Remote control KPA500 & KAT500 from MacOS?

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  • Updated 6 months ago
I have a Flex 6400, Elecraft KPA500 and KAT500, and an all Mac household. I have one Windows VM that I use with SmartSDR to set up the radio, USB cables, etc. Otherwise, I use DogparkSDR as a Flex client. It all works great, except I can't power on/off the amp or change it from standby/operate unless I'm in the shack. The remote control software from Elecraft only supports Windows. I could use their utility software with a serial-to-ethernet converter, but I can't find any converters that provide virtual serial port drivers for MacOS. Has anyone figured out how to power on/off and toggle from stdby/operate remotely with Mac computers? Thanks!
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K8MEJ

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Posted 6 months ago

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Alan

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Not sure of your specific application.  Perhaps this would work.  I use mac / ios homekit to operate a 110vac outlet, such as iDevice, to operate a 110 VAC relay.  I then use the relay contacts to operate various ham gear functions, such as remote on/off on the Flex.
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K8MEJ

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Hi Alan. I do this to turn on the Flex and a power supply. But that won't work for the amp. It has a soft power switch and also an oper/standby that I would like to toggle. Thanks for the reply.
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Alan

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Another option is to use Parallels Desktop on your Mac.  It is available from the mac app store.  Parallels is a Virtual Machine program that can run any version of Windows.

It was a bit of a steep learning curve for me to learn all of the capabilities, but I like it a lot and it integrates well with my Mac applications.

You can set up the input/output/network/drive devices to share all of the same Mac resources and at the same time allows me to use DAX and CAT interfaces with all of the W11 based third-party apps.

I set up separate Mac desktops using "mission control" and put the Windows operating system on its own/separate mac desktop.  Moving from mac to W11 is a "three finger" swipe up.

An additional and nice Parallels feature is called "Coherence" mode.  This makes the W11 apps appear just like Mac apps with regards to being able to move them around on the desktop.

You must purchase Parallels Desktop and Windows version of your liking.  I think you can download a free version of Windows 11 from the Microsoft website.

Alan
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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I think you mean Windows 10? Not 11, no such thing.
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K8MEJ

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Keeping a Windows machine running 24x7 locally in the shack just so I can operate the amp is something I will not do. The next best thing would running the utility software (rather than remote software) on a Linux machine running 24x7 or open up my desktop Mac to do this. I wish I could find a serial-to-ethernet converter that would support a Mac. This would be my preferred route. Thanks for the reply.
P.S. I have both Parallels and VMware Fusion. I just don't want to leave a Windows machine running.
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Burch - K4QXX

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If you are going to go the virtual Windows route, take a look a VMware Fusion.  I used to use Parallels and it works great.  However, if you have multiple Mac computers, you have to buy a license for each Mac.  With Fusion, as long as it is for personal use, I can run on as many Macs as I own.  Also, at least when I ran Parallels, I had to pay a yearly upgrade fee.  You don't have to do that with VMware Fusion.  They both run very similar.  The only time you have to pay an upgrade to Fusion is when they come out with a new version but you don't have to upgrade.  
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Burch - K4QXX

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K8MEJ, it looks like we posted at the same time!  I can see you already use Fusion.
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K8MEJ

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It's off topic, but after having used both Fusion (for work) and Parallels (at home) for the past 6 years, Parallels performs much better in terms of speed. Frankly, I like it much better overall, but since we are a heavy VMware partner (at work), I get Fusion for free and use it there. But I find Parallels work so much better that I choose to pay for a license at home rather than use Fusion for free Still, I try to never, ever run Windows at home if I can help it. If Don Ago didn't write DogparkSDR as a client for Flex I wouldn't own a Flex. :-) 
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Burch - K4QXX

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I didn't notice much difference in performance between Fusion and Parallels.   I thought the disk access was a bit faster on Parallels but once programs were open, I didn't notice much difference.  I thought the user interface was more user friendly on Parallels. I got ticked off at Parallels because after I used it for a year, it wouldn't open anymore until I paid more money.  I have 3 Macs at home so I wasn't going to pay for 3 licenses for Parallels when I could just purchase one Fusion for all 3 Macs.  I also don't have to pay any yearly update fee.  Maybe that has changed now with Parallels?

I agree with DogparkSDR as I use it more than I do SSDR.  

I am curious to how you are getting Fusion for free.  I work in IT and we have been a VMware client for 10+ years.  Have 3 host servers, a SAN and about 25 virtual servers.  

Burch
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K8MEJ

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We sell VMware and as a partner we are allowed a certain number of NFR (not for resale) licenses. 
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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After reading your question again I'm wondering if you've looked at the Elecraft site for their downloads for the KPA500. They do have a Mac KPA Utility. It allows you to power on/off and stby/oper. The KPA has to be plugged into your Mac via the USB to Serial cable that comes with the amp. The only issue with having the amp connected to your Mac instead of the back of the Flex (usb) is you don't get the auto band change on the amp. But Elecraft sells another cable set that allows the amp to be connected from RS232 (XCVR) port into the Flex USB port for the KPA500 Enhanced Mode support... band/freq... etc.

https://elecraft.com/pages/firmware-software

https://elecraft.com/products/cbl-flex-pwrcmb_cbl-flex-pwrcmb-flex-cable


Scott N1SER
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K8MEJ

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Hi Scott. I have the cables and the Utility software. But that software is not meant to run client/server like their Remote software is. The Utility software does run on a Mac, but the Remote software does not. I would like to use a serial-ethernet converter to present the serial port over the network and then use the Utility software on a mac laptop to connect to that virtual serial port as if it were local. I don't think it's possible. So the fall-back position will be to use something like Teamviewer with a mac in the shack.
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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I gotcha now.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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I haven’t tried it, but http://virtualhere.com/ looks like it might do the trick.
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K8MEJ

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Thank you! That looks intriguing and will give me something to research.