Two devices connected to one CAT control plug with a serial port splitter?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KD7FQI, Nov 20, 2021.

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  1. KD7FQI

    KD7FQI Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Can I use a RS-232 serial port splitter cable? One side to the amplifier and the other side to the computer adapter?
    I am open to using some type of server, splitter, computer, raspberry Pi as long as it is very automatic and operates without interaction from me.

    I have a Yaesu FTDX5000 with a Yaesu SCU-17 adapter connected to the CAT port on the radio.
    I have one and want only one station computer for me to interact with. HP Windows 10 laptop.
    The SCU-17 needs Windows drivers to work.
    I am using Writelog , Win4yaesu and several digital mode programs.
    All computer to radio communication goes through the SCU-17 right now.

    I am looking into a Acom 2000 or a OM power 2501A automatic tuning amplifier. I want to operate one of these with help from a CAT control cable so my station is fast, fully automatic with less buttons to push.

    My end of the day goal is to operate a SSB contest in a high power class while logging with Writelog. (computer & amplifier at the same time)

    The next weekend I would like to run 100 watts using Hellschreiber or SSTV then switch to high power SSB at a moments notice without reconnection of cables on the back of the radio.
  2. K8DO

    K8DO Ham Member QRZ Page

    The reason for no reply is that words fail.
    What you want is complex and beyond just a few scribbled words on here. Get some help from an experienced op.
    N6HCM likes this.
  3. G8FXC

    G8FXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    At the very least, it will be difficult and I would not be surprised to find that it is effectively impossible. RS232 is a very basic protocol and does not include any routing information, so it is not possible for a device monitoring a serial data stream to determine which device each byte is intended for. Some manufacturers impose a more complex protocol on top of RS232 - if you were using ICOM equipment you might have a better chance of getting it going. In the other direction, things are at least as complicated - if two devices which each expect to be in complete control of the connection both try to send at the same time, the data is going to get scrambled.

    Martin G8FXC
    K3UJ, N6HCM and KD7FQI like this.
  4. WE4E

    WE4E Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Win4Yaesu has a provision for serial port sharing. Read the documentation for how it works. Its the "third party" tab in the setup screen. You'll need a couple of USB to RS232 adapters, and possibly a copy of the com0com utility.

    It will mostly work, but do not expect it to be seamless. RS232 data is not meant to be shared, nor is there any provision in the CAT protocol for addressing, so any data on the line will be seen by all devices. Likewise there is no line arbitration other than what is provided by Win4Yaesu, so devices will just talk when they want to. Results will be unpredictable. Win4Yaesu continuously polls the radio for status, and when a device connected to it asks for data, Win4Yaesu replies with that cached status. Commands are passed through to the radio. Devices have to be smart enough to ignore replies they didn't ask for.

    I use it with my 5000 so the radio can talk to HDSDR to run as a bandscope and also talk to ACLog. That works fairly well. I have not done anything nearly as elaborate as you are proposing.
    KD7FQI likes this.
  5. KL7SG

    KL7SG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Why not use a USB to RS232 device? Each of the serial ports would then have it's own com port assignment.
    Example: Com 1 for the FTDX-5000 and Com 2 for the Acom 2000.
    Of course, you would possibly need a CAT adapter for each device.

    If you try to run the devices off of one com port, you will probably run into problems with the different software programs.
    The software will probably detect that the "One" com port is already by another piece of software.

    Anyway, I use multiple com ports to run a Pro III and a antenna rotator with no problems.
    KD7FQI likes this.
  6. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    If your PC is a desktop and has an open PCI slot, install a 2x or 4x serial port card. skip the USB to RS232 adapters because they get more RFI.
    N6HCM and KL7SG like this.
  7. KD7FQI

    KD7FQI Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    One question I could ask is how does someone use logging /digital mode software with CAT and an amplifier that requires CAT control to be automatic?

    I might be the first person to try this but I got a feeling I am trying to reinvent the wheel here.
    I don't want to think about it but is it time for a new radio with a USB and RS232 CAT port?

    On page 46 of 64 on the Acom 2000 manual describes what to do. I will have a lot of money riding on something I hope works, 5 things (computer, scu-17 adapter, Yaesu 5000 radio, Acom control unit & Acom amp) I hope play well together. Is this optimal?

    WE4E recommendation might be a good solution.
  8. KL7SG

    KL7SG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    What software are you planning on using?
    I use HRD and it controls the radio, rotator and logs the contacts.
  9. KD7FQI

    KD7FQI Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am using Writelog , Win4yaesu, FL digi ,FL rig, MMSSTV
  10. KL7SG

    KL7SG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am not familiar with that software.
    But I would think the hardware aspects should be straight forward.

    I think it will come down to understanding the capabilities of the software.
    And, I am sure there are people on this forum that can help.


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