Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Digi-CAT.. the digital mode and CAT interface for transceiver

Finally... The Digi-CAT project is completed. What is Digi-CAT?? Basically, Digi- it is a digital interface used for interfacing your transciever to PC for RTTY, PSK, SSTV & Echolink operating modes. It also have the features of operating CW from your PC keyboard. CAT- is the interface section to enable you transceiver to be controlled or programmed by your PC/laptop for memory management etc..

With Digi-CAT, I can operate PSK, SSTV, RTTY and even CW from my laptop. I tried to send a CW signal to 9M2CF and the result was excellent. I am now looking forward to test the other digital modes with some interested hams.
The CAT enables me to controll the rig from the laptop. Since making a USB CAT interface is actually costly than the serial type, I opted to making my CAT using the serial MAX232 chip and used a USB-Serial converter.

I can controll and change the setting of the rig from the laptop. I used the Ham Radio Deluxe program that you can actually download for free from theire website. However, HRD can't be used to managed the rig's memory. To do this, you need to get a correct software for the rigs.
The CAT is also made according to your rig's specification. Most of the difference are the connectors pin out and connectors type used in a particular rigs.

Settings for the software must be set correctly as the RTS or DTR pin is used to trigger the PTT or CW KEY.

On the front panel, I have two switches that is used to enable or disable the PTT without going into the software settings. The knob on the right is used to controll the audio level from the lapto to the rig to prevent overloading/overmodulation.

At the rear panel, 1 serial port, 1 mini DIN 8 pin, 1 mini DIN 6 pin, 3 mono sockets for CW KEY, SPK in and MIC out for connection to the rig and PC sound cards and seial ports.

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