DX Commander and Icom IC-375A


Walter Miller, AJ6T
 

I sent the message below to the WSJT-X group looking for help with control of my old IC-375A.  Since I hope to run that rig via DX Commander I am sending the message to the DXLab group as well to look for help here.


I recently obtained a old 1980s-era Icom IC-375A monoband 222 MHz transceiver, and I cannot get it to work with WSJT-X.  The first problem is that there is no IC-375A Radio option in the WSJT-X settings menu, so there is no direct way to control this transceiver from WSJT-X.  I had partial success by selecting "DX Lab Suite Commander" as the radio and using DX Commander to control the CAT portion of the interface since DX Commander does have an IC-375A option.  With that setup I can control the IC-375A frequency and mode from DX Commander, and both DX Commander and WSJT-X properly display the chosen mode and frequency.  FT8 reception works, but PTT and audio TX do not work.  I'm using the default IC-375A CI-V parameters Hex12 and 1200 baud.

My interface is a G8XGG "USB-DIGIMODE-4" box with three cables: USB to computer, ACC DIN connector to rig, and CI-V cable to the rig's  3.5mm mini "REMOTE" connector.  This interface presents both an audio CODEC and a COM port to the computer.

It's worth noting that the ancient IC-375A does not have a CAT command to control PTT, so that function must be performed separately from the CAT link (via RTS on the COM port).  The rig will be operated in USB mode since there is no dedicated digital mode on the IC-375A.

The IC-375A is very similar to other monoband VHF rigs of that era, the IC-275 (2m) and IC-475 (70cm), so I imagine that the hamlib programs used for all three rigs must be very similar. Another complication is that it appears that all of the WSJT-X options for Icom radios use the default settings for CI-V ports and baud rates.

I would like to run the IC-375A directly from WSJT-X in one configuration, and to control the rig from DX Commander in a separate configuration (obviously not at the same time) since that brings in the very nice DX Lab environment.

Any suggestions on how I might breathe life into my IC-375A would be most appreciated.

73, Walt, AJ6T


Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below

 

I sent the message below to the WSJT-X group looking for help with control of my old IC-375A.  Since I hope to run that rig via DX Commander I am sending the message to the DXLab group as well to look for help here.

 

I recently obtained a old 1980s-era Icom IC-375A monoband 222 MHz transceiver, and I cannot get it to work with WSJT-X.  The first problem is that there is no IC-375A Radio option in the WSJT-X settings menu, so there is no direct way to control this transceiver from WSJT-X.  I had partial success by selecting "DX Lab Suite Commander" as the radio and using DX Commander to control the CAT portion of the interface since DX Commander does have an IC-375A option.  With that setup I can control the IC-375A frequency and mode from DX Commander, and both DX Commander and WSJT-X properly display the chosen mode and frequency.  FT8 reception works, but PTT and audio TX do not work.  I'm using the default IC-375A CI-V parameters Hex12 and 1200 baud.

My interface is a G8XGG "USB-DIGIMODE-4" box with three cables: USB to computer, ACC DIN connector to rig, and CI-V cable to the rig's  3.5mm mini "REMOTE" connector.  This interface presents both an audio CODEC and a COM port to the computer.

It's worth noting that the ancient IC-375A does not have a CAT command to control PTT, so that function must be performed separately from the CAT link (via RTS on the COM port).  The rig will be operated in USB mode since there is no dedicated digital mode on the IC-375A.

+ Have you arranged for the COM port RTS signal to switch your IC-375 from RX to TX and back? Does this work correctly?

+ Have you configured the Audio tab of the WSJT-X Settings window's Audio tab to use the virtual soundcard sections presumably created by your "USB-DIGIMODE-4" box for Input and Output?

+ Have you configured the Windows multimedia mixer to provide a sufficient level on the virtual soundcard's Playback section?

    73,

          Dave, AA6YQ


Joe Subich, W4TV
 

//It's worth noting that the ancient IC-375A does not have a CAT
command to control PTT, so that function must be performed separately
from the CAT link (via RTS on the COM port).
In Commander -> Config-> Ports -> Primary CAT Serial Port
Set RTS to TX

If you are using the multi-rig capability of Commander in
Commander -> Config -> MultiRadio -> CAT Serial Port
Set the correct radio # RTS to "X"

These are the same settings for all Icom transceivers of that era
that did not support PTT via CAT command (and works with any interface
that supports PTT on the CAT port RTS line).

