Remote Footswitch - How to (LAN/ VPN solution)

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  • Updated 5 days ago
  • (Edited)
First, I want to thank Al, K0VM for this solution.  He provided it just as I needed it.

I operate remotely 99% of the time, however, when I don't have my Maestro handy, I still want my foot switch.  

This works for SmartSDR CAT both with and without SmartLink running (updated since previously written).  mkw - 03/2019

Using CAT and SSDR, it is very simple to make a remote footswitch.

Take any RS232/USB adapter that is recognized by windows.  Check in Control Panel to make sure you can see it.  In  my case, it was Com80 (I need to clean up some ports :) ).




Now, with that running, head over to CAT and Create a New PTT entry.

  • Serial Port - Existing - this means you are using a physically installed port on your computer (RS232/USB adapter)
  • CAT COM: - the same port you set up above
  • RTS is selected
  • Polarity - Active Low



Lastly, you need to know make up an adapter for your foot switch (or hand switch).  

Wire your foot switch to:

Pins 7-8 if you select RTS above
Pins 4-6 if you select DTR above.

If you can't solder, these are a quick solution.



There you go.  Now, when you push the footswitch, the radio will go into TX while running SSDR remote from the radio.

Again, thanks to Al for the idea.

Mike va3mw
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Mike va3mw

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Posted 3 years ago

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WX7Y

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CAT does work through SmartLink. 
DAX doesn't work!

WX7Y

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Mike va3mw

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Thanks!  I stand corrected.  I should have know that.  :)  
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John - WA7UAR

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Just documenting that DAX now does work through SmartLink after its recent update (also xDax and xCat work too on the Mac side of things)
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Marc Lalonde

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This is also a solution  ,i use it trough  SoftEther VPN   ,this way DAX work for my USB mike

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/usb-ptt-foot-switch

Marc  VE2PN
(Edited)
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rgracer

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I have run into the same problem using my USB mic. I’m not sure what type of cables to use for the above mentioned fix. Do I need another RS-232 type plug to plug into the end of the USB to serial adapter? I’m assuming that this plug then goes into the accessory plug on the back of the flex. In the documentation it says that pins 7 and 8 are both grounded. I’m quite confused. Any step-by-step help would be appreciated.

Thank you, Richard W6RIG
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Richard

You need a USB/RS232 cable to plug into your laptop.  The foot switch would connect to this device.  

No hardware plugs into the radio as this is for remote operating and you  use our CAT control to send the PTT command to the radio.

Have a look at the instructions above for the step by step layout.

Mike

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rgracer

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Thank you.
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Larry - W8LLL

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Anyone else having issues with this remote microphone keying solution after ver. 3 upgrade?

6700 aready tried a factory reset.

Some times it will key, some times it will not and some times it will key and stay keyed until re keying and un keying the trigger.
(Edited)
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Gary W9GD

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Larry,

I ran remote just fine with 3 different PC'S , since ver 3 upgrade non of them work with the remote cat port . I keep looking for a post of a solution. Just using the MOX button and mouse to get bye for now.
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Dudley - WA5QPZ, Elmer

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Make sure you connected SmartCAT to your remote PC , in the selection window at the top.
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Larry - W8LLL

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Yes that has been done, I run remote 100% of the time in the living room. i can go back to v 2.49 and all is good again. Something seems to be unstable now with v 3.
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Let me open a support case on this for you.
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WX7Y

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Same here Michael 2.49 works fine
Bret
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Goran Andric

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Hi! I would like to use my primary PTT input connected to radio as PTT sliceA and when using "this external USB ptt input" to set TX on sliceB. Would this work?
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WX7Y

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Should work but not sure if the USB foot switch can produce a DTR / RTS closure because the USB foot switch is made mainly for music applications I think.
At present version 2.5.1 and 3.0.27 CAT port PTT has a bug that sometimes causes problems. Flex seems to think and makes sense that there needs to be a debouncer put on the PTT switch in software.
I use FRSTACK for the Remote serial port PTT which works perfect, Not sure it will work with a USB Foot switch but it sure works great with the USB adapter Serial port so there you go.
Good luck and hope it works 

Bret
WX7Y
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Hang on Bret.  Yes, this does work as described (not a USB musical foot switch) but a simple mechanical foot switch like we use for radios.    Yes, FRStack works great. 

The debouncer bug is not related to everyone.  I tried for hours to recreate it, but I could. not.  And, this was on 2 different computer and multiple FTDI and non-FTDI USB serial devices that were connected to the foot switch.

Goran

In CAT, when you create the PTT Serial port on an Existing serial port, you have to specify which VFO slice it is attached to.  You then may or may  not want to turn Auto Switch TX Slice on or off.  You will have to test it to see if it works the way you wish.

For the actually 'real' PTT lead on the radio, it will always key the radio slice that has the active TX focus.   

I hope that makes sense.

Mike
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Goran Andric

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HI!

I found in my old docs that I used sometimes http://www.telepostinc.com/downloads.html LP-FootSwitch2 which transleted one Com to another for my remote PTT at those times...maybe this could be anwser. Will let you know as soon I test it at my friens place.  73CUL

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Mark - WS7M

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With todays released 3.1.11 this foot switch works about 2/3 of the time.  The other 1/3 of the time the radio seems to key,  The MOX button turns a color but grays out and there is no audio from USB PC Mic.

Let up on the foot switch key again and you might just get it audio and all.

Disappointing as I wanted to use this tomorrow.

I will likley try implementing my own and use FRLogger to send the TX.
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Mark, if you go back to 3.1.8 does it improve?

You can also  use FRStack for remote PTT.

