Pocket RXTX – Multimode Transceiver Control for Android

Version 0.5

Dan Toma - YO3GGX - yo3ggx @ gmail DOT com

I kindly ask you not to give a negative feedback in Play Store before contacting me to clarify your issues with the application. I promise to answer you ASAP.

A local forum is available here to discuss about this application.


If you like this application you can contribute with a small amount through PayPal using the icon below.

Introduction

This is an Android only application used to remotely control several HAM radio sources:

Features

Current version of the application has the following generic features (for all sources):

Specific functions for HRD mode:

Specific functions in USB or Bluetooth CAT mode (FT8x7):

Specific functions in SDR Receiver mode:

Limitations

Current version of the application has the following limitations:

WARNING!!!

Use this application on your own risk. As in HRD mode your PC can be made accessible from Internet (for CAT and audio), is your job to protect against attacks, possible by using some kind of VPN (ex. PPTP). Current IP Server implementation in HRD does not offer any kind of authentication, so everybody can access your Transceiver for CAT if he knows the right port. Some extra security features will be added in the future. If you are not comfortable with this and you are not using any kind of VPN, then use this only over your LAN.

More, even this application does not send any “dangerous” data to the transceiver, but as the protocol used by FT-8x7 for CAT does not use any error correction mechanism, it is possible (in some extreme situations) to give you unexpected results, like a software crash on the transceiver (requiring to power cycle it) or in a worst case scenario even a complete wipe of all EEPROM data, including configuration, software calibration/alignment and memories.

Please use any program you like (ex. FT817 commander) to save at least all “soft calibration” settings, plus any other information stored in your radio before using this application.

I cannot be held responsible for any damage caused to your Android device, your transceiver or your PC… You are warned!



Audio Configuration

To use HRD mode with audio you can install Skype on both Android and PC and connect the PC to the transceiver Mic and Speaker. There are several examples available on the Internet. A future version of the application will directly include sound functionality.

Starting the application

You can install the application directly from Google Play Store (search for “Pocket RXTX” or Pocket Transceiver) or using the link from the top of this document.

After you install the application, you will have a new icon like the following:

Press on the icon to launch the application.

You will get the following startup page (for Landscape and Portrait modes):



If you have problems using the application, please send me the text displayed in the “INFO” box for the following parameters:

Manufacturer

Model

SDK

Width [px]

Height [px]

Scale

Font size


From the startup page you can select the connection mode and some other parameters. The picture above represents the Bluetooth CAT mode, where you can select from the 3 options: FT817, FT857 and FT897. In the current version of the app the only difference is that Power control is supported only in FT817 mode.

To select Ham Radio Deluxe mode slide the picture to the left or to the right till you get the following picture (represented in both portrait and landscape mode).


To select SDR Receiver mode slide to obtain the following picture:



After you select the right connection press on START button to enter the main application screen.


Using the SDR receiver


When you start the main screen the receiver is “powered off”, so the display will look like in the following pictures for both Landscape and portrait mode.


Current connection mode is represented by a small icon in the bottom left corner of the info box.

You can have the following icons:

USB CAT mode

Bluetooth CAT mode

HamRadio Deluxe mode

SDR Receiver mode


The other 3 fields are for the moment reserved for future developments

To start reception long press on the blue power button. The screen will change like in the following pictures.


The screen contains the following components (for Landscape mode):




After you enter the desired frequency click on the big “SET” button in the lower right part of the screen.


Tuning using the Waterfall or Spectrum

To access the waterfall drag the gray slider down, over the frequency display. The frequency display will be covered by the waterfall. Current frequency will be displayed now on the Info box, together with the band. Use the “SP/WA” button to toggle between Waterfall and spectrum.

Current tuning frequency will be represented by a vertical yellow marker and the bandwidth with a semitransparent green strip.

Current frequency scale is displayed on top of the waterfall/spectrum,

You can directly touch the waterfall/spectrum or drag the yellow marker to tune to a specific frequency. A fine tuning can then be done using the knob.

You can zoom into the firewall using the ZOOM button from the lower part of the screen. Clicking on it you will change the zoom level in a circular way, as follows: 1x -> 2x -> 4x -> 8x -> 1x. On 30m band you can zoom up to 4x maximum. The frequency scale will change accordingly. Zoom feature can be very useful if you tune for example in a CW zone, where the bandwidth is very small, like in the following picture. Long pressing ZOOM button will automatically switch to 1x.

The BUF button can be used to eventually improve the audio quality in terms of dropouts. Each click will increase the value with one unit. Please play with it and send me the best value for you.

Setting the bandwidth

You have 3 presets for the bandwidth in SDR receiver mode, depending on the current modulation mode, as follows:

AM:

Narrow: +/- 2.5 KHz

Normal: +/- 4 KHz

Wide: +/- 6KHz

SSB:

Narrow: 0.7 – 2 KHz

Normal: 0.3 – 2.7 KHz

Wide: 0.2 – 3 KHz

CW:

Narrow: 0.72 – 0.78 KHz

Normal: 0.6 – 0.9 KHz

Wide: 0.55 – 0.95 KHz



Using the Memories

Saving to a Memory location

You have at your disposal 16 memories (from M1 to M8 and M8 to M16 when FN key is active) where you can store all the info related to a specific channel/frequency.

