Kenwood TM-D710G + fldigi/RigCAT rig control

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by K5URU, Jan 22, 2016.

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  1. K5URU

    K5URU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello my friends!

    I built a RigCAT Kenwood TM-D710G xml file that actually works - mostly! :) I've had my TM-D710G connected to RigCAT to fldigi on Windows via the PG-5H cables for a couple weeks now. I've been running CHIRP and Kenwood MCP-6A (official programming software) repeatedly, as well as doing my own extensive experimentation with raw command lines via PuTTY, all the while using a serial port sniffer to figure out many of the commands to and responses from the radio.

    Of course, I must first tip my hat to W1HKJ and his associates for their incredible work on fldigi.

    A lot of the initial command info came from the D710 PDF published by LA3QMA, LA8OKA, W6GPS, and WM8S. I also have to thank NR8Q, NT6ET, and so many other that inspired me to take on this project and write it up. I would also be remiss if I didn't thank the many QRZ members that have posted questions and tips over the years; there are too many to name. Suffice it to say, I'm very grateful to all those that have pursued these projects before I even got started in amateur radio.

    Good news! It's working great. I have full two-way control between the D710G tuning knob and the fldigi VFO. I can tune the radio from fldigi, and I can tune fldigi from the Kenwood knob. I also have full transmit and receive control (stop transmit) directly from within fldigi, including its powerful macros. No more dealing with VOX nor Echolink Sysop mode (which happens to be a pretty decent basic alternative for digital modes through the 710).

    But some of you know how cool it is to turn a knob on your radio and see the change on your screen, or click the VFO on your screen and see your radio QSY automatically. You know what I mean!

    This is an alpha version, so the radio does need to be in the same band as fldigi to enable full control, but it works great when all the pieces are set up correctly. Honestly, it just might be that way until the next D710G firmware update.

    My favorite part: I also turned the xml experiment into a tutorial/journal about how I slowly figured it out and got it done. I probably spent 4x more time on the tutorial than on the xml itself. Hopefully my fellow hams can get some value out of it, even if they're not D710G owners. Creating or customizing solid RigCAT xml files can be pretty tough stuff, and I hope this tutorial will help someone else get a new rig online or improve an existing xml.

    Everybody is invited to give it a quick read, even if you don't have access to this particular radio. It's no longer than a typical QST article. I'm quite proud of the project, even with its shortcomings, because as far as I know it is the first RigControl xml that works (reasonably well or at all) with a mobile Kenwood Radio of any kind. But even more importantly (to me), I poured my heart and soul into documenting what I learned along the way about the structure of the RigCAT xml file (and I still have a lot to learn!). What's cool is that the "tutorial" is contained within the comments of the xml file itself; it's somewhat interactive as I go from easy stuff to hard stuff with various levels of the active code in between. Take a look - it's well-formatted and easy to read.

    NOTE: I posted it here as a PDF file, but I would be happy to send the plain text or xml file to anyone interested in using it, testing it, or helping me refine it. Shoot me an email. I'm good on QRZ.

    TLDR; (I think that's what the young men call the summary these days)

    I'm calling for my amateur radio friends (especially CAT control aficionados) to read it and provide some constructive feedback on its presentation.

    I'm also seeking other slightly adventurous hams who happen to have a D710G and the PG-5H cable kit so we can work together to further test/confirm/develop this minor project.


    I appreciate all feedback!

    Thanks to all of you here on QRZ; you've collectively helped me more than any one of you will ever know.

    Blake Ormand
    Buda, TX, USA

    Attached Files:

    KC1OCA likes this.
  2. KC9SWV

    KC9SWV Ham Member QRZ Page


    This is awesome work. I'll have to take some time this week to pull the side panel off of my car to install a serial cable.

    I've been hoping for something like this for a while for Doppler correction. Then I could use my D710 for FM satellite work.

    Thanks for contributing to the amateur community!

  3. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Blake- There is another op who used a Vista PC to program a non-Kenwood radio , then had issues with CHIRP and an iMAC through a serial (USB to serial ) adapter. He was thinking about a similarly controlled rig, the 2000(HF) on a Facebook Amateur radio forum. He did get part of the system to work, yet has given up on programming the radio with the iMAC for now. I bet that he would be curious about that serial port sniffer. I suspect that the sniffer is quite an improvement over a plain-old breakout box. 73
  4. K5URU

    K5URU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Morgen! I'm just getting into satellite work myself. In fact, I just picked up the ARRL Satellite Handbook from the library. I've received and decoded a few packets from a recent ISS pass, but otherwise haven't done much.

    I've started working on a cxx file for flrig that could potentially give us a LOT more control over the D710 than rigCAT. Everything from displaying live S-meters to detecting when squelch opens, to possibly even having full control over the D710 menu settings. This will be quite a bit more involved than the RigCAT xml file, but if I can get it going, I'll certainly share it here on QRZ.

    Let me know how the xml performs for your satellite work.


    KC1OCA likes this.
  5. K5URU

    K5URU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great! The serial port sniffer I've been using is called Device Monitoring Studio from HHD Software. Unfortunately, it is a Windows-only program. If the ham with the iMac also has a Windows PC, this program could still be useful for learning the radio's commands and responses so they can then be used on the iMac.


    KB0MNM likes this.
  6. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Blake- I may pass this on to Michael as time allows. I might also consider buying a copy for myself, depending on other pursuits. Thanks again for your work and report ( downloaded file ). The comment about 'just a cable adapter' may save quite a few from wasting time in discovery of incorrect voltages. That is why folks can get impatient when they ask yes or no questions of me- the answer sometimes requires an 'it depends on your goal, be more specific'.
  7. VE3ZSR

    VE3ZSR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Blake, is it possible for you to send me the xml I would like to try this with my TM-V71a on FLDIGI and or HRD(if I can figure it out)?

  8. K5URU

    K5URU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sure! Email sent. If you read the comments in the text portion of the xml file (or the pdf file attached to the first post), you shouldn't have any problems using the V71A in fldigi, as long as you figure out the equivalent menu items in the V71A. The xml will only work with RigCAT.

    I'm working on interfaces for OmniRig and hamlib (ExtIO), so there may be hope for compatibility with other programs in the future (but probably not HRD). For now, we're limited to fldigi and its related programs (flmsg etc).

    Blake Ormand K5URU
  9. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    wow, good work! I like this a lot. I too would like a copy of the xml config file. I messed with my 710 a few months ago but didn't get very far. There's only one active packet frequency around here so VFO control & QSY is not needed. but yeah, would be great for satellite doppler!
  10. K5URU

    K5URU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Go for it! Email sent. Please let me know if you run into any problems. I'd be happy to help.

    I'd like to post a direct link the the xml file, but the forum software doesn't allow xml file uploads. Instead, I am attaching the xml document here as a txt file. Simply download this text file and rename it to "TM-D710G.xml" and you're good to go.


    Blake Ormand K5URU

    Attached Files:

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