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Description

Amateur Radio Transceiver

This is a description of my problem that I wish to solve. Most, if not all, newer amateur radio transceivers can be computer controlled now. There are many programs which take advantage of this feature, and offer various interfaces to do many things such as change frequency, filters and other controls. Among the programs are contact loggers which include windows that display long distance (dx) stations that have been spotted by other amateur radio operators. When a dx spot is displayed in the logger program, by merely clicking on the displayed information, the radio is automatically tuned to the appropriate frequency. For an example of a logging program that supports these functions, see http://www.n3fjp.com/ and the ACLog program offered there.

As I mentioned many programs offer computer controlled features for various amateur transcievers. A good sampling can be found at http://www.eham.net/reviews/products/27 and http://www.eham.net/reviews/products/28.

For those amateur radio operators that are focusing on dx contacts, there is also other software that will monitor radio beacons around the world, automatically scanning the frequencies to see if the beacons can be heard. This type of program is very useful because, for instance, if a beacon near Europe is heard by the radio as indicated by the program, then the radio operator knows that radio propagation conditions are such that contact with operators in Europe can be made. Since atmospheric conditions change so much, being able to have the computer scanning frequencies automatically is very helpful. The beacon program I use is Faros http://www.dxatlas.com/Faros/.

Currently, radios are mostly controlled by the programs via a serial port, although some usb devices are now available which all use of a com port without needing to actually use a serial port - very helpful as the number of available serial ports is very limited (usually to one). I use such a device, RigTalk by West Mountain Radio.

Serial Port Splitter

However, only one program at a time can access the com port - so in order to use any of the avaiable control programs, all others must be shut down. So, for example, if my beacon program indicates that I can hear Asia, I need to shut down that program, open up the logging program and if stations are being spotted, click on the spot to get to the right frequency. It would be much preferable to be able to just leave all programs open and just pause one, if necessary, such as the beacon program to be able to use the other.

Serial Port Splitting

With the proliferation of software that can control a radio, and most not being integrated (since most of the software is home grown or offered by niche commercial companies), the use of multiple programs is frustrating since com port sharing software availability is limited and the commercial ones are expensive (amateur radio operators are mostly cheap as we many of us tend to rely on building some of our own antennas and cheap and free software - our saving having gone to buy the radio!).

I have tested your product and one of your competitors and found yours much easier to use and that it worked better in coordinating between programs.

Best Regards (or in radio lingo - 73)

Gary WD9HDM

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