Introducing CATMapper: A Windows Utility to Map VFO Functionality between Radios!
Many types of remote solutions offer only an on-screen VFO (Icom, Yaesu, Flex applications come to mind.) However, many of us own some type of HF radio that has CAT computer control.
What if you could use the hardware VFO (tuning knobs) from an existing radio to control the VFO on a
virtual radio's control panel?
I tested this concept out in ARRL DX SSB this year, using an Elecraft K3/0 Mini and the Flex SmartSDR!
It worked quite well (despite some initial bugs).
The program uses VE3NEA'S OmniRig application, which does the heavy lifting of all the CAT commands for various radios. How does it work? Simply ensure the radio you are controlling with, and the radio you want to control both have COM port connectivity. Then, start CATMapper, go to the File menu, and choose "Configure..." from the menu. In the OmniRig dialog, configure each radio (Rig1 and Rig2), specifying baud rates, etc. I recommend a 150mS poll time for smooth operation.
Once you press the OK button in the dialog, the two radios will be in sync. Tune a VFO on one and
it will tune the VFO on the other. A/B, Split, and possibly XIT/RIT will all function (This depends on the level of integration that OmniRig has. OmniRig can be user-updated through its INI configuration files.)
TX/RX is also supported, meaning, for example, you can use the PTT jack on the K3/0 Mini to control PTT on the Flex SmartSDR.
Of course, one challenge you might run into is more than one application may need access to CAT control, such as a logger. If the Flex SmartSDR is the target radio, SmartSDR-CAT allows you to create multiple CAT ports, solving that issue. There have been many solutions discussed that allow CAT port sharing; use one of those solutions if you need to split CAT on the target radio. Just ensure you are targeting the correct port.
Note that the Source "VFO" radio is still fully enabled; CATMapper does not disable functionality. So either turn power output to zero watts or disable the TX if you can, otherwise putting the Target Radio into transmit will cause the Source radio to transmit.
The application is free of charge, can be used as you wish, and can include the setup on your website.
If you have any feedback, send it along to gerry[at]w1ve.com.