Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Macro Heaven

I always wanted some kind of minor programming language to go along with PSDR. I lobbied Flex but to no avail. Steve K5FR had a Macro interface in DDUTIL that went on steroids when we started working on SO2R. The CAT command set was expanded dramatically and the boys at Flex. who were committed to the SO2R project added new commands as our needs grew.

Today there is a very robust CAT command set, and a command parser available in DDUTIL. You can find the CAT command set here Recently I was talking to Steve and he said a user was interested in automatically turning on diversity one touch. Since I do a lot with diversity he wanted my input before he wrote the macro. I had never really considered that. To turn on diversity you have to hit a bunch of switches

Here is a shot of the radio in standard mode

To turn on diversity at my QTH you need to hit the VFO sync button up by the VFO's, Turn on RX 2, set the modes in both RX's to equal, set the filters in both RX's equal, and set up the antennas to the correct RX1, RX2, TX choices. In addition I usually turn on split and set the TX VFO to the correct freq. I generally use Diversity for DX split operation.

My RX 2 antenna is generally my 43 ft end fed vertical wire out in the front yard. The antenna has a MFJ 929 auto tuner at the base, and as I band change I have to retune this antenna usually with just a few watts. To do that, I have to set the transmit antenna to ant 1, set the XIT up the band usually about 1500hz so I don't transmit on the DX hit tune, let the tuner do its thing, then turn off tune, reset the transmit antenna back to ant 2 (my multiband vertical) and turn off XIT I routinely forget to turn off XIT so when I try and move around the pile up I am 1500hz higher than I think I am. Frustrating to say the least. It is a lot to setup for diversity operation at my QTH given the way I have things configured. Enter bright idea, why not automate these steps as much as possible. I have added macro's that do the 43 ft vertical tune, then undo all I have to do for that. Steve K5FR created a macro for DDUTIL that turns on Diversity. Note position M4 in the table below

M4 is connected to F4 on the keyboard or on the buttons on the screen. If I hit this button the radio configures itself from above to what is seen below, all with the press of one button:

But wait a minute the antennas are not right, but that is easy to change, after all this is software:

I merely add some macro code that causes the antennas to be correctly configured Here is the result, one button Diversity

This is one of the versions of how I like my diversity set up.

I generally use Diversity for weak signal DXing on 160, 80, and 40, so I wanted to work split. So I set up a macro called Diversity1 to do that for me.

I made 2 more macros so I can tune the 43 foot antenna M1 sets the transmit antenna to ant 1, sets the tune power to 12w, sets the XIT to +1500hz, turns off split, turns on XIT and turns on tune.

M2 turns off tune sets the transmit antenna to ant 2, sets the XIT to 0hz, and and turns off XIT and sets split. Now all I have to do is insert the TX freq and do a ctl-alt-R to bring up the diversity screen

We hope in a future version of PSDR to have CAT commands to bring up the diversity control screen and turn it on so there would be true one touch diversity. With the addition of these 4 macros what was once a bit of a chore is a snap, and no more forgetting XIT!

This is a long winded way to demonstrate the power of the macro language in DDUTIL. If you are interested in digital there are macros that can automate your digital station coming up exactly as you like it. There are macros that change VAC from RX1 to RX2. All kinds of complex customized criteria can be encoded to put the radio into a specific state, and then you can use a macro to back you out to a "normal" state, so like me you don't forget to turn off the friggin XIT!!

Check out the CAT command dictionay to get some idea of the possibilities. The latest CATS including diversity commands are in V 2.0.18 of PSDR and the latest version of DDUTIL. I'm not sure of how widely available this version is, but I know a final release is just around the corner and I'm sure all of that will be included in that upcoming version.