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Interfacing an FT450D for remote operations


roy.armishaw@...
 

Hi I’m new to the group and seek the advice of you experienced people please.
i have an FT450D I wish to use for remote operations, has the MFJ-1234 been used successfully in that mode ?
can anyone please advise the best cable / interface system to use between the 2 units and are there any major problems to watch out for ?

thankyou 
roy G4CLO


Steve_KE4LC
 

Hi Roy, welcome to the forum.  I’ve successfully interfaced my FT450D to the RigPi.  We use it primarily to help my dad stay connected with ham radio - he lives in Wisconsin, about 600 miles distant from our station. It works really well.  I’ll be glad to help you with the details, including macro button settings to best emulate front panel operation and audio setup.   The biggest initial look-outs are:


1.) USB to RS232C interface Cable to rig - make sure to get a cable with a clearly listed Prolific chip set.   Stay away from cheaper cables.  They are often ineffective.  Good ones are all in the $20+ range.  I can provide specific examples if needed.
2.) in the FT450D menu Section - adjust CAT(baud)RATE to 38400.  CAT Tot - 10, CAT RTS - disable, Match the baud rate setting on the RigPi Advanced Radio settings page.  Other Advanced Radio settings... Select Manuf- Yaesu, Radio - FT450.  For RPort pulldown, with the USB-serial cable plugged in and operating properly, you should see /dev/ttyUSB0 - select it.  other RigPi Advanced Menu settings accept defaults.   At this point, try connecting to see if the CAT functions (Radio interface commands) work
3.) If you are doing digital/CW, audio interfacing is easily done via MFJ’s recommended data cable.  MFJ-5796MD.  For SSB or other voice modes, using the data cable is insufficient as the data port bypasses the rig’s voice processing circuitry.  To solve this, with help from others, I use a simple cable mod to send audio from the RigPi’s TX Out to the RJ45 mic connector input.  Works well.  If you are going the voice route, I can pass you construction info - trim pot, a capacitor and RJ45 and 3.5mm audio end connections.  The same goes for Receiver output.  To obtain the rig’s full DSP processing abilities, take a 3.5mm audio cable from the rig audio output to RigPi’s RX In port. 
4.) RigPi uses Mumble to handle audio over the LAN or external internet (WAN).  I can share screen shots of my current Mumble setup.  Most important settings are setting the devices properly to the RigPi audio card (sndProto), turning off noise suppression and, on the Network tab, unchecking “use quality of service”.  Some juggling required to get the other settings just right for excellent audio - a lot about this in the excellent online help manuals.
5.) as mentioned above, I’ll be glad to share my macro commands that are used to control rig functions,
to make the user feel like they are sitting in front of a real rig panel.  

Thats about it to get you started connectivity-wise.  If you get stuck, and/or want more info, please feel free to contact me. 

74, Steve KE4LC 

 


Steve_KE4LC
 

Meant 73 - not 74!   While I’m here - two serial /USB cables that work well..  You will need a male on the nine pin DB9 connector side.    MFJ-5529 from MFJ Enterprises.   Trip-Lite KeySpan - 2933BTS series.  It is bulky, but works well.  


roy.armishaw@...
 

Steve
 
Thank you for the informative response which gives me a good overview of what I need. I primarily want to use ssb and cw as we spend the spring and summer in the UK where the station is and winter in Spain hence the need for remote control of the Ft450d.
Once I get the cables as you advise I will revert with any help and thanks for the offer of the macro’s etc .
 
73’s 
 
Roy


roy.armishaw@...
 

  • Steve
does that rs232 cable with a usb / db9 Plug Go to the cat socket on the rig or the data one ?

thanks 
roy


Steve_KE4LC
 

Hi Roy, one end of the USB - RS232 serial converter cable plugs into the CAT port (9-pin, D-shaped port) socket on the back of the FT450D.   On the other end, the cable’s USB connector end plugs into a USB socket on the RigPi/MFJ1234.  Once plugged in and set up, you will be able to do rig control.  

Audio is another concern.  Best to first ascertain your needs.  What communication modes do you wish to initially use with the project?  Digital (FT8, PSK, CW, etc) or/and voice (SSB, AM, FM) modes?  Depending on your answer per my last note, you will use a different set of cables to handle rig audio. 

It’s not without a bit of a learning curve - but it’s a lot of fun and worthwhile to climb it!   

Thanks, Steve Wright/KE4LC 


On Aug 10, 2020, at 1:17 PM, roy.armishaw@... wrote:


  • Steve
does that rs232 cable with a usb / db9 Plug Go to the cat socket on the rig or the data one ?

thanks 
roy


Steve_KE4LC
 

I read your last note first and replied... sorry.  Looking for speech audio, it is best to create the simple TX audio cable that goes from RigPi/MFJ1234 directly to the FT450D Front panel mic port.  I will send instructions to make it, along with proper credit to its designer.  You will also need a standard 3.5 mm connector audio cable to go from RigPi/MFJ1234 RX In port to the rig’s Audio Out socket.  

Spain is great.  Pre-COVID days, we spent a lot of time with my wife’s family in the Asturias region in northern Spain around Oviedo.  Gorgeous, verdant part of the country amazing food.  After this nightmare, looking forward to returning!

73, Steve KE4LC 


roy.armishaw@...
 

Steve

yes im looking forward to the challenge now and luckily my neighbour is an expert with raspberry pi units and software application so he will assist I’m sure. I have ordered a mic plug for the audio input circuit and will use the suggested mod to reduce / match the audio from the rigPi . 

yes Spain is lovely especially in the winter where we are down south near Malaga .

i will update you when I have the unit and cables ordered .

73’s

roy