73,

... Joe, W4TV


On 2022-06-27 2:51 PM, Walter Miller, AJ6T wrote:
I sent the message below to the WSJT-X group looking for help with control of my old IC-375A.  Since I hope to run that rig via DX Commander I am sending the message to the DXLab group as well to look for help here.
/I recently obtained a old 1980s-era Icom IC-375A monoband 222 MHz transceiver, and I cannot get it to work with WSJT-X.  The first problem is that there is no IC-375A Radio option in the WSJT-X settings menu, so there is no direct way to control this transceiver from WSJT-X.  I had partial success by selecting "DX Lab Suite Commander" as the radio and using DX Commander to control the CAT portion of the interface since DX Commander does have an IC-375A option.  With that setup I can control the IC-375A frequency and mode from DX Commander, and both DX Commander and WSJT-X properly display the chosen mode and frequency.  FT8 reception works, but PTT and audio TX do not work.  I'm using the default IC-375A CI-V parameters Hex12 and 1200 baud. //
/ /
//My interface is a G8XGG "USB-DIGIMODE-4" box with three cables: USB to computer, ACC DIN connector to rig, and CI-V cable to the rig's  3.5mm mini "REMOTE" connector.  This interface presents both an audio CODEC and a COM port to the computer. //
/ /
//It's worth noting that the ancient IC-375A does not have a CAT command to control PTT, so that function must be performed separately from the CAT link (via RTS on the COM port).  The rig will be operated in USB mode since there is no dedicated digital mode on the IC-375A. //
/ /
//The IC-375A is very similar to other monoband VHF rigs of that era, the IC-275 (2m) and IC-475 (70cm), so I imagine that the hamlib programs used for all three rigs must be very similar. Another complication is that it appears that all of the WSJT-X options for Icom radios use the default settings for CI-V ports and baud rates. //
/ /
//I would like to run the IC-375A directly from WSJT-X in one configuration, and to control the rig from DX Commander in a separate configuration (obviously not at the same time) since that brings in the very nice DX Lab environment. //
/ /
//Any suggestions on how I might breathe life into my IC-375A would be most appreciated. //
/ /
//73, Walt, AJ6T /


Walter Miller, AJ6T
 

Hello Peter,

Thanks very much for sending me the IC-375A service manual.  Yes, there are internal DIP switches that can set the CI-V address and baud rate.  I have not fiddled with those switches yet since I am trying to keep things simple in this first pass by staying with the default values for this rig.  It is interesting to note that DX Lab Commander offers the possibility of using values different than the Icom defaults, but the WSJT-X Settings do not offer that flexibility.

73, Walt, AJ6T

On 6/27/2022 3:54 PM, Peter Laws wrote:
If you didn't have the service manual you do now.  I see some DIP switches for the CI-V stuff.


On Mon, Jun 27, 2022 at 1:52 PM Walter Miller, AJ6T <aj6t@...> wrote:

I sent the message below to the WSJT-X group looking for help with control of my old IC-375A.  Since I hope to run that rig via DX Commander I am sending the message to the DXLab group as well to look for help here.



Walter Miller, AJ6T
 

$$$ AJ6T comments below

On 6/27/2022 2:48 PM, Dave AA6YQ wrote:

+ AA6YQ comments below

 

I sent the message below to the WSJT-X group looking for help with control of my old IC-375A.  Since I hope to run that rig via DX Commander I am sending the message to the DXLab group as well to look for help here.

 

I recently obtained a old 1980s-era Icom IC-375A monoband 222 MHz transceiver, and I cannot get it to work with WSJT-X.  The first problem is that there is no IC-375A Radio option in the WSJT-X settings menu, so there is no direct way to control this transceiver from WSJT-X.  I had partial success by selecting "DX Lab Suite Commander" as the radio and using DX Commander to control the CAT portion of the interface since DX Commander does have an IC-375A option.  With that setup I can control the IC-375A frequency and mode from DX Commander, and both DX Commander and WSJT-X properly display the chosen mode and frequency.  FT8 reception works, but PTT and audio TX do not work.  I'm using the default IC-375A CI-V parameters Hex12 and 1200 baud.

My interface is a G8XGG "USB-DIGIMODE-4" box with three cables: USB to computer, ACC DIN connector to rig, and CI-V cable to the rig's  3.5mm mini "REMOTE" connector.  This interface presents both an audio CODEC and a COM port to the computer.

It's worth noting that the ancient IC-375A does not have a CAT command to control PTT, so that function must be performed separately from the CAT link (via RTS on the COM port).  The rig will be operated in USB mode since there is no dedicated digital mode on the IC-375A.