To save a specific memory configure the transceiver for all the parameters and then long click on one of the memories button (ex. M2). The screen will change; a big entry field will be available together with the standard keyboard.


Enter the ALIAS (max. 6 chars) you want to appear on the button for that specific frequency and a description (length not limited), separated by ‘,’ symbol…

… and then press ENTER on the virtual keyboard. Data is saved to memory button 2;


Recalling a Memory location

To recall a memory location you just have to click on the corresponding button. All the settings saved for that location will be loaded from the configuration file (freq, band, step, mode, more will follow).

Clearing a Memory location

To clear a memory location you have to long click on the corresponding button and when asked to enter name and alias just delete everything and press ENTER on the virtual keyboard. The memory button will be renamed to the original Mx.

Using HRD mode

This application was developed and tested using Ham Radio Deluxe version 5.24.0.38 b3474.

Configure communication parameters


  1. PC side

On the PC were HRD is installed, you need to configure the IP Server.

For this purpose, in the HRD main window select from the menu bar: Tools > IP Server.

Enter the desired TCP port and then check “Start server when HRD starts” (optional) and uncheck “Same PC connection only” (mandatory) and then click “Start”. You can now click “OK” if the service was started (“Start” button grayed out and “Stop” button active.

  1. Android side

From the application menu select “SETUP”. You will be prompted to add Hostname and TCP port of HRD IP Server.

Operating in this mode is intuitive; use the same procedures as in the previous chapter.

This mode was tested using FT-450 and FT-817, but it is designed to support IC-7200 and TS-2000 too.

In this mode the frequency and mode is continuously read from the HRD console, so if you change them from the transceiver the change will be reflected in Pocket RXTX too.

Using Direct CAT mode

CAT over Bluetooth

If the Bluetooth interface is not activated then you are prompted to do it.

The main screen looks like in the following picture.

You can control Mode, Output power, Band, VFO (A/B) and PTT.

You get permanent feedback from the radio for: frequency, mode and PTT.

You get feedback from the radio for Output power when changing modes. During Rx, the S level is displayed in a graphical and numerical way.

During Tx, for FT817 only you get feedback for: SWR,PWR , ALC and MOD.

CAT over USB

USB mode is automatically selected if a supported USB CAT (see below) interface is connected to your smartphone/tablet before starting the application.

You will be automatically prompted to run the application.

Press OK and Pocket RXTX will be automatically started with USB support.

When in direct CAT mode, press on SETUP menu to set the serial Baudrate according with your transceiver settings.

Use the wheel to select the Baudrate and then press “SET” button. You can now press on blue Power button to connect to the transceiver over USB cable. Use the same operation mode as for the Bluetooth CAT.

NOTE: To use this mode you need Android 3.1 or higher (or 2.3.3 with embedded USB host support). If not available then you can connect only over Bluetooth. In the current version of the application only the following USB/Serial chips are supported:

FTDI FT232R UART VID: 0x0403 PID: 0x6001

CP210x UART Bridge VID: 0x10C4 PID: 0xEA60



Changing application font size

For some Android devices is possible that application fonts to be too big or too small (based on the system settings), or you just want to adapt it to your own preferences. You can change the size of the font by simply sliding the finger over the right area of the frequency display, where MHz and band info is displayed. Sliding up the font size will increase with one unit. Sliding down will decrease with one unit. When you are satisfied with the result, just exit the application in order for this information to be saved in the configuration file. When you further run the application, the new font size will be used.

Practical demonstration

A short video demo of the preview 0.3 version is available on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3LWF4xa6nE

The new Waterfall and Spectrum features in version 0.4 can be seen in the following YouTube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsJUc98oHS8

Please subscribe to my channel (Dan Toma) to be automatically informed when a new video will be available.

Bibliography

FT817 User manual

The KA7OEI FT-817 pages - http://www.ka7oei.com/ft817_meow.html

HRD IP-Server Command List http://forums.hrdsoftwarellc.com/showthread.php?9248-HRD-IP-Server-Command-List


Application history

Version 0.3 (Feb 3rd , 2013).

First release of the application in the current form.

Version 0.4 (Feb 10th , 2013).

What’s new/changed:


Bugs solved:


Version 0.4.1-3 (Feb 17th , 2013).

What’s new/changed:


Bugs solved:

Version 0.5 (Feb 26th , 2013).

What’s new/changed:


Bugs solved:



The list of currently supported transceivers and features in HRD mode can be found here:

http://www.yo3ggx.ro/pocketrxtx/suport.jpg


For any queries regarding bugs or features requests please join and use the application dedicated forum here:

http://www.yo3ggx.ro/forum/viewforum.php?f=15


To see more videos about my projects and to be informed about any news please subscribe to my YouTube channel here:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3eDuq-p4mcwWYE3-pZmObQ/videos?view=0


If you want to contribute to further developments please donate using the ling available on my web page here:

http://www.yo3ggx.ro/



Please send me your feedback. Further development of the application fully depends on YOU.



pocketrxtx_v0.5.pdf Bucharest, Feb 26th 20123 – © Dan Toma – YO3GGX