Saturday, April 21, 2012

Radio Daze

ARRRGH! I'm trying to get my Kenwood TM-D710 set up for remote operation without spending $500+ on a neat little box called "Remote Rig".
#1, I'd need one on each end, and #2, I doubt if I could get our IT guys on the ship to open up the specific ports I'd need to control the radio with these boxes. I already know the ports for Echolink are blocked, and they're unresponsive to opening them up for me. I can probably go to a Higher Authority to get them to listen to my request, but I'd rather use something else than fight the bureaucracy that's been growing since we came out of Chapter 11 last year.
I built a small "Shuttle" PC that I'm running OpenSUSE 12.1 on, and it doesn't have a serial port to connect to the radio. Now I don't normally have anything against running a USB-to-serial converter, but I'd prefer to have a "real" serial port to use in the PC. I bought several different add-on cards, and NONE of them will work with the latest Linux 3.1 kernel. Usually Linux is quite good at low-level hardware like a serial port card. These things work 100% in my Windows 7 PC that I use for some other radio stuff, like controlling my FlexRadio 5000A and my scanners, but the included drivers for Linux will NOT compile on the Linux box I built to use for this specific purpose.
So, I went off to Newegg again, and found some even simpler serial cards, and ordered a couple of different ones of those. The problem is that the "bridge" chip, an MCS9865, that connects all the 16550 UART chips in these things isn't properly recognized, and since I can't compile the damn drivers (it errors out with no specific error message....WTF?), it looks like I'll have to drop back 10 and punt.
For now I'll go back to the USB converter while I wait for the new cards to get here. If I can't 'talk' to the radio, I can't do what I want. The audio part is handled by the sound card in the PC using pretty standard VOIP stuff, but I need a way to positively control the radio, short of having my wife come into the Radio Room and turn the thing off if it gets hung in some weird state.
And on a more positive note, I completely finished and calibrated my LP-100A RF Vector Watt meter. It works 100%, and is an excellent station accessory for the Flex 5000A.
And yes, it's connected to one of the extra serial ports I added to the Windoze PC I use to run the PowerSDR software that controls the Flex.


  1. Interesting problem... and not one I've ever seen from Linux!

  2. I'm sure it has to do with the 3.1.x kernel I'm running.
    And as usual, I have *all* the development packages installed, and I've compiled several other programs that went fine.
    I think their driver source code needs to be updated. Saw several other people complaining it about this MCS chipset in thr reviews for these things on Newegg.


Keep it civil, please....