+ Have you arranged for the COM port RTS signal to switch your IC-375 from RX to TX and back? Does this work correctly?

$$$ Yes, I had configured DX Commander to control PTT via the COM port RTS signal.  Now, thanks to some additional inputs from Joe, W4TV, I have DX Commander and WSJT-X fully working together.  The extra trick was to tell WSJT-X to use CAT as the PTT method, thereby allowing DX Commander to use the COM RTS signal (thanks Joe!)

+ Have you configured the Audio tab of the WSJT-X Settings window's Audio tab to use the virtual soundcard sections presumably created by your "USB-DIGIMODE-4" box for Input and Output?

$$$ Yes, that is configured properly and working OK now.

+ Have you configured the Windows multimedia mixer to provide a sufficient level on the virtual soundcard's Playback section?

$$$ Yes, that is configured properly too.     73, Walt, AJ6T

    73,

          Dave, AA6YQ

_


Walter Miller, AJ6T
 

Hello Joe,
Thanks very much for your detailed inputs on properly configuring DX Commander and WSJT-X so that they can play together.  In addition to your tips in this message, your later addition (in a message I can't find right now) to have the WSJT-X "PTT Method" set to CAT was the final key to getting the two programs fully interoperating.  I previously had the WSJT-X "PTT Method" set to RTS on the virtual COM port that my interface generated.  However, as you pointed out, CAT is the correct selection, even though there is no IC-375A CAT command that controls PTT.  WSJT-X essentially sends a "CAT" command to DX Commander and DX Commander turns around and controls the rig PTT via RTS on the COM port. 
73, Walt, AJ6T 


Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below
Thanks very much for your detailed inputs on properly configuring DX Commander and WSJT-X so that they can play together.  In addition to your tips in this message, your later addition (in a message I can't find right now) to have the WSJT-X "PTT Method" set to CAT was the final key to getting the two programs fully interoperating.  I previously had the WSJT-X "PTT Method" set to RTS on the virtual COM port that my interface generated.  However, as you pointed out, CAT is the correct selection, even though there is no IC-375A CAT command that controls PTT.  WSJT-X essentially sends a "CAT" command to DX Commander and DX Commander turns around and controls the rig PTT via RTS on the COM port.

+ A small clarification: WSJT-X does not send CAT commands to Commander; that would require WSJT-X to understand the CAT instruction set of every radio. WSJT-X sends Commander "switch to TX" and "switch to RX" directives (via TCP); Commander executes those directives as you've configured it to do so.

          73,

                 Dave, AA6YQ

 


Joe Subich, W4TV
 

On 2022-06-28 11:16 PM, Walter Miller, AJ6T wrote:

In addition to your tips in this message, your later addition (in a message I can't find right now) to have the WSJT-X "PTT Method" set to CAT was the final key to getting the two programs fully
interoperating.
That message was on the WSJTX group and is copied here for the benefit
of future message base searches:

1) In Commander -> Config -> Ports -> Primary CAT Serial Port
Set RTS = TX
2) In Commander -> Config -> MultiRadio -> CAT Serial Port
Set RTS *for the IC=375A* to "X"
Is WSJTX configured to use CAT for PTT with Commander?
In WSJTX -> Settings -> Radio
Set Rig to *DXLab Suite Commander*
Set PTT Method to *CAT*
Set MODE to *None*
Set Split to *Fake it*
I previously had the WSJT-X "PTT Method" set to RTS on the virtual
COM port that my interface generated.
Operating systems from CP/M to DOS to Windows, LINUX, MACOS do not
allow multiple programs to access a hardware device (serial port,
etc.) at the same time. Thus if Commander is using the CAT port
WSJTX can not access it to control PTT.

WSJT-X essentially sends a "CAT" command to DX Commander and DX Commander turns around and controls the rig PTT via RTS on the COM
port.
As Dave points out, when set for PTT via CAT, WSJTX sends generic
"switch to TX" and "switch to RX" commands Commander which translate
those directives to the required CAT command or serial port action.

73,

... Joe, W4TV


On 2022-06-28 11:16 PM, Walter Miller, AJ6T wrote:
Hello Joe,
Thanks very much for your detailed inputs on properly configuring DX Commander and WSJT-X so that they can play together.  In addition to your tips in this message, your later addition (in a message I can't find right now) to have the WSJT-X "PTT Method" set to CAT was the final key to getting the two programs fully interoperating.  I previously had the WSJT-X "PTT Method" set to RTS on the virtual COM port that my interface generated.  However, as you pointed out, CAT is the correct selection, even though there is no IC-375A CAT command that controls PTT.  WSJT-X essentially sends a "CAT" command to DX Commander and DX Commander turns around and controls the rig PTT via RTS on the COM port.
73, Walt, AJ6T