Mike 
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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I haven't had time to check going back to 3.1.8.  I might take a look at FRStack but it would probably take me 5 minutes to make this work in FRLogger.
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Joel Lobão

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Hi have the same problem with V2.61. Please let me know if you find some solution
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Michael Walker, Employee

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I gather you are using the com port method like I drafted above?  

I don't see the same issue.  I wonder if I am doing something different than you that I might be able to test.  

Mike
(Edited)
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Joel Lobão

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I tested with FRStack and work fine. Could be some problem with SmartSDR CAT. Thank you Mike.
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Richard - W1RW

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I am having the same problems as Mark-WS7M above regarding... 

The MOX button turns blue but the letters "MOX" gray out and there is no audio from PC Mic but the panadpter shows the radio is being keyed but nothing is going out.

Let up on the foot switch key again and you might get it to work correctly.  I'm using Version 2.6.1

When it does work, the MOX button turns blue and the letters "MOX" are white and not gray.  (By the way, there are no loose connections and he mic works fine.)

Any suggestions to get this working more consistently other than using FRStack or other third party programs (no offense intended, I do like FRStack)?

Could it possibly be some type of de-bounce with the foot switch closing on and off.  It seems only the foot switch.  I have another desk switch and I can't get it to happen with the desk switch.
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Mark - WS7M

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I went to using FRStack because it is reliable.  I do feel this is a bug in SmartCat or its linkage to SmartSDR however.
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Michael Walker, Employee

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I find it interesting that some people have an issue and some it works without issue.   Odds are that if it was a problem in SmartSDR CAT, then everyone would see this failure.  This is why I am looking elsewhere for the solution.

If you check in your advanced settings on the physical COM port (in Device Manager) and under Flow Control see if you have it set to Hardware, after all, that is the RS232 levels we are using.    I can't test mine at the moment.  

Also, for those that are having an issue, what is the Chipset of the physical COM port you have the foot switch connected to?

Thanks in advance.

Mike
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Joel Lobão

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I also have this problem. My desktop have a rs232 port. With FRStack work good. I set flow control to hardware and the problem continue. It work sometimes, but other time fails.
(Edited)
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Joel Lobão

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Another curiosity, in FRStack only work with CTS High, but in the SmartCAT is with Active Low.
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Michael Walker, Employee

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What Chipset is your device?  Prolific?  FTDI?
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Joel Lobão

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Where can i see that? The chipset is on motherboard.
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Richard - W1RW

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Michael, This problem still occurs when Flow control is set to "None" or when it is set to "Hardware".  I am using a FTDI Cable. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RBK2P47/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It is wired as was illustrated by Mark - W3II with the Black (GND) and Brown(CTS) on each side of the switch and a 10K resistor between Red(VCC) and Brown(CTS)

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Richard - W1RW

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Michael, This problem still occurs when Flow control is set to "None" or when it is set to "Hardware".  I am using a FTDI Cable. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RBK2P47/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It is wired as was illustrated by Mark - W3II with the Black (GND) and Brown(CTS) on each side of the switch and a 10K resistor between Red(VCC) and Brown(CTS)

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Michael Walker, Employee

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OK, thanks.  On mine, I have no extra parts.  I short Pin 7-8 or 4-6 through the foot switch (see the first post) so that makes the solution I am using different.  

Mike 
(Edited)
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WX7Y

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I hate to even say anything on this subject because of the attitudes and comments by some FLEX employees in past posts BUT seeing MANY more people are trying remote operation now have also ran into this issue and I'll try to help before they get to frustrated and stop trying because it really is a awesome experience to run remote. 

 I tried several different USB to COM Port devices from different manufactures with both FTDI and Prolific chip sets and I finially found a Cable on Amazon from "Plugable" 
 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00425S1H8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1# 

This cable has worked for me on my 2 NUC computers, a couple Laptops and a Windows Tablet for the last 8 months after several months and many cables trying to fix this issue and being told it wasn't a "SmartSDR CAT" issue even though FRStack worked with all the cables I tried.

I did not have to use any external pull up resisters or debounce circuit with this cable,  I hope this cable works for the majority of those who try it BUT like anything  else with Windows OS and all the different hardware AND driver configuration of course it may or may not work for you so your mileage WILL vary.
(BE SURE to download the correct drivers from the cable manufacture) 

GOOD LUCK and hope it helps you out and the cable works for you like they have for me. 

73's 
Bret 
WX7Y

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Michael Walker, Employee

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Hi Bret

Please do not take this the wrong way.  I want to get it to fail.   

In order to get it fixed at some point, I have to have it fail in a LAB environment so that we can then toss more tools at it to see what or why it is failing.  If I can get it to fail, then I can run some serial port monitors and look at the registers.   

Right now, we are dealing with 2 serial ports.  The physical one the foot switch is on and the other virtualized in SmartSDR CAT.  Which one is failing when this fails, I have no idea sadly and all we have is the symptom.    

Just to confirm, are you using my solution or Marc's?  On mine, I just have a DB 9 connector on the end of my foot switch connected to pins 7 and 8.  Oh, since the thread is a bit long, is this with or without SmartLink?

If FRStack works, that is great and a solid and valid solution.   

73 and enjoy the long weekend, Mike 
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WX7Y

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I am only using the PTT in SmartCAT DB9 ports RTS Pins 7 & 8.
My original Posts started about year ago for my foot switch and heil thumb PTT switch issues. 
as I stated in my previous post a few minutes ago I tried many cables and finally found one that works so I put the rest aside. 
I tried several different buffering and debouncing circuits using 2N7000's, relays and opto isolator but still worked the same until I got the "Plugable" cable then I abandoned all the junk I built because there was no difference then just the cable which work fine and didn't want another failure point.  
This happened with SmartLink and direct on the same network
On my Windows tablet I couldn't have the overhead from FRStack with it's limited resources so I needed a direct connection

Bret
WX7Y
(Edited)